Sea My Thanksgiving 2016 Wish for You…

As I wrote last year, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday (you can read that post by clicking here).

A lot of what I wrote for last year’s post is the same exact thing I write in my journal year after year: all the things I love about Thanksgiving intertwined with memories and nostalgia. I am a true creature of habit.

I sat here pondering what to write for Thanksgiving 2016 because I wanted to mix it up a little this year and stray from that same old, same old. The movie “Animal House” was on the television, and as my words eluded me, I got completely lost in a train of memories made in a college dorm almost 25 years ago now with some of the best people I ever spent time with.

And then I entered into a thought spiral like this…

I’ll see a long, red dress and my mind will transport me to my cousin’s wedding which was over 20 years ago in California.  I’ll smell coffee brewing and I can see an old friend standing outside of her horse stable. I’ll hear anything by Billy Joel or Steve Miller and be reminded of concert days gone by. A Judy Blume book or the song “Copacabana” makes me recall my closest friends and our time together over the past 40 years. Other songs bring back recollections from Hawkapaloozas or “shows for seniors,” from bar days and the Bums, from times being silly at school or dancing in the middle of 13th Street wearing a skeleton mask.

On some days, when the sky is clear blue and the air is just the right temperature, I’m transported to recess on the playground in elementary school…to riding my bike with my friends around town during middle school…to driving with the car windows open during high school…to walking down the boardwalk drinking a cherry lemonade…to playing football on the beach or hanging on the hill or at the waterfalls or the inlet….

A telephone makes me think of an old boss. Say “McBoo” and I think of a high school friend. The word STAGE (pronounced STAYG) makes me hear the hysterical laughter of a spitfire. A baseball? Times at the stadium. A penguin? Times in Pittsburgh. I see all of the feet that walked alongside mine on the streets of New York City and in London, Florida, Pennsylvania, Kent State and Cleveland, the Bahamas, St. Thomas, Wales, and Dublin. Even the smell emanating from the local Burger King sends me back 38 or so years to an elementary school friend’s birthday party.

Then, there are days I can hear whispers in the wind, whispers of those who aren’t physically here with me anymore, but who are still with me in my heart.

I don’t believe in living in the past. However, I do believe it’s okay to look back every now and then to take an inventory of life, per se, and to realize what brought me here, to this time and place while letting the good times of yesterday make me smile.

Flashes of my childhood, middle school, high school, college, work places, my students, my community, and my path are whizzing through my brain right now, like a retrospective of sorts, filled with laughter and joy, and even some tears.

It comes down to this: It isn’t money, or fame, or possessions that make life meaningful.

It’s people.

People like YOU, who are the backbone of my memories and experiences. People like YOU, who left your footprints and heart prints along my path.

Even if you made me cry or filled me with angst, you ultimately had a positive effect by making me stronger and wiser. (Sidebar: To those I made cry or I might have filled with angst, please accept my apologies, for at times I know it was me who was the jackass.)

On this Thanksgiving 2016, I thank you for the role you have played in my journey so far, no matter how small or how big it might be…

To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.  – Ralph Waldo Emerson

With my utmost gratitude, thank you for making me breathe easier. You are, indeed, appreciated.

I wish you and yours a very special and happy Thanksgiving 2016.

~ Jill

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Something to SEA: Free Thanksgiving Printable

thanksgiving-printableThanksgiving, my favorite holiday of the year, is coming! To add to your festivities, I created a free Thanksgiving printable for you.  It is sized for 8 1/2 x 11.

You can download the .pdf file by clicking here.

If you right click on the image above, you can save the .jpg image to your computer.

I’d love to see how you incorporated your free Thanksgiving printable into your festivities this year! Please feel free to leave a comment with your picture below.

Enjoy,

Jill

Day 31 of 31 Days of Summer Lovin’ 2016: Enjoy!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 31 Days of Summer Lovin’ Challenge for 2016. It has been a pleasure seeing all of your written and photographic responses to each prompt. The challenge has brought me new friends and new inspirations.

If you enjoyed this challenge and are looking for an August Challenge, head on over to Susannah Conway’s homepage and learn about her August Love 2016 challenge, which starts tomorrow.  She is one of my favorite writers, and I look up to her very much.

I apologize for my lack of participation in this challenge  over the past 3 days. My Internet modem is not functioning, and I’m conserving data on my phone until the next billing cycle. 

However, I have been enjoying life with less technology. It’s more authentic and real. I like to think that my modem crapped out so that I could experience real life, rather than seeing what appears to be real life through a technological device, even if that “real life” is me, just sitting here, writing in solitude.

Come tomorrow, when a technician is scheduled to fix our connectivity issues, I vow to remember that real life is what is important, and that I can get by without wasting so much time scrolling through Facebook or Instagram. 

I hope you continue to follow SoulSEAker, because I look forward to documenting my “mission from the universe” in August, as I will be embarking on a pilgrimage to Dublin. Stay tuned my friend!

Thank you again for following me. I am thankful for you, because YOU are helping me find my voice. 

Have a splendid day, and ENJOY it my friend!

Sea What I Am Thankful For – Day 3

20151124 Day 3 QuoteToday I am going to keep it short but poignant.  I have food, shelter, a vehicle, clothes, and heat.  How often have I overlooked these basic necessities as blessings?  When I look at the big picture and actually realize that there are so many without a hot meal, without heat or a place to call home, without transportation, and without clothing, I clearly see how blessed I truly am.

In addition to just being thankful for these necessities, I aim to help those less fortunate by donating food and clothes not only this holiday season, but as a regular practice every month.  Please join me in doing something to help others; no matter how small or how big your gesture is, you can do something to ease another’s burden.

SEA What I’m Thankful For – Day One

20151122 Day One Quote

We are approaching my favorite week of the year.  Thanksgiving is, and has always been, my favorite holiday.  To honor this very special week, I am going to write each day about something or someone I am thankful for.

For day one, I am thankful that my husband and I put ourselves first for once.  Last week, we lived life by our terms and were able to escape with each other.  I limited my technology use and checking of social media, and instead, focused on the present moment while taking in what I saw, what I heard, what I smelled, and every possible detail of where I was.

Our escape was one of the most peaceful weeks I have had in several years.  We were able to live in the present, in the future, in the past, and in a fantasy world like no other.  We laughed a lot and made so many memories.  It was the best time we have ever spent with each other, despite the terrible pain and fatigue caused by a severely active Lupus flare (yes, Lupus is like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates…on any given day, you never know what you’re going to get.)

Based upon what I’ve seen and read since I’ve returned to reality, it was a good week to unplug.  So much hatred, judgement, terror, fear, anger, arguing, hypocrisy.  Everyone is right, yet everyone is wrong.  I agree with everyone, yet I disagree with everyone.  It’s quite the societal paradox at the moment.

There’s an episode of “Family Guy” where Peter Griffin says,  “Well, sir, while I may not agree with what you say, I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”  Various forms of this quote has been attributed to Voltaire, Oscar Wilde, and others.

To kindly put it, to those spending so much energy and time arguing, remember that we are all in this together.  We have the right to our own opinions and to state those opinions.  However, we have to remember to respect the opinions of others, even though they might be vastly different from ours.

Take care of each other.

Elizabeth Gilbert sums it up much better than I can in her post from November 17, 2015.

By focusing on gratitude and unplugging, perhaps you can have a more positive peace of mind while taking in the sights, sounds, smells, and wonders around you, ones you might not notice if you are scrolling through your Facebook feed or writing an anger-filled comment.  It’s a great week to do so.

Choose gratitude.  Choose to live in the moment.

I’m so glad I did.