A Blog About Gratitude

I spent Thanksgiving week sick, in bed with bronchitis which has now developed into pneumonia.  This experience has taught me so much….and continues to. 

My first lesson was about time.  I am very conscientious of my time.  I have always viewed it as my time…like I control it, decide how I will use it and who I will spend it with.  I value my time.  Prior to becoming ill I was excited about my plans for the days I had off.  The first day of my sickness I was in bed all day.  Still, pretending I was in control, I decided one day was acceptable to “lose” because I had one to “spare”.  Six days later…I was frustrated because I could not accomplish any of the things I wanted to.  I began to recognize that time was a gift.  I do not have any control over it and I do not always get to choose how it is spent.  I have a new respect for time and have been humbled by the fact that some times, microscopic bacteria get to decide how my time will be spent.

My second lesson…trust myself.  When I was little, I recall my mother driving me to our family doctor and saying…you better have an ear infection.  I panicked because at that moment, my ear didn’t seem to ache anymore.  I began to question whether or not I was sick.  I have continued questioning myself through adulthood…am I really sick?  Am I exaggerating my symptoms?  Am I answering the doctor’s questions accurately?  I woke up with what felt like a dull ache in my left lung.  I called my doctor and she said I had to go to the emergency room.  I was scared because I was by myself and I wasn’t sure the pain was a result of excessive coughing or something “real”.  I drove to the emergency room on the verge of tears….why did I feel like crying?  My husband was a phone call away, as were friends and family.  Maybe I was afraid that I would be admitted to the hospital…not a fan or what if nothing was wrong with me (hypochondriac).  The ER was filled with varying degrees of sick people.  I took 4 hours before I saw a doctor.  That was fine…I was patient (get it?).  The first doctor asked me questions, listened to my lungs and said he would order an x-ray, IV fluids and respiratory therapy.  I was happy, I felt heard.  Then the respiratory therapist came in and said my lungs sounded fine, it was probably a pulled muscle and that he wanted to discuss this with the other doctor.  I panicked because I wanted an x-ray…something was wrong and now this guy is going to classify my issue as a muscle pull.  I did speak up for myself, I did get the x-ray and I do have pneumonia.  My lesson…TRUST MYSELF! 

My gratitude goes out to all the health care workers who listen to their patients.  I knew something was wrong with me and the greatest comfort I received was from the doctor that listened to me.  I am now on the mend…and very grateful that I have a loving, patient hubby (I cough all night…he has the patience of a saint), a job that allows me time to recuperate and good insurance so I can afford my health care needs.

“Time is free, but it’s priceless.  You can’t own it, but you can use it.  You can’t keep it, but you can spend it.  Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.”  Harvey MacKay Quotes

“I enjoy convalescence.  It is the part that makes the illness  worth while.”   George Bernard Shaw Quotes

Agility

I am blessed to have found the sport of agility and even more blessed to have found a dog that is willing to happily work with me.  I was completely inexperienced and had no idea that agility training starts immediately with your young pup.  I did not start with Macy until she was over a year old….I just didn’t know.  I asked around for trainers in our area and was told of a trainer named Fran who was tough but excellent.  We were put on a waiting list and finally got the call…we were in.  Fran and her husband Bill (co-trainer) are over 85 years old and could not be better teachers for Macy and I.  They challenge us every week with something new and cheer us on with every little accomplishment.

I am also fortunate that my former boss, coincidentally, started agility with her dogs the same day, with the same trainer, with the same inexperience as Macy and I.  We have become close friends and support each other through this wonderful journey.  She loves Macy, as she loves her own and I know she would do any thing for me, as I would for her.  It’s a great feeling.

I have met some AMAZING people at the competitions and at class.  I was not sure that the other handlers would be supportive, some of them are our competition, but my experience has been that everyone is willing to help.  I recall one competition where Macy refused to run…period.  I was frustrated because I had no idea why.  Was she finished with agility?  Was I a horrible handler?  Two handlers, both strangers to me, offered guidance.  Little tricks to help her feel succesful.  Both handlers watched and cheered us on as we made our baby steps.

The connection that I have developed with Macy through agility is incredible and what I am most grateful for.  She seems to read my mind.  I have always loved the dogs in my life, but have never experienced such a deep connection.

“The real joy is in the privilege and ability to step to the start line with your dog by your side, not in the crossing of the finish line, victorious over others.” ~ Gail Storm

“Run the course like each one is your last.  Make it a run that leaves you smiling, if not laughing aloud for the joy of the sport.  Otherwise you will have missed the most important thing in agility, the love and companionship of a trusted, loyal and loving canine partner.” ~ Kathleen Highfill

I had the fortune of having two high school teachers that had a profound impact on me.  One of my high school English teachers had a sign in his classroom that said, “You are in here to learn, not to get As”.  I remember thinking about that statement repeatedly (still do).  I found it interesting because I always worked for the “A” and this sign suggested that learning was more valuable than a grade.  I now understand his point :)I was a very shy girl in high school…always looking down when walking through the halls and never wanting to call attention to myself.  This English teacher intimidated me a little, but somehow I knew I could learn from him.  I took two electives with him…English Composition and Public Speaking.  In English Composition he taught me how to write cohesive compositions.  He would write “thank you!” on papers that were well written.  He said the thank you was because they were easier to grade.  I would love getting papers back that said “thank you!”.

