Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Gratitude Challenge, Day Five

    Life is full of shadow moments and darkness beyond the mere change in time. The clouds that pass across the sun bring a chill to the air and sometimes to the soul. We must be vigilant against shrouding ourselves in drear and foreboding. Let us keep seeking the light while managing the inevitable ebbs and flows of all that life brings. The light is always there, if only in the twinkling of stars. When you see it, you'll feel it; when you feel it, remember to offer even just a brief second of thanksgiving.

    Day Five may be the "end" of this Five-Day Gratitude Challenge, but it is only the beginning of me remembering to find any slight reason every day to be grateful, even in those times when all seems lost.

              First, I'm thoroughly grateful for friends from long ago (can't say "old" friends anymore, in some cases, and speaking for myself as well, we've known each other so long it's redundant!). There are a few precious people, women and men, who have traveled this life with me for a very long time and have been always nearby even if we've lived across the country or across the ocean from one another. You know who you are! 
              Secondly, I'm very grateful for new friends in my life and those who are both new and from the past who I have found or who have found me again (thank you, Facebook!). 
              Thirdly, finally, but neither least nor last, I'm grateful for all in my life who have taught me to love and be loved and also for those who have made me crazy angry or merely upset for I have learned from you and everyone, in some ways better than others. 
               I may spare you my list from this point on, but I will continue to look for and make a list in my heart of what it means to believe in and share gratitude. Thank you, my Friend, for nominating me for this challenge, it has been a gift and it will keep on giving as I consciously engage in this exercise every day. I encourage everyone to take up this challenge and share in the light.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Gratitude Challenge, Day Four

    Day Four already of the 5 Day Gratitude Challenge; 
    seems like only yesterday was Day Three. 

           First, to say that I am grateful for the presence of CGL in my life is to make an immeasurably colossal understatement. Despite our short lifetime together, he opened my heart in ways no one ever had or ever could and that gift will never leave me. I have not the skills to articulate how profoundly blessed I am because he crossed the ocean nor how very much I miss him. Far from resting in peace, he has become part of the enormous driving energy of this and every universe. 
           Second, I'm continually grateful for Helen and Sam, Favorite Oldest and Favorite Youngest Stepdaughters, who, in not actually needing a stepmother, have always treated me lovingly and well as have their wonderful partners. 
          And Third, I'm eternally grateful for Clive and Kaye, and Auntie Bettie, and for the legacy of friends in and around St. T's who let me know in their various and sundry ways that there's still a light on for me. Mai Celi Bendithia a Cadw 'ch

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Gratitude Challenge, Day Three

            Before I even get to Day Three of the Five Day gratitude challenge, I am SO GRATEFUL for hopeful news that came today. I'll say no more other than to ask for continuing prayers for a good outcome for someone near and dear to me. 
            As to the regular everyday gratitude stuff - First I am grateful for Susan, my much younger Favorite Only Sibling (so much younger people still think she's my daughter for which she is grateful and I'm not always so!) - her love, resilience, and energy as the mother of 9 1/2 yr old triplet boys are a source of wonder, admiration, and appreciation as is her never-failing support of me. 
          Secondly, I'm grateful for 3 amazing spouses of my daughters and sister who love their wives and their children beyond what anyone could choose or hope for those they love. And they even cope with me, too, though probably with something other than gratitude at times; perhaps fortitude is a polite word choice there. 
         Thirdly, I am grateful for my extended family - cousins and their spouses at various blood extensions of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. from the Atlantic Coast to the Pacific - who have remained in close if not frequent relationship with me in the way of knowing that if I need them, they'll show up as I would for them. 

     Life, when difficult, is made a little sweeter by consciously looking 
    for those moments where the sun still shines through the clouds.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Gratitude Challenge, Day Two

For the Facebook Challenge I wrote: 
    Day Two of the 5 Day Gratitude Challenge. Today I am grateful for two glamorous divas and a tiny charmer in my life. 

