Thursday, January 31, 2008

Thursday, 31 January 2008 - Gardening dreams

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for gardening dreams.

Any book about gardens, written for the pleasure of writing, must have its sources in dreams. The visions of gardens beautiful and retired hover before the imagination, and no real garden, however humble, but is invested in celestial light of cherished hopes of what it may become in fragrant flowers or what it might have been had fortune been kind.
~Lena May McCauley

Gardeners, I think, dream bigger dreams than Emperor's.
~Mary Cantwell

The last day of January.

Darn it! No signs of an early spring. Winter continues its slow, dreary march across the region.

I yearn for sunnier, warmer days. While gardeners who live in more temperate climes are already starting seedlings indoors, I kick my garden's dry, frozen ground in frustration. I know full well that I won't be able to plant anything until May.

At least once a week, for an hour or two, I believe that my prayers will soon be answered. The sun shines brightly, and the wind calms to a mild breeze. But that's before the next front moves in, removing any doubt that this season of cold, snow and wind plans to stay for several more weeks.

We laugh when David Lettermen quips that the Nobel Prize committee has asked Al Gore to return his award. Global warming? What's that? After last year's very mild winter, we expected the warming trend to continue.

Actually, I most disdain the winter winds. Ceaseless despite the hour. Whipping buildings. Toppling fences. Scattering debris. Whirling and swirling against the foothills. Stirring up dust. Merciless. Ruthless. "Take no prisoners" nasty.

I guess that I must live in my gardening catalogs for awhile longer. I subscribe to a select few that sell heirloom and xeric plants. I read them in the evening while we watch a favorite PBS program or a climbing DVD. My "plants to buy" list grows with each reading.

Tonight, I study an extremely hardy raspberry bush. I think about planting two or three on the south side of the house, one area that I have yet to landscape. Or, maybe I should select a lovely flowering shrub - perhaps a rare lilac or sturdy viburnum or . . .

Yes, while the wind howls, the snow falls and the temperature plummets, these companies know how to stoke my gardening dreams.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wednesday, 30 January 2008 - Hope, lost and found

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for hope, lost and found.

Come, come, whoever you are,

Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving - it doesn't matter,

Ours is not a caravan of despair.

Come, even if you have broken your vows a hundred times.

Come, come again, come.

~Rumi (Translated by A. J. Arberry)

In the middle of winter the buds prepare for spring.
Thank you God for unceasing life.

The dull, brown stalks of spent hydrangeas mirror my spent spirit. Yet green and blue and pink colors dance in my mind's eye for the spring within and without about to come.

I feel your presence in pealing cathedral bells, in insistent cawing crows, in intricate yellow petals of January forsythia, in new growth heralding coming spring.

Thank You God for hope.
~Marian Wright Edelman

Intellectually, I know that signs of hope exist in my own backyard. But, deep in thought and lost in despair, I rarely hear or see any of them. What a waste of earthly and heavenly wonders. But, that's what happens when my heart has very little to say about how I listen or how I see. That's what happens when I miss opportunities to say, "I'm sorry, please forgive me." That's what happens when life's mysterious and unpredictable twists and turns deplete my creative energy and spirit.

Once again, I acknowledge that I need to make the best of the hand the Universe has dealt me. It's something I must do in order to survive. It's my new marching order.

Of course, I can't complete the assignment without hope. This time, I'm unsure of the source of my hope. All I know is that hope exists. I hear it and see it. I feel it in my heart.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tuesday, 29 January 2008 - A practical wardrobe

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for a practical wardrobe.

Distrust any enterprise that requires new clothes.
~Henry David Thoreau, Walden

These days, I dress quite casually regardless of the occasion - jeans, knit tops, hand knit sweaters, fleece jackets and climbing gear. Practical clothing for my practical life.

When I prepare for a business meeting, however, my biggest worry is what to wear. When I left my last corporate position and decided to pursue a serious writing career, I donated my expensive work wardrobe to the charity shop. Gone are the days when I could dress in five minutes - pick a black skirt, a black jacket, a white top, black tights and black pumps and I was good to go.

