Gratitude, Virginia Pillars

Gratitude – November 24


Twas the morning of Black Friday, and all through the house,

Not a creature was stirring, except for the mouse…

Okay, not really true, because I’m up, but the mouse part is close to the truth. The little critters must think we offer free rent in our house, so I’ve declared war, as I do every year. But anyway, back to my gratitude reflection…

I hope my readers had a relaxed day yesterday. I know, I did. I ate turkey, which for me, is an annual treat that I dream about in anticipation for weeks. Why? My body reacts to foods that others can eat without any issues. Turkey, chicken, eggs, chocolate, and wine trigger migraines for me.

I can eat tiny amounts (of poultry, not chocolate) once in a while without problems, so once a year, my taste buds rejoice as I savor a helping of dark, turkey meat. I enjoy the homemade dressing and gravy, along with the sweet potatoes, squash casserole, and of course, the green bean casserole. I finished the meal with a slice of pumpkin pie and a cup of coffee. My mouth remains in a state of contentment this morning.

Yesterday, my family surrounded me – our three sons, three daughters-in-law, our daughter, and three of our four grandchildren. Our fourth grandchild made it to his eternal home over eleven years ago. He’s with us in spirit for every event. I call us the “Even Dozen Club,” but in reality, we are probably a bit odd.

We have fun together. We compete like Olympians as we play games, work together, and of course, tease each other. I’m certain I will hear about the year I forgot the sugar in the pumpkin pie for the rest of my life. And if I know my family, they’ll share the story at my funeral.

Oh, we do love to laugh at our mistakes.

After all, life is too important to take it seriously. I laugh at the silly things I do wrong, and revel in the things that go right.

My devotional readings this morning remind me to stay grateful.

I’m thankful for my life, and that I don’t feel the need to fight the crowds today to shop. I plan to write a few chapters for my first-ever novel. And eat another piece of pumpkin pie with my coffee.

Happy Black Friday!

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Gratitude, Virginia Pillars

Gratitude – November 23


Today, like many across our nation,  I plan to gather with loved ones to celebrate Thanksgiving. After I help my 91-year-old Mom in an hour, I will spend the rest of the day with my family.

Some of the top things on my gratitude list.

  1. My mom. At 91, she lives in her own home. She doesn’t get around very well, but she stays cheerful and thankful for every little thing that anyone does for her. She’s taught me to live in gratitude.
  2. My husband. We’ve carved out a wonderful life together for the past 42 years.
  3. Health. We’ve dealt with major illnesses in our family. We won most of the battles, and are grateful for our family’s health.  We both feel younger than our years. We enjoy our work, and our time away from it.
  4. My four children. All of them are successful as they travel their path of life. Today, they will  cook most of the our Thanksgiving meal. I bring the pies. If I beg, I may get to help with dishes. Most years they shoo me out of the kitchen.
  5. Our grandchildren. Enough said.
  6. My home. It’s comfortable and more than adequate. Plus, it’s clean enough to be healthy, but dirty enough to be happy.
  7. Life adventures. During a recent game with my grandchildren and nephew, we each counted the countries that we’ve visited. I counted twenty-one! I’m grateful to enjoy so many different cultures in my sixty-two years of life.
  8. I can read, I can write, I can create projects from fabric, therefore I never wonder what I can do to keep busy. I think I need another life time to read all the books on my TBR list, and sew all the fabric in my closet.
  9. I have nutritious and delicious food every day.
  10. I have the freedom to live my faith. I live in confidence because I know I am loved more than I can ever comprehend. Everything else is frosting on the cake.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Gratitude, My thoughts about Mental Health, Virginia Pillars

Gratitude – November 21


I spoke last night with a group in a local library. The more I share our story, the more I understand the statistic that one in four families deals with mental illness. I meet many of them.

  • I hear the heartache that accompanies them on their journey.
  • I witness the deep love they have for their family member.
  • I see the pride they have when their loved one manages it with success.
  • I see the hope that fills them when they see baby steps of improvement.
  • I witness courage, both in the families and those who are affected.

These families inspire me to continue to spread the word that mental illness is a brain disorder, not a character flaw.  I want to share that recovery is an option. I want to share that it’s hard for the families and those who are affected.

  • I dream of a day when mental illness is discussed the way we talk about diabetes, or cancer.
  • I dream of a day when our culture reacts to mental illness with the same compassion and support that happens when a family deals with cancer or other traumatic events.
  • I dream of a day when a blood test reveals the exact medication needed for the brain to function properly.
  • I dream of a day when we have adequate doctors, therapists, and counselors to assist those who need their expertise.
  • I dream of a day when every family I meets shares a success story with me.

Until then, I stay grateful for the health of my daughter.

  • I’m grateful the doctors found the correct cocktail of medication that allows her to overcome the symptoms of schizophrenia. She works full-time, and I know she makes a difference in the lives of the people around her.
  • I’m grateful that she understands her brain disorder and that she knows how to take care of her own health.
  • I’m grateful to have my daughter back. Twelve years ago I feared the worst. I remember crying out, “I just want my daughter back.” I’ve met too many families whose loved one lost the battle, and I weep with them.
  • I’m grateful for her recovery. Therefore, I want to shout it from the mountaintop – I want the world to know. The Lord walked beside me through our journey because I invited Him in to my day to day world. He helped me cope.

I live in gratitude.

