Category Archives: family

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

Grateful For Wisdom When Ending The Journey Of Life: An Overview

I have always loved elderly people because they are wise and have wonderful stories to tell, if you listen. Unfortunately, we often get too busy during our own life’s journey to notice that older persons among us need more care from us. It is as though our journeys through life demand extra care when we begin our life, and again when we are nearing the end-of-life.

This posting includes my observations for you as a daughter, mom, friend, and health care professional regarding End-of-Life Care.

It is well known that people tend to like to stay at home as their journey through life comes to an end, but that is not always possible because of health issues, personal care needs, nutritional requirements, family distances, and so on. So, as we all age, the questions before us are: “What do we do?” “How do we plan for ourselves as we grower older and need extra care?”

Why am I posting this information for us today? Because I have watched my younger sister, my mom, and my dad pass away. Now I am watching dear friends and neighbors age, and I myself am growing older. As I was recently listening to Amanda Stead’s lecture on End-of-Life Care, I felt so grateful that Amanda reminded me, and helped me to summarize the wisdom we all have access to for our own planning:

  1. We are all going to die at the end of our life journey, so how does one prepare for the best end of life? There are multiple resources to inform us about end-of-life care just as there is knowledge regarding beginning life, as in birth, parenting, etc.
  2. As each of us, or our family members and friends age, it is important to learn about choices we each have regarding Hospice care, or Palliative care. Our choices do not need to be permanent as our health and care needs will change over time, but it is better to plan ahead and learn about such choices before being faced with an emergency.
  3. As one ages there needs to be decisions regarding independence, dignity, spiritual preferences, psychological, emotional needs, ethical decisions, and personal wishes.
  4. We all need to have people (family members or friends), who are our spokespeople in case we are unable to communicate clearly. We, or others, need to have an advanced directive (a written document) regarding our wishes for end-of life care.
  5. We all need to discuss realistic outcomes as we anticipate what may be coming in our future. Thus, before you become ill or lose the ability to communicate, you need to talk about what you imagine to be a good plan for your End-of-Life. You might begin such conversations by answering the question: “What matters to me most at the end of life is ______________________________________?”
  6. Sharing information is so important during this time. Information regarding your location preferences for where you wish to be as you grow older is important. Your financial costs, insurance coverage, wish for pain control, treatment preferences for eating, feeding, and swallowing should be identified.
  7. Your personal wishes, and cultural values are important and necessary to understand and honor during this time period.
  8. Reach out to Chaplains, Priests, Pastors, and Rabbis to incorporate your spiritual needs during these times of decision making.
  9. Take care of the above types of decisions before you grow too old for such planning. Make sure you share your thoughts with your family and friends.
  10. Know there is a “Dying Patient’s Bill of Rights”, and an abundance of resources provided through Medicare to assist you. Don’t put off till tomorrow what you should do today!

In the future, I plan to introduce a new “gratitude category” regarding end-of-life care as I am so grateful that information is available to me to provide for my dignity, spiritual, medical, psychological, and emotional needs as I grow older. In the context of generational differences in perception, as well as societal changes in our family constellations, it is more important than ever before to allow the elderly to prioritize their needs for independence as well as dependence on others.

I am grateful for knowledge regarding end-of-life care. How ’bout you?

For a spiritual perspective on End-Of-Life, let me conclude this blog with a poem written and read by my mother from her Book of Poetry titled, A House Inside of Me. The relevant poem for today is, I Don’t Want to Die I Like It Here. When you click on this link you will hear this poem. It seems relevant, in a more personal style of writing, to our topic today.

At this time in your life, What Matters Most to you for Planning? Please think about it as I am watching friends dealing and struggling with these issues right now.

#gratitudelite

Remembering My Sister With Gratitude

Today would have been my sister’s 65th birthday. She passed away when she was only 46 years old. As I grow older, I am watching family members, friends, and even pets begin to leave this earth and I miss them. The memories we share are increasingly important to my life. How ’bout you? Are you remembering your loved ones with gratitude? I think those memories are why I love the song “Remember Me”, from the movie CoCo so much.

The dictionary definition of “sister” is a woman who has the same parents. I believe a “sister” is so much more than that. On May 27, 2021, I posted a brief video describing my sister. The link is here: https://gratitudesquared.com/2021/05/27/gratitude-for-my-sister/

May 27, 2004, was the day she passed away , so between May 27 and June 4 each year, I have a stronger sense of who my sister was, how people loved her, and how much I miss her. As the eve of June 4 approaches, I wanted to honor her memory for yet another year. She has been gone for 18 years already.

