Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving: Simply Give Thanks



Thanksgiving is easy: Simply give thanks.


When I used to think of Thanksgiving, I used to think of family gatherings with turkey, macaroni and cheese, greens, and sweet potato pie. But all that changed a few years ago. As I began to prepare my Thanksgiving meal the day before Thanksgiving, I felt a chill gently tap me on my shoulder. As I continued the meal preparation, I even thought I saw the formation of a faint cloud as I exhaled. 

Within the hour, frigid cold shoved polite chill out of the way. And I realized it was time to check the thermostat. That’s when I discovered the furnace was no longer working. 

We were having guests for Thanksgiving the next day, but rather than cancel the dinner, we decided to use the fireplace in the family room and have our guests gather together in that room.

It worked out well. Very few people knew we did not have a working furnace. With the oven going in the kitchen, a diligently manned fire blazing in the family room, and the familial love we had in our hearts, no one complained about being cold.

The following day we called a furnace repair company, which had a domino effect -- a call to a second furnace repair company and then a call to a third furnace repair company. But the verdict was the same. We needed a new furnace. My husband and I were upset that we were faced with this unexpected expense.

Eventually, we made our selection. It was a tough job trying to choose a dependable yet affordable unit, but we did it. The following Monday the workers arrived. The clinking, clanging, and banging drowned out the jargon-laden dialogue between the workers. This went on for quite a while until it became quiet. One-by-one the workers had left the basement to congregate in an area outside. They confirmed what one worker had suspected: the smell of gas. They made an urgent plea for us to call the gas company. Subsequently, we were notified we had a gas leak—a serious gas leak that involved a backhoe, a gas crew, and a new underground gas line.

Well, our anger over having to purchase a new furnace was replaced with feelings of thanksgiving. We had been spared the devastating consequences of having a serious gas leak. We were thankful we still had our lives, and we were thankful we still had our home. I believe in prayer. I pray daily. A portion of my prayer focuses on my family's protection. That prayer had been answered. We were protected from the devastating consequences of a gas leak. The cost involved in the purchase and installation of a furnace was microscopic compared to priceless things we could have lost.

So this Thanksgiving, as I give thanks for all the things for which I am thankful—family, health, protection, wisdom, good memories, emotional well-being, education, career, and the like--I also give thanks for the time our furnace stopped working. It led to the discovery of a problem that we were able to get fixed before something terrible happened.

Today, thousands of people will prepare delicious gourmet and soul food meals. And the preparation probably began days ago. It did for me. But don't forget the main point, which is an easy one: Simply give thanks. Give thanks not only for what you have but also for how you were able to have it.

What are you thankful for? This is the story in you. Share it.


Domonique 
 
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Friday, November 21, 2014

Forget-Me-Not Friday Memoir Writing Prompts, November 21, 2014


Sharing your memories is important so you are not forgotten. You have thoughts, feelings, opinions, experiences, and lessons that are valuable to others. I like to refer to these as your forget-me-nots. It reminds me of the German legend of the forget-me-not flowers (McGrath, n.d.).


This is my version:
Once upon antiquity, in a faraway land, a knight sat at the edge of the Danube River. Dressed in armor from head to toe, he was unbreakable, but his heart was soft for the love of his life. His thoughts were focused on her gentle beauty and sweet kindness. Then the soft blue wildflowers that grew along the Danube caught his attention. He decided to pick a fistful for this maiden for whom he was smitten. The flowers were blue skies, each crowned with an amber star. He eyed a long, limp reed in the shallow of the water, so he stepped in the water to fetch his find. 
 
Suddenly, the heavens drew its shade. That made the wind angry, so it tiptoed behind the knight, grumbling and whispering its intent. As the knight bound the stems of the blue flowers with the reed, the wind grew wild and loud—so wild that it thrust the knight into the deep of the Danube. The knight fought the wind and the water to stay afloat. His metal fists held the bouquet ever so tightly.
The knight continued to fight the wind and the water, but his strength could not save him.
The knight continued to fight the wind and the water, but his courage could not save him.
The knight continued to fight the wind and the water, but his love for his maiden could not save him.
Just as he took his last breath, he saw his lovely maiden in the midst of the storm. He mustered enough strength to toss the bouquet to her and gasp, “Forget me not.”
From that day forward, these blue flowers--little blue skies, each crowned with an amber star-- have been known as forget-me-nots. People all over the world cherish these little flowers in remembrance of their loved ones whether they are away temporarily or have transitioned from life to death.
A flower is “the blossom of a plant” (Dictionary.com, para. 1), and we have all had blossoms in our lives. These are our forget-me-nots—little blue skies, each crowned with an amber star. Because you are unique, extraordinary, and one of a kind, it is worth sharing your forget-me-nots.
How would you like to be remembered? Be inspired by a word below. This is the story in you. Share it.
Memoir Writing Prompts created from Wordle.net

Domonique 
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References

Dictionary.com. (2014). Retrieved from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/flowers?s=t
McGrath, S. (n.d.). Forget-me-not cakes. Retrieved from http://www.forgetmenotcakes.com/name.html

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Throwback Thursday: It's Good for You, 11/20/14


What to do with Your Child's Artwork

With thousands of people participating in the social media trend #ThrowbackThursday (#TBT), over 100 million photos have been posted. It's the practice of sharing old photographs, lyrics, and links to songs along with the memories behind them. It has taken Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like by storm.

Have you joined in the fun yet?
You should join in the fun because nostalgia has benefits. Pondering over fond memories makes you feel better. Take a soothing bath in those times when you felt happy, protected, and loved. According to Hepper, Ritchie, Sedkikdes, and Wildschut (2012), the strength you gain from these positive memories can  have the following effect:
  • improve your self-concept
  • boost your mood
  • feel accepted
  • help you make connections between the then and the now
You can conjure up fond memories by looking at old photos, listening to old songs, smelling an aroma, touching an object, and/or tasting a food item or drink. 

Participating in #TBT is easy:
Participating in #TBT is easier than you think. 
  • Select a picture that was taken at least five years ago (one associated with fond memories).
  • Post it on your favorite social media site.
  • Write a brief description of the nostalgic memory.
Note that social media is not the only way to participate in #TBT. Start a #TBT scrapbook. Each Thursday, select an old photo that generates fond memories. Insert the photo into a scrapbook (make it or buy it). Then write about the fond memories centered around the photo. Before you know it, you'll have completed the scrapbook.

My #TBT

This is a picture of my son’s artwork that he made in elementary school.
(He is a grown man now.) I was going through some boxes to see if I could de-clutter a bit when I found this. I have a box I titled Mama’s Treasures. It holds my daughter and son’s artwork from early childhood to teen years — things they made in and out of school.

We used to have a large plastic bin we called the craft box. I stored scraps of fabric, glue, sparkles, beads, markers, paper, and the like. And they used the items all the time to make things -- on rainy and sunny days.

Anyway, for this art piece – a crayon and wax technique -- I bought an elegant-looking frame and framed it. This is a great alternative to being tucked away in a box or being thrown out. It looks perfect in his old bedroom — a room I re-purposed after he moved out on his own. When I pass by his old room, the picture brings back fond memories of my daughter and son creating masterpieces with their busy little hands. These masterpieces were displayed on the refrigerator door and were retired into the Mama’s Treasures box, only to be displayed again in elegant-looking frames.

What fond memories do you have of busy little hands?

Connect with me on Pinterest to view creative ideas about writing:
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Domonique

Reference

Hepper, Ritchie, Sedkikdes, and Wildschut. (2012). Nostalgia. Retrieved fromhttp://www.southampton.ac.uk/nostalgia/what_is_nostalgia/