The last of the three installments of what you are thankful for this year.
And thank you for sharing this with me, and your willingness to allow me to post it!
"I've never been happier to see Thanksgiving arrive. I am so blessed that the people I love are healthy and happy; everyone has a home and everyone is employed. This is a first, as the last few years were a big struggle for everybody in my family at one time or another. I couldn't be more thankful that everyone feels settled. We aren't doing any special or extravagant things, but just a regular and HAPPY celebration. Let me tell you, there is a lot to be grateful for this year." ...Brian
"Thanksgiving this year is going to be exciting! My sister lives in New York, and this year my mom and I are going to visit her. What I'm looking forward to are all the window decorations in New York City at the department stores. My sister has talked about it all year, and now I'll get to go with her and mom and see it in person! I also happen to know she has some other fun things planned for us during our visit. I've never been to New York during holiday season, so I'm really looking forward to it. It isn't just the Thanksgiving I'm looking forward to. I'm thankful for the time we get to spend together, and thankful to have my family." ...Kathy
"My family was destroyed when my brother committed suicide two years ago. This is the first year we're going to try to have a "regular" Thanksgiving and Christmas. Before now, the memory was too fresh and awful. We've all kind of emerged from a cave of darkness and are blinking in the light, if you know what I mean. There will be six of us, plus my parents' next-door-neighbors who are older and childless. I have mixed feelings about the holiday, because my brother loved Thanksgivings, and without him there is such a big empty space. But I'm thankful that we have each other, and that we'll be together on Thursday." ...Denise
"I lost my mother to cancer last year. For two years before that, she wasn't well, and the holidays have been very subdued. A good friend of mine told me that I owe it to myself, to her memory, and most of all, to my children, to 'carry on'. So that's what I'll do: I'll pick up my skirts, and make her delicious turkey and stuffing. It's going to be hard, but I am so thankful for my family and friends that it seems like the right step to take." ...Linda
"I'm thankful to be healthy. I'm thankful for my mother doing a great job of keeping us in line, and guilting us when she needs to. I'm thankful for my dad's sense of humor, and being around for us growing up. I'm thankful for my brother, who is an artist, and sees the world through fresh eyes. I'm thankful for my friends, who understand my feelings and are supportive. I'm thankful for a job I love, teaching high school kids. And can I say I'm thankful for you? You helped me more than anyone in the program to be a good teacher. You gave me the key: building relationships with the students. PRICELESS! And, you showed me HOW...There's much to be grateful for, and I never forget that. (If you don't print this, you're a coward! Take the applause!) Wishing you and everyone who reads this many blessings to be thankful for." ...Joyce
"I accidentally came across your post about A Month of Gratitude. It got me thinking. There doesn't seem to be much I feel grateful or thankful or happy about right now. In between jobs, financial problems, all that regular difficulty of living. But there's more. Along with my family and friends, I suffered the loss of too many people recently to feel that happy spirit of thanksgiving. I had to think about it long and hard, what it is I'm thankful for. It finally came to me. While things have permanently changed, it's temporary. All of it. While the people lost won't ever be here again, while the job I loved is not in my life anymore, it's not going to feel like this forever. It's temporary. And it's time to say I love you to the people who are here, time to appreciate the simple things I have and can do. Because I see that it's temporary, and this is just a period of difficulty, I'm thankful if nothing else, that this too will pass." ...Jack
"The worst trouble I get into is when I compare myself to other people. It just makes me miserable and unhappy, and unable to see the good things of my own life. All I have to do is look around a little bit. Yes, I wish this had happened, and those things hadn't happened. But look around! I don't have health issues, I'm not alone in the world, I have a good mind. When I take stock of just my own life, I am beyond thankful. I feel blessed for all that was, all that is, and whatever is to come." ...Lori
"Recently I was asking someone what they would be doing for Thanksgiving. We had quite a conversation from there. There's a whole lot of misery out there - enough to go around and heap itself on everyone. I remembered that one of my professors unintentionally once said this profound thing along the lines of It's not the event. It's perception. And our values and understanding of the world and our interactions should lead to certain outcomes, we believe. But it doesn't work that way. I'm trying to change my lens, take the drama out of how I perceive things. It's hard to explain briefly, but I think you get the idea. So this year, I am thankful for asking that plain question that lead to a full conversation that lead to a revelation for me." ...Sarah
"This year's Thanksgiving holiday will be in Seattle. We'll eat turkey, turkey sandwiches, turkey soup. We'll laugh and watch television. We'll help my parents put up the outdoor Christmas lights. We'll go to the needle. We'll have a helluva lot of fun, and maybe a couple of arguements. I'm thankful there's a set aside time, one time of the year, where we have a reason to get together and hang out, eat, and have fun. Nothing fancy or fussy, nothing gourmet or extraordinary. Just regular, good, old-fashioned stuff. That's what I'm most grateful for: simple times filled with safe, comfortable things shared with people who've known me all my life." ...Andrew
More of what you've shared with me, these on a light, bright note. Enjoy!
