Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday, 23 January 2009 - Kind words, compliments

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for kind words and compliments.

One kind word can warm three winter months. ~Japanese proverb

I can live for two months on a good compliment. ~Mark Twain

The business slowdown means that my team takes Thursday off. This morning, as we began another workday, I learned that Wednesday was both a hiring and firing day. Given the extremely tight job market, I feel sad for those who are gone and thankful that I'm still working.

Kind words: I'm surprised when employees on other teams congratulate me on my hiring. At work, I'm congenial but task-oriented. I tend to keep to myself, guarding my privacy.

Compliment: One person told me that the fact that the company hired me restored his faith in the hiring process.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wednesday, 21 January 2009 - Work

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for work.

To labor is to pray. ~Motto of the Benedictines

Things are looking up.

This afternoon, my work life shifted direction. After signing a single document, my status changed from seasonal to regular, benefit-eligible employee.

Now, my job is not a highly paid, responsibility-rich management position like the ones listed on my resume. But, that's okay. I'm still exploring the meaning of work. What better place to continue my exploration than near the bottom of the corporate food chain? From here, I have no place to move but up.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tuesday, 20 January 2009 - President Barack Obama

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for President Barack Obama.

The wonder is that, as we walk it, the path becomes clear. We have only to trust it into action, then truth reveals itself, shining all the brighter for the darkness of our time.
~Joanna Macy

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. ~President Barack Obama, inauguration speech, 20 January 2009

... let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.
~President Barack Obama, inauguration speech, 20 January 2009

Inauguration Day 2009.

I never thought today would arrive. But, here it is, in all its glory.

In Colorado Springs, we're enjoying an extraordinarily beautiful winter day. The bluest skies, springlike temperatures hovering in the low 60s, the slightest breeze. Too bad I have to go to work.

Fortunately, someone brought in a television. I see that the inauguration festivities are well under way.

Just after 10 AM MST, I pause at the television and watch Barack Obama take the oath of office. His voice is clear and steady. And confident, strong.

He finishes, to the utter delight of the massive crowd gathered in the National Mall. I turn to a colleague and give her the thumbs-up sign. She smiles and returns the sign.

It's time to celebrate - really celebrate - this historic event. Finally. We worked so hard to make it this far.

But, the inauguration is just the starting point of another journey. Tomorrow, our work rebuilding America begins anew.

And, yes. I am still fired up ... ready to go!

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Monday, 19 January 2009 - Encouraging and inspiring words

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for encouraging and inspiring words from Martin Luther King, Jr.

On October 26, 1967, six months before his assassination, Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke to students at Barratt Junior High School in Philadelphia. The topic: developing a blueprint for one's life. Here is my favorite excerpt from his remarks:
And when you discover what you will be in your life, set out to do it as if God Almighty called you at this particular moment in history to do it. Don't just set out to do a good job. Set out to do such a good job that the living, the dead or the unborn couldn't do it any better.

If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures. Sweep streets like Beethoven composed music. Sweep streets like Leontyne Price sings before the Metropolitan Opera. Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.

If you can't be a pine at the top of the hill, be a shrub in the valley. Be be the best little shrub on 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 a sun, be a star. For it isn't by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are
For this blessing, I am grateful.


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Saturday, 10 January 2009 - Knitting goals

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for knitting goals.

In 2008, I didn't knit anything worth mentioning, not even a chic scarf. I'm rather embarrassed by this result given my love of hand-knit garments and accessories.

This year, I plan to do better. I write this as I inventory my large yarn stash and put dozens of great patterns in queue.

So, here are my knitting goals:

~ to learn how to knit short rows (I found a ballet slipper pattern that uses short rows) and complex cables (I have a trendy sweater pattern with an interesting cable pattern)
~ to improve my garment finishing and assembly techniques (I really need help setting in sleeves)
~ to shop my stash before buying new yarn or patterns
~ to make at least one great looking winter sweater

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Friday, January 09, 2009

Friday, 09 January 2009 - Caution

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for caution.

Better a thousand times careful than once dead. ~Proverb

The winter storm appeared from out of nowhere. Early morning was mild, clear and bright. With each passing hour, however, the temperature fell a few more degrees, the skies darkened one more shade of gray. Then, with one mighty blast of northerly wind, in came the blizzard.

After work, I rush to my car as wet snow pummels the area. I still have two errands to run before going home: trips to the bank and post office. The wind is so strong, the snow flies by in a horizontal path. As usual, I err on the side of caution, and go the speed limit. I don't care if others speed by me. I just want to get home safely.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Thursday, January 08, 2009

Thursday, 08 January 2009 - Protection

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for protection.

For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.

In their hands they shall bear you up,

Lest you dash your foot against a stone.

Psalm 91: 11-12 (NKJV)

I am a Psalm 91 fan, reciting it daily as a prayer for me, S, T, my family, neighbors, friends, colleagues, acquaintances - anyone whose life I've touched. These days, uncertainty reigns and I can't take my personal well-being for granted.

Prayer helps, especially since life is taking so many of us on unpredictable roller coaster rides. I'm not scared, just extra careful and hopeful.

