Me in the Middle of Being Grateful 2019

November Grid

A Dozen Gratitudes for 2019

(This Dozen Gratitudes List was originally written for 2017. It still remains a very meaningful list for 2019. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! )

  1.  For the cup of hot coffee I’m holding in hand while I ponder about this year and how quickly it’s flown by.  Grateful for still being here!

  2. For the ability to distance myself from the noise and drama of this year’s political events.

  3. For the hope that still swells up in my heart with a belief in the goodness and kindness of most people.

  4. For a safe dwelling and a supportive community that recognizes the needs of those of us who are aging.  I’m grateful to those who have filled a need for me this past year. 

  5. For my ‘young-at-heart’ mind that continues to love being creative in my retirement years.  Here’s to more watercolor sketching and creative writing.

  6. For our ‘genius’ system of government which continues to weather through all sorts of abuses yet, hopefully, continues to survive and thrive.  “The presidency is bigger than one man.” ~ President G. W Bush

  7. For the knowledge that my life on this earth is drawing to a close and I’m leaving behind five children, and their families, who strive to make this a better world.

  8. For a stronger sense of resilience and knowledge that I have it within me to face anything that comes my way with strength and grace.  No one is going to rescue me.

  9. For lessons learned this past year about myself, about where some people deserve to be in my life and setting healthy boundaries.     

  10. For the present moment because it is truly a precious gift.  Be aware!  Know what works for you in keeping you grounded and seeking the middle ground.

  11. For the higher power, whatever each person sees that to be, that holds me in unconditional Love through it all.  “You’ve always had the power, my dear.” ~ Glinda (Wizard of Oz)

  12. For the courage I’ve found this year to hold on to my convictions and faith within a very complex culture and society.  Trust your intuition.  You’re the best friend you’ll ever have.

Watercolor sketch © Mary Lou

Me in the Middle ~ Self-Love

“The greatest gift a woman can give to herself and her family is her own independence.”

  This quote came from the book ~ The Shell Seekers ~ A novel  by Rosamunde Pilcher about a woman and her evolving relationship with her grown children ……… and adjusting to the cycles of life.

I did a self-portrait sketch of myself (kind of, sort of 😀 ) describing the different qualities I saw in myself and using the above quote as a guide.

#AJWchallenge Jan Day 19 #2

When I was growing up in the 40’s and 50’s, self-love was considered a negative thing.  Being kind to myself was something I’ve learned to do over the years.  I have been told I am too rough on myself.  This sense of unworthiness began at a young age when we were taught to think up all the ‘bad’ things we did when we went to confession every Saturday so that we could be worthy enough to receive communion on Sunday.  The best I could come up with at 7 years old was something like ‘I answered back my mother’, ‘I ate a piece of chocolate during lent’ ‘I got angry with my brothers for teasing me’….etc.   Sometimes we’d make up something!   Love of God/Love of Neighbor and self-sacrifice were all tied up into one ball of yarn and somehow self-love was left out….. or so we thought.  When I attempted to put myself first …… to say I mattered too …… it was thought to be selfish and unkind.  Now I realize that being selfless vs being selfish are more about balance.  That I am worthy and I do matter.  It’s helped me to set healthy boundaries in my life when others pressure me to be and do what I’m not comfortable with.  ‘Love your neighbor as yourself”.    It’s helped me to trust my intuition and my heart going forward even though I sometimes wrestle with ‘Catholic Guilt’.  😀

Shame is the most powerful, master emotion. It’s the fear that we’re not good enough. “

~ Brené Brown ~

It’s Enough!  It’s Plenty!”

Dear Human

Some of us have too little self worth and are too selfless. Some of us have too much narcissism and take advantage of the kindness of those who are too nice.  Seek the middle ground.

Be there for others

Me in the Middle of the Undertow

Three photos that I’d found in a big box full of old family photos sparked a memory long forgotten.  They were found while my siblings and I were cleaning out the attic after both of our parents had died.  I wanted to try to write about that memory in third person voice.  I gave my four-year-old self the name Nora.

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              Undertow       

The surf pounded with a roaring intensity and the huge waves rolled in one after another. 

They all stood together, four-year-old Nora, her father and her two older brothers.  Standing there, with the water waist high, she could feel the sand travel through her toes as it ebbed and flowed with the undertow.  Her brothers were leaping over each wave and fearlessly plunging into the larger ones that rolled towards them.  They were having fun … and she was frightened!  She struggled to maintain her balance and held tightly to her father’s hand

I want to go back to the beach!”  she yelled over the roaring surf.

No! Stay here!” he shouted back.  “You’ll be fine!”  

Nora hesitantly pulled her hand out of his and let go.  As she started heading back to the beach where her mother was, she heard her father call to her.  “Go ahead then!  You’ll have to make it back on your own.”

The waves and the undercurrent were stronger than she anticipated and she found herself being knocked off balance.  It was too late to turn back and she was determined to get back to the safety of the beach.

