Grateful For Faithfulness

While I was receiving chemotherapy yesterday, I was listening to Carrie Underwood sing the old hymn “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”, and I was looking out the window at the beautiful mountains, and sky, and fields. I started to cry when I focused on the word “Faithfulness”. It is really such a wonderful concept, isn’t it? My mind wondered to all that is faithful in our lives:

  • I believe that God is Faithful to me/us not only during tough times, but good times as well. I recall my father, a Baptist minister of more than 60 years, so faithful to his church members, as well as so faithful to God, never wavering from his beliefs.
  • My oncology doctor is faithful to my care. He and his PA stopped by to check on me yesterday during my 10 hours of infusions. His kind gesture made me happy. He knows I want to stop for a while to rest, but he is ever faithful to helping me live, as possible.
  • People, who are in serious relationships or marriages, are faithful to each other. Faithfulness is the foundation on which those communions of love are based.
  • More generally, we believe that our bosses, our jobs, our various work projects will faithfully pay us every two weeks, or once a month, etc. We trust in that faithfulness.
  • Regarding nature, we trust that the sun will rise each morning, and the moon will appear each evening, faithfully.
  • Furthermore, we trust in the faithfulness of our city transportation services like buses, trains, planes, and ships. During the recent pandemic disturbances in supply chains were impacted when we could no longer trust in such systems.
  • Finally, we generally have trust in the faithfulness of our personal health, our bodies… until they break down…

Faithfulness is such a necessary concept on which we depend daily, without even thinking. Faithfulness is great, until it is gone. Faithfulness feels good, until it is broken. Faithfulness is a promise from God; is a given. It should never be taken for granted. Therefore, GREAT is thy Faithfulness is such an important construct for us to value and cherish and appreciate. What do you think?

#gratitudeultra

So Grateful For Beauty Above: Look Up More Often

The other day I was raking leaves and picking up after my dog. I realized I have a habit of looking down more often than looking up! As I was carefully carrying the leaves to dump, my eye caught the sky, and it was so beautiful. I paused and grabbed my camera.

I’ve been reflecting on what I might say within this post:

  • Looking up takes our minds closer to Heaven
  • Looking up reveals the multiple colors of the sky, changing throughout the time of day
  • Looking up probably helps with our neck and improves our posture
  • Looking up might minimize the number of accidental falls, trips, and stumbles
  • Looking up has recently been connected to cell phones, crossing streets, etc.

Bottom line: look up more often! I think you will enjoy the views.

#gratitudelite

Be Grateful for Vegetables – They are Fun!

Recently, @BetteMidler posted this picture on Twitter – a BrocCollie and Collieflower!

This photo made me smile. In fact, I tried to re-create it…

Look for fun activities in your life with those you love!

Eat more veggies. Improve your diets. Have fun with vegetables!

#gratitudezero

Gratitude for Pumpkin

This is a great time of year for the pumpkin! Meet “Big Jack” our pumpkin here locally at the Outlets. Children are given blank pages to create their own story about “Big Jack”. I wonder what they are writing? Pumpkins remind me of:

  • Foods: pies, cupcakes, breads, cookies, soups, drinks and more
  • Spices: mixing pumpkin spice in so many baked goods and drinks
  • Smells: pumpkin smells great, especially when mixed with other hot/cold spices
  • Memories: walks across pumpkin farms, pumpkin carving of Jack-O-Lanterns
  • Tastes: which is your favorite? muffins, pies, cookies, breads, spiced drinks
  • Sights: children picking out their pumpkins, children decorating pumpkins, pumpkins next to front doors with lights at night. I remember when a neighbor placed their young toddler inside a cut out pumpkin, put the cap on and took a photo of the baby inside the pumpkin
  • Touching Pumpkins: scooping out the insides of the pumpkins (seeds etc.), smashing pumpkins, putting a light inside a pumpkin, drawing faces on pumpkins, cutting out/ fixing the cap on the pumpkin

This pumpkin season makes me feel happy. How ’bout you?