"I'll be in Grosse Pointe, Michigan for Thanksgiving with my family and friends - about 30 people. It'll be crowded and hot inside. Likely as not, there will be snow showers, which means the little ones will all be inside and underfoot. We don't do a sit-down dinner any more because there are so many of us. But my grandmother will gather everyone to hold hands in a circle to say grace. This year, I'm the photographer. I'm thankful for having the warmth of family on Thanksgiving; grateful for all the Thanksgiving memories I've been blessed to have in the past; and so glad we all make the effort to be together on the holiday." ...Chantelle
"This year Thanksgiving is at my house, here in Santa Fe. We got snow and some wicked weather over the weekend, so it'll be a winter wonderland when everyone gets here Wednesday night. My favorite part of the family gathering is on "Black Friday". We don't go shopping, but we do put up a tree and everyone helps to decorate it. It happens at whoever's home we go to, and this is the first time my husband and I will be doing this at our home with our families. I am thankful to live in such a beautiful place, and to have my family gathering here this year." ...Chloe
"This is the first year since my divorce that I'm hosting Thanksgiving for the kids and grandkids. My ex is coming which I'm thankful for because it's taken a long time for us to be friends. I live in New York, and my folks live too far away to travel here, so I'll miss seeing them, but we're doing Christmas with them - in Texas. Anyway, I'm grateful that everyone is putting aside the awkwardness for this one day, and joining together as a family." ...Bob
"A year ago my partner and I rented a big cabin in Colorado for this Thanksgiving. We really took a chance on this because there can be treacherous weather for traveling, but everyone plans to come. There will be probably 14 of us, but that number could go up! We love to host parties, and hosting the traditional Thanksgiving dinner is going to be a lot of fun for us. I'm glad that on Saturday I'll be packing up to come home along with everyone else because otherwise, I'd have "empty house syndrome" for a week after. Happy Thanksgiving, to you, dear Shane, and to all your readers, too!" ...Matt
"We're starting the Thanksgiving holiday early this year. Hannukah begins on Wednesday, November 27, so we are all going to my grandparents' home in Florida then. I know, it's cliche - but it's true! It'll be hot and sunny, not a traditional Rockwell day. And, Bubbe (my grandma) will make brisket and turkey. We aren't really kosher, but there will be a lot of women making Hannukah food. I'm thankful for my Bubbe doing this, all the traditional foods, some great jokes, all her yiddish expressions. And I'm grateful she is still alive and healthy." ...Rachel
"Santa Barbara, baby! My sister, brother-in-law, and my two neices are hosting turkey day this year in their big farmhouse in Santa Barbara. The whole family is in California now, so it makes travel easy on all of us. I'll drive down from San Francisco on Tuesday, and help with the preparations. They love to cook, and so do I, so all of us will have fun, eat too much, watch a lot of football - and get up WAY TOO EARLY Friday morning to see the women off for their shopping adventures. It's easy and it's fun. My gratitude is for these things, kind of simple pleasures, with family. We all leave energized for Christmas, a little fatter, happier, and thankful." ...Richard
"I live in KC, as you know, but I'll be going to Saint Louis for Thanksgiving. My aunt has a great place there - well, actually, it's in Creve Coeur. My parents are coming from Chicago, and my sister and brother are bringing their families from Wisconsin and Minnesota. Travel can be rough, but everyone is heading out early. Most of us will stay with my aunt and uncle over the weekend, and then on Monday - I'll be back in KC doing the CyberMonday thing! I'm thankful that I have family to be with, people who I love in my life, and that I can travel to be with them." ...Haley
