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It’s the littler things …

The tradition of going around the table listing the things we’re thankful for on Thanksgiving is a lovely one and a great way to find out what’s happening with those at our table. But when it comes your turn and you’re being stared down by close friends and family anxious to hear what you’ll come up with, we give into the pressure of the moment and talk about “big, important things.”

© Goody460 | Dreamstime.com

© Goody460 | Dreamstime.com

You’re thankful Aunt Bessie’s gout is better, your son somehow passed his finals and graduated, Cousin Heath got his promotion, your brother finally found a woman who would marry him. But what if we threw all the larger blessings into a big basket marked, “Of course,” and required everyone to look at the more mundane, littler reasons we have to be grateful. What would you come up with?

I dug down under the carpet of everyday life and uncovered my own little blossoms. Here’s my thoughts:

The 2016 presidential election is finally over. Doesn’t matter which side you were on or how frightened you are at what is to come, you no longer have to read daily headlines about email servers and racial slurs. You can sit back and peruse everyone’s thoughts on what a crappy system the electoral college is and what radical change is to come.

Gloria Jean’s butter toffee coffee. No need for further explanation. I love the stuff.

Kitty purrs and puppy tail swirls. For those of you who are pet lovers, you know you depend on your daily supplement of cute animal gestures. You know who you are and you know that whenever your beasty does anything remotely interesting, you make up whole conversations about what they’re telling you.

Cold weather. I never thought I’d say those two words in the same light as “thankful.” But after this horribly long hot summer and a fall of amazing spring-like weather, I’m starting to wonder if I should take the money I spend buying Gloria Jean’s coffee and contribute to an anti-global-warming cause.

Time and quiet to write. If I schedule it just right and my husband is at the office (two days of the week) and my twenty-year-old darling child is at school or at work and my mother doesn’t have a doctor’s appointment and I’m not under the pressure of a zillion work deadlines and I’m not feeling guilty that I haven’t touched a broom or dust cloth in several weeks and the new season of Modern or Middle isn’t calling from the DVR—I find the silence and peace to put words to paper. Uh…perhaps I’m a little off balance here.

Carnation sugar-free Italian Crème creamer. It goes very well with a large splash of milk to lighten the color and slightly sweeten Gloria Jean’s Butter Toffee Coffee.

Middle of the day friend calls. As women, we never feel quite as validated as when our best friend calls with a crisis regarding 1) how unresponsive her own husband is 2) how horribly someone is raising her grandchildren 3) her lousy, unappreciative boss or 4) how invasive and unreasonable her neighbor has become. Women will set everything aside for a good friend in need. We simply sit back in our chair, pick up our Gloria Jean’s and stop the world to listen. Of course, it also gives us an excuse not to work/clean/run errands …

Christmas is almost here. We can swing our focus to singing along with carols, decorating our homes, baking cookies, watching Hallmark, praying it will snow, remembering past holidays. And then there’s finding the perfect gifts, fitting the additional events and parties into already hectic schedules, putting up with rude shoppers and pop up ads, praying our snow doesn’t get in the way of travel plans …

Hmmm. I think I’ll go fix a cup of Gloria Jeans Butter Toffee Coffee.

–Genilee Swope Parente

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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To Angie: What is courage?

Let’s face it folks. Sometimes life just up and slaps you in the face.

Usually when I write these blogs I’m talking about my own personal experience. This isn’t the case today. Even though my family lost its patriarch in January, he left quietly—Alzheimer’s slowly took him away.

Today I’m talking about my 18 year old friend who is facing surgery and terrified.  She’s had way too many health problems for a vibrant, beautiful young woman and there is no way she should have to be going through this.

But courage, dear one, is accepting that life is not balanced: it’s sloppy and often painful. It makes no sense. It’s filled with oddities and absurdities and ridiculousness. It’s why people like me (authors) see life in terms of characters and stories.

Courage is remembering that life is also filled with a million small acts of wonder and love. It’s a first kiss from that guy who makes even your toes tingle. It’s a little sister who holds your hand and tries to make it better. It’s a mother whose heart is breaking but who tries not to show it. It’s lifting your head and seeing the golden sunshine and feeling the cool breeze, then realizing that the day is absolutely perfect. It’s the pleasure you get when you smell that perfume that always makes you feel feminine and alive.

mountain climbing

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It takes true courage to face something like surgery and get beyond the terror to remember the other side of living. But for every major mountain we face as humans, there are footholds and handholds to get us over it. For some, those holds are faith in God. For many, they are friends and family.

You’re facing a mighty mountain. But we’ll get you to the other side.

Genilee Swope Parente

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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