In the transition, I lost my keen sense of style. I'm saddened by this realization. I still love the idea of having a fabulous designer-inspired wardrobe. I just don't need one anymore. I guess my fashionista days are over.

At least I know the importance of wearing clothes that fit. The size is irrelevant as long as the item fits with minor or no alterations. I guess that's why I'm sewing again. Few ready to wear brands fit me, and those that do boast expensive, designer labels. I'm also upset that manufacturers charge the same price for many items regardless of the size. My size 2P jeans require much less fabric than the size 16s, yet I must pay the same price. No thanks!

So, I'm perfecting my pattern fitting skills and creating clothing from my stash of eco-friendly fabrics. My latest project involves making a pair of perfectly fitting trouser style jeans. Wish me luck. It's a challenging project!

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Monday, January 28, 2008

Monday, 28 January 2008 - A season and reason to volunteer

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for a season and reason to volunteer.

The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me.
~Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

During this season of my career, I find that volunteer opportunities abound. Every nonprofit I approach can use my time and needs my expertise (what a switch from the corporate world that deems me too old, too experienced and too expensive). So, right now, as I begin to follow my 2008 plan, I have my pick of positions.

I've already narrowed my choices. First on my list is Barack Obama's presidential campaign. It's a short term experience with limited impact, but an important personal endeavor.

The second opportunity is with a group that promotes ecological stewardship through educational programs. I like the fact that the organization is local, small and getting ready to grow - much like the start-up companies I prefer to work for. Its mission aligns with my personal environmental activism. Plus, the executive director and staff are willing to teach me as much as I want to learn about grant writing, fundraising and the nonprofit world in general. I know I can be an impact player if I work for this group.

All of this because I have a specific goal in mind: to invest at least one year getting the experience required to lead a progressive nonprofit organization.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sunday, 27 January 2008 - A bouldering crash pad

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for a bouldering crash pad.

S and I are thrilled with the professional grade bouldering crash pad that we bought from friends who own the climbing gym. We picked it up on Friday and used it for the first time this afternoon. Although we're always careful when we fall or jump off the rocks, the crash pad greatly reduces our chances of injury.

We had an excellent bouldering session - nearly two strenuous hours on the rocks in Ute Valley Park. Not bad for a late January workout. I happily worked on several challenging problems - ones I've avoided in the past. I attempted difficult moves repeatedly and, when I missed, fell and landed safely.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Saturday, 26 January 2008 - "Magic" words

Dear God:

Today, I am grateful for a few "magic" words.

It didn't take long for Barack Obama to win my vote. He caught my attention with a few "magic" words - actually one sentence from his book, The Audacity of Hope. As soon as the Colorado Springs campaign office opened, I signed up as a volunteer and precinct captain.

It took S a little longer to join me. And, he wasn't directly persuaded by Senator Obama. This afternoon, at a Colorado Springs rally, Federico Pena, former Denver mayor, former Clinton Administration Cabinet member and one of Senator Obama's national campaign managers, said the "magic" words that S needed to hear.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Friday, January 25, 2008

Friday, 25 January 2008 - Extra doses of kindness

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for extra doses of kindness.

I don't know why, but people were very considerate and generous today.

I'm thinking about the librarian who, despite the long line at the check out counter, asked me how my novel was progressing and recommended a new Italian cookbook. I'm thinking about the butcher who suggested that I try the house brand chicken - all natural, no antibiotics or hormones, much cheaper than the name brand I usually buy. I'm also thinking about the cashier who pointed out that I had selected an inferior brand of tortillas (I replaced it with a better brand). He also gave me his "secret" family recipe for making authentic enchilada sauce. And, I'm thinking about the owner of the climbing gym who gave S and I every possible discount on today's user fee.

I mentioned these kind gestures to a neighbor. She thought that maybe my number had finally come up; that instead of giving, it was my turn to receive.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Thursday, 24 January 2008 - A compliment

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for a compliment.