"Where will I be for Thanksgiving? This year we're changing it up. The kids are going to be with their spouses' families, and with us for Christmas. So this Thanksgiving, my husband and I will be making and serving dinner at the local shelter. The shelter served dinner to about 200 families last year, and the numbers are expected to be up to 400 this year. I'm thankful to be able to help in this endeavor, because it makes me feel like I'm showing gratitude by serving those in need. There but for the Grace of God..." ...Sharon
"By the time you post this I will be in England. We have family there, and decided to accept their invitation to come for a visit. We all can use the get-away, and while I was debating whether or not to go for a couple of months, now I'm thankful to be making memories with people I love , and thankful for the vacation. I' plan to hit some pubs, and take maybe a thousand pics. Grateful, very very thankful that I have the means and ways to do this." ...David
"My family does a big old-fashioned Christmas. Everyone scatters to different places for Thanksgiving. Five of my friends and I are going to spend the day together watching football, old movies, making drinks, and eating all our fave foods. Each of us is bringing something already prepared - we drew slips of paper out of a jack o'lantern on Halloween - and I am responsible for salad items. This has to be the weirdest Thanksgiving ever for me, but I'm thankful that other single ladies are doing it our way. This is gonna make a fun memory!" ...Kayla
Never did I imagine that I'd have more than thirty people sending me their thoughts about what they are grateful for this year - but that's just what happened. Thank you, thank you!
And, it's not too late. I'll be posting your comments and thoughts through Wednesday, so you are welcome to email me right up until then. Meanwhile, let's start with ten voices that will resonate with many of you.
"Here goes. I am grateful for mindless television. You heard me! If it transports my mind to some other place, doesn't require a huge amount of concentration, is well-filmed, and is broadcast in high definition - well, that's a big blessing. (Humor gets bonus points.) I have a lot of spilled milk to cry over, I have my fair share of worries, and no shortage of problems. There are profound and meaningful things for which I am eternally grateful, of course. But I have to say that right now, with drama all around me, it's terribly good to be able to sit down with a beer, and let the mindless entertainment roll. It's not a solution, but it brings the relief of temporary escape. Maybe that's just what's needed now and then. All I know is that I'm just glad as hell to sit down to some crap tv now and again. Sencilla vida!" ...Mitch
"This year, I'm giving thanks for one thing that really covers a lot of territory. I'm thankful that my brother nearly died last year. Does that sound awful? The thing is, his life was out of control with drugs and alcohol, partying, dangerous sex, and irresponsibility. He'd listen to no one. He'd lost his job, his wife, and his children wanted no part of his up-then-down-unpredictable personality. Then: the inevitable overdose. All our anger turned to fear and grief. But he didn't die, by the grace of fate: he lived against all odds, all the doctors' calculations. The recovery from near-death took months. But it changed his life, it made him look long and hard at the rough road he was running on. He went to an outpatient addiction treatment program. It's making a difference for him and for us. I wish it hadn't come to him the way it did, but I'm thankful right to my bones that circumstances forced his hand. We have my brother back." ...Marisol
"In early summer, there was just a moment, really fleeting, really brief. I caught my reflection in a window downtown. I looked happy, I looked like I 'had it together'. At that time I'd been weighed down by unemployment, job interviews that went nowhere, problems paying rent and other bills, and honest-to-god homesickness. So that moment, that reflection, it was a big moment. I didn't stop and look or linger - but I carried that moment on the bus, up into the apartment. It was on my mind for days: live up to what you reflect to the world. Let the deep waters be still. I am filled with gratitude for that moment, because it lifted my hopes and my attitude. Nothing drastic, mind you. Just a shift, a sunrise of possibility."...Barbara
