Lyn’s Essays: On Thanksgiving

I started a new journal a little more than a year ago.  Every time I have written in it, I have started the entry by listing 3 things that I feel grateful for, in that moment.  There have been times in the past year that it’s been a stretch to think of anything to feel grateful for, and there have been certain motifs that have been listed time and again.  Considering that today is my country’s ode to gratitude,  I thought I’d share with you what I have felt grateful for in the past year (minus a few observations that need to stay private – won’t somebody think of the children?).  I’ve recombined the journal list contents by theme or category, and when something has been listed in more than one entry, I have noted the total number of times it’s been listed.  Some of these things I’m no longer grateful for (for example, I no longer take my coffee with Splenda).  But in this case, I think it’s the thought that counts.

ABSTRACTIONS

ribbon

  • beauty  (x5) (“…in the world”) (“exquisite…”)
  • the capacity of humans to love each other
  • coherence
  • collectivism
  • comfort (x3)
  • compassion (x2)
  • courage
  • creative endeavors
  • creative expression
  • creativity (x5)
  • determination (x4)
  • dharma dreams
  • dreams (x6)  (“…of a better future”) (“good…”)
  • “the dynamic human spirit that refuses to submit (Waking Life)
  • education (x3)
  • emotions
  • equanimity (x2) (“…even though I have very little of it”)
  • existence
  • fantasy
  • form (x2)
  • freedom (x4)
  • free will, such as it is
  • fun
  • honesty (x2)
  • hope (x14)  (“… for a brighter tomorrow”) (“…for the future”) (“…even though I don’t feel much of it at the moment”) (“…even if it is irrational”)
  • humor (x4) (“laughter and…”)
  • the human quality of imagination (x4)
  • ingenuity (x3)
  • insight
  • integrity
  • intelligence (x3)
  • introspection
  • the jewel in the lotus
  • justice, or at least my sense of it.
  • kindness
  • learning (x2)
  • leadership
  • literacy
  • love (x2)
  • loving kindness
  • maturity
  • memory (x4)
  • mindfulness
  • the Mystery (x2)
  • the original face
  • peace (x2) (“…when it happens”)
  • perseverance
  • perspective (x4)
  • the possibility of change
  • power
  • rationality
  • rational thinking (x2) (“even if I frequently refuse to engage in it”)
  • responsibility
  • self-care
  • self-determination
  • serenity
  • small victories
  • social justice
  • solidarity
  • stories
  • understanding (x3) (“…and empathy”)
  • willpower
  • wisdom (x2)
  • words

ANIMALS

animal

  • Animals
  • bees (x4) (…and all the work that they do, …and their waggle-dances)
  • birds
  • butterflies (x2)
  • cats
  • my fish
  • fluffy kittens (x2)
  • fuzzy kittens
  • “monkeys.  They’re cute.”
  • rabbits

 

COLORS

colors

  • the ability to perceive colors
  • the abundance of beautiful, vibrant colors in the world, and the vision to see them
  • aqua
  • blue (x3)
  • colors (x2)
  • coral
  • fall colors
  • green
  • maroon
  • midnight blue (x2)
  • pale blue
  • pink
  • purple
  • teal (x4)
  • white

 