Miss ya and love ya sis!

#gratitudelite

Grateful For Memories

Today is a fun time for memories with family and friends. Life passes so quickly and before we know it, or sometimes suddenly our loved ones leave us. On this day, I want to pause to be grateful for memories. It is nice to look back at old photos and remember specific events throughout each life: birthdays, graduations, marriages, religious ceremonies and other milestones. Take time today to remember life events!

#gratitudelite

Grateful For Friends And Family

As summer approaches it seems the world is awakening after the pandemic and people are beginning to move around again. Perhaps because I am in Southern California I am having more guests this summer, which is great. My friends and family are gathering in my home and I am so grateful for each and every visit.

As we gather together, my flower gardens are more colorful, my fountain is flowing, the awnings are outstretched, the beach walks are longer, the food tastes better, and the anticipations of great memories and fun times are set.

As my family members and friends come and go, I want to pause to give “thanks” for these memories from Spring of 2022. I am so grateful for friends and family. How ’bout you?

#gratitudelite

I’m So Grateful To My Mother

Today my mother would have been 97 years old. She was an amazing woman from a time gone by, yet her ideas and beliefs are so relevant to today. I feel so fortunate that she was my mother! Also, as I grow older, I realize how precious time is and how fast life moves for each of us. On my journey to “Gratitude” I need to constantly remind myself to “stop and smell the roses”, and to “make note of each day”. My mother’s poetry reminds me of this. Her poems titled, “Tomorrow Is Not Promised”, and “Do Not Hold a Hurt or Grudge”, as well some of the lines in her poetry, “I would not be blue because of you” and on and on teach us about Gratitude.

Recently, with my son’s help, we put my mother’s poetry online for everyone to see and listen to as my mom was videotaped reading some of her poetry. This is our free gift to all of you. Simply go to ahouseinsideofme.com and in the Table of Contents look for those poems marked (video) to see and hear Marian Elsie Blake in person.

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Grateful to Share My Mother’s Wisdom Through Video/Audio with You

I am pleased to share my mother’s wisdom (for free) with all of you. Since 2013 my mother’s words have been available in print in a book, in print on Kindle, and through an Apple iBook, under the title, A House Inside of Me, see Amazon. Over this winter holiday I was finally able to transfer actual video/audio files online, and place the entire book on ahouseinsideofme.com

My mother was a beloved storyteller, a special lady from a time gone by to transcend all time. As a minister’s wife for over 60 years, she was often called to speak at dedications, funerals, births, celebrations of life, Sunday morning services, weddings and more as she brought peace and calm to people often in pain or suffering. Marian Elsie Blake offered sacred guidance for parents, families, churches, ministers, and strangers about Heaven, death, nature, love, family, social activism, and more. I frequently share her messages on Facebook to individuals who have lost a loved one. People seem to be drawn to her messages and poetry as they offer wisdom and appropriate words to individuals during a time of stress, pain, sadness, or celebration during life.

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Gratitude For Immortality

I am so grateful for my “Gratitude Stream”, my “moral virtues”, my parents instilled in me that I would like to share a bit with you. I believe that many people have a spiritual side and through such seek relief during times of illness and death, or when fearful, or worried. I also believe that we have “sacred portals” at specific moments throughout our life during which time we seek deeper explanations for particular events in our personal lives.

Personally, as a young child growing up, I observed my parents assisting many people because my parents were pastors. For my mother and father’s teachings I am deeply appreciative. In fact, as I grow older and watch tragedies emerge, I would like to share my parents’ wisdom with you, because I believe their words will give you peace and understanding too, during the stillness of the night.

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Grateful For Artists In Our Life

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Laguna Beach, CA Annual Winter Fantasy Sawdust Art and Craft Festival. For over 30 years approximately 200 artists have shared their arts, culture and passion with the public to create a winter fantasy. They have baby animals to pet and feed, musical groups playing live music, glass artists blowing beautiful glass creations, jewelers, painters, woodworkers, potters, beautiful hats and garment creations, a marionette show, nutcrackers walking around, visits with Santa, and many more handmade treasures and gifts. It was simply a magical, uplifting, fun, enchanting day.

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