#gratitudezero

Appreciate the Spirit of Exploring Gratitude

A dear friend in Canada shared this posting with me during her Thanksgiving. What an exploration of gratitude! I invite you to take a moment to reflect upon the various dimensions of walking along the pathway of gratitude in your own life:

  • Some of you will reflect upon your present circumstances in the context of whatever has happened to you in the past. (This might become part of the #gratitudelite series.)
  • Will your reflections help you design a new pathway to your future? How so? Depending on your musings for your future, you may even wander into the #gratitudeultra series.
  • Others may focus on gratitude during your own Thanksgiving holiday. You may focus on preparation for the upcoming meal. A Thanksgiving meal may be an annual larger gathering of family, and/or friends which turns the availability of food into an extension of old favorites, long time family memories of meals gone by, and stories shared again with family, and/or even with strangers who may become old friends. (Focusing on favorite foods, and repeated stories might become part of the #gratitudezero series.)
  • Read the first line of the highlighted image above: “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life”! Wow, what a densely packed statement. Consider what you think is enough gratefulness within your own life?
  • But, also reflect upon what you accept or deny in your own life as you define joy and happiness?
  • As you explore various options for gratitude where do you find “confusion”, versus which choices or options seem crystal “clear” or best within your own life or for you?
  • Finally, consider that the author invited you to even explore what causes you to feel “chaos” within your own mind in contrast to an impression of “order” in your life?

My friend sent this image to me with a beautiful line “Grateful for our friendship…”

Appreciate this spirit of gratitude as you enjoy your own Thanksgiving holiday.

#gratitudeultra

Focus on the Complexity of Water – Multiple Dimensions

Water has so many different purposes and applications. We are reminded of the power of water this week in Florida with hurricane IAN. Water is special as it is critical for:

  • sacred religious rituals like Baptisms, blessings, prayers, births and deaths
  • life as one cannot live very many days without water
  • production of power for utilities
  • cooling systems as in air conditioning
  • cleaning one’s body and clothing
  • sporting events like surfing, paddle boarding, skiing, kayaking, canoeing, boating
  • transportation as in cruising, transporting goods and services around the world

Water makes up the composition of most of the cells in our bodies. Blessed water is changed when one studies the angle at which our molecules connect.

Water is often so beautiful and scenic which is why people love to go to the beach and to live near the beach or lake front, riverside, or even on a pond in the country.

Water is not static but may be dynamic as in a water fall which ripples or roars as in Niagara Falls.

This week find gratitude in studying the complexity and multiple dimensions of water. Its beauty, but power is never ending. IAN reminds us that water should not be taken for granted as it may surge, rise, suck one under, drown, bury, and destroy.

Given the full scope, range, and power of water, give gratitude for water as it is a life form that is dynamic, necessary, and ever changing.

#gratitudeultra

Grateful For Hope

Hope is such a great feeling! Hope may be expressed in multiple ways:

  • Hope is often linked to a belief that something good may happen.
  • Hope is sometimes a feeling of a wonderful expectation for the future.
  • Hope implies something good will occur immediately or soon.
  • Hope is possibility.
  • Hope is positivity.
  • Hope is optimism.
  • Hope springs eternal is an old proverb linked to human nature.
  • Hope may be tied to something small like winning a ball game, passing a test, or to something deeply spiritual through prayer and/or meditation.
  • Hope has just four letters, but is such a nice little word with the lightly tapped “p” sound your lips make as you say the word.
  • Hope begins with the pushing out of your breath as you say the “h” which reminds us of “flow” of “air” as you exhale during breath work.

What a great concept – HOPE! Be grateful today for HOPE!

#gratitudeultra

Finding Gratitude in Belonging

I am currently engaging in significant rounds of multiple chemotherapies in order to save my life. This is a new experience for me. BUT, what is most impressive right now are the various people who are stepping up to help me! I am so grateful for their kindnesses. They are driving me to appointments, bringing food, offering to clean my home. We are engaging in meaningful and deep conversations together by phone, text, email, and/or in person. People are serving on standby for whatever I might need. WOW! This outpouring of good will from so many different people is touching my heart daily. Of course my family and dear friends are near and always helpful, but people I do not know very well are genuinely assisting me regularly. Since I am an introvert this is a new experience for me.

I feel such gratitude to all these people and want to let them know how much they are helping me!

This concept/feeling of Belonging is wonderful! We all belong to many different groups of people during our lifetimes: family, friends, neighbors, professional associations, churches, community groups, social media groups, friends of family’s friends, post readers, artist groups, groups of persons with disabilities, sports groups, and strangers we meet at various medical appointments etc.