CULTURAL PHENOMENA

culture

  • Access Health
  • activists
  • amazon.com
  • Andre Dubus III’s writing style
  • the Anima game system, for giving Steve a consistent set of rules plus a setting
  • art museums
  • the art of roleplaying
  • artwork
  • the Association for Individual Development (x2)
  • audiobooks
  • Azumanga Daioh!
  • BBC News
  • The Belle Jar’s editorial on motherhood, sent to me by WordPress
  • Bioshock (Xbox 360 game)
  • The Boondocks cartoon show
  • the Buddha
  • CarMax’s customer service
  • Catamaran Home Delivery for our medications
  • “Catapult” by Counting Crows
  • Chaosium, for releasing the Basic Role Playing system
  • “The charity that provided me with this fancy patterned ivory faux-satin blouse that I just got complimented on and hardly ever wear because it’s too formal and for several months was too small for me (but now I can fit back into it)”
  • Christmas presents
  • cinema
  • The Color Purple
  • the creativity of my favorite film artists, like Terry Gilliam
  • the creativity of other people
  • the creators of Chaosium’s Basic Role Playing rules system
  • “the creators of the Anima gaming system, for crafting what Steve likes to use”
  • the crowdsourcing phenomenon
  • Culdcept Saga
  • Discoveries Resale Shop (x3)
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition (x3)
  • drum circles (x2)
  • DuPage County Health Department (x2)
  • eBay (x4)
  • the Eightfold Path
  • the English language
  • Express Employment Professionals
  • “the fact that Ace Hardware carries lead paint testing kits”
  • “the fact that Amazon.com sells more than books”
  • “the fact that Meijer is open 24/7”
  • “the fact that Netflix has M*A*S*H available”
  • “the fact that Walgreens carries 24 hour timers for automatic turn-on of outlets like the one I am plugging my plant light into.”
  • Family Foods grocery store (x4)
  • my favorite band, I Fight Dragons (x5)
  • my favorite comedians, Bill Hicks and Tim Minchin
  • France
  • Frank Turner’s album Tape Deck Heart
  • Freecycle (freecycle.org)
  • “Grapevine Fires” by Death Cab for Cutie
  • the Great Plains Zen Center (x4) (for the Sangha… for everything)
  • GURPS
  • having moral standards
  • Herrick Lake Forest Preserve
  • Indian Harvest restaurant
  • “the investigative powers of law enforcement (thinking of the FIFA investigation)”
  • Irvine Welsh, for writing Trainspotting
  • Italianate curlicues
  • Joss Whedon (x2)
  • libraries
  • Macintosh computers (x3)
  • M*A*S*H the TV show (x2) (“…on Netflix”)
  • meditation (x4)
  • meetup.com (x2)
  • Montessori schools
  • movies
  • music (x2) (“good…”)
  • the music of Stuart Davis
  • musical instruments
  • narratives
  • Neopagan holidays, like Beltane
  • Netflix (x3) (“… even though they sometimes don’t have a film I’m looking for”)
  • the Pali canon of Buddhism and its account of the Precepts
  • the People’s Resource Center in Wheaton
  • percussion
  • Persona 2
  • pink hair
  • PetCo
  • Quest Book Shop
  • Rosati’s Pizza
  • SCARCE (recycling community)
  • sculptures
  • Shakyamuni Buddha
  • the song “+Dharma-Drama”, by Stuart Davis
  • the song “Original Face”, by Stuart Davis
  • sparkpeople.com (x3)
  • Steve Mattson’s “Soul Plague War” game (x3)
  • Sweet Tomatoes restaurant
  • the Theosophical Society, for selling me Buddhist supplies
  • Twin Peaks on Netflix
  • unusual time signatures in music
  • my Vegetariana cookbook (x2) (…need to start using that)
  • “the version of the Counting Crows song “Omaha” that was playing at Naf Naf Grill”
  • Vipassana meditation
  • Warrenville Park District recreation center (x4)
  • WBEZ FM, Chicago public radio
  • Whole Foods Market
  • wikihow.com
  • wikipedia.org
  • WordPress (wordpress.com (x2))
  • writing
  • the Xmas tradition of gift-giving
  • Zen Buddhism (x4)

 