  • I’m grateful for the people who come to my presentations on mental illness.
  • I’m grateful for those who support my work with a book purchase.
  • I’m grateful for the people who share the book with their friends and families. It helps bring undertanding to those not affected.
  • I’m grateful for those who take time to write a review. It helps keep our story in front of others.
  • Last, but not least, I’m grateful to the publisher, Familius, for the publication of Broken Brain, Fortified Faith and offering it right now for at half-price for those who wish to share our journey.

Together, let’s make a difference. Thank you!

 

 

 

 

Gratitude, Virginia Pillars

Gratitude – November 20


Sometimes, discouragement tries to get the better of me. Self-doubt reigns high.

Last Wednesday, I had such a day. I pushed myself all day to stay the course with my writing, in spite of the nagging thought – this isn’t any good. Who wants to read this? There’s so many great authors and stories out there.

Enter Thursday morning. I found an annonymous thank you note in my mailbox that told me to continue to shine the light of Christ in the world. Wow!

Then, I had an unexpected visitor within a day. We had a wonderful conversation about allowing the Holy Spirit to work through our lives. He affirmed via a text that he saw that in me. Wow #2.

To complete the gratitude adjustment, I opened my e-mail to an invitation to present for a group in early January. Wow #3.

Within twenty-four hours, three unrelated things gave me a boost to stay the course.

I’m grateful to the God winks that came at the exact time I needed it. And I’m thankful.

Happy Monday.

 

Gratitude, Virginia Pillars

Gratitude – November 18


I got to spend some time with my daughter, Amber, today. I enjoyed the few hours we spent in conversation face to face. Most of the time, we talk on our phones because she lives a couple of hours from me. This morning we went to breakfast and chatted in her livingroom with our feet up. It was so relaxing.

So today, I’m grateful for time spent with her, and the communication that was made easy by the invention of the telephone. It’s been around for a long time and most of the time I take it for granted. I’ve always had a phone. As a little girl on the farm, we had a party line that we shared with the neighbors. We each had a unique ring and you were supposed to answer your ring, and no other rings. Which we did, most of the time. I admit, when Mom and Dad were gone, I listened to the neighbor girl talk to her boyfriend. Shame on me.

When I first married Roy, we had a party line, too. That didn’t last long and we had a private line with just our ring coming into the house. One phone on the wall in the diningroom was sufficient.

Over the years, we added extensions in other rooms. This seemed like a luxury. We rarely made long distance phone calls because of the expense and used them with caution.

Enter the first hand held phones. We felt new freedom with our phone. We could walk from one room to another as we talked. Wow, we thought, can it get any better than this?

It could, and it did. Cell phones. Our first one looked like a purse, but boy, we sure enjoyed it. As they got smaller and more powerful, we upgraded until now we carry one almost all the time. It slips into our pockets. We take photos on them and share them instantly with whoever we please.

We communicate with ease with friends, family and business acquaintances without a second thought.

Today, I”m grateful for telephones.

Gratitude, My thoughts about Mental Health, Virginia Pillars

Gratitude – November 16/17


I look around and see volunteers who work tirelessly without pay or even recognition. Today, I am grateful for these good people who work for the benefit of others behind the scenes.

Today, I want to spotlight a group that many people have not heard about, and are not aware of their hard work and important service they provide. NAMI – The National Alliance on Mental Illness.

This national organization began in 1979 because a few families dreamt of a day when families received support as they dealt with their loved ones’ mental illness. It spread across our nation to reach people in all fifty states.

I found this group of wonderful, supportive people when I needed them the most. Our family was in crisis and I felt so alone. They drew me into their circle of education, comfort, and support as we dealt with the confusing world of mental illness. Through this fantastic organization, I learned about what my daughter faced, and I changed me. This helped me cope and support her in a way that enabled her to rebuild her life. She battled against her brain disorder, schizophrenia, and won. Today, she lives in recovery as she manages her illness with grace and dignity. She works full-time, manages all her own affairs (both medical and financial), lives on her own and has a social life that makes me tired.

Today, I tip my hat to the people who work to improve the lives of families everywhere, both in this wonderful organization, and to all the volunteer organizations that go about their mission to improve the lives of people they will never meet.

May God bless you in all your work. And thank you.

Gratitude, Virginia Pillars

Gratitude – November 10


I grew up with games. I can still remember sitting around the table after our evening meal with my brothers as we played a game. We spent many hours with the traditional board games and a variety of card games. We grew up a competitive bunch, passed the family tradition down to our children, who, in turn, shared this trait with their children.

Last night, I reaped the benefit of the “inherited” attitude. Two of my three grandchildren visited me. After we finished our evening meal, we cleared the table and the competition began.

The game started with plenty of challenges, and big talk. My nephew, who lives with us, my grandson, my granddaughter, and I had played this game a few weeks ago and everyone felt a determination to win. As the game progressed, the intensity increased until the four of us stood around the table anxious for our turn. “Hurry. Your turn. Don’t do that, Noooooo!” were a few of the comments tossed back and forth like an exchanged game piece. An abundance of groans accompanied moves that involved sabotoge, and bold reminders that Christmas was just around the corner.

As the game concluded, we’d share a roomful of laughter and a large dose of humility (for me.) The grandson schooled me with almost twice as many points. The nephew came in right behind him, while my granddaughter and I came close to a tie for last place.

We made a memory last night as we shared a family tradition, enjoyed a game, but mostly, the company. An eighteen-year-old, a fourteen-year-old, an eleven-year-old, and a sixty-two year old, who stayed up past her bedtime, had a blast as we enjoyed an evening that knew no age boundaries or restraints.

I’m a grateful grandma this morning. I missed posting my gratitude adjustment yesterday, but these three young people came in first on my list of priorities.

I spend my time with them in gratitude.