I can live for two months on a good compliment. ~Mark Twain
Marge, you're as pretty as Princess Leia and as smart as Yoda. ~Homer Simpson

So, I just learned that today is National Compliment Day. I'm not sure where this designation came from. It's an unusual one, to be sure.

I admit that I struggle over compliments. My challenge is not giving them but accepting them graciously.

So, I practice this scenario over and over again: When someone compliments me for whatever reason, I simply say, "Thank you." It's not that hard.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Wednesday, 23 January 2008 - Heath Ledger

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for Heath Ledger (1979-2008).

Smart lad, to slip betimes away
From fields where glory does not stay,
And early though the laurel grows

It withers quicker than the rose.

~A. E. Housman (1896)

Whenever a young, talented person dies, I read A. E. Housman's poem, To An Athlete Dying Young. I first read the poem as a junior in high school. Housman tells of an athlete who dies at the peak of his greatness. In Housman's mind, the young man will live forever as a champion and hero. His youthful glory will never fade. He will never grow old or be forgotten like the rest of us.

Today, I read the poem because of Heath Ledger (1979-2008). A talented young man. An actor. A father. A mere 28 at his death. His resume already filled with impressive performances. An Oscar nominee for his role as Ennis Del Mar in Brokeback Mountain - I think he should have won.

I feel the void of another promising life cut short. I think about Housman's poem and message. I have to disagree with Mr. Housman. I think that the world wanted Mr. Ledger to live a long, full life. Yes, I'll always remember him for his accomplishments, but I wanted to see more. And, I'm sure that Mr. Ledger would not have disappointed me.

I also reflect upon my own life. Nearly 54 years long. For whatever reason, I am still here. But, I often feel that I have too little to show for my hard work, talents and dreams. Clearly, I have much work left to do and so little time.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Tuesday, 22 January 2008 - Signposts

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for signposts.

You can only go halfway into the darkest forest; then you are coming out the other side. ~Chinese proverb

Everyday, I travel further into the darkest forest. My journey is already several months long, and I crave light, joy and freedom. I pray that I will know for certain when I cross the halfway point and begin the long but welcome journey out of the forest.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Monday, January 21, 2008

Monday, 21 January 2008 - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for Martin Luther King, Jr.

This morning, T and I brave the cold and snow and tour the neighborhood and park. The snow blows in from the south. Big, fluffy flakes.

We complete our first loop around the park. As we begin our second lap, I notice that the snow has already filled in my footprints and T's paw prints. Lost in thought, I didn't realize the snowfall was that heavy.

I think about many things while T sniffs around the freshly flocked fir tree before pulling me towards the children's playground. The weather. My various writing projects. How M is "enjoying" his team's morning practice in the snow. And, of course, Martin Luther King, Jr.

In my minds eye, I hear Dr. King speaking, his voice conveying power and authority, his eloquent words expressing universal messages that speak to my heart.

The local PBS station celebrates Dr. King by broadcasting an excerpt from one of his speeches. Not the famous, "I have a dream" speech, however. Rather, a timely exhortation.

Whatever your life's work is, do it well. Even if it does not fall in the category of one of the so-called big professions, do it well. As one college president said, "A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better." If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, like Shakespeare wrote poetry, like Beethoven composed music; sweep streets so well that all the host of Heaven and earth will have to pause and say, "Here lived a great street sweeper, who swept his job well." As Douglas Mallock says:

If you can't be a pine on the top of the hill
Be a scrub in the valley--but be
The best little scrub by the side of the hill,
Be a bush if you can't be a tree.

If you can't be a highway just be a trail
If you can't be the sun be a star;
It isn't by size that you win or fail--
Be the best of whatever you are

~Martin Luther King, Jr.
3 December 1956, Montgomery, Alabama

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sunday, 20 January 2008 - One more year

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for one more year.

It's official. Just one more year until the end of the Bush/Cheney administration.

I join my progressive friends in counting down the days. No celebrations, yet, however. Despite our cautious relief, I know that it's going to be one very, very long year.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Saturday, January 19, 2008

Saturday, 19 January 2008 - A well-stocked freezer

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for well-stocked freezer.

