Tag Archives: thanksgiving

A moment from today I am thankful for

IMG-8514

After dinner in New York with son Sean and grandpuppy Henrik

Traci Smith, author of Faithful Families: Creating Sacred Moments at Home has provided a gift of the November 2018 Gratitude Every Day calendar. I am using it as an opportuity to revisit photos and post them as they speak to gratitude.

Leave a comment

Filed under Family, New York, Photo

Purple flowers, Central Park 10

Central Park 23 November 2012 3 (1024x683)

Battered,
bruised,
bent,
but
beautiful
as the year moves
toward a close.

Central Park, Manhattan
23 November 2012

Leave a comment

Filed under New York, Photo

Purple flowers, Central Park 8

Purple Flowers Central Park 23 November 2012 1(1024x683)

 

A day after Thanksgiving (2012),
a bee enjoys
late-blooming flowers

Central Park, Manhattan
23 November 2012

Leave a comment

Filed under New York, Photo

Vegetarian stuffing

That’s vegetarian stuffing.

I heard the words over the soft, smooshing plop the big scoop of stuffing made as it landed on my plate.

That’s vegetarian stuffing.

That certainly explained all the green stuff among the bread.

That’s vegetarian stuffing. The two over here are oyster.

Vegetarian stuffing? As in filled with vegetables. With no oysters. My mind spun quickly as I pondered my options.

“Vegetarian?” I said.

Vegetarian. And oyster over here.

“Really? Vegetarian?”

Really. You look like it does not excite you.

I recalled a moment at a buffet involving a friend of my grandmother, pickled pig’s feet placed unwanted on a plate, and a subtle return to the buffet table to replace them in the serving dish.

“It would not be my first choice. Especially with the oyster option,” I moved the plate toward the pan as I spoke.

Go ahead. You can put it back.

I quickly scrapped the vegetarian stuffing back into the pan. And even more quickly moved to the oyster stuffing and filled the now empty spot on my plate.

As I did, a new definition flitted across my mind:

Home is where you can put the food back with everyone watching and no one will criticize you.

Silently giving thanks for having options in a world where so many do not, I went in search of more food. As I did, I heard the repeated explanation:

That’s vegetarian stuffing.

See you along the Trail.

6 Comments

Filed under Family, Food, Friends

To a community of accountability – thank you!

My friend Laura Mariko Cheifetz has recently written twice about communities of accountability. As she notes:

I could operate all by myself as an individual, but that would be a lie. I am who I am because of the communities that form(ed) me and support(ed) me.

Laura notes that in some instances, she reports to communities of accountability. In other cases, while that word might be too strong, she still exist in, and nurtures, relationship with that community.

After reflecting on some of the communities to which she is accountable, Laura poses the question:

What are your communities of accountability? Your church? Your neighborhood? How do you stay accountable to them?

I would name a number of such communities in my life. The list that follows is not necessarily in order of importance. It is the communities in the order that they occur to me – bearing in mind that I am on a new allergy medication at the moment. I am accountable to:

  • family
  • the Presbytery of New York City
  • the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
  • the staff of the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations
  • the Compassion, Peace, and Justice Ministry
  • the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board
  • colleagues within the UN community and across the church who work for justice
  • the community where I live
  • a circle of friends built through the years – a circle that expands and contracts as we move through life
  • people of color (and white people) with whom I seek to challenge racism
  • women (and men) with whom I seek to challenge sexism
  • LGBT sisters and brothers (and straight brothers and sisters) with whom I seek to challenge heterosexism
  • young people (and older people) with whom I seek to challenge ageism

How do I stay accountable? In different ways with different groups at different times. Sometimes accountability comes in filling in forms and making reports. Sometimes accountability comes through being together and engaging in conversation. Sometimes accountability comes from recalling lessons taught and values shared. Sometimes accountability comes in remembering – allowing people’s faces and voices to fill my mind when we are far apart.

Two areas for further work come to me as I reflect on communities of accountability:

  1. Where do my communities intersect? Who is part of more than one community? What does that mean? Is it something to nurture intentionally? How would I do that?
  2. Where do I need to build new communities of accountability? The area of economic justice and injustice is one area that comes to mind immediately. Where else? What will that take on my part?