"I'm always thankful for the big things, year round, year in and year out. But I look for small blessings to remember and be thankful for each year. This year I'm thankful for my three co-workers, who are like-minded about politics, movies, books, and humor. They make a tough job and a competitive work environment more than bearable - they make it pleasant. And I know from other places I've worked that it's a rare thing to have the kind of people who you like and want to work with as your co-workers. Just very, very thankful for them." ... Tate
"Up until September, I worked at a lab. It was 'part-time' job, meaning the hours were long. I'm a scientist who works in research, which is a peculiar job, I know. The funding for every lab I've worked for in my career is based on government grants and private funding. Well, the money for the project I'd been involved with for more than a year dried up. Poof! And six of us were let go. Unemployed. Unexpectedly unemployed. Grumblings point to mismanagement of funds, overspending on administration, rising costs of equipment and overhead. Who knows? But there was a miracle waiting. I finally had enough free time to pursue looking for and interviewing for a more secure position, a full-time one. I interviewed in lots of places during late September, October, and November. And on November 13, I got a call offering me a job I'd interviewed for: a full-time one, in a lab that is well-respected, within an hour's drive from my hometown! Yippee! The pay is good, the benefits are good, and I'm so happy to be closer to family and friends. I am so grateful for being fired, because it allowed me to be hired..." ...Ellen
"When I take the time to reflect about my life, there are too many blessings to count. Instead, I'm grateful for the entire package, you know? So very thankful to be able-bodied, to have good people in my life, to be able to work, and to be able to join my big, loud, Italian family for Thanksgiving this year! Thankful for the ravioli, the fennel salad, the wines, the somewhat choking cigar smoke of my uncles and dad, the yelling of the kids in the yard, the sounds of the kitchen - all of it. Thankful, thankful. (And hoping there'll be no major disagreements, which always lends an edge of excitement and small danger to the family holidays.) ...Tony
"I'm a survivor, and so are you. I don't know anyone who makes it to adulthood without being damaged in some way. Lots of us make it in spite of the damage and sadness and messes. It doesn't matter if you are creative or brilliant or successful. You've had to suffer along the way. I'm thankful to have survived all the bad stuff: illness, awful people, accidents, loss. I'm thankful to be alive and counting my blessings." ...Robert
"For the first time in my life, I have a garden space. It's small. But I have shrubs and flowers, and a few pretty trees right outside my door. I dig around, pull weeds, hand water plants, pluck off dead blooms. I feel the warmth of the sun, the chill of wind, and watch the changes in the plants as the seasons change. It's really very simple. No organic, big-deal farm-to-table stuff - just pretty plants. And a space that is healing for whatever woes I'm having. I love that darn garden, and this year, I will be giving thanks for a space where I can do what makes me peaceful and happy." ... Lisa
"As far back as I can remember I've had a lot of fears. Anxiety, I guess. Afraid to fly, afraid of big parties, what to wear, do I bring a gift? Riddled with worry over simple things that weren't simple for me. This year, I made a list of a dozen things or so to 'fix'. It didn't take long to see that the list was too long. So I decided on 2 small things to do to overcome the anxiety.
1. I learned to swim. YES, I DID. And I passed the swimming test. I have no plans to use that anytime in any big way, but I was very anxious about swimming pools or going in a boat. I'm proud of myself for jumping this hurdle, and thankful that I had the will to do what I did. Most of all, thankful for the swimming teacher, who knew how worried-anxious-embarrassed I was, and was so patient and kind.
2. I rode in every elevator I came across. I'd promised myself to get over this, because climbing flights of stairs is getting old. At first, I planned to do it once a week. After a few weeks, I overcame the sweaty, hot, anxiousness. I'm thankful that a couple of friends did this with me, and were so encouraging.
