Showing posts from November, 2018

Thanksgiving Every Day With DTH

Last week, most of us gathered with friends and family around a meal to give thanks for our blessings. And those who couldn't be with loved ones were likely still part of the holiday tradition by reflecting on  the good things in their lives. For one day on the calendar, and possibly a few days leading up to the third Thursday in November, it is expected and celebrated that we list the items for which we are grateful. Then Black Friday arrives, and our tradition changes overnight (or in some cases, that very evening) and our gratitude lists are buried under mounds of shopping bags. I know I'm not the first to point out this discrepancy in our quickly shifting holiday values, but I'm not here to judge those looking for bargains and buying gifts for others.  Instead, I offer a way to maintain the spirit of Thanksgiving year round, minus the turkey dinner. For the last several years I have used a gratitude practice. I had known long before this of the value and researc

Can Beauty Rise from Challenges?

Seventeen years ago today, I was in New York City with my university's marching band. We had made the cross-country flight earlier in the week for the sole purpose of performing in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade the next day. I was also eighteen days into a regular heart rhythm, having had atrial fibrillation off and on for the past year. I was in the colorguard, the section of the band whose instrument is a brightly colored flag. We had prepared and memorized a routine for the two and a half mile march that involved spinning, tossing, and otherwise moving our flags in synchronized time while we smiled continuously at the crowd. But first, we had to complete a dress rehearsal of our culminating show to be performed when we reached the end of the parade in front of the Macy's Department Store. This piece would be televised across the nation, so the producers wanted to plan for camera angles and placement to best feature our music and formations. The catch? They wan

A Beautiful New Greeting

How are you? This is a question I often hear as I'm greeting friends and acquaintances. It's also the first line in offering customer service. Even some strangers on the sidewalk will ask it in passing if our eyes meet. It's become a standard opener in small talk, and the common, expected answer is limited to Good, Fine, or Doing well. A few use exclamations in response like Still standing, Tired, Busy, or Great! Only a small handful will give a more detailed reply, almost exclusively in conversation with someone they trust.  However, when I field this question, I have to consider the underlying tone. Especially if I'm in my wheelchair. Well-meaning friends regularly put a strong emphasis on the second word by saying, How are you?, often accompanied by a slight head tilt or by leaning in. I love that these people are in my life and care enough to ask about me, and I see the beauty in the attempt. But this is the hardest question to answer.   I instantly

The Beauty in Differences

Last week my husband and I got a new puppy. Our first dog, Rascal, had passed away in April after fourteen and a half years of good life. That left us with  Nita, a six-year-old Pomeranian/Poodle cross, and though she did fine on her own, we wanted another companion for her (and for us!). Our search led us to Riley, a ten-week-old Toy Australian Shepherd. She is full of energy and has the curiosity and mischief of an unruly toddler. She is constantly exploring her surroundings and chewing on squeaky toys, paper towels, and Shawn's velcro shoes. When our friends came to town to stay the night last weekend, they brought their tall, gangly Shorthair dog, Sadie. She had been to our house before, so I wasn't worried about her temperament, but I wondered what Riley would think of her. Despite their differences in age, size, and training, they were eager to get along almost immediately. They shared toys and Sadie's bed like they'd been friends for years. There