It’s been twelve years since we lost Grandpa. It hardly seems possible that it has been so long. I think of him every day and miss him every minute. He was a big part of my life while I was growing up, though I saw him only once a year. A very quiet, strong, loving man with a crooked smile and a rare bark of a laugh. He loved all of his girls so much. Wife, daughters, granddaughters. He was always surrounded by females that he could not understand at all, but adored with every bit of his heart and soul.
Grandpa was a good man. He was not perfect. He had many faults. When he was a young man he drank a lot and it caused him and his little family quite a bit of trouble. He gambled. He bet away money that was sorely needed on more than one occasion. And he fought, while in the Army, he fought with his superiors enough to be busted back whenever he got promoted. But Grandpa worked hard. He quit drinking, smoking, and gambling. He supported a wife and children, ran his own business, and loved in a quiet and profound way that none could ever match. Like I said, a good man, built on a platform of American spirit, love of family, endlessly improving character and more strength than any other ten people I know could ever possess.
On the day of his funeral, it was standing room only as the service started. A silent testimony to that amazing character and the impact he made on the people around him. I know people spoke but I remember very little about that service. I do remember two things clearly. I remember holding my Daddy’s hand, thinking how much pain my Moms and Aunt Carla must feel to have lost their own Daddy. And I remember my Uncle Derol grabbing my other hand, wiping away his tears, and telling me how much my Grandpa loved me. That he was proud of me. And that I often showed a lot of Grandpa’s same spark in my own actions. To this day, few words have meant as much to me.
My Grandpa was a good man. He was a brother, a soldier, a husband, a father and a friend to so many. I am lucky to carry him with me in my heart, and to see him staring back at me everyday in my own crooked smile.
I miss you Grandpa. I am thankful everyday to have been loved by you.
It’s almost time for me to be in bed and it has been a complicated weekend. I am tired and worried and feeling a little disconnected. What made the weekend difficult is not important for this post, what is important is that the deepest of those feelings are about faith and about thanksgiving.
Our faith is constantly tested in this life. Faith in God, in humanity, in the love we have and the friendships we treasure. Faith, by it’s very nature, requires constant testing. It’s fragile and resilient. And the testament to our faith is the ability to call forth some measure of it, even when we most fear our faith is breaking.
That measure of faith is the beginning of all our feelings of gratitude and thankfulness. The fact that we question those things which mean the most to us, and are capable of returning to our feelings of belief and trust is reassuring. It is a gift. It allows us to feel a full range of emotions, to rage against the unfair aspects of life without losing that which makes us our best. Without losing our ability love and and believe in each other.
I am constantly amazed at the inner strength we have, and thankful that as fragile as my faith often is, it is strong enough to sustain through the most difficult of days.
Hello again, its been a while.
I apologize for not posting lately. It has been a fairly busy summer and a lot has happened. Instead of recounting it all suffice it to say that all is well. There may have been a few days where my thankfulness was not as apparent, that I should have focused more on the best than the worst that occupied my life. There were even some days I forgot to look for the bright spots entirely. But those days were few and far between.
Today, I am awash with gratitude. So we are going to focus on today.
This past weekend, I competed in the Summer Fitness Throwdown. This was the first CrossFit competition to come up since I joined Cantina CrossFit, and several of the women I work out with regularly and I decided to form a team and compete. None of us are at a competitive level, but our coaches encouraged every member of the box, telling us that we should not be afraid to compete, that if we can do the WODs there, we can compete in a larger arena.
I have never really been an “athlete.” For some reason, marching band doesn’t really count. (I was the rifle captain, we did some pretty athletic stuff during those shows!) So this was really the first time I was in this type of situation. Intimidating competitors, high intensity atmosphere, and cheering, screaming, groaning onlookers. It was overwhelming. I was terrified. I wanted to either throw up (which would have been acceptable) or run away (which would not have been as acceptable.) I ended up settling for going to the bathroom six times before our first heat started.
The morning competition – sprints, walking lunges, and push presses – was harder than I thought it would be. I started to get scared that I was going to pass out mid-lunge and embarrass my team. But I didn’t, and we got through the heat and managed to finish two full rounds before time ended. After that, I began to really have fun. We could do this. I could do this! We cheered on the other two teams from our box, and watched athletes of ridiculous ability go out and do their thing. It was amazing.
