Living Every Day as Thanksgiving

What's a few warped books?

What’s a few warped books?

Some days are harder than others, but when we can put our life in perspective, the world turns.

Yesterday as I prepared for the holiday, I received a call from my daughter. “I’ve got some bad news, Mom.” My heart sank. It’s not a call you want to receive, and those are words you never want to hear.

It seems books I’d had mailed to her place in Florida for two upcoming book signings had arrived. Only the mailman decided that the best way to deliver to her apartment would be to leave the box in the parking lot on a day of torrential rains in northeast Florida. She sent a photo of the books, and my heart sank to see those babies of mine all warped and useless. I fumed; I fussed; I used the “f” word in more ways than I did in this sentence.

And then sometime this morning in the wee hours of sleeplessness on how to proceed, it came to me. They are books. They are things that can be replaced. My daughter, my husband and others I love cannot be replaced.

San Antonio River Walk November 2014

San Antonio River Walk
November 2014

Today I am grateful for both the health of my husband and myself. We’ve had a hell of a two years, but now we’re out on the other side of it. You never know to appreciate your health until it’s no longer there.

I am one proud Momma of a very talented, thoughtful, and kind daughter. What more could a parent wish for when the longest and most important job in our life begins? I’m amazed that I had anything at all to do with this generous and conscientious human being.

There are so many people and things for which to be grateful this season and every day of the year. I plan on celebrating them all, even the damp books that may simply get donated to someplace that doesn’t mind reading material not quite in pristine condition.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends in the United States. And to all the rest, just a simple Happy Days. May you find peace wherever you may be.

With gratitude,


Acts of Kindness

Grace and Benediction

By Patricia Zick @PCZick

It’s easy to forget in the every day bustle of our lives that the little things we do are often the ones that remain unforgettable.

Sometimes little acts of kindness can become giant deeds to the recipient and can make all the difference in the world. And we may not even have realized what we have done.

When I was eighteen, I decided I knew everything there was to know in the world and graduated from high school with a brick, not a chip, on my shoulder and a mental block the size of a cement block.

By the time of my graduation open house, I think my mother had actually stopped speaking to me. I had rented an apartment in Ann Arbor, thirty miles from my parents, and had gotten a job as a clerk typist for a large corporation. Now in my mother’s world a daughter didn’t do this kind of thing. I was supposed to live at home and work or go to college and receive my Mrs. Degree.

But I had no use for college or for anyone’s advice, and believe me, when I’d made up my mind on something, my family had learned in a mere eighteen years, to leave me alone.

Enter my high school government teacher, Howard Johnston. He was the only one who took a few moments to talk to me.

“You’re far too smart to not go to college,” he told me at my graduation open house. He pushed me into a chair in my parents’ living room and he sat on the ottoman at my feet. “You’ll not be happy as a clerk typist.”

Because he took those few moments with me, I began to reevaluate. I kept remembering his words. They weren’t a command or a question, but a statement. And because he had bothered with me at all, I began to open my mind to other possibilities. By the following January, I was enrolled in college and within four years, I was a teacher.

And my mother was speaking to me again.

When my mother contracted double pneumonia in 1998, I wasn’t sure when I should go back to Michigan from my home in Florida. She had a 50/50 chance for survival and my brothers and sister-in-laws didn’t know what to tell me.

One of my sister-in-laws went to the doctor and said, “Her daughter is in Florida. When do we tell her to come?”

He didn’t hesitate. “Now.”

I arrived within twenty-four hours with my mother still  conscious. She nearly pulled the IV out of her arm reaching for me when I walked into her room. Within hours of my arrival, she slipped into a coma and died a day later. I made it just in time to say good-bye.

I never thanked that doctor for his act of kindness. He probably has no idea what it meant to me to arrive at my mother’s bedside while she still knew I was there.

I never thanked my government teacher either. And I don’t know how to reach him now.

Those acts of kindness need not be with someone we know. A simple smile, a grateful word, a slowing of our pace to let someone else go first in line at the grocery store. We probably do many of these things unconsciously. Today try to consciously help someone and see what happens. Remembering to give a word of gratitude helps continue the cycle of kindness.

With so many words of hate and disparagement floating around us these days as the political season heats up, let’s remember we have more in common as human beings than we have differences. Kindness and compassion help us live in a state of grace.

It’s better than aspirin as a pain reliever.