Beatitudes of my life

Being grateful for everything in my life…. no matter what…

Why I love Thanksgiving November 30, 2012

Filed under: Blessings,Cooking,Family,Holidays,Life Balance — beatitudesofmylife @ 12:01 pm
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I’ve said this before… my absolute favorite holiday is Thanksgiving.   Christmas is great… birthdays are fun (especially when you’re young)… Easter can be either a sugar-laden gorge-fest or a deeply meaningful time of renewal… but Thanksgiving beats them all, hands down, in my book. Thanksgiving2012

There’s something so incredible about a holiday that is simply focused on giving thanks.  There are no expectations of gifts… no other focus than on spending time with family and/or friends… just the plan to BE… and I just love it.  Having my family around me makes me happy… and being able to cook for them, without any distractions or interruptions, gives me more enjoyment than should be allowed by law.

In our family, we have the same meal every year…. it’s our tradition.  I make a  “12-hour turkey” (yes… it really DOES cook for 12 hours), sausage and apple stuffing (half of which goes into the bird), Mimi’s peas, Sweet Potato Casserole, Whipped Turnip Casserole, Homemade cloverleaf rolls, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and at least one version of pumpkin pie.

While we don’t have others around with us that day, the recipes I use bring them to mind each and every time I make them.  Mimi’s peas is a recipe from both my mom and step-mom… a twist on the traditional Green Bean casserole.  The Sweet Potato Casserole recipe came from my dear friend, Jacqui, in our first Navy squadron.  The Turnip casserole is from my mother-in-law and makes me smile each time I make it.  The roll recipe is one from my beloved Aunt Jody, who died when D was only 6 months old.  The Pumpkin pie recipe is also from my MIL – happens to be M’s favorite, so I make it every year so he continues to have ties to his own childhood.

As for that “12-hour turkey”?  I was given that recipe from a woman in MI named Dawna, who made a Thanksgiving dinner for our entire church family every year.  She lovingly shared her recipe with me for being able to cook enough turkeys to feed a hungry congregation and I have been using it ever since. She didn’t stuff her bird (and I’ve been warned every year not to stuff the bird) but I’ve been doing it this way since 1995 and tradition dictates that the bird is stuffed… AND we have a dish of baked stuffing on the side.  Can you ever have too much stuffing?

As you might guess, I now use a written timetable for when every item goes into the oven, what gets microwaved, when the oven temperature gets altered, and what must be made ahead of time to keep me from going insane, but I really do love it.  Knowing that I get to repeat this meal four weeks later for Christmas dinner, is simply icing on the cake for me… call me crazy, but I LOVE it!

Many on Facebook have been taking part in a daily affirmation of thanks for each day of the month… while I think that’s a great idea, I would love to have the time (or attention span) to take that a step further and do a year of daily notes of gratitude.  Can you imagine how much better the world would be if we could simply focus on our blessings in this life instead of complaining about what we don’t have or don’t like or don’t want?

Maybe it’s the “happy yellow lab” in me, but I would like to rearrange my thoughts for the coming year, by focusing on the positive aspects of my life instead of whining about the negative.  I know I have a hard time letting go of things (D’s former Coach M is a prime example… see previous post for that diatribe) but maybe if I can keep a simple journal of thankfulness or gratitude, I can have a better attitude toward life in general.   Even if all I write one night is that I’m grateful that my husband is at home with me… or that my son sent me a text saying “I miss your face”… isn’t that enough to make for a good day?  Are we all expecting too much out of each and every day?  Maybe we have to have those days where the best thing was a simple meal with family to appreciate the truly spectacular times in our lives, whatever they may be.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it makes me remember just how blessed I am and allows me the opportunity to be “mushy” about how grateful I am for those blessings.  Anyone else interested in taking a journey with me?  I’m planning to start on December 1st – just as everyone else finishes their month-long postings of gratitude – and write a line of gratitude each day.  I might not make it every single day, but that’s my plan for the coming year.  I’ll try and remember to check in from time to time… I’d love to see others join me.

