Tag Archives: gratitude

I Know Where Love Lives

“You keep your mansions of gold
Buddy, I don’t care
‘Cause I know where love lives”
– Hal Ketchum

So, let me tell you a little about what’s been happening at my house lately.  Actually, it’s kind of the same thing that is pretty much always happening at my house. Richard, my gorgeous new husband who happens to be a musician, is learning a new song.

And here’s what happens at our house when Richard is learning a new song.

Nothing.

That’s right. Nothing.

The man has a one-track mind, people. He decides he wants to learn a new song (or anything new for that matter) and his focus is on that one thing and that one thing only.  He’s like a dog with a bone, man.

Example?  A conversation in the living room the other night:

Me:  Richard, did you hear me?
Richard:  *singing and playing guitar*
Me:  Richard?  I was talking to you.
Richard: *singing and playing guitar*
My daughter: He only listens if it’s about a song. Sing it to him and see if that works.

Oh yeah. This is how it is, folks.  And you want to know a secret?  Want to know how I really feel about that?

I love it.

I know, I know.  I know what you’re thinking. Oh, they’re newlyweds. She thinks it’s cute now, but just wait…  And hey, I’ll give ya that. Maybe you’re right. Maybe one day it’ll drive me nuts. But right now?

Nope.

And here’s why.

I’ve been hearing a lot of pretty sad stuff in the news lately. One, in particular, is something that has happened to a fellow runner in an online running group I am a part of. Now, I don’t know this woman personally. Let me just give that disclaimer upfront. But I feel like I do. She’s a woman; a mom; a runner; a fellow human being. I identify with her in many ways. But there’s one way that (but for the grace of God go I) I don’t identify with her. She was in an abusive relationship. Note the word was. She is no longer in that relationship anymore. Why? Because her husband…the father of her four children and the man who took vows before God to honor and cherish her…took her life last week.

Just like that, she’s gone.

You hear news like that, and you can’t help but think of your own life. It’s human nature. I’m no exception. First, I feel a sense of disbelief. That can’t possibly have just happened to someone who is just like me. Next, I feel sadness. Such overwhelming sadness for those four kids who have to face this world without their mother, and with a murderous father in prison for the rest of his life.

And then, my feelings almost immediately switch over to something else. Gratitude. That’s right. I feel grateful. I can’t help it. It may sound horrible to say that–it may sound overwhelmingly selfish–but that doesn’t make it any less true. I immediately thank God that I will never know how that poor woman felt in those last moments of her life. I’ll never know what it feels like to fear the man I love.

Never.

So, when you put it like that…it makes a little one-track-mind singing seem pretty trivial, doesn’t it?  I’m in love with a man who fills our home with music. So, not only does it not irritate me when his mind is stuck on a song…it fills me with an indescribable joy. My heart fills with so much love for this gentle, tender, good man that I just cannot believe that the stars aligned in such a way that brought him into my world.

So, back to the song. The song he has been learning is called “I Know Where Love Lives” by Hal Ketchum.  Here’s a little snippet of the lyrics:

There’s a house on the edge of town
It’s a little old, it’s a little run down
Full of laughter and tears and toys
Crazy things only love enjoys

I know where love lives

I know where love lives
She’s sitting on the back step in the evening air
Sea green eyes and her chestnut hair

You keep your mansions of gold
Buddy, I don’t care
‘Cause I know where love lives

Wow.

Nope, our life isn’t perfect.  Yep, we get on each others’ nerves at times, no doubt.  But you know what?

I know where love lives.

And that’s the greatest gift I could have ever imagined.

lovelives

Photo credit: Bobbi Jo Scott

 ***

“Sometimes we should express our gratitude for the small and simple things. Like the scent of the rain, the taste of your favorite food, or the sound of a loved one’s voice.”
– Joseph B. Wirthlin

November 1

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”
– Eckhart Tolle

Ok.  I think I’m gonna do it this year.

So, I know you’ve all seen the November challenge on Facebook, right?  No, not the no-shave November thing.  (My boyfriend would probably not be too thrilled if I participated in that.  And besides, I’d have to buy larger shirts to fit my arms in if I didn’t shave for 30 days.  That pit hair is comparable to a Chia Pet when it gets out of control.  Seriously.  Ok, TMI, moving on….)

And no, not the “write a novel in a month” November thing (NaNoWriMo).  Ha!  Like that’s going to happen.  I haven’t written a novel in 35 years so far, so I doubt it’s going to happen in the month of November.

No, what I’m talking about is the 30 Days of Gratitude.  Each day, your status is supposed to be about whatever you’re thankful for that day.  Every November, I see it roll around, and every November, I just read everyone else’s status messages and go about my business without participating.  Well, today, I asked myself a question.  “Self,” I said, (that’s what I like to call myself)…

What the heck is wrong with you??”

Come on, chick.  You have a bajillion patrillion things to be thankful for.  Why not dedicate a month of blogs to them?

So, here I am.

Now, I’m going to do my best to not make them generic.  No “today I’m thankful for my family” crap.  No, that’s too easy.  These things are going to be specific.  Not just “family,” but which member of the family?  And why?  You know, stuff like that.

So, there’s no time like today to put my money where my mouth is.

