Monday, November 2, 2015

30 Days of Thankfulness Day 2

Today I am thankful for my grandmother.  We always called her Granny.  It was by her own choice that she was called that and I'm sad to say I don't even know why she chose that.  I know when speaking of her maternal grandmother she always referred to her as Granny, so I'm guessing it had something to do with that.

Growing up, my grandmother was my primary caregiver.  My parents were very young when I was born.  (I was born a year after they married and they married at eighteen.)  Their primary focus was on making money.  I was dropped off very early in the morning at my grandmother's house, long before school started, and after school I was at my grandmother's house until my parents got home from work.  Often my parents would go away on the weekends and leave me with my grandmother.  Honestly, this was for the best.  My mom will tell you to this day she was never cut out to be a parent.  In all honesty, my parents should have never had children.  Be that as it may, my grandmother provided me with a stability I would have never had otherwise.  She also taught me a lot. 

My grandmother was a strong Christian and from as early as I can remember church, the Bible, praying, vacation Bible school, church camp, etc were a part of my life.  For this I am very thankful.  If not for my grandmother, I know I would not be saved today.

My grandmother also instilled in me the importance of learning and gave me a love for learning.  She helped to develop my mind and push me to excellence.  My grandmother was the one person who never said I was stupid when I was growing up.

She also gave me my love of reading.  My grandmother read constantly.  She often said if she didn't have a book to read then she would just read a phone book.  I have to laugh because I have often found myself reading the cereal box when I'm trying to eat quickly and have deprived myself of reading material.  Growing up, we used to go to the library at least once a week.  We checked out tons and tons of books and we read every one of them.  My favorite books were the horse books by CW Anderson.  There was a series, Billy and Blaze, and I loved them!  He had other horse books outside of the series that I loved as well.  To this day, I wish I had his books!  They were just lovely and I spent many long hours enjoying them.

Correspondence is another gift only my grandmother could have given me.  I love to write letters.  Growing up I had pen pals and, to this day, I still correspond with my friends.  Yes, I use email, but some of my family and friends will also get a handwritten letter from me.  I can't count the number of times someone has said to me that they are so thankful to have received my card because it was just what they needed at that moment.

So, yes, today was all about my grandmother in my thoughts.  She's been dead many years now, but the gifts she gave to me are timeless.  What has been mentioned here is only a smattering of the many gifts she gave me.  There is so much in my daily life that I can attribute to her teaching and influence.  I am glad she picked up the slack and raised me.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

30 Days of Thankfulness Day 1

It's hard to believe it is already November 1st!  I'm afraid this has been a very busy, sometimes trying, year.  Unfortunately, there were many times I lost focus on the good things and let ungratefulness creep in.  In light of that, I'm actually happy I'm now at the beginning of  November and again thinking of what I am thankful for.  In all honesty, it wasn't until I was writing out Thanksgiving cards this morning that I even decided to do this again!

The idea to do this again just kind of snuck up on me.  I was sitting at my dining room table writing out Thanksgiving cards.  I know sending cards is a very old fashioned thing to do, but I love to do it.  I can't tell you how many times I've had someone tell me it just made their day to actually get something other than a bill or junk mail in the mailbox.  And as I was working on the cards I started thinking about how great the people I was sending these cards to had been over the year.  These are the people who wrote to my son while he was in boot camp.  These are the people who were there for me when I was dying because my son had left home to pursue his own path.  These are the people who have welcomed me into their homes and lives and accepted me for who I am and love me in spite of my shortcomings.  These are the people who have encouraged me, consoled me, and just been there for me.

So today, I am incredibly thankful for my friends.  I am thankful for the love and acceptance of true friends and I appreciate their willingness to accept me as I am.  I am especially grateful that they love my son too.  My son is the most important thing in my life and I am glad that they accept him into our friendships as they have. 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Magnificent Moon

Tonight, very soon in fact, we get to witness something that hasn't happened since 1982!  For the first time in 33 years there will be a full, also known as a total, lunar eclipse during a Supermoon.  It won't happen again until 2033.  That's 18 years away!  Additionally this lunar eclipse takes place during a Harvest Moon and something known as a Blood Moon.  And, as if all that wasn't enough, this event marks the end of the tetrad.

For as long as there have been humans watching the stars, an eclipse of any kind has inspired both awe and fear.  In fact, in 1504 Columbus used an event such as tonight's to convince the natives of Jamaica to continue feeding him and his men.  This was on Columbus' 4th trip to the new world and a blight of shipworms had caused the loss of two of his ships.  The remaining two ships he beached off the coast of Jamaica.  Obviously he needed provisions for his men.  At first the natives were happy to help, but as time wore on and relations became strained the natives decided to quit helping the explorers.  Columbus had an almanac that predicted the total lunar eclipse during a Blood Moon, so Columbus told the natives that the gods were angry with them and with the rising of the moon they would see the wrath of the gods.  Of course the moon was red and when the moon disappeared during the eclipse he told the natives that the gods' wrath was very great because they refused to help him.  Obviously unaware of what was taking place, the natives were afraid and said they would help.  Columbus then told them that the gods were pleased and the moon would reappear.