           First for Erin, Favorite Oldest Granddaughter. Her almost 10 year old eyes sparkle with enthusiasm, curiosity, and fashionista declarations of what's in and not. She fills her text messages to me with a thousand hearts and x's and o's as a challenge for me to do more! 
           Second is Rebecca, Favorite Youngest Granddaughter who, at nearly 4, masquerades most days as Elsa, or Merida, or just Princess Rebecca wearing her best sparkly gowns, and who always wants to talk to Grammy when she's in trouble! Even though Grammy doesn't try and save her she knows I will always listen. 
          And Third, I'm grateful for Patrick, Favorite Only Grandson. Sweet faced and learning all about everything at nearly 6 months - full of beautiful smiles and is always wide-eyed and filled with giggles and squeaks when he hears my voice on Skype! Children bring the best of life alive!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Gratitude Challenge - Day 1

It's been much longer than I had expected it to be since writing in this space.  


                   I have another blog and that has kept me quite busy. That began when I was asked by the rector of my Episcopal parish to try writing the formal intercessory prayers used in the Sunday service for the first two Sundays of the season of Advent in 2013. Some of those and other prayers are posted on this blog in that December's and January writings. But when two weeks turned into 4 and it became clear that I was not stopping anytime soon, a friend opened a new blog shell for me to post them as I was reticent to do so on my own. I'm not particularly comfortable with self-promotion. But after serious goading and an open blog shell with something to put in it, I discovered, to my great surprise, that I not only enjoyed doing it, the prayers were being well received and even used by other churches in and out of the country. I also began to post the blog on my Facebook page and then beginning in Lent, I was writing additional meditations every day and have developed a small following. I have taken a bit of a break from the daily writing but continue to write the weekly prayers and a bit of commentary on the readings from that week's liturgy that inspire the prayers and post on the blog.  
                 SO what has that to do with anything related to gratitude? Well, that blog has kept me from doing anything in this space, which really has never had a particular focus. This spot has also been the brainchild of a good friend who has given me much encouragement to get more serious about writing. But given the self-promotion thing and the non-focus thing, I've not done appreciably much here. Perhaps I will figure out a direction for this blog one day but, in the meantime, I'd like to breathe a little air into it and keep it alive, if slightly comatose. To that end I have decided to post what I have written on my Facebook page for the 5 Day Gratitude Challenge.  Essentially, people nominate other people to write 3 things for which they are grateful each day for 5 days  I was nominated by a Facebook Friend and, voluntarily, accepted.  Here is my Day One, I hope you'll check in for the next 4 Days, too:
    Having been nominated by my friend, Linda, I will take up the 5 Day Gratitude Challenge to name 3 reasons each day for 5 days for which I am grateful. For Day One, First, I am grateful for Michael, beloved First-Born, who in his short life, taught me so much about how hearts can be so filled with love and still have room for more. Second, I am grateful for Kerry, who has grown into an accomplished, intelligent woman, whose beauty is reflected in her roles of great mom..., loving wife, well-respected colleague, and Favorite Oldest Daughter. Third, I am grateful for Shannon, Favorite Youngest Daughter, whose love of country determined her very successful career, whose maternal instincts and love for her children surprised her more than the rest of us, and her strength of character and ability to care for family and friends is a model for us all.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Are You There?

I've been so pre-occupied on the other blog that I haven't had time to work here!  I hope that you will check out - it's not as stuffy as it sounds, most of the time! I'll get back here sooner or later but meanwhile, hope to "see" you over "there."

Friday, March 14, 2014

It's been a busy time on the other blog...

...And while I have plans for things to say in this space, I have been busy in this season of Lent writing daily thoughts and meditations on  I hope you'll check in there from time to time.  I'll be back here after Easter - I still have things to say!  Thanks for being "here"!


Monday, January 20, 2014

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Prayers of the People

               As of the first Sunday in December of 2013, I have been writing and posting the liturgical Prayers of the People (PoTP) being used in several churches.  As this day, as I post, is the US federal commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday, I am including them here as well.  To see other PoTPs I have written, you can scroll back below this post and for those and other less formal, shorter everyday prayers and meditations please go to  And PLEASE, share with everyone you know!