EVENTS

event

  • alone time (…to work on Freedom’s People, “being alone”, “time to myself” (x2))
  • my DHD education
  • “the fact that I start work at 10:30 AM rather than 10 AM now”
  • “The fact that Joel is cooking me pancakes right now”(x2)
  • “The fact that Joel’s shift doesn’t start until 10:30 AM”
  • “The fact that my own shift doesn’t start until 12:30 PM”
  • my father taught me to read
  • feeling clean after I take a warm shower (x2)
  • finding things that were thought lost (x2)
  • future (x3) (“the unknown…”)
  • “I get to savor the final cup of raspberry herbal tea from a can I’ve had for years, today”
  • good days
  • having a day off in the middle of the week, resulting from putting in extra hours Mon & Tues
  • having a job in mental health
  • having choices
  • having front-loaded a lot of preparation for Freedom’s People
  • lazy weekend mornings
  • memories (x2) (…of my childhood, …of my grandmother, …of trying to join the ISO)
  • moments of quiet stillness
  • moments when I feel collected
  • my new job at AID
  • opportunities to educate others
  • opportunities to talk about Buddhism
  • “the opportunity to listen to [I Fight Dragons] new album, for which the digital download was so affordable”
  • past
  • “the people on Freecycle who gave me my aquarium”
  • “the possibility that Joel will go full-time at Napa”
  • the precious time in which I have balanced perspective
  • “the prelicensing course I took for Primerica last weekend”
  • present
  • relaxation
  • remembering my dreams
  • my resolve to teach Sunday School to the UUSG class
  • rest after hard work
  • sleeping in
  • the sound of thunder over the rooftop
  • sunny days
  • “what little sleep I got last night”
  • writing reviews

 

FINANCES

finances

  • 0% interest credit card balance transfers
  • being able to pay the bills
  • cheap prices and large selection of grocery store
  • credit unions
  • the fact that Joel has a job
  • flex time at work
  • having a computer in my home
  • having enough money in the budget to pay down debt
  • having a job (x5)
  • having a garden
  • having a home (x9)
  • having a mobile phone
  • having our own credit card
  • having private insurance instead of Medicaid
  • hope for our financial future
  • the possibility that my medical debt will be paid off before we move
  • the Primerica opportunity
  • PTO
  • time off of work

 

FOOD

food

  • almond milk
  • Archer Farms salted caramel blondie mix
  • butter-flavored pancake syrup
  • cheese
  • coconut (x3)
  • coffee (x9) (“iced…”) (“morning…”)
  • cold pizza
  • cream cheese
  • Crunchy Cranberry Almond cereal
  • “my decaf iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts with cream and 5 Splenda”
  • dried cranberries
  • Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Bread (x2) (cinnamon raisin or otherwise)
  • frozen fruit
  • garlic
  • grapes (x2) (“green seedless…”)
  • Laughing Cow Creamy Swiss Garlic & Herb cheese product
  • long-lasting recipes, like the patstitio I made on Monday
  • Naf Naf Grill’s baba ghanouj
  • Olivio olive oil spread
  • orange-strawberry-banana Crystal Light
  • pancake mix
  • pancakes (x11) (“the invention of…”)(“weekend pancakes from the Joel-cat”)
  • piña colada yogurt
  • popcorn
  • pineapple
  • savory food
  • sushi
  • tofu
  • Trader Joe’s hollandaise sauce (x2)

 