Maybe this coming year, I'll work on 3 or 4 things! But I'm thankful for having the strength to face my fears, and thankful to the people who helped me overcome all that needless worry!" ...Connie
"One word: health. I'm thankful for my health and the health of those I love. I can walk, I can eat whatever I choose, I don't need medication. My blood pressure is normal, I don't get many colds, and any pain or discomfort from headaches or muscles is small and insignificant. I lost several people I love this year: diabetes, stroke, heart attack, infection, cancer. Only one was over 50 years old. So above all, this year, I'm grateful for my health." ...Bret
Henry van Dyke was an American author, born in 1852. He graduated from Princeton in 1873, and from the Princeton Theological Seminary in 1877. He was a prolific author of short stories and poetry, and even wrote lyrics to several hymns. The only writing of his that I am personally acquatinted with is the one above, about Thanksgiving.
There is a definite uncertainty in our world. We all remember a time when media was cautious, scrupulous, even, about breaking news (such as the JFK assassination). Now, we can count on several versions of any breaking news, each one unique to its media source. (We might also say that there are potentially thousands of versions, if we count the blogs who are selective about the facts used for their posts.)
Friends on the one hand, are grateful to Obamacare for bringing their health insurance costs down by hundreds of dollars. Friends on the other hand say they are paying at least one hundred dollars more for a prescription under the Obamacare plan.
In California, there is a near-riot atmosphere regarding food stamps. SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is the federal program that we commonly know as Food Stamps. On November 1, 2013, the food stamp program in California (known as CalFresh) saw changes. If you are a family of 2 with a gross income of 130% of the Federal poverty level (in other words, a gross income of $1681 or less), you can get the food stamps benefit for $347. You must be able to provide the state with proof that you've lived in this country for 5 years; and evidence of both earned and unearned income (including disability, social security, Veteran's benefits, and unemployment benefits): and resources (such as cash, savings, checking, personal property). Finally, you must provide evidence of working a minimum of 20 hours a week, with pay, if you are able-bodied. You can check these facts at the state website, here. But I've heard it all: they're giving away food stamps; able-bodied lazy people get food stamps, you name it. Uncertainty about our own economic forecast breeds uncertainty and a lack of effort to learn the truth, I think.
And then there is the American involvement in foreign lands, far from our familiarity and far from our home. Wars that aren't called wars - although we have soldiers that are killed every day. Is it war? If not, what do we call a situation in which trained soldiers are ...well, doing what they do in these foreign lands?
Uncertainty is shakey ground. I'm still mystified by NFL players routinely taking oxygen on the sidelines and drip IVs in the locker room. Does anyone else think this is...weird? Somehow wrong? Call me crazy, but this seems unhealthy.
There's a strong body of evidence that our country is headed for some kind of economic disaster. Maybe an epic disaster. I hear it from people who have read extensively about our economic conditions. I found and read a few articles on my own, but nothing that imparts a feeling of panic or doom. However, I kind of wonder about the large number of people from Hong Kong who are currently buying homes (in cash) in the Bay Area of California. (One resource for this is a well-respected real estate agent, a graduate from Harvard, who watches such things for market trends. Email me, and I'll pass a copy of the newsletter along to you.)
As humans, we need consistency; but we also need change. Change makes way for growth, which is also important to happiness. We know uncertainty from the last 15 years. We also know there is no guarentee for certainty in any part of life. Most important to living well is flexibility, adaptability, and acceptance.
But another factor is important in all this, and that factor is gratitude. Dr. Murali Doraiswamy is head of the division of biologic psychology at Duke University Medical Center. He is also a proponent of using the strategy of thankfulness to increase wellness. He talks of studies that show measurable effects of body and brain systems, including serotonin, dopamine, stress hormones like cortisol, cardiac rhythms, blood pressure and even blood sugar.
Renee Jain is a coach of positive psychology who says that humans have a 'negativity bias' where bad stuff in our lives outweighs the good by a ratio of 3:1. The bias was a survival tactic originally helping humans to survive threats in the environment. Although we no longer have the saber-toothed tiger waiting outside the door to eat us, our bias remains. It causes humans to hone in on negative events, emotions and interactions.
Gratitude helps to counteract the negativity bias by focusing attention on the good stuff of life. Jain cites studies in which people who wrote down 3 good things (ordinary or extraordinary) that happened that day before they went to bed for a week, found the people had increased happiness and decreased depressive symptoms for up to six months.
