Thursday, November 3, 2011

November Is For Gratitude

Cooper Road Trail - GSMNP
October 29, 2011

I will have to confess that I am suffering from a serious lack of inspiration with respect to writing the ingenious and creative somewhat interesting posts that come from these fingers.  Well, at least you tell me they are somewhat interesting and I think once, a long time ago, Mr. B used the words "ingenious and creative," but that's kind of like your mother telling you that.  Anyway, it isn't that my life is not interesting.  As a matter of fact, it's incredibly full and busy right now with a variety of activities and relationships that make life fun.  But you and this blog added a whole new dimension to the concept of a full life, so when creativity wanes, I'll just tell you what I've been doing.  Maybe subtitled, "the good, the bad and the ugly."

First, the good.................

We have had and are still in the midst of an unbelievably beautiful autumn.  We've had enough of all the right weather conditions to prolong leaf season and unless something strange happens (like the October snowstom in the northeast),  we should have a few more weeks of gorgeous fall scenery.  I have hiked, hiked and hiked some more.  When I'm not hiking, I'm out walking.  I'm within 20 miles of my 2011 300 mile hiking goal and expect to reach that within a couple of weeks.  Reaching it this early means I should exceed it by quite a bit.  Considering the difficult late winter and spring I had with illness and the horribly hot summer we had, I am quite proud to have reached that goal for the second year in a row. 

A separate post is in the early stages about this, but it is something fun that has surfaced from out of nowhere and is taking a good bit of my time.  Time that once was spent reading and writing blogs, therefore, deserves a mention since it partially explains an absence of more frequent posting.  From somewhere came the inspiration to get in the kitchen and start becoming a better cook.  And the even more surprising part of this was the intense desire to ENJOY it.  Much more later, but a mention had to be made with the "good" because I'm having a blast and according Mr. B, my MIL and several others, I'm turning out some incredibly delicious at least edible items.  

The bad.

I have two friends, who in two very different ways, have left or are leaving.  A close male friend whom I've known for many years and rarely saw, but talked with frequently accepted a new job which took away our "freedom" to talk.  What you need to know about this friend is that this was the person whom I didn't just talk with - we debated, argued, disagreed, agreed, but talked about anything and everything.  The more controversial, the better. The more obscure the question, the better.  I am the rare female sports fanatic.  I can discuss any sport intelligently.  Mr. B, not so much, so this friend was my outlet for any and all sports issues.  I don't have a brother, but this must be what it would be like and I miss the communcation.  The other is the wife of one of our church staff members.  She and I became close friends and they have taken a position in another state far, far away.  They will be leaving in two weeks and I'm already feeling her absence.   I have lots of friends for whom I am very, very grateful, but these two leave unique "holes" that not just anyone can replace. 

My 2001 Toyota Corolla with 180,000 miles on it has decided it no longer feels good and really would like to be driven less.  This car takes me all over town and to remote trailheads on horrid gravel roads. Until three years ago, it was our primary vehicle and has taken us all over the country. It has served me perfectly for ten years, but with an ever increasing array of Christmas lights on the dashboard, it's time to start thinking about a replacement.  Enough said - I get the shivers even thinking about it.  As you can see, we buy good cars, drive them until they have to go to the graveyard and I HATE making decisions about new cars.

The ugly.

My weight, my weight, my weight.  Don't get me wrong - I'm maintaining in a way I've NEVER been able to maintain when at goal.  But this is not where I want to be.  Enough said.

Today's picture is not one I would've normally chosen because it isn't the most beautiful picture that was taken on the hike Mr. B and I did last Saturday.  But when scrolling through the options, it caught my eye for this reason.   I had done this trail previously, but Mr. B had not.   We had significant rain the previous day and I knew these water crossings would be wide.  As we came around the bend, Mr. B stopped short and said, "we CAN'T get across THAT."   I said, "sure we can and kept walking."  To his credit, he knew I had been there before and trusted that I knew what I was talking about.  What I knew that he didn't, was that just before you reached the water, there was a side path to the right that goes to a tiny feeder stream easily stepped over.  

November is the month we focus on gratitude.  I am grateful for the good, the bad and even the ugly because all are teaching me new things about life, about gratitude, about giving, about developing NEW relationships and mostly about focusing on something other than myself.  

When things seem too wide to cross or too deep to wade through, please just keep walking.  Trust that someone knows the way and can lead you or better still, have faith that if you keep walking, the path will reveal itself and you'll be better for not having turned around.  

