Thanksgiving for All

For Walt and Marie’s Poetic Bloomings using all the words: Thanksgiving for all the words: cranberries, feast, eat, grateful, Pilgrims, sweet potatoes, Plymouth, stuffing, gravy, food, ham, gobble, natives, pumpkin pie, gobble, blessings, turkey, family, thankful, friends, leaves, tradition, football, parades, nap. In Richmond every year, there is a Thanksgiving for all who want to come and join in the feast. all food and labor is volunteered. I volunteer in the kitchen every year to help cook.

Thanksgiving for All
The huge space is filled with tables
Covered with hand drawn plate mats
Drawn by children of the school system:
Pilgrims, turkeys drawn from hands,
Rocks with the world “Plymouth” written on them.
Pictures of Native Americans, autumn leaves.
Some of the pictures are scraggly,
Others well drawn, even some Santas
With Happy Holidays coming from their mouths.
It is a tradition, thirty years old.
All are welcome here:
Friends, family, strangers, rich, poor,
Those without homes and those who live in mansions.
All gather here to eat this feast.
People – men, women, children
Are seated at tables. Some people you don’t know
Some you do but they all become family
By the end of the meal.
When all are seated,
A rabbi, a priest, a minister
Someone representing those without beliefs
And others representing the Buddhists,
The Muslims, Shinto
All speak to their God and thank them
For the blessings of this meal and friendship.
We are truly thankful for this meal, this food,
This friendship.
People wearing aprons circulate among the tables
Bearing plates of turkey, stuffing, cranberries,
Gravy, rolls, green beans and greens, candied sweet potatoes
Slices of ham, glasses of milk or iced tea.
All volunteers grateful to have cooked and now serving
These many people.
Children laugh, make turkey sounds:
Gooble gobble gobble!!
Then pumpkin pie is served
While full diners talk about football and past parades,
Babies nodding, taking naps.
In the kitchen the crew clean up
And snatch mouthfuls of leftovers
And then stand at the doors shaking hands
Of those leaving.
Peace to you. Blessings upon you.
We will see you next year!

Richmond Center Thanksgiving meal for all

 

Happy New Year: Three Little Words

First of all, thank you.  All of you have made this past year amazing in so many ways.  When I had to have my SamCat put to sleep, you all poured out your love and thoughts and although you all are “invisible”, I felt the hugs and encircling arms.  Yet again you all made me believe in the “kindness of unstrangers”, the readers who become friends who become family.  Thank you all and may this new year be full of blessings to you for all the blessings you have shared with me.  Happy New Year – peace, love, good health, joy, inspiration – all of this and more is wished for you.

Now….At the beginning of every year, after a couple of weeks of meditation and prayer, I pick three words to be my goals, dreams, working for – in the new year.  After much contemplation and discarding words such as brave, hope, share, inspiration, I came up with three little words – Happy New Year.  Yes, Happy, New, Year.

The words were staring me right in the face.  If they had been snakes, I’d have been eaten.  So:

Happy:  to strive to be happy, to share that happiness, to create happiness – goal #1

New:  It is a year.  2015 is past and 2016 is here.  To look at life and people with a different perception, in new ways, to meet new people, to try new things, to move forward.  Goal #2

Year:  The time I’ve been given as a gift.  Something to claim and make my own.  To go through that year one day at a time.  To work hard to make this year the best ever for others, for me, for the earth.  Goal #3

I hope this year ahead is good for all of us.  We have our work cut out for us to make this year Happy, New, and the best ever.  Please pray for me and send up good thoughts towards these three new goals.  I will be doing the same for you.  Happy New Year!  Happy happy New new Year year.

copyright kanzensakura

copyright kanzensakura

new year sky: cloud paths
lead in many directions –
our choice where we go.

Memorial Day: Remember and Give Thanks

copyright kanzensakura

copyright kanzensakura

My father was in the onslaught at Omaha beach. He only spoke of it once – how the bodies where so thick in the ocean where many had drowned, you could almost walk on them. How the sand of the beach was drenched with blood. My father lied about his age so he could join early.

He loved his country and his family and came back from the war forever changed. He was a tender, smiling man, gentle. There wasn’t a baby or animal who didn’t trust him or hesitated to be held in those loving arms.

