Being Thankful….

I have watched a lot of my friends and family (remember, my family is not typically DNA related to me) post their messages of thanks. Many of them have had family over during this “holiday” — others have had wonderful times with their immediate family and friends that they have posted online. And I revel in their statements, smiling at each picture posted, and feeling the tugging at heart strings with other posts. Here, up near the Oklahoma border, its been a quiet time.

As the patter of cold rain pops on the roof and against any northern facing window, my iTunes churns out Duran Duran’s “Hold Back the Rain” as I type this. I have spent two days trying to work out audio files in putting the podcast together. I’m nearly finished – which equates mostly to me raising my fists to the sky and declaring my surrender. I watch my pool continuing to fill to nearly full-to-the-brim levels. And about the loudest statement of the entire day came from the cats when 6pm rolled around – their daily call for dinner.

But I am thankful. I am thankful for the quieter, far slower motion of life — something that I wanted in moving up here to sleepy-town Texas. Hopefully, my higher blood pressures will be alleviated from the change of pace. But still, I am thankful that my father had the foresight to save money in the way that he did. While I barely dipped into the money left to me, it certainly took a lot of the pressure of selling the house in Corinth. There’s not day that goes by that I don’t think about him – and miss calling him on the phone to check in on how things were going in Arkansas.

I am thankful for my Pagan family, as widely diverse, and so scattered that it is. Every time I get the chance to spend even five minutes with any of them – I am reminded how much unconditional love is there, as I managed to partake in with Chris Godwin down in Austin a few weeks ago. I spent ten hours driving that day to spend a little under two hours there. But I was treated like a family member by everyone I encountered there. Such wonderful people I have in my Pagan family. They certainly remind me daily that there is hope for humanity – despite what I manage to see when watching or reading the news.

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“The Flock”

I am thankful to my the God over my shoulder – Crow. I have learned show much from your example, as well as your teachings. I still remain your dedicated supplicant and dedicant. I am honored by your continued interest with me, and continue to honor you through tending of the flock.

I am thankful for my three furry girls, who come into daddy’s office from time to time to see what I am doing – or just to lay on the carpet while I play music. I cannot count the number of times I have turned to see my cats relaxed, laying on the floor while the Grateful Dead, Wendy Rule, Damh the Bard, or Bran Cerddorion are playing on iTunes. My little girls are everything to me…

I am thankful for my partner of the last 15-plus years. Pam has been with me through thick and thin…good times, and bad times. I rarely mention her, simply to keep my privacy — well, private. It was Pam that pushed me to getting my two degrees. It was Pam that encouraged me to teach in the college classroom. It was Pam that chose to understand when I quit my job in the face of being verbally and emotionally abused by an asshole of a boss. It was Pam that understood my need to keep my integrity in doing that, and stood by my decision during two years of unemployment because of it.

Lastly, if you are reading this, I am grateful for you – the people who read my blogs, and the people who listen to the podcasts. I never really understood the function that I have had as a podcaster and a blogger — at least not in the beginning. But I think I “get it” now — its to provide a little corner of the corners of the Pagan community – to showcase how “human” our collective community is, and to highlight how we are all connected together. I am truly thankful for those of you that I have had the privilege of interviewing, and those I have yet to interview (and you likely have no idea that you are in the target sights of my microphone…muhahaha). I am truly humbled by your interest in this blog, as a reader and commenter.

So, while you may not make a list of things to be thankful or you may not post it where others may see it…there’s plenty of people that help make you the person you are. I urge you to find those connections, strengthen them, grow them, find new ones…we are all on this wild ride together. We may as well hold hands and have a good laugh….

 

Finding Thanks….

Its Thanksgiving Day here in the United States. A “holiday” that has become more and more clouded with retail visions – rather than a point of giving thanks for what we have in our lives. I have plenty to give thanks for – a new job where my skill set is appreciated, and wanted. People that are unrelated to me that are true family. The freedom to be able to follow my own religious beliefs and convictions. And the freedom to follow any intellectual path I desire.

I have a lot of other things that I am grateful to have – but these are material possessions, and I find that I have far fewer things that I “need” to have – but am still thankful for their presence in my life. Technology – with which I would not be able to be in contact with many people I know, central air and heating, which make my life a little more comfortable in the winter and summer months, and a reliable vehicle with which I can travel.

See? Plenty of things there – including a handful of “nice to have” material possessions — and I have yet to set foot into a retail shop or head off on a spending binge for any other item. And its that part of materialism that has really gotten me to start watching the world around me – and shaking my head with a mixture of confusion, disgust, and a touch of despair. Add in a rather strong dose of “the whole world is against me because of (add your own descriptive here)” — and you get a part of today’s society that I just do not understand.

Perhaps its a matter of my time in the US Air Force, and the people I was stationed with. When the going got too tough, we stepped back, and found a less difficult way to get things finished. Sometimes, that meant breaking the rules. Sometimes, it meant exploring a path that lead to nowhere, and then coming back and starting over. Whatever the case may have been, we looked at such moments as obstacles to overcome, and the changing nature of the environment to achieve that success as a way to find creative solutions…sometimes so unorthodox, that it raised eyebrows from others. Whatever it needed to be, we found a way.

I have carried that into my life, along with an additional piece of advice I got from one of my supervisors:  “Fight the battles you have to fight. Step aside from the battles that won’t have any meaning in the future. Wisdom comes from figuring out which battles are worth the fight.” And that Wisdom has comes at a hefty price…where I chose the wrong battle. But over time, I have learned which battles will have more meaning to me than others.

For instance, when people rail about pro-football quarterback Michael Vick’s dog fighting past, I share their concerns over what his role was in all of that. But there are those that are super passionate about these kinds of things, and cannot forgive him for what he has done. They continually rail on his ability to earn a living as a pro-football quarterback, and denigrate his character whenever they get the chance to do so. I am not as passionate about the issue, and I believe in second-chances for anyone. So I don’t share in their desire to heap derision and anger upon Mr. Vick and/or his employer(s). I certainly give thanks that America is a society of second-chance opportunities – if it were not, I would be in a bad spot, considering all the wrong choices I made back in my twenties.

I know there are those who will not agree with me – and I am certainly “ok” with that. After all, I live in a country where individual expression and opinion are valued – so long as you are not harming someone else in that action.

I know that current events have some folks angry about one thing or another. In today’s uber-hyper-political environment – someone, somewhere is angry about one thing or another that has been or is being perceived as being done to them. My point is that you can set that angry to the side for just a few moments…and find something to give some positive thought to instead. I know I am doing that – or trying to do my best – each and every single day. And to be honest, its been something that has certainly made a difference in my outlook for the day.  Give it a try…see if you like it.  What’s it going to hurt??