S just invited M, our Air Force Academy cadet, to spend Sunday at our house and watch the AFC and NFC championship football games on our HDTV.

Although we haven't seen M since he returned to the Academy after Christmas break, we do know that he survived fall semester, his first at the Academy. We also know that his current schedule is even more grueling: six academic classes, military training and athletics (his sport's season begins in a few weeks so he'll also travel out of state for tournaments and league games).

S agrees to clean the house as long as I do the cooking. Fair enough. I'm a lousy housekeeper but an excellent cook.

As usual, I am unsure of the menu. M frequently complains about the Academy food - typical dorm food, nothing special for the athletes. So, when he visits, I want to be sure to feed him healthy and hearty home cooked meals.

After a careful search of the freezer, I find packages of beef and pork (baby back) ribs. Great! The menu comes together quickly: ribs (oven braised Sunday morning for 2-3 hours and basted with homemade BBQ sauce), Greek coleslaw (made with an olive oil and lemon juice dressing), cornbread (spiked with roasted jalapenos), apple crisp (topped with vanilla ice cream) and biscotti (studded with sliced almonds and dried cherries). The only store bought item is the vanilla ice cream.

Well, time's a wasting. Today, I need to bake the apple crisp and biscotti and thaw, prep, and marinate the ribs. T, sensing my excitement, anticipates a very good day for him in the kitchen as my "sous" chef. (Actually, we call him "Chef Underfoot" because he gets in my way when I work in our small kitchen).

So, our house is very busy right now. Cleaning. Cooking. We love M's visits. For us, it's always a great day when a young person spends time with us in our home.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Friday, January 18, 2008

Friday, 18 January 2008 - Bobby Fisher

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for Bobby Fisher.

'Tis all a chequer board of nights and days,
Where destiny with men for pieces plays;

Hither and thither, and mates, and slays.

~Edward Fitzgerald

If it hadn't been for Bobby Fisher, I don't think I would have learned to play chess when I did.

True to form, my parents never encouraged me to learn the game. One of my younger sisters, however, became an avid student of the game when Bobby Fisher's notoriety and genius was front page news in the United States.

She followed Bobby Fisher's exploits and studied his moves, often replicating situations on the chess board so she could understand his strategies. She cheered louder than anyone when he dethroned world chess champion, Boris Spassky, in 1972. Anyway, my younger sister taught me how to play chess. All because of Bobby Fisher.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Thursday, 17 January 2008 - Labrador retrievers

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for Labrador retrievers.

2007 Most Popular Dogs in the U.S.

1. Labrador retriever
2. Yorkshire terrier
3. German shepherd
4. Golden retriever
5. Beagle
6. Boxer
7. Dachshund
8. Poodle
9. Shih Tzu
10. Bulldog

T is elated that his breed repeats as the most popular in the United States. When I announced the good news, he immediately pranced around the family room with his favorite "Lambie Doodle" floppy toy in his mouth. I could almost hear him chant over and over again, "I'm number one!" From my human point of view, I agree. T, you are number one.

Now, despite his lover boy nature, T has negative points. He sheds 24x7x365 and his fur smells "fishy" when damp or wet. Although S and I don't mind his slobbery kisses, others not used to his affection do. T's extended puppy stage lasted well over five years. He also has an annoying obsession with people food. And, sadly, his life span will be too short - maybe 13 years at most.

T turned 11 in December so he is an old guy. I look into his big golden eyes and give him one more hug before returning to work. The three of us look forward to being a family for a few more years.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wednesday, 16 January 2008 - Personal chauffeur

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for a my personal chauffeur.

It's cold this morning. I mean really, really cold. Bitterly so. Life threateningly so. I shiver just thinking about the single digit thermometer reading. I cringe as each wild, take your breath away wind gust beats against the house, dropping the wind chill index into negative numbers.

The local weather station reports that the storm has not yet reached downtown. We live along the Rocky Mountain foothills in a northwest suburb where visiting winter winds and storms often arrive early and stay late. Lucky us.