Today, because this is a total lunar eclipse during a Super Moon and a Blood Moon and it marks the end of the tetrad, many are saying we are now entering the end times as foretold by the Bible.  Given today's current events, I believe it could be true.  However, the Bible also says no man knows the time or day.  So while this could certainly be a sign, I am not so sure it is going to herald the end times as we often think of them.  Could I be wrong?  Certainly.  The only thing I can say to this is:  Is your soul prepared for whatever may come?

While I'm sure those reading this know what all of this means, I'll give a quick run down of all the cool stuff mentioned above.  Some of this I didn't know!

Total Lunar Eclipse AKA Full Lunar Eclipse

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth is between the full moon and the sun.  A lunar eclipse can only happen during a full moon.  The Earth's shadow covers the moon, as the sun, Earth and the moon are all in line causing the Earth to block the light from the sun.  Tonight the eclipse starts at 9:07pm EST.  The total eclipse begins at 10:11pm EST and lasts for 1 hour 12 minutes with the moon returning to completely normal, meaning partial phases have passed, at 12:27am EST.  The eclipse will be visible to North and South America, Europe, Africa, parts of western Asia and the eastern Pacific.  The eastern half of North America has the privilege of seeing every stage from beginning to the end of the partial phases.

Unlike a solar eclipse, a lunar eclipse doesn't require special protective items in order to view it.  In fact, you don't even need binoculars or a telescope.  Everything can be seen with the naked eye.  Of course anything that enhances your vision will add to your enjoyment.

And just a little bit of trivia: 
     During the eclipse, the moon will be in front of the constellation Pisces.
     This is the last total lunar eclipse that will be visible anywhere on earth until 2018.


A Supermoon is a moon that looks bigger than normal.  Tonight the moon will look about 14% larger than normal.  (I have also read other sources that say the moon will appear only 7% larger.)  This happens because the moon's orbit around earth is not a perfect circle.  When the moon's orbit brings it closer to the Earth, the moon simply looks larger in the night sky.  There is no physical difference or change to the moon itself.  The moon is the same moon as always, it just looks a bit larger.  Furthermore, Supermoons are not uncommon.  Supermoons occur 4 to 6 times each year.

Now it is uncommon for a total lunar eclipse to occur with a Supermoon.  In fact, since 1900, this has only happened 5 times.  1910, 1928, 1946, 1982 and now 2015.  Given all that must occur to make this happen, I am not at all surprised this has happened only 5 times in recent-ish history.  Not only do the sun, moon and Earth need to align properly, but the moon's orbit must also draw it close to the Earth.  That's really asking for a lot in one night!

Blood Moon

This sounds a little scary, but science soon clears it up.  Tonight, the moon will appear red.  That red could be anywhere from a dusky rust color to, quite literally, blood red.  It all depends on the atmosphere.  During the total portion of the eclipse, the moon is going to appear to be a different color than you're used to seeing.  This is due to the Earth's atmosphere scattering blue light more strongly than red light.  It is the red light that reaches the lunar surface giving it the red tinge that causes so much superstition.  Additionally, green and violet light is also filtered out more by the Earth's atmosphere causing an abundance of the strong red light to be present.  The exact shade of red depends on the amount of extra particles in the atmosphere at the time of the eclipse.  For instance, had there been a recent volcanic eruption, the moon would appear to be a much darker shade of red.

Harvest Moon

Tonight's moon is also a Harvest Moon.  All this means is that this is the full moon closest to the autumn equinox.  The equinox this year was on the 23rd of September.


Now this is where some people start to talk about the end times and what not.  Like I said before, I am not dismissing it.  I simply am not educated enough on the subject to have an opinion that I would give as solid fact. 

A tetrad is 4 total lunar eclipses that take place at six month intervals.  Because this is the end of the tetrad combined with it being a Blood Moon and a Supermoon, people are saying this will bring about the apocalypse.  Maybe.  I don't know.  Again, all I can say is this:  Is your soul ready? 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year 2015

And here we are at the start of a new year.  It seems like 2014 went by so quickly.  And now we're looking down the barrel of 2015.  How does that happen?  Why do some years seem to go so much faster than others?


Some parts were great.  Other parts not so much.  I don't think I'd ever want to go back!  Unfortunately the bad parts seem to overshadow the good parts.  I learned that people will lie to you and hurt you without a second thought.  But that also taught me something about myself.  Although I have even less trust in people than I did before, I found I can still be kind to people and help them.  I guess doing for others doesn't require that I trust them.  Kinda sad.


My main goals this year are simply for myself.  I want to view the world with less cynicism and I want to be more accepting of others.  I think these two go hand in hand.  Of course, I want to continue to reach out and be kind to others.  This world is dark enough and unforgiving enough.  I don't have to add to it.  There are a lot of people who just need a little kindness.  Why not give it to them?  I also want to get in the habit of looking for and finding the things in people that make them who they are.  The good things.  The talents.  Too often we overlook the good in favor of focusing on what we don't like.