Gratitude is a wonderful and powerful thing… I wonder what would happen if we could harness that power to make the world a better place?  Be grateful… and be thankful… and don’t forget to share that with others…

 

Everything has a lifespan August 26, 2012

Filed under: Lacrosse,Life Balance,Sports,Volunteering — beatitudesofmylife @ 5:16 pm
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Cue the words to the song by The Byrds, “Turn, Turn, Turn”.  See if you can tell where I’m going with these lyrics:

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

(Chorus)

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together

(Chorus)

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing

(Chorus)

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late

I’m about to make a big change in my life with regards to where I am going to volunteer my time, but it’s taken more soul searching than I expected…

Let me first say that I am not a fan of change.   I do enjoy a challenge but I also am very happy to work behind the scenes, year after year, expanding and enhancing my role within an organization until it fits “just right”.  Maintaining the “status quo” is fine with me… for awhile.

I ran into this situation first when E was playing youth association football.  He made the decision, in eighth grade, to play lacrosse instead of football.  While his move was totally fine with us, I was upset because I had enjoyed being the Team Mom for his age group and felt that I had already committed to continuing that position for one more year.  After a bit of discussion, I decided to honor the commitment that I had made to the team and, while E played lacrosse, I was the “Team Mom with no child on the team”.  I did skip out early on the occasional practice that was cutting into dinner time that fall, but for all intents and purposes, I was present for every scrimmage, game, and team event that fall.  I had a blast and enjoyed every moment of being on those sidelines… and my boys saw a mom who followed through on a commitment she had made to a group of kids, whether they were related to me or not.

Fast forward to this year… I had joined the Board of Directors of the lacrosse program for which E played until he graduated HS.  I then continued to work for that program, as Secretary, Scheduler and “Athletic Director” for another two years.  This past spring was the end of that sixth year and I have decided that the “lifespan” of my participation with this amazing program has run its course and come to an end.  As much as I hate to leave the safety of my direct association with the people who have created and built the Richmond Shock Lacrosse program, and subsequently the Central Virginia Lacrosse League (CVLL), I believe that there are others who need to take my place and influence the direction of these programs for their own children.

Once I made this decision, the next question was “what do I do now?”  I had built a professional network of coaches, schedulers, referees, and athletic directors that I was loathe to leave the lacrosse community completely… there had to be something I could do or somewhere I could use my unique skill set.  Enter the Richmond Chapter of US Lacrosse.

I had first encountered this organization when E was selected for their Boys’ All-Star game at the end of his senior year.  This was their inaugural game and by happenstance I was their event photographer.  I followed their program from the periphery, but didn’t think about becoming involved until I was asked to consider organizing a Coaches Clinic, which never quite came to fruition, but succeeded in whetting my appetite to become involved.

Involved how was the big question now.  As I contemplated stepping away from Shock, I looked at the landscape of lacrosse in our local area and found it sorely lacking.  In my humble opinion, it’s not lacking in kids… it’s not lacking in interest… it’s lacking in direction.  My new quest was slowly presenting itself to me… I could, somehow, become involved in expanding and helping to develop this amazing sport.  Now all I had to do was figure out how to get others to allow me to become involved.

I wrote a very persuasive letter to the Chapter to explain to them that they needed a Director of Sport Development and Marketing.  With M’s gracious help, we scoured the National US Lacrosse site looking for a precedent that I could use to explain my goal of becoming involved with the Richmond Chapter.  I explained how my history and my involvement would benefit the Chapter and was eventually voted onto the Board…yea, ME!

While it’s still a very new venture for me, I am tremendously excited to be working to expand lacrosse within the reaches of the Richmond Chapter.  My goal is to expand our presence on Facebook and Twitter, keep our website as up-to-date as possible (thank GOD for M), and find out how to go about increasing training, certifications, and qualification programs for anyone who’s interested in becoming involved with lacrosse.

There is a new world opening up to me and while one door is slowly closing, this new door is bursting open with possibilities and promise.  I know I’m looking at all of this through rose-colored glasses (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/through+rose-colored+glasses) but if I focus on all that can’t happen, I’ll never see the possibilities.

Besides… the world looks so much prettier this way.

 

 
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