Mary Beth Writes

This image this morning: The sun comes up over the top of the hill on which we live. The new-rising sun was shining on a long freight train rumbling past. All the train cars were side-lit with glowing colors - rust, manila, peaches and creams and the sky was dusky November blue behind them. The rumbling of the train in this old house was comfortable. It was a beautiful and pleasant moment.

Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be stirring up our emotions and words to remember the wondrous people and moments around us.  We don’t have to make a list or say it right or count our blessings.  I mean, some people like to do those things and that’s cool. But many of us love Thanksgiving but kind of balk at the “being properly thankful” thing.

So in case that’s you. Here’s a plan.

1. Five or six is the number of times you are going to take a half moment today to like the minute you are in.  The image in front of you is going to catch your attention, or you are going to put reminders in your pocket to tell you to look around. But 5 or 6 is your number.

2. What to do in the moment. Look around. Smell the turkey. Watch the baby crawl across the floor or the teenager laugh with the old uncle, or the sunshine spill in the kitchen window, or listen fully when the whole family cheers or groans at a football game play.  There will be moments.

3. You don’t have to “keep” those moments. Don’t write them down, don’t take a picture, don’t tell them to anyone. Try to keep your senses going and the wordy-gurdy in your brain turned off. Just be awake and alive and revel a little that you are alive to experience what you are experiencing.

4. Like I said, you aren’t going to hoard this moment. If you can still remember all your moments tomorrow, you did it wrong. They are just going to come into your awareness, you are going to smile and be grateful, and then you let them go.

5.  Put  5 rubber bands on your wrist, take one off every time you are awake to a moment and put the band on your other wrist, or put it on a beer can going to recycling, or wrap it around a candlestick on your mom’s mantelpiece. Or set your phone to vibrate every couple hours. Use that moment to look around for the good thing. Or put five rings or bracelets on one hand and by the end of the day they should be on the other hand. Or 5 pieces of hard candy and eat them or share them along your day.

6. Remember, don’t tell anyone what you are doing. You are just not listing what you are thankful for - you are just being thankful.

Happy Thanks Giving, Friends.

Comments

He wanted to grow mashed potatoes!

He goes all the way from one end of the freezer to the other, and finally asks the clerk, "Hey, don't these turkeys get any bigger?" Clerk says, "No, sir. They're dead."

All we have is this moment.

Thanks MB (as always), for the evocative pictures you draw with your words. I guess I'm well-trained, as I have learned to stand back and notice the lovely little nuggets that a family gathering can provide. This attitude was not modeled in my family-of-origin, and began for me as an act of rebellion. It took me years to learn, and was worth all of the quiet effort. I hope that your Thanksgiving was warm and cozy, my friend!

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Not Admiring Duty

Duty without empathy and imagination is handsome.

And dangerous.

This is what Robert E. Lee said. “Duty then is the sublimest word in the English language. You should do your duty in all things. You can never do more; you should never wish to do less.” 

This is what I say. “Duty” is a clichéd moral value lobbed at us by men (sic) who seem to assume leadership is about getting other people to do the work and take the risks at hand.”

What's in that Museum?

Do you go to museums? I enjoy them, but I think they are more complicated than we give them credit for.

This past weekend Len and I and our daughters, plus Len’s sister and her teenage sons, spent the day at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. At 400,000 square feet, the MSI is a huge old place; the buildings were part of Chicago’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 that were re-purposed into the Museum during Chicago’s 1933 Century of Progress. (An aunt once told me about seeing a black and white electrical show in a box at the Century of Progress. They called it television.)

Surprise Dancing Lessons 1/7/2018

This is almost a quote from Kurt Vonnegut. “Unexpected travel is a dancing lesson from God.” (Vonnegut said “Peculiar travel suggestions are…” or some such; I need to reread Cat’s Cradle.)

December Seen Things 12/31/2017

Happy New Year's Eve!

Here is the latest edition of Things Seen in December.

You need to click on the icon to open it. It's small. 

PDF icon12-31-17_vol_1.pdf

My New Year’s Resolution

I mentioned to Len this morning that this year I am going to make a New Year’s resolution. Usually I don’t make resolutions because I don’t believe people change (very much) by determining to “do better starting tomorrow.”  The person who works mightily to stop eating cookies tonight - while there are still cookies in the house - is probably going to become healthier than the person who is going to Stop Eating All the Sugar and Only Eat Roasted Brussel Sprouts … starting tomorrow.  Don’t ask me how I know.

A Request for More Readers

A Request from Me to You

I just finished the She Writes post about being more courageous and stubborn on my own behalf.

This fits right in. I’m asking you to consider doing something on my behalf.

Do you know a person who might like to read this website?  If you are here you already know I write about frugality, I write random essays, I tell you about places I went and books I’ve read. I am fascinated by colonial American history. I repost things I wrote ages ago. Sometimes I write short stories.

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