Sunday, November 30, 2014

Ten Things that Make Me Happy #3

This is my granddaughter Gabriella on her sixteenth birthday.  She's the light of my life, and was from the moment she was born.  I swore I would not watch the way...but I agreed to come in for a few minutes.  In the room were my son, my daughter-in-law's mother and her sister.  If they could view the birth, I thought, so could I, but I sat down on the floor, just in case I felt faint.  I didn't.  I felt awed, euphoric...I'd witnessed a miracle. 

Ralph and I went out for lunch and came back in the afternoon.  And what was my first question after I'd made sure everyone was fine?.  I wanted to know her Apgar score.  You can tell from that I work with small children.  Her score was 9, very high. and I went back to the room reassured.

From that day on, Gabby has been one of my greatest joys.  She's smart (of course.  What else would a grandmother say?)  To my delight (I'm a speech pathologist, after all), she started talking early.  Not surprisingly, her first word was "cat." 

Early on, she showed a great imagination and often made up stories.  When her grandfather was hospitalized with leukemia. she wrote stories for him.  One of his last wishes was to see Gabriella before he died.  "I hope she won't forget me," he said after her visit.  When I repeated that to her several months after he died, Gabriella said, "Of course I won't forget him.  I loved him."  How touched he would have been at that remark.

Gabriella is not only smart, but she's perceptive, empathetic...and also stubborn at times and she has become a typical teenager. I'm enjoying watching her grow up.  No, she isn't perfect, but she's fun...and she's MY granddaughter, and I love her more than I can say.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Quotes for the Week of Thanksgiving

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice. ~Meister Eckhart

 Thanksgiving was never meant to be shut up in a single day. ~Robert Caspar Lintner

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. ~Thornton Wilder

Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way. ~Native American Saying

To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven. ~Johannes A. Gaertner

A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues. ~Cicero

Nothing is more honorable than a grateful heart. ~Seneca

All that we behold is full of blessings. ~William Wordsworth

Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving. ~W.T. Purkiser

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Ten Things that Make Me Happy: #2

Winter mornings can be dreary; summer mornings can be stifling and when you wake up alone after a long and happy marriage, any morning can be gloomy.  But I'm fortunate because once I'm up and dressed, I get to spend many of my mornings doing speech therapy at the Bertha Alyce Campus, the preschool at the Jewish Community Center in Houston.  Who could feel anything but joy, walking down the hall at BAC? 

Artwork and photographs and classroom stories splash color all over the walls. The sound of children's laughter (and sometimes tears at parting from Mommy) fill the air.  And sometimes the smell of popcorn or cookies baking wafts to my nose.

This is a place where teachers engage children in activities that stimulate creativity as well as encourage learning,  Last year one of the pre-k classes learned about famous artists and did paintings in their various styles, then invited parents to their "museum" to view their work.  I made a special trip back to the J to visit the museum and was amazed at the children's work and their poise at presenting it to their families,

  Last week the two-year-olds were learning about transportation.  When they focused on cars, they had a class car wash...yes, an actual car wash.  When I left the building, I saw them busily washing their teacher's car.  Will they ever forget about cars?  Not a chance.

I feel lucky to be able to work there with children who have speech and language issues.  Even though I'm not actually on their staff, I feel very much at home and look forward to spending time there.

Stop back next week for #3 in my "What Makes Me Happy" posts. 

Have a happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Quote for the Week

Music is what feelings sound like.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Ten Things that Make me Happy: #1

Widowhood isn't easy.  It's sad, it's lonely.  But you have to find the good things in life as you trudge on alone.  Your late spouse would want that, wouldn't s/he?  So I've decided to spend the next ten Mondays writing about things that brighten my life.

Here's the first.  Ever since I was a Brownie in second grade, I've belonged to groups--Girl Scouts (yes, I sold cookies), drama club, sorority, women's organizations  professional organizations and in recent years a group of women transition.  They're not necessarily widows, but they're all moving on with their lives, trying to make the best of the years ahead.  Within that group are interest groups.  One that I belong to is The Word Group.

What does a Word Group do?  Each meeting we discuss a word, what it means, how it affects us, etc.  Our first word was Wisdom--we couldn't come up with a definition that encompassed all our ideas.  The second was Memory, and our most recent was Story.  We talked about the stories we tell ourselves and others, how different people tell different stories of the same event, how stories change over time, whether our personal stories have themes.  It was a fascinating discussion and I think, through it, the six of us bonded as we probed deeper into the meaning of Story.  The next time we meet, our word will be Home.

Both the small group and the larger group inspire me, cheer me, make me think, make me laugh.  May all of you find a group of friends to give you joy.

Stay tuned for #2 next week.  And if you'd like to chime in about things that make you happy, please do so.

Take care,

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Quote for the Week: Novmeber poem in a calendar of cat poetry

Did you hear that noise?
That horrible crash!
What was that calamitous commotion?
It was in that room,
The one I'm not in,
From which came such a loud detonation.
Could it be an ogre,
A monster or three
That plans for us some great laceration?
You know it was me
Knocking your lamp to the floor,
Anything good on television?

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Books of October

Didn't read as much as usual this month.  But here are my evaluations of the two books I did finish.

Yes, Wonder is a children's book, but I like kids' books.  I've read a lot of them with the kids I work with and since Wonder was named one of the best 100 children's books ever, I wanted to read it.  Truthfully, I don't think it's the best--my favorite children's book is Bridge to Terabithia-- but Wonder was pretty good.  It's the story of a boy with a severe facial deformity facing his first year in school--middle school, which is tough enough for most kids to get through.  The story is predictable--Auggie is bullied but gets through it and becomes everyone's pal.  The best part the addendum from Justin's--the bad guy's--point of view.  Your children would enjoy this book and its message.

I absolutely loved Richman's The Lost Wife so I was excited to see that she had a new book out.  I was disappointed.  The plot seemed predictable (That must be my word for the month) and I had the feeling she wrote this one in a hurry to capitalize on the success of her last one.  B+.

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