Suddenly she plunged into a deep hole that had been created by the undertow.  Instantly, she lost her footing and couldn’t find the ocean floor to stand back up again.  She thrashed about, feeling a sense of panic.  It was hard for her to tell where the top of the water was.  When she opened her eyes all that she could see was the murky salt water and the long pieces of her hair floating around her.  It seemed like she floated there for a while and she didn’t fight it.  A strange sense of calm came over her.

Then, in an instant, she was scooped out of the water by strong arms.  It was her father and he took her by the hand to lead her over to the blanket on the beach.  He seemed upset with her as she gasped and cried.  

Shaking and shivering as her mother put a towel around her, Nora was relieved that she was safe again.  Once she had dried her off, her mother gave her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and lead her over to a towel that was laid out on the sand.  There she sat eating and thinking about what had just happened to her in the ocean.  

As she gazed out at the vastness of the sea and the power that she had just experienced, Nora felt the warmth of the sun and listened to the sounds of the people enjoying the ocean.   Little did she understand that the ocean had taught her an important lesson that day.

Today, Nora has come to love the ocean and is humbled by the power and force behind it.  The ocean taught her about the ebb and flow of life and finding her balance in the middle ground.

Me in the Middle of Lessons Learned ~ Letter M

My Life Is My Masterpiece ~ Lessons Learned

My theme ~ Lessons Learned.  I’ll be posting a word that begins with each letter of the alphabet that fits my theme.   This blog/website has become one way to share about myself to my children, my grandchildren and my extended family who are scattered all over the country and the world.  Hopefully, anyone who reads this will be in some way blessed by my throwing my words out onto the World Wide Web and into the Universe.  

 My About Page gives me the focus so that, as I age, I don’t forget what I worked so hard to learn.  It’s going to be fun and challenging!   I hope you’ll stick with me as I strive to meet my goal!!

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DSCN3251

“Life is a series of highs and lows.
Be grateful for the highs.
Be graceful in the lows.
Enjoy life fully and find contentment in your Middle Ground”

Val Boyko

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I’ve consistently found myself gravitating to the middle ground when faced with a dilemma and making difficult decisions.  As long as I can remember, my inclination is to step back and observe before jumping on the band wagon.  Sometimes I’d envy those ‘take charge’ people who could step up at those times of drama and ‘just do it’ when it was necessary.  I still admire them.  For me though, I operate better through finding my middle ground.  I have a need to see the process before I can find my place in the highs and lows of life.

One of the first Blogs that I started following when I signed up with WordPress was Find Your Middle Ground.  It was so great to connect with other bloggers who were also following their intuition on this.  

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Middle Ground

Middle Ground Theory  ~ Pendulums and Waves of Life  ~ Find Your Middle Ground ~

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022 - John, Me and Rich

My brother, J ~ Me in the Middle ~ My brother, R

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When I was a young mother raising my children, it was easy to get overwhelmed by all the events that were going on in our country and our world during the Sixties and Seventies.  It’s very similar today with so much upheaval, division and human struggle.  During that time I was at home with my children and very much hoped that I was raising people who would be part of the solution.  I remember being spiritually carried away by the music of John Denver.  I think my children must have absorbed some of his messages for a better world because they literally grew up with the sounds of hope and promise.  John’s songs never failed to bring me the Center and my Middle Ground.

“Then I look in the Center ~ Suddenly everything is clear ~ I find myself in the sunshine and my dreams.” John Denver

 

 

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* Note:  My letter sketches were made from ideas I found on Google Images. *

****  This Alphabet Series is a recycle of the posts I created while participating in the A to Z Challenge in 2016 ***

Me in the Middle of Being Grateful 2017

November Grid

A Dozen Gratitudes for 2017

  1.  For the cup of hot coffee I’m holding in hand while I ponder about this year and how quickly it’s flown by.  Grateful for still being here!

  2. For the ability to distance myself from the noise and drama of this year’s political events.

  3. For the hope that still swells up in my heart with a belief in the goodness and kindness of most people.

  4. For a safe dwelling and a supportive community that recognizes the needs of those of us who are aging.  I’m grateful to those who have filled a need for me this past year. 

  5. For my ‘young-at-heart’ mind that continues to love being creative in my retirement years.  Here’s to more watercolor sketching and creative writing.

  6. For our ‘genius’ system of government which continues to weather through all sorts of abuses yet, hopefully, continues to survive and thrive.  “The presidency is bigger than one man.” ~ President G. W Bush

  7. For the knowledge that my life on this earth is drawing to a close and I’m leaving behind five children, and their families, who strive to make this a better world.

  8. For a stronger sense of resilience and knowledge that I have it within me to face anything that comes my way with strength and grace.  No one is going to rescue me.

  9. For lessons learned this past year about myself, about where some people deserve to be in my life and setting healthy boundaries.     

  10. For the present moment because it is truly a precious gift.  Be aware!  Know what works for you in keeping you grounded and seeking the middle ground.

  11. For the higher power, whatever each person sees that to be, that holds me in unconditional Love through it all.  “You’ve always had the power, my dear.” ~ Glinda (Wizard of Oz)

  12. For the courage I’ve found this year to hold on to my convictions and faith within a very complex culture and society.  Trust your intuition.  You’re the best friend you’ll ever have.

Watercolor sketch © Mary Lou