If you live where you can believe as you want to believe, speak your mind, vote, spend your money as you wish, raise a family, worship as you choose, then don’t forget to thank a Veteran or someone currently serving in the Armed Forces. If you are in McDonald’s or Starbucks and the person in line in front of you is a current service member or law enforcement officer, fire fighter, emergency worker – thank them and buy them a cup of coffee. They do so much for us, the least we can do is say “Thank You”.

Here is a link to a post I did when I was given the Inner Peace Award.  I accepted it in memory of my father.  http://kanzensakura.com/2013/06/15/inner-peace-award     Have a safe and happy day and remember…

copyright Kanzensakura - my father, far left, Paris, 21st birthday

copyright Kanzensakura – my father, far left, Paris, 21st birthday

 

Cup of Kindness – 2015

 

And so we come to the end of another year. This has been a year of tremendous changes. In spite of so many hard things, there have been many good things.  In March, I lost my job due to ageism and racism. Ugly combination, hey? And as time has progressed, my mother has become more fragile in her health and after rescuing her from a bad situation in Florida and taking her to live with her youngest sister in Tennessee, she just seemed to just step off the edge of the cliff. Health folks often call it that. She is now in and out of reality. Dementia is a demon from which there is no escape. I call her daily. The other day she asked me where my father was and why he hadn’t been to visit. I gently told her he died 30 years ago. She didn’t remember. This is a daily heartbreak for me. It is also a daily reminder of those fragile relationships that mean so very much and could suddenly….end.

But there has been highs in this past year. I’ve been able to devote more time to my writing, reading, cooking, independent study and went back to school for pharmacy. Being an engineer, my outlook isn’t the typical glass half empty/full thing. Our thing is, if the glass is half empty or half full, then get another glass. So I got another glass.

I am also ending this year finding out that my deep depression disorder is not that at all. I am bi-polar. Not a death sentence by any means but a life sentence none the less. But I can and will cope. I have the best husband in the world and I have friends – beyond excellent friends.  Hope and faith – words for the new tomorrow.  I promise, I’ll do my best not to be whiney about it!

Dear Chloe over at: http://sirenatales.wordpress.com did a post on Automaticity. Just what I was thinking for the past week or so. Basically, practice makes perfect. Practice a dance move, a speech pattern, whatever – until you do it automatically without thinking. Like when I draw my wakizashi with that single sweep and into fight position. I don’t think, I do.

What to practice in 2015 until it becomes so engrained? Here’s my list. What about yours?   Compassion, hope, joy, positivity, sharing, honor, humility of spirit, curiosity, open mindedness, open heart, gentleness, faith…big one – Faith. 

I forget who said this: When we worry today, we rob tomorrow of its hope.  There.  Nuff said.

I thank all of you who follow both my blogs; this one and Aki no Koe. Thank you for your likes, comments, kindnesses, prayers, positive thoughts. Thank you for your posts and all you have shared. Blessings to you in 2015.  I wish you all and those you hold dear, the best that can be granted to you.

And above all, let us practice kindness. Let us drink deeply from that cup o’ kindness and pass it on. Let us practice it until we don’t have to even think about it. Kindness as automatic as our hearts beating. Sharing it without thinking.

Holidays are coming: Thankfulness and light

tg

Yes, I understand that sales are popping everywhere: online, in the stores, at the convenience stores, on TV. Yes I understand that Thursdays kicks off the official whirl of holiday gaiety, madness, and constant reminders to spend spend spend. I mean, that co-worker you barely know really needs to be re-gifted with that weird nutcracker Great Aunt Leticia gave you last year and your son’s current teacher desperately needs that cheap mug filled with 10 starlight mint candies and your mail carrier is seriously craving that $1 tiny piece of gourmet chocolate. Your cousin begged you for that $9.97 gift basket of one bath cube, mini bottle of body wash, that plastic fluffy scrubber, and useless sized loofah. I get it, the gift limit at the exchange was $10 and it was easy to grab the basket and you spent five minutes choosing between the lavender, pink, or yellow colors.

Heaven forbid that your child not get the latest $600 phone since all their friends will be getting one. And if you are blessed to have loving parents who are still alive, they specifically asked you for that $50 gift card to that restaurant they never go to. Hey, it was on display with other cards at the grocery checkout and we all know it’s the thought that counts. And be sure you schedule attendance at all the parties and open houses and cookie exchanges. Don’t forget that.