Today, November 1, would have been my grandfather, Greene Halsey’s, 86th birthday.

papaw1

So, today, I’m thankful for him.  Thankful that he existed.  Thankful for the family name that he passed down.  Thankful for the red hair that my kids got because of him.  Thankful for the quiet, honorable man that he was.  Thankful for his insistence that my shoes remain spotless (oh, the memories of seeing him endlessly shining all of our shoes until they practically sparkled).  Thankful for the funny things that he would say on the random times that he did decide to speak up.  Thankful for the money he’d always slip me when he thought no one was looking…and thankful for watching him do the same thing with my kids as they got older.  papaw2Thankful for the lesson that you don’t have to be loud and obnoxious to make your mark on the world.  This quiet man managed to leave behind a legacy with very few words, only actions.  The many non-dramatic, sometimes non-noticed, small tokens of the love that he didn’t quite know how to verbalize remain in all of our memories.

He left this world in February of 2012, but in the ways that matter, he still remains.

So, for my November month of gratitude, I hereby officially nominate Greene Halsey as the first addition to the list.  Welcome, Pa-paw.

And thank you.

And to the rest of you – here’s my challenge to you.  This year, why don’t you join me?  There’s no reason not to.  If you don’t want to write it, don’t.  No status is needed.  No blog entry is required.  Just force yourself, every day for this one little month in your life, to dedicate each and every day to one specific thing for which you’re thankful.  By the end of this month, I’m betting that you’ll be surprised at just how blessed you really are.  And maybe, just maybe, you won’t stop on November 30.

See you tomorrow.

***

“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.”
– Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray Love

Reinforcement

“I love working with an audience.  I love working with actual people who, you know, if they’re moved, you see it.  If you say something they’re stunned by, you see their jaws drop.  If they’re amused, they laugh – that kind of reinforcement, I totally adore.”
– Jane Pauley

As an actress, I really dig the above quote.  There’s just so much truth to it.  When I’m doing a show, I know exactly how the audience feels about it.  If they like it, they’ll smile.  If I did a good job, they’ll clap.  If I was able to move them to tears, they’ll cry.

Don’t you wish it worked like in real life?

Seriously, think about it.  How much of what you feel do you keep inside?  How many chances do you let slip past to tell someone how their everyday, real life ‘performance’ is going?

I’ve been watching my daughter struggle with a very large theatre role.  She’s practically brand new to acting (only small non-speaking roles in prior shows) and has now been cast as the lead.  Now, you don’t have to be involved in theatre to know that being the lead of a show is going to carry some serious weight with it.  Especially when you’re only 13.  And even more especially when you’re a kid who is too hard on yourself like she is.  She expects perfection to come out on the first try (and I’m afraid some of the others involved expect that of her to), and she gets so down on herself when it doesn’t.  Poor kid.

But I’ve started to notice one particular person in the cast who can change her outlook around in an instant.  Appropriately enough, that person is the one who plays “Daddy Warbucks.”  (If you’re not familiar with the show, Warbucks is the one who ultimately adopts little orphan Annie in the end.)  Warbucks is played by our friend Jeff Dreyer.  And let me tell ya – Jeff is phenomenal with my daughter.  She looks forward to the rehearsals when she’s working with him because she is comfortable with him.  He’s so good to her and always tells her what a great job she is doing.  When she makes a mistake, he’s always quick with a, “You’ll get it next time,” or “Don’t be so hard on yourself – you’re doing great.”  I see what a difference this makes in her, and how much better she does after hearing this from him.

Which got me thinking.

How often do we do that for people?  How often do I do that for people?

Someone doesn’t have to be performing on a stage for them to deserve positive feedback.  So much of what those around us do in any given day sadly goes unnoticed.  Things become routine and expected, and therefore no longer outwardly appreciated.  (Every mother knows where I’m coming from, I’m sure.)

So, I want you to think about this.  Is there someone in your life who deserves some recognition?  Some appreciation?  Some verbal applause?

Well, get to it.  Give them some positive reinforcement.  Give them a pat on the back.  Thank them for what they do for you and how much they mean to you.

I’ll start by giving a little shout-out to my boyfriend, Richard.  That man is a true saint at times…especially this week.  I have been stressed to the max.  There’s no one particular huge problem or anything…just a multitude of small things that are adding up and sending me on an emotional rampage.  There have been times this week that I’ve just wanted to crawl under the covers and let the world go on without me while I take a sick day from it all.  But I can’t.  There’s too many people depending on me.  I have to get up and keep moving, whether I like it or not.

And there he is to help.

He has picked up the slack for me so much this week, I can’t even list them all.  He has made phone calls for me and run errands that I didn’t have time to run.  And through it all – through my moods, my ranting, my venting – he has listened and responded with a calm optimism that I can’t help but be influenced by, no matter how hard my stubborn self tries not to be.  I’m a very, VERY lucky girl to have this man in my life.  I hope he knows how much he is appreciated.  I hope he knows what a wonderful boyfriend he is, and how loved he makes me feel.

Good job, Richard.

So, who do you need to thank?  Who makes a difference in your world?  Who needs some applause?

Now is the time.

positive1

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“Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”
-Voltaire