The Only Appropriate Response Is Gratefulness

The Only Appropriate Response Is Gratefulness

Gratefulness

The Only Appropriate Response Is Gratefulness
The Only Appropriate Response Is Gratefulness Easter selfie

 

You think this is just another day in your life.
It’s not just another day.
It’s the one day that is given to you: today.
It’s given to you.
It’s a gift.
It’s the only gift that you have right now.
And the only appropriate response is gratefulness.
 
If you do nothing else, cultivate that response through the great gift that this unique day is.  
If you learn to respond as if it were the first day in your life and the very last day, then you will have spent this day very well…
 
Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you.
Then it will really be a good day.
 
~ Brother David Steindl-Rast

This poem came to me at just the right time from the lovely website, First Sip. I share it with you, with gratitude for all the blessings in my life, everything in this photo: my children, my husband, my family, my health, my home.

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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it won’t go on like this forever.

It Won’t Go On Like This Forever

I discovered this most timely poem on The Writer’s Almanac, a favorite site for all things literary.

Does it speak to you, too?

it won’t go on like this forever.
It won’t go on like this forever.

Forseeing
by Sharon Bryan

Middle age refers more
to landscape than to time:
it’s as if you’d reached

the top of a hill
and could see all the way
to the end of your life,

so you know without a doubt
that it has an end—
not that it will have,

but that it does have,
if only in outline—
so for the first time

you can see your life whole,
beginning and end not far
from where you stand,

the horizon in the distance—
the view makes you weep,
but it also has the beauty

of symmetry, like the earth
seen from space: you can’t help
but admire it from afar,

especially now, while it’s simple
to re-enter whenever you choose,
lying down in your life,

waking up to it
just as you always have—
except that the details resonate

by virtue of being contained,
as your own words
coming back to you

define the landscape,
remind you that it won’t go on
like this forever.

“Forseeing” by Sharon Bryan from Flying Blind. © Sarabande Books, 1996.

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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It’s A Different Kind of Christmas

I’m sitting cross legged on the couch, recently rearranged to directly face the six foot high Douglass fir that stands regally in our front window. at this hour of the morning the house is blissfully quiet, the only audible sound being the ticking of the kitchen clock and the occasional hum of the refrigerator to remind me that I’m not entirely stuck inside my mind.

On the low wooden coffee table sitting between me and the tree a candle flickers and casts a subtle shimmer of light against the funky mirrored cone shaped trees, the chess set a scramble of mislaid figures waits nearby for nimble fingers and cunning minds to bring it to life. The fireplace is cold beneath the twinkle of white lights and the four handmade stockings hanging in anticipation of tomorrow night.

retro SantaThe retro Santa collection graces the table to my right, a mish mash of a collection from grandparents savvy enough to keep Christmas collectibles from their younger days-they make me smile. To my left, the piano top holds ‘the white house’, so named by my husband’s grandmother, a handmade wooden structure complete with a removable chimney for Santa to hover over the top of as he gazes down on original 1940s-style miniature plastic versions of Christmas trees.

In other words, as I sit here in the silence, sipping my coffee with cream and wondering how in the world Christmas Eve can be tomorrow, my house looks festive. Except for one thing: the undecorated tree.

Yes, the hundreds of white lights warmly twinkle on its branches, casting a festive glow out the window to passers by. I even managed to plug in the electric Santa on the front porch in my festive attempt at making everything seem normal this year. But the truth is, it’s a different kind of Christmas around here this year, and frankly, it’s been hard.

In other years, Christmas carries the wave of anticipation and excitement common with most families of young children. Shortly after Thanksgiving we trek to pick out the perfect tree, make an evening of decorating in front of the fire complete with Christmas carols and exclamations of surprise and delight as each little ornament is removed from the box and hung with great contemplation, and sometimes a bit of bickering. Ah, the sounds of Christmas.

And in other years, we even had two trees, so over-the-top did our love for the season go. We simply wanted to have Christmas in every room of our home, hoping to prolong the season the best we could. My early December birthday was always a measure of the countdown; advent calendars would be in full force, lights would be twinkling from both stories of our house, and our son’s mile long Christmas list/letter to Santa would be taped to the fireplace.

But not this year. It’s a different kind of Christmas around here right now.

I’ve been wondering if this is what it will be like when we’re empty-nesters; that hesitancy to take Christmas full tilt when it’s just the two of us with no kids around. I wonder if this is some sort of inspiration for Elvis’s ‘Blue Christmas’ that I purposely have avoided hearing this year. I wonder if this is what so many people experience during the holiday season when they’re remembering Christmases long gone, children grown and on their own, creating their new memories in new places with new people. I just never figured it would be happening this year.

And every time I’ve walked through the door this month, I’ve plugged in the lights and sighed. I just can’t do it. The boxes of ornaments are still stacked in the dining room, unopened. And it’s December 23. This has never happened before. And I can’t blame it on holiday business, too many parties or anything else-except for one thing.

On Saturday night, after I had picked him up from his dorm, brought him back to the cabin, fed him until his belly cried for mercy and my eyes drooped from fatigue, he curled up on the couch and asked me for some paper. For the next hour, he quietly wrote, erased and drew while I prepared for the next morning’s early ski race departure. I noticed him tuck his paper in his backpack, and asked what he had been doing.

“Writing my Christmas list, ” he replied, his fourteen-year-old face tipped up to smile at me.

“Can I take a look?” I asked, knowing that there was no time left for shopping, and hoping that at least I had gotten that part right this year.

“Nope,” he smiled back, zipping up his backpack. “I just can’t wait for Christmas.”

“Really?” I mused. I secretly hoped that the decorations at home would be enough, and wishing I had at least wrapped a few presents to stick under the tree.

“Yeah, I can’t wait. I love sitting by the fire, you and Grandma drinking your coffee, Lily grumpy that I woke her up too early, and finding my stocking. And Dad-yeah, he’s just sitting there, but it’s great having everyone home.”

And then it hit me. I felt an unexplained release of bottled up anxiety, fear, sadness, and worry shiver down my neck, and suddenly I felt better. He was right. It is great having everyone home. It will be great to have everyone home, even for a few days.

This year, it’s a different kind of Christmas. But it will be just fine. Perhaps, even festive.

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Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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Mirror, Mirror

Brown eye
Brown eye (Photo credit: Mommyof4Ruggies)

“I think your whole life shows in your face, and you should be proud of that.”

– Lauren Bacall

I’m not sure I recognize her as I should, that face starting back at me in the mirror. I look away, and then back, fascinated at what reflects back.

 A single grey hair erupts from the crown; sparkly against the darkness, it shines in glory and a sort of unexpected grandeur.

  You’ve earned this, it whispers.

Looking closely, another strand peeks out from the temple, as if playing a game of hide and seek.

Deep brown eyes stare back at me, protected by long, black lashes. I tilt my chin up just a bit, and they play along, more accustomed to looking down,

 but willing to give it a chance.

I remember, don’t you? they cry back.

I flick on the the light and lean in a bit closer.

A crescent shaped line forms around my mouth. Where did that come from?

Has my life been this full of laughter? Or has every smile just etched this deep, unknown to me?

You’ve earned this, it smiles back.

 These battle scars, these trophies of my growth, bear witness to a life well lived,

to an adventure of risks and rewards, to love and lasting memories.

This life does show on my face, and yes, I’m proud of that.

 

Writing reflections inspired by december prompt-a-day with writealm.com.

Join us by sharing your posts on Facebook, on Twitter or Instagram

 using the hashtag #writealm.

 

 

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Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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