Anyway, it's time to leave the house. I'm glad that S is home and willing to be my personal chauffeur today. I could drive myself to my speaking engagement venue south of downtown, but, given the weather, I would probably arrive a complete wreck. Of course, T comes along for the ride.

The moment I step outside, the arctic air literally sucks up my body heat. I sigh. It's going to be a tough day for anyone going anywhere outdoors.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tuesday, 15 January 2008 - Bold participation

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for bold participation.

Empower me

to be a bold participant,

rather than a timid saint in waiting,

in the difficult ordinariness of now ...

~Ted Loder

I know. I have stood on the sidelines too long during the current Presidential primary season. Not because of indecision about a candidate either. My inaction comes from lingering burnout from volunteering during the 2004 election and my intense guilt about volunteering when I should be doing paid work.

Yet, if I don't do anything to effect the change I want to see, then I have no right to complain about my party's eventual candidate. So, I am jumping into the fray with a new sense of urgency and purpose. Senator Obama needs my help. And, the February 5 Colorado primary is just around the corner.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Monday, January 14, 2008

Monday, 14 January 2008 - Practice time

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for practice time.

There are always three speeches, for every one you actually gave. The one you practiced, the one you gave, and the one you wish you gave.
~Dale Carnegie

I finally finished the presentation on journaling that I'm delivering to a women's networking group on Wednesday. I'm pleased with the content and my Powerpoint slides. I need to cover a lot of ground in 45 minutes, so I engaged the KISS principle and edited like crazy.

Now, I'm practicing my speech over and over again. By tomorrow night, I should be able to recite it in my sleep with zero errors.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sunday, 13 January 2008 - An untimely end to my NFL season

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for an untimely end to my NFL season.

Although the Super Bowl is a few weeks away, I'm officially ending my NFL season today. Why? Because the Indianapolis Colts lead by Peyton Manning lost this afternoon to the San Diego Chargers. Since the Oakland Raiders had another dismal season, I adopted the Colts as my "other" team. Now, no team in the final four warrants my attention.

I'll let S and T watch the remaining games. They're guys and football is their thing. I already spend too many hours in front of the TV as it is. My saving grace is that I knit, read magazines or do Sudoku puzzles while watching football games. The best thing about this season? Watching Bob Sanders, the Colt's defensive superstar, on HDTV.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Saturday, 12 January 2008 - A sunny afternoon, finally

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for a sunny afternoon, finally.

I think that I am getting too old for Colorado winters. This year's prolongued cold spell just wears me out and down. Despite wearing layers of clothing, I'm having trouble staying warm. So much for staying thin for rock climbing and bouldering.

This afternoon, I am delighted that the sun decides to visit our chilly neighborhood long enough to melt some the thick ice patches decorating our street. Downstairs, I stand for several minutes with my back facing the patio door, soaking up the solar heat emanating from the glass panels.

T sleeps quietly near my feet. I think he is dreaming about his next hike through Red Rock Canyon or Ute Valley Park. I bend down and gently pat his head. Sorry, T. It's still too cold for our favorite outdoor adventures. Looks like we'll have to climb indoors for a while.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Friday, 11 January 2008 - Sir Edmund Hillary

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for Sir Edmund Hillary, 1919-2008.

I am a lucky man. I have had a dream and it has come true, and that is not a thing that happens often to men.
It is not the mountains that we conquer, but ourselves.
~Sir Edmund Hillary

By reaching the summit of Mt. Everest in 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay inspired the dreams of explorers and mountain climbers around the world. Imagine that. Standing atop the highest peak on earth.

Although I never aspired to climb Everest, I think that S considered the possibility when we first moved to Colorado. Of course, we were much younger then and his circle of close friends included elite extreme athletes who often invited him to join their Colorado expeditions. I am glad that he accepted many of the invitations. I settled on climbing several 13,000 and 14,000 foot peaks in Colorado - enough of a challenge for this California girl. Then, life and work got in the way. As the years flew by, our mountaineering dreams faded, replaced by new outdoor adventures, experiences and priorities.