Daily, I ask for an extra layer of protection, just in case I fall awkwardly while climbing or stumble unexpectedly while trying to make a living.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Wednesday, 07 January 2009 - A clear head

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for a clear head.

My bout with the common cold, my first this century, is finally over. What a relief to breathe easily, lose that annoying, hacking cough and sleep soundly at night. I very rarely use OTC or prescription medications, preferring natural or homeopathic remedies. This time, however, I had to take a few to get me through work.

I'm well now - feeling 100% of my old self - and determined to stay healthy the rest of the year.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Tuesday, 06 January 2009 - Favor

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for favor.

I pray daily for favor in all areas of my life. My fortunes often improve in tiny but significant ways. These days, I appreciate all the help that comes my way.

Case in point. My current job is a seasonal one so I expect to be let go any day now. I don't earn a high wage, but I enjoy the work and like my managers and colleagues. On several occasions, I've been granted small doses of favor.

For example, on New Year's Eve, I was the only seasonal employee asked to stay and work after lunch. This afternoon, four more seasonal employees on my team were terminated. Only three of us remain.

Yes, I shall live to work another day.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Monday, January 05, 2009

Monday, 05 January 2009 - A winter gift

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for a winter gift.

'Tis not the season
the leaf whose
fragile body’s broken veins
disintegrate in
gusts of winds while
winter blows a frosty coat that
caps the barren land.
~Lucille Younger

I didn't ask for more wintry weather, preferring mild, dry days that invite rock climbing adventures. Mother Nature, however, sent me a generous helping of winter. She thought it a gift - the swirling, drifting snow; the bitter cold North wind; the frosty air; the single digit temperature.

I deemed it punishment. That is, until my trip home from work.

After turning left into the neighborhood, I observed several middle school boys having a ball playing in their well-constructed snow fort (I smiled and waved - to my surprise, they smiled and waved back). Then, further up the street, I spied a petite snowman with a bright orange plastic jack-o-lantern head (very, very funny).

Now I get it. No snow means no snow fort, no snowman.

To every thing, there is a season
And a time to every purpose under heaven ...

Ecclesiastes 3

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Sunday, January 04, 2009

Sunday, 04 January 2009 - A snowy Sunday

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for a snowy Sunday.


Nearly a foot of pure white powder sits quietly on the landscape with more falling every second.

It's been a while since I've experienced so much snow at home. I'm awed and filled with wonder. When I went to bed last night, a mere dusting decorated the yard.

I think of Robert Frost's famous poem ...

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.

T, thrilled to play with his snow buddies, escapes the house and dives joyfully into the icy froth. He dances and prances in the powder, showing off his best Labrador retriever snow moves.

Then, reality sets in. I begin thinking about the snow's inconvenience. In particular, the work required to clear the driveway and sidewalks later today. I also anticipate the drive to work early tomorrow morning. After all these years living in Colorado, I still hate driving on icy and snow-packed roads. I guess I will always be a Southern California girl.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Saturday, January 03, 2009

Saturday, 03 January 2009 - NFL play-offs

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for the NFL play-offs - finally!

Since my all-time favorite team, the Oakland Raiders, did not make the NFL playoffs - again - I'm supporting the Indianapolis Colts - again. So, if Peyton Manning and team don't win today, the NFL season is over for me.

Now, that doesn't mean I won't follow the other play-off games or the Super Bowl. S and T will most definitely watch the games regardless of the teams (S watches football for football's sake). It does mean, however, that I will do so without my signature passion and love-hate picks (as in, I hate the Denver Broncos and I love the Colts).

So, here's to the NFL and the guts and glory of football.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Friday, January 02, 2009

Friday, 02 January 2009 - Clean toys

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for clean toys.

A new year's ritual.
Giving T's toys a bath.
Not his choice, of course.
T prefers that his treasures carry a certain Labrador retriever scent.
I'm the picky one. I'm the Mom, after all.

T's toys form one large pile on the carpet. Here's a quick inventory:

1 - large Lambie-doodle
1 - small Lambie-doodle
1 - Snoopy toy
1 - rope with Christmas colors
2 - chickens
1 - pheasant
1 - duck
1 - canvas football
1 - furry football
1 - loopy furry toy
1 - fur covered tennis ball with squirrel-like tail
1 - gorilla (one oversized tennis ball covered in black fur)

I think that's about it for this load. I also add T's padded fleece bed and favorite blanket.

About 90 minutes later, I remove the toys from the dryer and present them to T. He's not happy, warily sniffing the clean items, giving me his "what have you done to my things" look.

By the end of the day, things will be back to normal. T will have reclaimed his toys and forgiven me for my dastardly mother deed.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Thursday, January 01, 2009

Thursday, 01 January 2009 - A new year

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for a new year.


A good year for everyone, I hope.

At least, let it be a fortunate one.

For each adventure, an easier, routine day.
For each difficult climb, a higher step up and longer reach.
For each challenge, a respite.
For each lost opportunity, a new dream.
For each cloudy day, a sun drenched morning.
For each impossibility, a miracle.

Yes I can.

For this blessing, I am truly grateful.