Tag Archives: gratitude

Look Up

There is a squirrel’s nest high in the tree. I see it now that leaves have begun to fall and am reminded of Miss Suzy, one of my favorite childhood books. A copy sits on a shelf in the living room, and I take it down to remember.

Miss Suzy was a little gray squirrel who lived all by herself in the tip. tip, top of a tall oak tree. She liked to cook, she liked to clean, and she liked to sing while she worked. . .

Miss Suzy by Miriam Young

I loved Miss Suzy’s cozy house and the way she sang as she baked and tidied up. I love the way she nested and how she cleaned and straightened the dollhouse in the attic when she was run out of her treetop home by a band of red squirrels. I love how she found the toy soldiers and took care of them like a mother and how she finally was able to tell them her story, inspiring them to take action on her behalf.

Late that night the captain woke his men and gave them their orders. There were only five of them, but they were very brave, and their hearts were full of love. After all, Miss Suzy had cared for them all winter.

Miss Suzy by Miriam Young

This look up at a squirrel’s nest took my heart to a young place. It found something in a dark corner of it that I had forgotten was there. Nurture.

November is traditionally a month to give thanks, a practice that would be wise to employ year-round. This month I hope to look up and around at the goodness that surrounds me, growing in gratitude and contentment for these beautiful gifts.

It is a bit of a bind that we live in, the marriage of goodness and grief. There is no one ideal situation, and many have been led astray and even harmed with the promise of such. If only. . .thens rarely pan out. What we have is a present mingling of both.

I want to believe that I live out of my ideal self always, yet, sadly I don’t. If I’m honest it’s less-than-ideal. Surrounded by much goodness I focus on the bad, the hard, the grief.

And there is a place for that. There is always a place for lament. For honesty. For things to be not okay. I am not talking about it could be worse or any category that begins with the words at least.

I am talking about where I find myself this season. I need to keep looking up.

For me that means continuing to write on the blog rather than focusing on all that I didn’t write.

With that focus, I plan to write a little each day about whatever comes. I trust that there will be moments of looking up in gratitude for where I am and hopefulness for where I am going.

Life is a beautifully messy journey, and I don’t want to miss mine.

Miss Suzy had to work hard to make her old home as neat and cozy as it had been before, but she didn’t mind. She made a new moss carpet and a new broom and gathered fresh acorns for cups and caught two fireflies for her lamps. At last she had everything in order.

That night, when she went to bed, she was very tired. But she looked through the branches and she could see a million stars. The wind blew gently and rocked the tree like a cradle. It was very peaceful, and Miss Suzy was happy once more.

Miss Suzy by Miriam Young, ending.

27 Years

It is not raining which is what makes the rainbow over the lake even more surprising. Calling to me while grilling lunch, my husband of 27 years and I share the moment. We laugh and take pictures.

It has been an anniversary weekend of surprises, both good and hard, and in these last hours I try to hold it in all that was good while remaining curious about what still feels hard.

Returning to reality is always challenging, but there is something in our story that makes it feel moreso. Our long-distance start and breakneck continuation hold clues to the longing to step out of the whirlwind.

I do not take this space away lightly. So much came together to bring us here. I almost thought it would not happen and held the idea and plan loosely.

Adult sons worked together to hold down the home front while the people still living there pulled together to keep things rolling. Grandparents and extended family filled the gaps. Christmas gifts of food, drink, and sweets were brought along to sustain us.

Friends generously offered a place to land, one of our favorites. We stayed in a different room of the house this year, changing things up. It had everything we needed to enjoy time together, our greatest need of all.

It is a gift to be married to someone who you just want to be with. While we both enjoy adventures, we also love slow days and sharing space and reading and cuddling on the couch with no agenda.

We like to take walks and eat snacks and one of us saves all of the paper bits to paste into a travel art journal. We found a musty antique store and walked through it laughing over memories but not buying any of them.

We stayed off of screens mostly. I posted some links to looks back at anniversaries of days gone by in Facebook and felt gratitude for where this one found us.

Twenty-seven years is not a traditional milestone anniversary. When looking it up, all eyes are on 30, the next big one. While it is good to look ahead, it is even better to be here now. Every year we say, I still do is a big one.

This year’s celebration was one to savor and revel in. While acknowledging that difficulties and disappointments may arise during our time away, we also felt the joy of hard work and honesty, and its resulting rest together.

Mere hours remain until our return to reality. There is clean up and packing and ending the time well. I smell breakfast cooking and realize that I have skipped yoga time to write, and I am okay with that.

There is deep gratitude for the goodness we shared here. There is joy of anticipating seeing the faces we love and beginning the first full week of the new year with them.