Holiday for Holy Purpose?

          In this country we have converted many federally recognized commemorative dates into "Monday holidays" on which schools, federal, and state offices are closed. For example, we used to celebrate Abraham Lincoln's birthday on February 12th and George Washington's birthday on February 22nd. Memorial Day (originally Decoration Day to remember the dead of the Civil War by decorating their graves) was May 30th. Now they and others all fall on a Monday close to the original date - with the exception that Lincoln's and Washington's birthdays were combined for a single day known now as "Presidents' Day."

        When a holiday/date was selected, and Congressionally approved, to honor Dr. Martin Luther, King, Jr., his birthday of January 15 was so designated. It, too, has become a "Monday holiday" however, there has been a considerable amount of effort by his family, those who literally walked with him, and newer generations to make this more than a "day-off" from work and school but rather that it be a "Day On" of community service in Dr. King's name. But for many it's still a day off to play. The purpose is especially lost among those who despise his memory and what that must require of us as equal human beings.

         It is critical that we carry Dr. King's message forward to uphold people of all colors, creeds, national origin, sexual orientation, and for any reason that any one is targeted for oppression, brutality, bullying, and discrimination. We are all equal in the Eyes and Heart of God. And, as Dr. King said, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."  What service will you do in holy purpose for God's People?

For the Second Sunday after Epiphany and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 Let us, God's People, Pray:

Readings:  Is 49:1-7, 1 Cor 1:1-9, John 1:29-42, Ps 40:1-12, MLK “I Have A Dream”

Leader:  ~ O God of Compassion and Righteousness, You called us before we were born and named us in the womb. We have spent our strength for nothing and vanity.  We now must turn toward You and answer. Our cause is with the LORD,
Response: Our reward is with our God

~ O God of Compassion and Righteousness, You gave us a new song and often we sing it out of tune and use our own words.  Help us to learn Your words, love doing Your Will, and keep Your Law in our hearts. Our cause is with the LORD,

              Our reward is with our God

~ O God of Compassion and Righteousness, You have given us all the gifts we need to proclaim Christ’s glory to the world.  Your Servant Martin used his gifts to show the way to freedom for all of Your people - those who are still terribly oppressed and brutalized in our own day and even those who mistakenly believe that freedom is achieved through power and greed.  Help us to compel our governments to demand equality for all, to put an end to the evil acts of those who inflict intolerance, oppression, and terror to Your People.  Let us be Your light to the nations. We pray especially for:  add your own petitions.  Our cause is with the LORD,

              Our reward is with our God

~ O God of Compassion and Righteousness, let Your Holy Spirit descend upon and give hope to all who are sick, troubled, and weary of life, and also upon those who care for and about them.  We pray especially for:  add your own petitions.  Our cause is with the LORD,

              Our reward is with our God

~ O God of Compassion and Righteousness, lift those who are desolate from the loss of loved ones.  Fill their hearts with peace and comfort as they feel the Lamb of God in their midst and know those they love have indeed found the Messiah.  We pray especially for:  add your own petitions. Our cause is with the LORD,

              Our reward is with our God

~ O God of Compassion and Righteousness, inspire the leaders of Your Church to know, feel, and share the dream of Martin Luther King.   Exhort them to bring Christ among us, to walk with us to restore the dignity of every human being, and to seek and serve Christ in all.  Let us all work together to see to it that   “…the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together…” inside and outside of our temples of worship.    We pray especially for:  add your own petitions.  Our cause is with the LORD,

              Our reward is with our God

The Celebrant adds:  Almighty God, we see and hear again the example of Your Servant, Martin Luther King, Jr, in his powerful vision and compelling certainty that together we can all live in freedom from fear, oppression, intolerance and hatred.  You have called us to carry this vision, to stop our own thoughts and acts that disrespect and bring harm, and to make certain that Your People will know the peace and freedom of Your Salvation.  We ask Your grace to do Your Will through Jesus Christ, Our Lord, who with the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, today and always.  Amen.   

An Excerpt from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s I have a Dream speech
from August 28, 1963, Washington, D.C.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

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