Sir Edmund was right. Each of us has our own Everest to climb. He made it to the top of his, an act that changed his life forever.

I am still ascending my Everest. And, like any seasoned mountaineer, I pray for perfect weather, a well-marked trail, at least one experienced climbing partner and a clear view of the summit.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Thursday, 10 January 2008 - Gardening dreams

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for gardening dreams.

From December to March,
there are for many of us three gardens -
the garden outdoors,
the garden of pots and bowls in the house,
and the garden of the mind's eye.
~Katherine S. White

I almost laugh out loud when the January gardening newsletter urges me to get a head start on this year's garden by buying seeds this month and starting seedlings indoors. I look outside and note that my gardens lie under a heavy blanket of ice and snow. The daytime high temperature rarely rises above freezing. The nights are bitterly cold. I dread my walks with T when the North wind visits.

Actually, I have five months to go before the gardening season officially begins in Colorado. I have plenty of time to plan this year's garden, buy seeds and start seedlings indoors.

A lot can happen in five months. Since S has expanded his job search to other states, I can't predict what opportunities and decisions lie ahead of us.

I do know this, however. No matter where we live, I will have a garden.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Wednesday, 09 January 2008 - One inspiring teacher

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for one inspiring teacher.

I "met" Rafe Esquith and the Hobart Shakespeareans for the first time in a 2006 PBS POV (Point of View) documentary. Since that initial meeting, I periodically borrow the video from the library and so I can watch their amazing story again.

In my heart of hearts, I wish Rafe Esquith had been one of my teachers. I think that he would have convinced me to major in English or Philosophy at UCLA and pursue a serious writing career straight out of college. I could have used the encouragement and validation since my parents never encouraged or praised my writing.

So, I watch Rafe work with his students. I smile at their exploits and applaud their accomplishments. Sadly, I find myself craving his encouraging and inpiring words. So, for just a moment, I pretend that his messages - especially the ones that acknowledge talent and individual worth - are addressed to me.

And, even though I am much older than his 9 year-old charges, I still try to internalize Rafe's simple, bottomline rules of life: Be nice. Work hard. There are no shortcuts.

Folr this blessing, I am grateful.


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Tuesday, 08 January 2008 - Sturdy snow shovel, strong back

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for one sturdy snow shovel and a strong back.

The bad news:
Each January, when S makes his annual pilgrimmage to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, snowy or icy weather visits the neighborhood. This year is no exception.

Yes, it snowed last night, quite heavily in fact. Yes, because of our home's location along the cul de sac, we got more snow than our neighbors. Yes, since S isn't home, I have to shovel the snow all by myself.

The solution:
It took three sessions to clear the snow - all completed under T's expert supervision.

During the first session, I shovelled a path from the garage to the mailbox along the south side of the driveway so I could set out the recycling bin and trash bag. I swept the front porch and steps. I also cleared a narrow path from the front porch to the end of the driveway so T and I could reach the street and proceed to the park for our morning walk.

During the second session, I shovelled the sidewalk in front of our house and Bill's house. I also widened the path from the front porch to the sidewalk. During the third session, I finished clearing the driveway. I also cleared a large 20' x 20' area of the cul de sac that sits in front of the driveway and mailbox - didn't want the mail delivery person to get stuck in front of our property like she did last year.

The good news:
I am finally finished with my task du jour. I am tired in a good way and won't have to workout this evening. Although I had a few near misses, I did not slip and fall on the ice. My front yard garden now lies beneath an extra thick blanket of fresh snow. I earned the right to eat a small piece of extra dark organic Belgian chocolate.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Monday, January 07, 2008

Monday, 07 January 2008 - List of important things to do

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for a list of important things to do. It's the familiar list that circulates on the Internet from time to time. Recently, a friend sent it to me. I read the list again, several times in fact. For whatever reason, its simplicity and practicality make more sense than ever. This year, it is one of the checklists that will guide my decisions and actions.

