Photo taken at Reynolda Gardens Spring 2015
Photo taken by my beautiful sister, Aoife Rose
Oregon, Fall 2014
Spring and fall are my favorite seasons. Death and rebirth. Both are so striking in beauty, that when these seasons are in full swing, I can't get enough of either. When I'm in nature my soul is at peace. It's here that I listen and quiet my mind. I feel closest to the spirit of this great universe when I'm in nature, so yes it is my church. Some go to church to worship the God they believe in... I step outside into the bounty of the natural world and fill my spiritual cup, clear away the cobwebs in my mind, and breathe. Restoring balance and finding the calm.
This morning as I ran in one of my favorite parks, I did just that. My heart was filled with gratitude at the people, situations, challenges, and uncomfortable gifts I have experienced this past year. Each one, great and small, taking me somewhere new. I couldn't help but think of the many blessings that I have been given and how much love was in my heart, and how important it is to give thanks for everything.
I started giving thanks this morning in my church. As I ran past the city worker clearing the fallen debris I made sure to say thank you.... I gave thanks to him for stopping the leaf blower as I ran past and then in the midst of running, yelled... "Thanks for your hard work." I wondered how many people say thank you to them for the work they do to keep our parks clean and looking nice. I certainly don't say thank you enough. So, I think it's time to share what I'm thankful for.
I'm thankful for...
*My beautiful children. God, I love these two magnificent human beings. Watching them grow into the people they are becoming is such a joy. They are unique in their own ways and I love them for the wonderful character they bring to my life and our family. It's an honor to be their mother and guide them in this world. Definitely a responsibility I do not take lightly.
*My parents. I feel blessed to still have them here on this earthly plane. They have given me so much in my life and I will forever be grateful for the love, teachings, and guidance they have given me.
*Jon. God, I'm so thankful for him. Thankful that I was able to love this human being, in this life, for 31 years. While living, he was my greatest teacher and now in death he continues to teach me from beyond. I loved my brother beyond what I could ever describe here. If you've followed my blog, this one or my other blog, http://whimsicaljewels.blogspot.com/, you already know how I feel about him and the loss I feel living without him on this earthly plane.
*My siblings, Aoife and Chuck. As the years go by, I have become closer to both of them. I'm so very grateful for the relationships we have developed. It is here that I find my roots and strength when I need it the most.
*My ex-husband. Weird right? No, not really... He gave me the greatest gift I could ever have, my two children. It was during our time of deep love we created something so beautiful. He's a wonderful father and although our journey together ended, I'm thankful we are able to co-parent our children in a healthy, loving environment. This is something I am extremely grateful for and could never give enough thanks for. I've heard horror stories from friends and strangers of the nightmares they have to go through with their exes. Every time I hear the stories, I say a prayer of thanks for the relationship we continue to have despite our marriage not working out.
*My ex-husband's family. I love them so much and through this beautiful family I still have an extended family that I love dearly. I love mom and dad Becker as much as my own parents and no words could state how grateful I am for their tremendous presence in my life.
*My sweet sister-in-law, Samantha. She is more beautiful than she realizes and I give thanks for another lovely sister. I wish we were able to spend more time together, however, the time I do get with her is a sweet slice of heaven. I'm filled with gratitude and love that she is a part of my life.
*My aunts, uncles, and cousins. I have learned a lot from them and feel blessed to have such wonderful memories of each of them.
*My chosen family.... All my Friends! God, I love each and everyone of them for how different they are, the friendship they give and the gift of knowing them.
*My soul sister, Karin. This small blurb could never express the gratitude I have for her. She is an amazing goddess and I love her so much. I've never met anyone quite like her and honestly I don't know where I'd be without her. She's carried me when I couldn't carry myself. She's reminded me of my light, when all I saw was darkness. The love and friendship she has given me over the years I will be eternally grateful for.... a true, authentic connection I cherish.
*My childhood friends that I continue to have a connection with. We can go for years without talking and pick up right where we left off. I love these connections!
*The ability to run, bike, walk in a multitude of choices in Winston-Salem. Even though I long to live somewhere else, I really am thankful to be here at this moment in time. Winston is a beautiful city and I have so many beautiful parks to choose from to enter my church for balance and restoration.
*The ability to create art. I love creating works inspired by nature. It fills my soul with so much joy and one of my deepest passions.
*The ability to do work that I LOVE and feel passionate about. Everyday I go to work, I'm so grateful that I don't have a conventional job and I get paid to help others live an independent life that they choose.
*The ability to be involved in my kids lives at school, at after school activities and picking them up each day. It seems so simple, but I think of the many moms out there that want to do this, but due to circumstances are unable to. I am tremendously grateful for this daily gift. I love hearing about their day, what they are learning, and seeing them participate in sports and other activities. It gives my heart an abundance of joy.
*My 6 senses... sight, smell, hearing, taste, touch and my intuition. I'm so incredibly grateful for each of these.
*MuSic! The birds melodic song and all the phenomenal musicians out there.
*Me! I'm so thankful for the woman I am and the woman I am becoming. As I look in the mirror each day, I'm filled with love and gratitude for the beautiful life I have. My body certainly doesn't look like barbie and I don't want it to. Each curve reminding me of my femininity and how beautiful I am. Each stretch mark reminding me of the beautiful children that I was able to carry and bring into this world. Each wrinkle on my face reminding me how much joy I have had and the laughter I have engaged in. Each grey hair reminding me of all that I have learned and the wisdom that is within me.
Life is a gift.
I am thankful.