Please join me in my goal of "giving" something to someone in some way (small as it may be) every day during the month of November.   Maybe it will become a habit!


  1. Thanks for letting us juts know what is going on in your life. I agree, you, we both, have rich and full lives. Lucky are we. Yes, fall has lingered in its fullness this year in the upper midwest, too. I am still biking everyday. Yes, we have had frost, but, clear, calm and cool days with no snow make for great biking, and of course for you, great hiking.

    I like your small request to share our gratitude and many gifts with others each day this month. I am on board.

    Have a great end to your week! michele

  2. Hi Sharon - The picture is amazing...what struck me was how well captured the sunlight streaming through the leaves showed through. When I'm driving through a wooded area where the rays of sunshine are vivid and visceral, I almost feel the warmth, and definitely lifted spiritually by the Author of all!

    I love how you noted that your blog and the blog community have added so much to your concept of "a full life". I feel the same way, and after a month hiatus it feels so good to be back among the many.

    Finally, I had to laugh at you ntoing that a compliment from Mr. B was like one from your mother. My 3 kids have always responded similarly when I give them compliments or somehow note their immense worthiness..."That means a lo coming from you, MOM."

    Thanks for the reminder of gratitude for all things - even the crap. So true. I once heard a definition of gratitude - It's not having what you want, but wanting what you have. Wow. Thanks for your creative and ingenious post! Signed - Not your mom

  3. Proof read, Leslie! The kids say, "That means a LOT coming from you, Mom."

  4. Glad to have a glimpse into what's been going on in your life, Sharon. I'm sure I've shared my philosophy that you should blog when you want to. Of course, I have a tough time with that one myself:) I'm with you on the car thing. Ours are 2000 and 2001, Honda and Toyota. Hate thinking about a new one but my husband will be pushing for a Prius.

  5. Good to hear from you. I thought you were probably out hiking.

    I'm going to try and remember your analogy about crossing the water. It is a good one.

  6. I didn't even notice the water in the picture at first. I loved the way the sun was coming through the trees. And I also thought that it looked like a trail that would be safe from bears...

    Woo hoo on your hiking and reaching your goal. And double woo hoo on your newly found cooking skills. Want to hear more!

    Your description of your conversations with your male friend do sound very much like the conversations my brother and I have.

  7. It's nice to see this post as I've been wondering about you.

    Gratitude -- I'm grateful for many things, and so often, it's about finding the positive in what sometimes feels very negative. So today, I'm grateful for the following: 1. that I've got plenty of work to keep me busy; 2. that I've got an education that provides me with numerous opportunities -- it's the choosing that's difficult; and 3. I'm forever and infinitely grateful for my family and friends.

  8. I'm giving thanks for something every day during November. I'll join you in giving something to someone every day this month, too. Usually when I do this, it's to a child at the cash register in front of me in line. I absolutely loooove to give them an extra dollar to buy them a little something. But I'll try to branch out a little.

    So glad you're concentrating on cooking. It's one of the most therapeutic things for me, even if everything doesn't turn out perfect every time.

  9. Always good to hear from you, Sharon. And better still, to know what's happening in your life. What a wonderful accomplishment to be only 20 miles away from your goal. Fantastic!
    Having friends leave, regardless of the reason is hard. I know this first hand, especially here as of late, and it's a difficult adjustment. I imagine you with such a wonderful personality that you draw people to you, and have faith that you will have that void filled in no time, although I know it won't be the same

  10. Well, I think your blog is insightful and thought-provoking, and shame on me if I haven't told you so.

    I have friends who just returned from the eastern part of the state and reported amazing weather and foliage, so I guessed you were out partaking of it. At least, I'd hoped you were. :)

  11. I love that you keep us caught up with what's going on with you. Love, love that picture and enjoy reading whenever you post.

  12. Wow - and you said that photo was *not* the prettiest one? I looks lovely!

    Life gets in the way of blogs sometimes, reading and writing.

    Congrats on your hiking goal - that is amazing!

  13. I love this statement ~ When things seem too wide to cross or too deep to wade through, please just keep walking. Trust that someone knows the way and can lead you or better still, have faith that if you keep walking, the path will reveal itself and you'll be better for not having turned around. That was awesome!!

    Also, I would love to join you in the "giving" something everyday for November.

    Keep focused my Friend!