TODAY - Mend a quarrel. Search out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a love letter. Share some treasure. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in a word or deed.
TODAY - Keep a promise. Find the time. Forego a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Listen. Apologize if you were wrong. Try to understand. Flout envy. Examine your demand on others. Think first of someone else. Appreciate, be kind, be gentle. Laugh a little more.
TODAY - Deserve confidence. Take up arms against malice. Decry complacency. Express your gratitude. Worship your God. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak it again. Speak it still again. Speak it still once again.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Sunday, 06 January 2008 - A snowy surprise

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for an early morning snowy surprise.

The Snow Man by Wallace Stevens

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

When S awoke around 5 AM, the weather was clear and cold. Not a snowflake in sight. But, when he looked out at 6 AM, he discovered an inch or so of powder covering the neighborhood. Not such a good thing for S, who had to leave for the airport at 6:30 AM. Truly a delight for T and me, especially during our morning walk in the park.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Saturday, January 05, 2008

Saturday, 05 January 2008 - First climbing adventure

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for our first climbing adventure of 2008. Our goal of climbing outdoors at least once each month regardless of the season hasn't changed.

S, T and I last climbed outdoors a month ago when we spent the afternoon bouldering in Ute Valley Park. We spent New Year's Eve at a private party at the indoor climbing gym where we climbed, bouldered, ate but did not drink.

Today's adventure took us back to our beloved Red Rock Canyon. We almost aborted the trip, however, due to the blustery conditions. Luckily, we ran into fellow climber, Bruce, in the parking lot. He advised that we would be okay as long as we climbed on the west canyon wall.

So, despite the very windy conditions, S and I each made eight ascents on familiar routes on The Whale. I felt very fit and strong but a little out of practice. S climbed very well. T also had a good time, chewing on his favorite scrub oak branches and catching a few rays of winter sun.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Friday, January 04, 2008

Friday, 04 January 2008 - A vote for change

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for a vote for change.

Right now, I am watching rather than campaigning during the early Presidential primary season. I'm still burned out from the last election when I worked so hard to raise money and support for General Wesley Clark.

I'm waiting to see who rises to the top in the Democratic Party before I join the fray and work for positive change in our country's leadership. Privately, I support Barack Obama and John Edwards. And, to the chagrin of my feminist friends, I'm not very excited about Hillary Clinton's candidacy and won't support her in the primaries just because she's a woman.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Thursday, January 03, 2008

Thursday, 03 January 2007 - One fresh pineapple

*** Sorry for the late posting ... I'm having computer challenges.***

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for one fresh pineapple.

I rarely break my own rules when it comes to the food I buy. So, I must confess my latest trespass.

I am shopping in the produce section of a local grocery store. I am so weary of the cold weather and yearn for a bit of summer in my diet. I am tired of eating apples and the ripe, whole pineapple smells heavenly. I know that the pineapple is not locally or organically-grown or even in season in the United States. Consequently, the cost of getting it to the local Colorado market was probably exorbitant. After a few minutes of deliberation, I select a ripe one and buy it.

Yes, I am guilty as charged given my pledge to buy locally-grown organic produce. I promise not to succumb to temptation next time.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Wednesday, 02 January 2008 - Silence

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for silence.

True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment. ~William Penn

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass - grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence.... We need silence to be able to touch souls. ~Mother Teresa

Many days,
I prefer quiet hours -
No talking, no music, no radio, no TV, no audiobooks.
Just me, my thoughts and my imagination.
A lovely silence, really.
I slip into my cocoon for private, inner conversations:
Heart to soul to mind.
Call it what you like:
Day dreaming.
Yes, I sit here on Earth.
But, in my mind's eye,
I am two steps from

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Tuesday, 01 January 2008 - The new year

Dear God:

Today, I am grateful for the new year and its full slate of adventures and opportunities reserved for S, T and me.

We look with uncertainty
Beyond the old choices for
Clear-cut answers
To a softer, more permeable aliveness
Which is every moment
At the brink of death;
For something new is being born in us
If we but let it.
~Anne Hillman

For this blessing, I am grateful.