Several years ago, I was forced to get my priorities straight. I was home from being in hospital after surgery for cancer. I was not able physically to do shopping, put up decorations, cook tons of cookies that never all seemed to be eaten and grew stale and were thrown out to the birds, I had to send regrets to parties.  Thanksgiving was quiet and take Chinese food.

My husband pulled out of its box, a two foot fiber optic Christmas tree which fitted perfectly on the small table in front of the window in our family room. I was given by a friend, a special Nativity scene in honor of my being home and doing well. It went on the mantle of the family room. My family sent a gift card to a restaurant we liked and we used it to purchase our Christmas dinner: KFC fried chicken. My husband purchased a pie from a local bakery. Lights did not flash in our yard astounding people miles away. We didn’t have money for a pile of gifts so we made do with handmade cards with special wishes handwritten to each other.  We spent quiet time with each other and sang Christmas carols with each other.

It was one of the best Christmases ever. We delighted in the season of light and spent time with each other, a few friends who came to visit for a bit and who brought gifts of food and smiles. Silent snow fell and I wrapped myself in a quilt and stood on our front steps and looked up into the night sky. Silent night, holy night….

I am not tooting my horn here but you know, there really are better ways to spend your time and money. You truly do not have to spread darkness by arguing with sales people, pushing people out of the way to grab the last item on sale, buying something just to exchange because you have to. You can spread light by random acts of kindness, serving food at a shelter, getting toys for children in need, contributing to a fund that ensures children have warm coats for the winter, filling up boxes with food for the hungry, addressing cards for the elderly to send to their family, raking the yard of the neighbor you barely know but know he is laid up with a broken leg and his wife is 8 months pregnant, taking bags of food for animals at the local shelter, adopting an “angel” off an “angel” tree…the list goes on and on.

I am thankful this year for my family, for my health, for the love of God, for the kindness of people I know and for the kindness of strangers, for my friends, for plenty of food….I could list pages of what I am thankful. Light came into this world centuries ago without hoopla. His upcoming birth was not announced two weeks before Halloween, the Magi did not go to Black Friday sales to get their gifts as cheaply as possible, the shepherds did not arrive in the newest model SUV, the angels did not rock out to the latest soundtrack.

Simply, quietly, the Light of the World came to us. Because He loved us. So, what is your priority this year? What are you thankful for? How do you show your love?  How do you spread light in the darkness?

Thank you all for being my friends this year. Thank you for your prayers, good vibes, happy thoughts, sharing your light with me and mine. Thank you.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Melody Beattie

 

Veteran’s Day: Thank you

My father lied about his age so he could join the Army and fight for our country’s freedom during WWII. He was a sharpshooter and made the landing on Omaha Beach. He spoke of walking, in the water, on the bodies of fallen comrades as he made his way to shore. He wept, deep wrenching sobs. He was a frightened boy from the Virginia countryside but he moved forward to try to keep more of his comrades from dying from enemy fire. He rarely spoke of the war and he always cried when he did. He was awarded the Bronze Star for valor. My father felt he didn’t deserve it and that all those who died around him should have been given the award. They gave all they had.

Thank a veteran today. If you see a service person in line in front of you, buy their lunch, breakfast, coffee. Say thank you. They are giving you all they have.  If you have the freedom to disagree with our government, protest against wars, speak your mind about anything, then thank a veteran.

vet day

On the road again…

Tomorrow I fly back to Tampa. This time, instead of visiting my ailing mom, I will be getting there for her to be discharged from the rehab facility! so much improvement.

I am going to load up her stuff and move her to live with her youngest sister in Tennessee. It will be quite an adventure driving from Tampa to her new home.

The picture in my post is from the last visit. This 4’5″ lovely, true grit southern lady is the person for whom so many of you sent the kindest of greetings, best wishes, prayers, positive thoughts, love, and light. I thank you all so much! I hope you all will continue to think of us as we travel – two days worth of driving and resting along the way.

I’ll be back in a couple of weeks and yet again, will try to catch up as best I can. Take care of yourselves.  I’ll be back now, y’hear?

copyright Kanzen Sakura

copyright Kanzen Sakura

 

public domain free image

public domain free image

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