In life, there are some moments that take your breath away and leave you feeling humbled and powerful all at once. This was one of those moments.
By the end of the second round of competition, I was on a high like I had never felt before. I felt strong. Even knowing that there were dozens of people stronger than me competing, I felt like the strongest woman on the planet in that moment.
We spent two days at the Throwdown. Competing and talking, and cheering on our teams. The atmosphere was charged with a current run from the electricity of all the cross-fitters that came out to rally around their “Sport of Fitness.” After the second day of competition, when things were winding down, and the athletes were beginning to file out, it hit me… the overwhelming sense of thankfulness that I held. For the women on my team, for the coaches that encouraged us, and for the athletes that cheered us, from Cantina as well as from other boxes. I am so blessed to have this in my life. It reminds me that I am amazing, even as I seek to become a better me.
Sometimes it seems like the Universe is stacking up blessings at your feet. They are usually disguised as everyday ordinary occurrences, or opportunities to spend more time smiling. Like this weekend, for instance. Friday the King and I spent the evening with our friends Jacob and Cathy. We had a wonderful dinner at Sushi and Saki (although, that is the last all you can eat sushi I attempt) and then we went bowling at the bowling alley next door. For those of you that know me at all, you know that “inconsistent” is usually the nicest thing you can say about my bowling abilities. But Friday I got my highest score ever, despite an incredibly slow start to the game. I have no idea how I pulled this off, but I guess bowling isn’t so bad…
Saturday, I actually slept in for the first time in months. I stayed in bed until almost 8:30! (well, after waking up at 5:30 and putting the dogs out, I went back to bed and stayed there.) Ed and I grabbed a couple of burritos and then went to help my WODsister move into her new place. It was a really pretty day, and it was nice to be outside together. Ed tends to stay inside when he is off. I guess when you work out in the sun all day, its not as much fun to just be outside. At least without a fishing pole.
After that we tried this new restaurant for lunch, Flamez. It was a little pricey, but OOOOHHHHH EMMMMMMM GEEEEEE! It was delish! They had a great selection of different kinds of burger patties to choose from, check it out:
Ed declared them to be the best burgers he has ever eaten. That is pretty impressive coming from him. I am not really a big burger person, so I had the Caprese sandwich, and let me tell you…. Yum! We had two meals and an appetizer and it was about $35.00, so not outrageous. Check it out if you are in the area.
I also got several of the plants I requested from Spring Hill Nursery, they were delivered on Saturday. The grab bag of full sun perennials ended up being four potentially large shrubberies (which is a word that never fails to remind me of Monty Python. “we are the knights who say Ni!”) We will see if these plants manage to live. We may have over fertilized the yard area a little when we were planning on putting in grass, so the soil there could be anywhere from perfect to highly corrosive. It should be interesting to find out which end of the spectrum it falls on.
After lunch we went to our friends’ house for a barbecue. These were the same group of friends that went with us to the lake, and so we had to have a corn-hole rematch. The new boards are a little slick, so it will take a little more practice for Jenn and I to take back the crown. But we will…. oh yes, we will. I am wondering how much the margaritas had to do with our less than killer scores. Maybe the jello shots were a factor. Hard to say.
Sunday morning was my first PiYo in the Park with my friend Angie teaching the class. It was great! What a nice way to start the day! Grisham Park in Northeast Albuquerque is a great little park with exorcise equipment and big shade trees. Its also right down the street from my house. It was a good stretch and a nice start to the day. And with that out of the way, the rest of the day could be spent in Father’s Day mode. I called my Daddy (who is the paramount example of fatherhood on the planet, thank you very much) and we talked about the US Open and yard maintenance, as well as his and mom’s upcoming visit. If only he were closer, I would have loved to see him for Father’s day.
But, the King woke up to a nice card, courtesy of yours truly. He also got to play his Xbox all uninterrupted-like while I was out at PiYo. Then he got homemade brunch, also courtesy of yours truly, although the cat helped (mostly by sitting in his lap.) After brunch he got calls from all of his kids, from his Auntie Jenny, his mom, and a really nice facebook post from a young man he essentially helped to raise. He also got a call from Jay, which was very sweet but I am not sure how he rates. On mother’s day, all I got was a text from my son, yet Ed gets a call…. hmmm….