NATURAL PHENOMENA

nature

  • air (x2)
  • the beautiful intricacies of biology
  • being alive (x3)
  • blood
  • blue skies with fluffy white clouds
  • my breath and breathing (x2)
  • the cloudy gray sky, heavy with rain
  • “the complex interplay of cosmic forces that allows the universe to be”
  • crystals
  • the Earth (x3)
  • the fact that despite human-driven climate change, winter and snow still exist for now
  • “The fact that the process of life figured out a way to take the corrosive gas, oxygen, and use it to create useful energy through respiration.”
  • folate (not folic acid)
  • flowers (x3) (“beautiful…”)
  • forest preserves
  • gemstones
  • giving form and coherence to the Mystery
  • green grass
  • having a body
  • “having a functional reproductive system”
  • “having a mother (being alive)”
  • having time
  • Lake Michigan
  • “The laws of matter that govern the physical universe”
  • Life (x8)
  • the life-giving properties of water
  • moonlight
  • “The mystery of what will become of this world”
  • Nature, red in tooth and claw
  • nice weather (x2)
  • oceans (x2)
  • oxygen
  • the plants I take care of, specifically (x6)
  • plants, in general (x4)
  • process
  • “the process of blending”
  • quiet
  • rain (x4)  (“… for the plants”)
  • sea shells (x5)
  • sensory data
  • sentience (x2)
  • shade from trees on a summer walk
  • Shinji, my ‘Pink Stripes’ plant
  • sky
  • sleep (x6) (“…what little I can get”)
  • soil (x2) (“good…”)
  • solar energy
  • the stability of Earth’s orbit around the sun
  • stars
  • sunlight (x4) (…dappling stones, …dappling through trees)
  • time (x6)
  • the tingling sensation of goosebumps
  • trees
  • the universe, even though I don’t really understand what’s going on
  • variety of experience
  • warmth
  • water (x4) (“clean…”)

 

OBJECTS

object

  • 100% cotton clothing (x2) (cotton (x2), …cloth)
  • 100% linen clothing (x2) (linen (x2))
  • the 3 colored glass vases I received from Kelcey a long time ago
  • my alarm clock
  • alarms
  • my aquarium (x3)
  • the beautiful and meaningful quilt my sister gave me for Christmas 2012 (x3)
  • beautiful stuff
  • blank notebooks
  • the blouse itself
  • this blue shirt Jen gave me
  • the butterfly atop my Solstice tree
  • the candle Linmayu gave me for Christmas, which I use as a meditation focus
  • clean clothes
  • comfortable clothing
  • covered rubber bands (x2) (“…that don’t tear my hair up when I make a ponytail”) (“…so I can tie my hair back without tearing it up”)
  • denim
  • my digital scale (x3)
  • my digital watch (x3) (my solar-powered…)
  • fun socks
  • glass
  • my grandmother’s jewelry
  • having a coffeemaker so I don’t have to use instant coffee
  • hot water on tap (x2)
  • “my new shirt”
  • sandalwood
  • scissors with angled blade ends
  • “this seed-bead bracelet I’m wearing that my stepmother gave me”
  • “snowshoes – don’t ask me why, this word just popped into my head, I’ve never worn them!”
  • socks (they keep my feet warmer!)
  • soft fabric (x2)
  • soft pillows
  • tags on clothing that say what type of fiber the cloth is made from
  • my teal dice set that Joel got from Hoover
  • “this journal”(x2)
  • underwear
  • Valerian root sleeping pills
  • my wedding ring
  • Zero, our 2005 Ford Focus

 

PARTS OF MYSELF

self

  • the ability to learn
  • my ability to make plans
  • my ability to perceive complexity and nuance
  • the ability to remember (x3)
  • the ability to walk
  • the ability to write
  • being able to express myself well
  • the capability to regret past mistakes
  • my capacity to dream
  • the capacity to learn from memory
  • my capacity to make good decisions
  • my creativity (x5)
  • my education
  • “the fact that I can read English”
  • Freedom’s People (aka The Blank Hour)
  • the fruits of my own creativity
  • having projects to work on, like Freedom’s People
  • having sentience
  • my imagination
  • the inner peace that writing brings me
  • knowing how to read and write (x6)
  • knowing the layout of Aldi
  • my lactose tolerance
  • my long-standing habit of saving and reusing wrapping paper
  • Nepenthe, in my mind and the work I have done so far
  • the new ideas I have for my novel
  • the “off” button in my head that tells me when I have been playing too much Culdcept Saga
  • my own capacity to forgive
  • my own courage
  • my own heartbeat, letting me know I’m alive
  • my own initiative
  • my own willpower
  • my potential to influence people
  • my senses
  • my tattoo
  • “whatever moral courage I possess”
  • “whatever sense of patience I can actually muster”

