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Grateful Hearts Lead to Happy Hearts November 24, 2010

Filed under: christine glover,writer — christineglover @ 10:00 am
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Thanksgiving is a time of gratitude, of sharing a meal with friends and family, and of remembrance. I love everything about Thanksgiving from the warm autumn colors, the parades, the football games (well I could probably go without the football), the comradeship, and the food. Can’t forget the food.

This year we’re sharing Thanksgiving with our new friends. We’re having a huge feast which will include our spatchcock turkey, all the trimmings, smoked turkey breast, cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, two pies…. ah…. food baby is on the way! I can’t wait to break bread and share this day with them.

Imagine if we carried that spirit forward into all of our days? What if we opened our hearts to living a life of gratitude and giving all year round? Charities require more help during the holiday season, but wouldn’t it be great if people gave to food pantries all year long? To homeless shelters? To (fill in the blank cause)?

I try to live a life of giving and service as well as one of gratitude. I admit, sometimes I have to dig deep for the spirit of gratitude when the clouds of loneliness, winter weather, and darker days descend. But I make the effort because if I can find something to be grateful for, then I can find a smidgeon of happiness in my day. A ray of light. And then I can carry that light into the world. And then maybe someone else’s day might be a bit brighter.

One trick I learned was to write down 5 things a day that I’m grateful for. For instance, right now I am grateful for my health (which is a huge one), my darling daughter’s spirit, my husband’s job security, my new friends, and my writing community. I could list of a lot more things to be grateful about, but you get the picture. Having positive things to be grateful for helps me smooth away the rough edges of the things I am sad about, or the things I miss right now.

Confession: No, I am not Polly Anna and always filled with sunshine. I do bask in the sun a lot (I am like a cat that way), but I have days where growling is preferred to purring.

We all struggle with our own inner demons and disappointments. It is in how we handle them and work through them, that we show the measure of our willingness to be lights in the world. When I practice gratitude, I realize how blessed I am and I can’t be grumpy anymore. Or maybe I just won’t growl as much.

Happy Thanksgiving & Enjoy Your Day!!

Thanksgiving Part 3 November 27, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — christineglover @ 2:02 pm
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I’ve often wondered why I tackled becoming a writer. Honestly, I haven’t got the fabulous educational background of many of the writers I admire. Nope. I didn’t go to Yale or Harvard. In my life before I became I writer, I didn’t hold a job as a lawyer, doctor, anthropologist, television anchor or other some such type of illustrious career. Nope. I was lucky to get my degree in elementary education by the time I was 27. I worked a few years in radio and television and private education, but I never built a career.

I learned only two things about myself during the few years I dealt with corporate America: I hate office politics and I hate wearing pantyhose to work.

Any rate, after a few years of trying to climb the corporate ladder and bumping my head on a very low ceiling, I had a baby and I decided busting my stockings to get a promotion wasn’t as eternal as raising a beautiful child. I’ve never regretted the decision.

When she entered the 4th grade, I rediscovered my earlier passion for writing. And that’s what I’ve been mucking around doing ever since I dusted off my first attempts at writing a novel. I’ve learned a lot about writing and craft from my writing comrades, RWA, my writing chapters, more books than I care to admit I own and on-line workshops.

But the doubts and the questioning never leave me. Who am I to take on this task when I have such a muddled background? Do the words “I’m not worthy” ever cross your mind? They cross mine. They jump around my brain whenever I learn about that writer’s degree in literature, or her illustrious career in technology and the writer who once wrote speeches for the President. Okay? Now that’s a big scary deal for me.

So why do I even attempt this crazy adventure? I haven’t got a Masters degree in anything, I haven’t worked in a real job since 1994, and I didn’t grow up in a family that bothered to nurture my talents. Nope. I had to fight for every success I had and that’s where the chutzpah to write lives. My scrappiness.

I learned a lot about life in a different college: the college of hard knocks and streetwise living. I’ve been on my own since I was 16 years old. I fought to get my GED and, after my DH married me, I taught myself the SAT with a big book of tests. I entered university, got scholarships and busted my buns to finish my degree in less than 4 years (my DH had married me for my, uh, cooking ability, not my education as I had none to speak of other than the GED).

I may not have any experience tackling corporate giants or winning cases in the courtroom, but I know how to flip a burger, pump gas, make beds, clean hotel rooms, assist the elderly and nurture children. I can type faster than most secretaries. I’ve knocked back beer in an Ice Shack in Houston, and I’ve hobnobbed with Nobel Prize winners while sipping Kir Royale. I’ve played pool with biker chicks, and I’ve hosted dinner parties for distinguished scientists. I’ve sat in a bar outside of Phoenix and chatted with the locals about the humidity. I’ve canoed down the Dordogne and toured castles. I’ve slept in a pup tent next to the Redwoods. I’ve flown first class to Europe.

I’ve had nothing. I’ve experienced everything.

When I was eighteen, if you opened my fridge, you’d find a large 7-11 Slushy and a potato. I’ve dated guys because they paid for my dinner and I was hungry. I’ve eaten 8 course meals in Sarlat, France. I’ve known extreme loneliness, the kind where I’ve considered rushing off a balcony of a twentieth floor high rise because who would care if I was gone? I’ve known extreme joy, the kind where I’ve wanted to bottle the bubbling happiness and cork it so I can pop it open, and let it stream over me when I am sad again.

Today I am thankful for my life. For all of it. For the ugly chunks of my childhood, for the brief glimmers of joy even then. I mine the coals of hurt, pain, frustration, anger and bitterness for my stories. I  open the shell surrounding my heart and draw out pearls of ecstasy to endow my characters with abiding joy.

I’m grateful for the natural talents and intelligence given to me, but I am actually more thankful for being forced to live in circumstances that brought me to my knees, humbled. I am grateful because I believe my street education, and my ability to transcend that background, have given me an opportunity to give back the greatest gift I’ve received: HOPE.

My stories are about two people finding each other and discovering home. Today I’m grateful I found my hero. Today I’m grateful we created our own safe place to fall.