Since both of the boys were working, we went to BWW to see them, and the girls also came by with their boyfriends. They got Ed his very own cheesecake and a really sweet card for Father’s day, and of course, several rounds of drinks for him to share with his kids. Needless to say, he was in heaven.
I even “let” him play more Xbox.
A whole lot of happy memories rolled up into two days, some good food, great friends, and loving family.
Sometimes it gets hard reminding yourself to always be thankful. Like when you have a day that is just too busy to feel good, or you miss out on something you really want to do. It can be so easy to throw your hands up and say, “Why me?” and feel like you deserve better. I am guilty of that. I admit it. But, I am also lucky enough to have a loud-mouth inner voice to remind me just how lucky I am.
Here is an example. I really want to fly in to see family at the end of this month. The stars aligned for me to be able to fly one-way and then ride home with my Aunties, passing through Arkansas to see my family there as well as my family at home. Being pretty far away from nearly all of my family makes seeing them a deeply held desire on my part. I was looking for tickets and realized I simply couldn’t afford to go. (Well, I could, but only if I didn’t eat until then.) I called my Mom and gave her the news, and then was offered an essentially free ticket! Wow! I could actually do this!
Unfortunately, after checking my calendar at work it became clear that fifty free tickets wouldn’t really work. The dates were not flexible for the trip home, and I simply can’t be away for those days. Shoot. Dang. Dirty word, dirty word, hurumph. WHY ME???????
“Shut up Idabelle!” came the resounding sound of my inner voice pulling me up short. So you can’t go right now… So what? You can go later, or call each and every person on the phone to say, “I love you.” How many people don’t have that luxury? How many people do you know that can’t talk to their Moms, or hear their Grandmother’s voice, or even afford to drive across town, much less state-to-state? Stop complaining and start counting… your blessings!
You know what, my inner voice was absolutely right. I am blessed to have so much and so many of my loved ones with me, just a phone call, text, email away. I am lucky to have a job, one that I love that keeps me busy and surrounds me with people who care and support me as I work to be a better me. I am thankful for all these things, and so many more. So, that is why me. Because I am fortunate to have the problem of not being able to go right now, and the blessing of knowing that I still have the option later.
Have you ever noticed that a lot of prep work goes into how Monday is going to feel? Most Monday mornings are a mixture of disbelief and despair. Disbelief the weekend went by so fast, and despair that you have 5 days and nights to get through to get to the next one.
I have noticed that if I end Sunday with a session of hot yoga, I can often greet Monday with a little less resentment. If my Saturday was filled with something other housework, it will go a long way toward a blissful Monday as well.
This weekend was a perfect example. Friday night with the King’s family and a fantastic game of cards. (Fantastic mostly because I won.) Good food and warm and welcoming company is a great way to spend an evening! Then up early to fuel up for CrossFit, where my Miss Rebekah joined me to try her beast mode skills. She did great! and I was happy to finally get her into the box. Of course she hated the wall balls, but honestly, who doesn’t?
Saturday night we went to the bowling alley with my friends Carley and Jerome, and some people from work. It was a lot of fun, and I only threw the ball backwards once, and their were no reported injuries. I actually didn’t do too bad for someone who has only bowled about eight times in their life. (Yes, I know, I live next door to a bowling alley! I never go, what can I say.)
Sunday morning we celebrated King Edward’s birthday yet again. This time we were treated to brunch prepared by his daughters and their boyfriends. It was wonderful! His girls are amazing young women, and I am thankful to count them in both my family and my blessings.
Unfortunately, Ed is getting a little too used to the attention, so hopefully this will end the birthday festivities.
After brunch I was able to convince Ed to go to a nursery to look at plants. We spoke to a really helpful guy at Jackalope, and got some great ideas for the yard. We also got some valuable advice about the benefits of xeriscaping and how long to wait before planting in the newly fertilized earth. Then we took a little drive looking around looking for the kind of tree the king wants in the front yard. Its called an umbrella catalpa, by the way.
And of course the evening wrapped up with hot yoga. Blissful and energized for Monday, I am able to find a little gratitude for the end of the weekend. At least I should get a little rest at work!