 

PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS

relate

  • Adam Dettmann and Josh Diehl-Oakley (Will brought their birthday cards home last night)
  • my Aunt Cheryl
  • the banter of Adam Dettmann
  • Brad at work – always the voice of reliable reason
  • community
  • compassion of family and friends
  • my co-worker, Lesley (x2)
  • Deb Dean
  • Erin Rosenkranz
  • my family (x4)
  • family love
  • family recipes (tonight: Oven Fried Chicken)
  • family relationships
  • my father (x3)
  • my friend, Emily Leftwich
  • friends (x2)
  • friendship
  • Hari Rao (x2) (“the friendly attitude of Hari Rao, bassist of I Fight Dragons”)
  • having a family that I love and which loves me
  • having a good marriage
  • having a mother who is alive
  • human affection
  • my husband, Joel (x49) (“for only being slightly grouchy when I woke him up at 1 AM with a cold body part as I tried to calm down for sleep”) (“the way Joel-cat talks silly nonsense in the mornings while getting ready”) (“despite yesterday’s pain”) (“being married to…”) (“…at the other end of the couch”) (“his quiet strength”)
  • Ian Price’s gaming group (x2)
  • Joel, James and Tyler for playing Freedom’s People
  • laughter
  • Linda Sidell Johnson
  • Linmayu Appavu (x2)
  • love from my Kotecki family
  • Marcy, the staff member at the Warrenville Park District rec center
  • “Mark Story, for saving my character’s butt in last night’s session of Soul Plague War”
  • “Matt Seely, for reading some of “Globe Without Goodbye” during game last night”
  • my mother (x4) (“for collecting good recipes over the years that I was able to copy for my recipe box last year”)
  • Myoyu Roshi
  • my nephew, Tyler
  • “our love for each other”
  • the people in my life who think of me as a friend (x2)
  • people treating each other gently
  • “the prompt response that Dr. Fujiura sent me regarding work as a program evaluator”
  • recipes from relatives
  • the relationship I once had with Steve Miller
  • running jokes (x2) (“… with Joel-cat”)
  • my sister, Jen (x2)
  • Steve Mattson (x4) (“for running “Soul Plague War” and being a good friend”)
  • time with my grandfather
  • Uncle Don being willing to help me fix the LED bar for my aquarium
  • the Unitarian Universalist Society of Geneva (x3) (“…though I am not sure why”)
  • Will Hawke’s industrious/creative side

 

TECHNOLOGY

tech

  • the ability to buy produce fresh from different climates around the world
  • air conditioning
  • the alarm feature on my digital watch
  • antibiotics
  • automatic dishwashers (x3)
  • the Calendar program on our Mac Mini
  • cellular telephones with speakerphone
  • our computer (x3)
  • direct deposit (x2)
  • distilled water
  • electronic communication
  • email (x3) (“electronic mail”)
  • my folate supplement
  • Google Image Search
  • Google Maps
  • having heat in the winter
  • a heated home
  • hot water
  • indoor plumbing (x7) (“…and hot showers”) (“running water in my home”)
  • information on the Internet
  • information technology
  • the Internet (x9)
  • medical technology
  • melatonin  (x2) “(even though I probably shouldn’t have taken it last night)”
  • mobile phone technology (x4)
  • modern laundry systems
  • modern medicine
  • running water
  • pharmaceutical science
  • “The technology that allows me to text from my mobile phone”(x3)
  • telephones
  • Wikipedia (on the Internet)
  • the X-Bone

 

As you can see, I have a lot to feel thankful for.  Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving Day, whether you live in the US or anywhere else on the globe.

One thought on “Lyn’s Essays: On Thanksgiving

  1. Wow – thinking about the breadth of topics and depth of items you have compiled, and without counting this list, you must have been very diligent in your resolution to journal three positives daily. I tip my hat to you and hope you smiled a few times while you wrote this up!

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