I have much to ponder. And I am grateful to Laura for opening this area of thought for me.

But before I close, I want to give a shout-out to a community of accountability that means a great deal to me at the moment. About two months ago, I decided to make another effort at self-care. I have made some remarkable progress although a long, long, long way remains to go. The effort combines exercise (walking at the moment) and reducing calories. I regularly bore Facebook with the information about my exercise for each day. That simple act somehow helps hold me accountable. Friends comment from time to time – different friends each time. Their feedback matters; but it is the posting that makes the difference.

I have also created a community of accountability – pulling together a number of friends and family who have expressed concern for my health – and who have voiced support for my efforts. This group receives weekly and monthly updates on my progress in terms of eating and exercise and weight loss and blood sugar control.

Some individuals have asked to be part of the group. Others I have drafted. I blind copy the group with the emails so they do not necessarily know who else is a member.

Each report receives a few responses – no one responds all the time – everyone responds once in a while. I deeply appreciate the responses. But even more deeply, I appreciate that the group members are willing to receive my updates.

To the members of this accountability group – to my family and friends – I say thank you. With your support, I have made a great start. The journey continues.

See you along the Trail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Comments

Filed under Antiracism, Exercise, Family, Food, Friends, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations

Staking my claim

Clouds (1024x768)Today brought the easiest, smoothest trip I have had in a long, long time.

I travel quite a bit – not as much as some – but more than most. I write about my travel at times.

I have had some issues when I travel. I admit they pale in comparison to those faced by my friends Nancy and Sung Yeon to whom I extend condolences. But anyone who travels as often as I do will have some issues. They happen.

When they happen, I usually whine. Loudly. Widely. Boldly.

And when things go well, I admit that, too.

I figure saying nice things about good travel grants me the privilege to whine. Loudly. Widely. Boldly. No logic supports that thinking, but it works for me.

Today’s travel began in Louisville. My last meeting was a consultation between the Presbyterian Church of Korea and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

I checked in for my flight, cleared security, and began to search for something to eat. At the restaurant, I met my friends in the Korean delegation at the airport and had another really good conversation with them. We hugged before they boarded their plane. It left first.

Then my flight departed on time. A smooth flight with amazing views. It arrived early – thirty minutes early – at LaGuardia. My bag appeared as the second bag on the carousel at baggage claim. I literally walked out the door and into a cab. The ride home was simple. 

Would that travel could be like that for all of us every time. I know it will not. And now that I have given thanks for today’s trip, I have staked out my claim to whine away when things go wrong.

See you along the Trail.

Leave a comment

Filed under Friends, Louisville, New York, Photo, Travel

A friend prays

Apparently I am not the only one who writes while traveling. On her way home from Ecumenical Advocacy Days, my friend Joann Lee wrote a powerful prayer that addresses her personal situation and expresses universal realities at the same time. Here are some excerpts:

Dear God,
There are so many moments when I am grateful that I am not pregnant and without children:

  • Every time I gorge myself on sushi and beer or enjoy a glass of scotch in the evening, I give you thanks;

But God, despite all these blessings, I still really, really want to be pregnant, have a baby, and raise children.

Sometimes, I feel like those formerly barren matriarchs of the Bible:

  • like Hannah who prayed fervently in the temple, asking, as if drunk, for a child, seeking refuge in her faith and bargaining her child’s future profession in exchange for answered prayers – like Hannah, I say, “Me, too, God. I’ll force my child into ministry, too, if that’s what it takes!” [note: Joann is an ordained teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)]

Because I just want so much to…

  • to see two lines on that plastic pregnancy test, and since we’ve already experienced that, to then also hear a heartbeat on the ultrasound and witness a healthy baby being born;

I want all these things, God. But in the mean time, I’ll continue to eat sushi, drink scotch, travel, and be grateful. Because this, too, is a blessing.

Amen.

Check out Joann’s whole prayer.

I stand in awe of her grace and courage, faith and hope. I hold her and Mike in my prayers in this season of waiting. I pray for all who yearn for a child. I pray that all children experience love. May it be so.

See you along the Trail.

Leave a comment

Filed under Friends