Weekly Photo Challenge: The Golden Hour

I took my husband over to the ER last Wednesday to see about why his feeding tube apparatus was coming apart. We were there for 8 hours (not including the hour drive each way to get there) at the end of which they recommended that we go back to Portland where they had installed it because they weren’t familiar with this type and so couldn’t say whether it could be repaired or not. Or even what was going on specifically.

But the drive home was pretty šŸ˜›DSCN7165

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Just Keep Paddling!

 

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sometimes I sit next to the ocean and listen to the waves crashing,

just one after the other endlessly and eternally.

without regard for my problems or issues.

enormous and everlasting.

bigger than me.

 

bigger than nearly everything.

more powerful than me and anything that is thrown at it.

rocks and problems and anything are are tumbled and polished until they are but a grain of sand.

a tiny grain of sand among billions.

as am I.

and then I know that I am small and insignificant in the grand order of things.

and that is as it should be.

and my pain or sorrow is tossed into the ocean to be tumbled and ground down to but a grain of sand and wounds rinsed and cleansed with water and salt.

whatever the source of your comfort,

know that you are on the right path,

everything is as it should be for now,

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DSCN6055and you will get where you need to be if you can keep paddling.

 

An Attitude of Gratitude

To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant,

to enact gratitude is generous and noble,

but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven

~ Johannes A. Gaertner

I really do try to always be grateful for the many wonderful things and people I (we) are lucky enough to have in this life. I have been to, and seen on TV, places where those things that we so take for granted are just not that easy to come by. I know that even when things seem really hard, the truth is that we are FAR aboveĀ subsistenceĀ living Ā and it does a world of good to remember it. So here is a list of some “things” I’m grateful for. I’m going to leave family and friends off because I think it (almost) goes without saying that I’m grateful for/to them.

1. Water

In a class last year I watched a video about a woman in Africa who walks to a river at least once every day to get a jug or bucket of water. That river is about 5 miles from her home. The film was about efforts to install a well in the village nearby. They asked her what she would do if she didn’t have to walk all that way to get water every day. She just said she would be able to do more for her family. Because when she isn’t fetching water, she is helping her husband with the farming and she would have more time for that. Easy access to relatively clean water is the norm here. Many places it is the exception. Two years ago we had a terrible cold snap that froze the water in our area for several days. Having to find a way to fetch water for 3 people, a dog, and 5 horses was challenging, to say the least. Even in town all of the outside spigots were frozen or shut down for the winter. It was seriously too cold to fetch water from the reservoir or river safely, health risks aside. That was a great reminder of how lucky we are in our day to day lives. Also, when you rely on, and take for granted, these conveniences, you often neglect to have a system in place for when they fail.

2.Shelter

In these tough times, where people are losing their jobs and homes, homelessness is definitely on the rise. Having even basic protection from the elements is something that I think we really take for granted unless we don’t have it. Having spent some time in between addresses in my life, I try to keep perspective on how very lucky we are. Not only do we own our home, but we own a little bit of land around it. Some people don’t even have a van or truck with camper to live in like I did in my more nomadic youth. My computer tells me that it’s 28 degrees outside as I write this. I am so grateful for this shelter.

3.Food

I believe in and support gardening and farming, but I am soooo grateful that I don’t have to do it myself in order to eat. Easy, convenient access to food is truly something to be very grateful for. Even if you don’t have a lot of money, food stamps and food banks here make it relatively easy to keep yourself from starving. There are many places that it is not. My husband is a hunter and I’m happy to know that our lives do not depend on whether or not he succeeds at his hunt. The time, effort, and money spent each year for him to hunt once or twice is quite significant. (Though I’ll admit it could be done for less money šŸ™‚ the time and effort would no doubt be the same or similar.)

4.Electricity and Heat

These are in the same category together because for us right now, they are the same thing. We are planning to put in a wood stove soon, but for now we are reliant on electricity for heat. It gets pretty cold if the power goes out in the winter. Also on our electric system: lights, stove, refrigeration, hot water and much entertainment. I have to say that I turn into an idiot when the power goes out. Much like with the water, not having a backup plan in place when the usual system fails can be very difficult. (We actually have a lot of camping gear and such so we can make do pretty well in the event of a catastrophic power failure.) When we do get our wood stove in, the gathering andĀ procurementĀ of wood becomes another issue. But, at least you have a source of heat and a place to boil water/cook inside.

5.Indoor Plumbing

‘Nuff said.

Gratitude

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a big fan of Oprah Winfrey. She doesn’t talk about it as much anymore, but a few years ago she was pretty vocal about keeping a gratitude journal. You know, every day you write downĀ five things that you are grateful for. So that you can keep your perspective aligned right. I try to do that, too. I have trouble keeping a regular journal in real life. But, now that I am firmly entrenched in the internet with my social networking and blogging addictions, I do my posting online.

Sometimes I think it helps to remember how very lucky we are to haveĀ the necessitiesĀ  that we consider very basic; like running water and shelter. This winter we had a very cold spell where I live. The temperatures were below freezing for months. Well, it felt like months. It was actually 2 or 3 weeks. Everything was harder to do. We have animals. Horses and dogs who need food and water outside everyday. It was ridiculously hard to provide them with water especially. And then the water for the entire neighborhood went. A mainline broke and they couldn’t get it fixed for several days. It sucked. And it made me SO grateful that in the normal way of things, I don’t have to worry where my water comes from. Really, I was just happy the power didn’t go, too.

Other things, like technology, we forget are not standard issue for a lot of the world. Washing machinesĀ and microwaves, oh my! My husband’s mom is one of 12 kids. When her mom was askedĀ which invention had the most impact in her life, she replied, ” The washing machine.” Because not having to hand wash the clothes of 14 people would have a considerable impact on your life.

So, try to keep some of these things in mind in your day to day travels. When you start to feel like you wish you could have a bigger house or car. When you need to have the latest shoes or newest phone. Sometimes we can get to feeling like we don’t have enough. Like we need more.

STOP

Take a Breath

and try to shift your focus away from what you don’t have. And remember whatĀ Ā riches we enjoy -without even noticing.

Today I am grateful for:

the internet

plenty of food and clean water

electricity

my car

and don’t forget

my washing machine and microwave

 

But, don’t think that everyday has to beĀ full of grand sweeping gratitude for our standard of living. Some days I’m grateful for my morning coffee. OK, everyday I’m grateful for my morning coffee. Or I’m grateful to get the really good parking spot at school. Whatever. It doesn’t matter how big or small it is. It only matters that youĀ notice and acknowledge it.

So, today I am also grateful for:

my leftover potato soup

chinese food for dinner last night

creamer for my coffee

peanut butter M&M’s

and

fortune cookies.

(I’m very grateful for foodstuffs today. Must be time for breakfast!)

So what is it you are grateful for today?