My sincere gratitude and peace of mind these days is emerging through belonging to these groups!

Belonging is the best medicine!

Belonging is causing me to heal, feel great joy, and deep gratefulness.

I know I am not alone on this journey. I belong!

Thanks everyone for going with me to the unknown. I appreciate you more than you will ever know.

#gratitudeultra

Finding Gratitude In A Cancer Diagnosis

After five years without my cancer returning, it is back! In four days I begin an intense round of multiple chemotherapies. Surgery is not an option for me this time. Chemo seems to be the only option now.Thus, I search for the courage for what I am about to face. I make last minute arrangements to prepare my mind, body, and spirit to begin to walk the new pathway to my future.

I feel fortunate to be a Ph.D. researcher as I use my skills to find, analyze, evaluate, argue, and describe the various courses of action available to me and my doctors. One of my areas of expertise is in cultural understanding of various groups, people, social classes, ethnic communities, and so forth to learn about and try to understand the value systems and choices people make throughout their lives. I can tell you that age, gender, cultural backgrounds, and various norms are readily observable within Western medicine in contrast to global medical choices. With a minor in statistical design, I am greatly dismayed when reading various medical peer reviewed journal articles, and when attempting to hold discussions with oncologists and other medical professionals. Answers to my simple questions regarding treatment outcomes are not readily available it seems. I do not have adequate time or resources to pursue inquiries into the various companies underwriting and sponsoring some treatment options, and clinical trials available to me.

On the other hand, I am also blessed to have been raised by an old fashioned Baptist minister, who taught me to have faith in God, to go to the scriptures for guidance, and to accept that everything in my life is according to God’s Master Plan. During this time I draw my gratitude from my heart versus my head, for which I feel extremely grateful and at peace. Daily, I read the various poems my mother wrote within ahouseinsideofme.com. Her ministry to the various families within my father’s churches offers guidance and gives me peace and understanding at this time.

Being the analytical person that I am, I have been thinking about patterns throughout life. For example, I do not think that anyone has a perfect life. Life seems to regularly present all of us with variances, for example, each day begins with a sunrise and ends with a sunset; every person experiences a birth and also their death; the tides in the ocean are governed by the gravitational dance between the Earth, Moon, and Sun to give us daily ebb and flow, and/or high tide or swells versus a shallow sandbar or reefs.

So it goes with cancer it seems. One discovers it and removes it through surgery, chemo, radiation, and various other treatments and joy follows with each test documenting no evidence of disease; yet apparently those little cancer cells typically like to reappear with a reoccurrence, and thus the cycle, i.e., remission and return which causes one to experience joy and sadness alternating throughout their life. We ring the bell at the end of a treatment interval and we reserve an infusion chair several months or years in the future. These variances are cyclic patterns of repetitions so often experienced by persons who are visited by the big “C” during their life.

For me, I have determined to find gratitude through my cancer diagnosis through my understanding of the above mentioned types of cycles experienced each and every day throughout one’s life. To be alive means total acceptance of variances during each and every day one is living. Just as the beauty of the colors of the sunrise always fade each day and the night blackens the sky; the joy of beating back and taming each cancer cell fills one’s heart with hope and expectation all the while, in the back of one’s mind lingers the anticipation of new cells revisiting to begin the cycle again.

My cells are visiting me again at this time. Soon I hope to initiate further action to invite them to leave me with hope. Thus, I find gratitude in my recent cancer return, similar in fashion to watching the waves in the ocean and each sunrise and sunset.

Be grateful!

#Gratitudeultra

Tending to My Garden, Hair, and Fur – With Gratitude

Plants need pruning regularly so they will product beautiful blooms. Some dogs need haircuts so they may see and stay healthy. As for me, in order to have good health, I have to suffer hair loss. So, this week it seems my theme is cutting, in a positive way.

It feels hard to find gratitude when losing one’s hair, but I try to look past the hair to hope for health. When gardening, I reflect upon the cutting of the plant to make it grow. I liken the cutting of each plant stem to targeting each tumor, newly growing within me.

My little dog’s fur was covering his face and eyes and was beginning to look like a mop on top of his head. He seems much cooler and happier with his recent haircut. I love to feel the softness of his warm fur when I hug him.

In summary, this week I am finding happiness through gardening, hair, and fur. It is these little instances of life that give me joy. Always be grateful!

#gratitudezero