I know these are not really lofty or even normal "resolutions", but these aren't really resolutions.  I simply intend to make these a daily part of life.  Resolutions tend to be temporary.  I don't want these to be temporary.

I hope each of you have a blessed New Year.  Remember, we're all in this together.  Find opportunities to be kind to others and love yourself. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

30 Days of Thankfulness -- Days 17-27

Soooooo....I wasn't so good at keeping this updated.  But that's OK.  I still did it and that's all that counts.

Day 17 -- Reconciliation.  I didn't expect it to happen even though both parties were in the wrong.  But  out of the blue, he called.  It shocked me, but I'm always thankful when a friendship can be restored.

Day 18 -- Being able to stock up for the holidays.  The sales are already starting so that helps me get the massive amounts of food needed to make it through the holidays.  It's nice to be able to stay home and just cook instead of rushing out at the last moment.

Day 19 -- Coworkers who like to cook.  I've picked up a few recipes this year from my coworkers and they are great.  I just got an amazing cranberry sauce recipe that is probably going to become a staple.

Day 20 -- Finally getting caught up at work!  Sounds silly, but with the snowbirds back, getting caught up before the rush is really important.  If you don't get caught up now, you won't be caught up until about March.  If you're lucky.

Day 21 -- My son!  It's his birthday and he is the best part of my life and I'm thankful for every day that I get to spend with him.

Day 22 -- Doctors.  I spent a lot of time with doctors yesterday and am hurting today, but I'm really thankful for the doctors.  Maybe I'll get better?

Day 23 -- Quiet days at home.  I am so thankful when I have a day just to relax.  I love the peace and just being at home.

Day 24 -- A short work week.  I'm thankful for my job, but I sure do love a short work week.  It means extra time with my loved ones!

Day 25 -- Extended family.  I love keeping in touch with extended family.  With Facebook, etc it's so much easier to keep up with parts of the family that you otherwise may not be able to.

Day 26 -- The stores that will NOT be open tomorrow.  There are a lot of stores that are making the decision to open on Thanksgiving.  This is NOT ok and I do not support it.  Obviously for some stores (gas stations, pharmacies and the like) it's understandable that they are open and even necessary.  But Macy's, Sports Authority, Best Buy, etc?  Shame on them.  They won't get my money tomorrow and they sure won't get my money throughout the rest of the year either.

Day 27 -- THANKSGIVING!!!!!  This is just the best day of the year.  I get to cook for the ones I love and spend the day with them.  It's really great and it reminds me that when things look bad, at least I have my family.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

30 Days of Thankfulness -- Day 14-16

It looks like I'm going to be doing these posts by multiple days instead of one a day.  I suppose it's better than not doing it at all!  I do think of what I'm thankful for every day, though.

Day 14 -- Salvation Army Bell Ringers.  I heard my first bell ringer today.  It really made me smile.  That sound, like no other, really makes me feel like the holidays are here.

Day 15 -- Extra Coupons!  Today I was in Bath and Body Works.  I have tons of coupons for them and when I combine the coupons with their sales I can get six full size items for $22.  That's less than the price of two regular price items!  Yep, I'm going to take advantage of that!  There was this older woman in there and she stopped me to ask me some questions.  I don't know if she thought I worked there or if she thought I knew something because I had a ton of product in my hands.  Regardless, we started talking.  As we were talking, I found out she didn't have any coupons.  Well, I had five.  Was it really going to hurt me to share?  No, not in the least.  So I gave her one.  It made me feel good.

Day 16 -- A conscience.  Now pretty much everybody who has found out about this has said I'm crazy.  But I don't think so.  I think it was the right thing to do.  When I was at Barnes & Noble yesterday, they have a special where you buy one item in the store and you can buy a Christmas themed bag for $9.95 instead of $19.95.  I couldn't decide between the bags.  A friend of mine was with me and he was buying a book, too.  We each got a bag.  Well when going through the line, on one of the orders, only the bag was rung up but not the book.  I realized it when I was out in the parking lot.  I went back inside, over his objections, and paid for the book.  He says I was crazy and should have just taken the book.  I don't agree.  To take it, knowing you didn't  pay for it, is stealing.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

30 Days of Thankfulness -- Days 10-13

Well, that whole thing about being a normal person and posting every day like I'm supposed to didn't happen.  I give up on being normal!  So what have I been thankful for lately?

Day 10 -- My job!  Let's face it, we all have to work and it helps if you don't completely hate your job.  I'm not going to lie, there are times when I get very frustrated with my job, but overall, it's one of the best places I've worked.  Probably the best place I've worked.

Day 11 -- Veterans.  I'm not only thankful for our veterans because I have the day off.  I am truly thankful for the sacrifices veterans have made for our country.

Day 12 -- Being able to help friends.  I never really thought I had much to offer anybody, but it turns out, maybe I do.  A friend of mine is going through a rough spot and apparently just being there and talking to him helps him.  I'm glad I'm able to do that!

Day 13 -- Good sales people.  Sounds weird, but it's true.  Ever since my favorite person left Verizon, dealing with them has been hellish.  Well tonight when I went in, we got a sales person that reminded me so much of our favorite person and he was simply a joy to work with.