In Public Speaking class, he had each of us just stand in front of the class and say nothing (first class).  He said our nervous behaviors would come out.  Some people would rock back and forth, I just smiled.  He asked me to stop smiling…I could not.  He taught us how to do different kinds of speeches; persuasive, informational etc.  I blossomed.  I went from a very shy introvert to someone who could speak in front of an audience.  When I got to college I entered public speaking competitions and earned a third place and $$ in one of them (much needed $$ in college).

The other teacher that had a profound impact on my life was my high school science teacher.  Back “in the day” students were tracked according to ability.  I transfered from another school and was tracked at the lowest level.  The goal for this track was a high school diploma.  I knew this and accepted that the “powers that be” must know what they are doing.  This science teacher saw something different.  At the end of my 9th grade year he said he was putting me in regents track science and I could do what I wanted regarding my other classes.  He had faith in me and believed I could do it, that was all I needed to enter all regents courses.  I was able to maintain As and Bs in all my classes and was now ready to go to college.

I will forever be grateful to these teachers who took the time and interest in a very shy, introverted young girl.  I did not know what I was capable of, but they did.  My goal is to be that teacher for my students…to see through the awkwardness and help them reach places they never knew they could.

The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called
‘truth.’ ”  ~Dan Rather


“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”  ~Henry Brooks Adams

Blogs

Today, I am grateful for other people’s blogs.  I  started this blog because a friend of mine commited herself to doing the 365: A Daily Creativity Journal by Noah Scalin.  Her blog is http://grubbygrrrl.wordpress.com.  Her work and commitment inspired me.  I know “grubbygrrrl” as a friend, but did not know how talented she was as an artist and blogger.  Once I started blogging I came across other people’s blogs like http://creativespiritualwomen.com/ by Belle Pirri.  I am continually fasinated by her wisdom.  Her blog opens my mind to positive possibilities to bring into my life.  The Principal’s Page, by Michael Smith ( http://www.principalspage.com/theblog/)  makes me laugh.  I love the way he writes and find his insights fun. 

I am grateful that people are willing to put themselves “out there”, to be vulnerable with their thoughts and creations.  I am grateful that I have taken this opportunity and cannot wait to see where it will take me.

“Your blog is your unedited  version of yourself.” ~  lorelle
“A blog is a personal diary.  A daily pulpit. A collaborative space. A political soapbox. A breaking-news  outlet. A collection of links. Your own private thoughts. Memos to the world.”  ~ blogger

My Sisters

'threes a crowd'

I am blessed with two extraordinary sisters. 

My middle sister is a talented artist, dental hygienist. kayaker, motorcyclin’ mother of two successful young men.  She will literally give you the shirt off her back if she thinks it would make you happy.  She is kind, generous and gregarious.  She enriches my life with her strength and courage.  She is a single Mom and because she lives out-of-state, she can only depend on family support through phone conversations and emails.  If my husband and I go to visit her she creates spa like conditions to make us as comfortable and happy as possible.  She sends us off with a delicious breakfast, complete with bacon, eggs, crepes and homemade black raspberry preserve.  The breakfast itself is worth the six-hour drive. 

My youngest sister is the type of person you can always depend on.  She is very knowledgable and investigates everything very throughly.  She is a talented gardener, associate professor, dedicated caretaker of her two rescue dogs and willing to do just about anything for anyone.  She enriches my life through her generosity, compassion and support.  Her gifts are very thoughtful and unique, usually something special that you would not buy for yourself.  Every Christmas she hosts a small family gathering where she and her husband (who is awesome and like a brother to me) serve a gourmet meal, that is always delicious. 

Both my sisters embody the best qualities of my parents.  The generosity and compassion of my mother.  The talent and kindness of my father and the strength and courage of both of them.

My family is not perfect, but in the end we always love and accept each other.  We are there for each other no matter what.  For this, I am grateful.

“You don’t choose your family.  They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.”  ~Desmond Tutu

“To us, family means putting your arms around each other and being there.”~Barbara Bush


My Husband

Creative Spiritual Women Badge

I came across this very cool website and wanted to post it…I’m still learning how to blog, so this is my best effort at posting someone else’s website.  Today my gratitude is for wonder-full days.  I’m enjoying a three-day weekend with a wedding, a public flash mob performed by my students from last year, meeting with friends and spending time with my husband.  This is my second marriage and I have been blessed with the most wonderful person I have ever met.  He is there for me anytime and every time I need him.  He is completely unselfish and is as unconditional a human as I have ever met. 

As I listened to my friends exchange vows, with him at my side, I smiled because every promise that they were making to each other in their ceremony were promises my husband and I still keep.  “I Could Not Ask For More” by Edwin McCain was our wedding song and it still holds true. 

“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”
~Robert A. Heinlein ~

Joey

Last night and into the morning, my husband and I were at the emergency vet’s with our Pomeranian, Joey.  He was coughing uncontrollably…turns out he has congestive heart failure.  He was put on oxygen and given diuretics, among other things to stabilize him.  He stayed over night and is doing better today.  He will see his cardiologist Thursday for further tests. 

My gratitude today is for the wonderful veterinarian’s that immediately took care of his needs.  They contacted his regular vet and made certain that he was given the correct medication.  I am also grateful that we could afford the treatment…another family at the same clinic could not and I don’t think the outcome for their dog was as favorable. 

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”  ~Roger Caras

“Dogs’ lives are too short.  Their only fault, really.”  ~Agnes Sligh Turnbull

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