Another strategy is to spend some time re-playing something that's happened, something positive, or that made you happy, in your mind, like a movie. The brain releases dopamine in response to this, a neurotransmitter that makes us feel good - or at least better.
I know people who say they must consciously choose to focus on good things, positive things, and ignore the bad stuff. A friend of mine once told me, "I have to deal with bad things, ugly things, things I dread. But when I've done that, I have to really make an effort to shift gears and start thinking about good stuff. If I don't make that effort consiously, I get paralyzed and trapped in the siphon of increasingly overwhelming negativity. Bah!"
So maybe there are blue skies in the reflection of life, after all. I think that in a world, culture, and life that is filled with uncertainty, it's especially important to look for the things we can be grateful for, and to focus on them.
Big things. Small things. Moments, hours, weeks. We will cry, we will grieve. We will not be here forever, and neither will those we love be here forever. We will miss them. We will miss the past, and fondly remember some of it.
Circling back to van Dyke, I know of what he speaks. Whenever someone is in a struggle of some kind, overcome with negative people and difficulty, a small kindness is overwhelmingly tender. It can't help but evoke a deep gratitude in our hearts.
As we go about our daily lives in uncertainty, we should remember the kindness of others toward us; moreover, let's keep in mind how good it would be to pay it forward. Focus on what's good, lend a hand when you can, be watchful for each other. That's my Thanksgiving wish for you.
November arrives, usually with fog and chilly nights. This is not the autumn of magnificent color change that the east coast enjoys. But it is a wonderland of yellow and orange; some fire red, and a blanket of scattered leaves. Many years' worth of Novembers were blustery with grey days that promised rain. When the rain arrived, it came on the winds from the southeast.
This year, all bets are off. The sky is a crisp, bright blue. Some nearby trees are stripped of their leafy garments, exposing the moss creeping along the northern branches. The sunlight seems deep, and far away - more like the depth of winter. I can't remember the last rain we had.
It's already mid-month, and time is the only storm that seems to be upon us.
But still, this is the month of and for gratitude. Thanks for blessings, however humble and small, perhaps only a moment in the day, that we notice as being somehow perfect. And while I dream of winter storms to rail outside my windows, of cozy wood fires and fluffy throws to nestle in, I do recognize the small blessings and the large ones, in my life.
Many of the people I know have experienced hardship in the last few years. From the unspeakable sorrow of losing a child to turned-upside-down lives from economic hardship; from the loss of a parent or spouse to senseless misery inflicted on undeserving people; from economic disaster to loss of health - I know people and their stories that match more circumstances of hardship than ever before.
We have choices, however minute, about where we put our focus. For a number of years, I was expert at focusing my attention on my artwork and friends. I could travel a short distance, and submerge myself into another world altogether. As the storms of time marched ever forward, it grew more difficult. The sheer length, the duration of hardship sometimes does that.
In less than two weeks, the American tradition of Thanksgiving will arrive. Where will you be? What blessings will you count?
Send me a note, an email, or comment to tell me of your gratitude. Look for your thoughts in an upcomping post, because I believe that we are - no matter the challenges we face - able to find small blessings every day.
So much magic in such a few short days! Halloween candies have be distributed (or coveted), the carved jack o'lanterns are a little wrinkled, the make-up washed off, and costumes removed. But now comes the final preparation for Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, which appropriately lands on All Souls' Day. This is one time where tradition rules, and luckily, this year the November 2nd date falls on a Saturday. (Sadly, the Oakland Museum in Northern California, decided to hold their Dia de los Muertos party on October 27. <shaking my head> Why not just have it, oh I don't know, on September 16th?)
Today, people are putting finishing touches on their altars, planning the makeup for their tribute, or working with their calacas masks and clothing. Dances are practiced, mariachi bands are rehearsing, while candles and marigolds are purchased in great quantities.
The poster, above, is from the events planned for San Francisco's Day of the Dead celebration. You can read about it here.
But that's tomorrow, when we honor all the souls we've lost and love. So, what is November 1's All Saints' Day?
Originally, this was a concoction of the Roman Catholic Church, many sources say. The purpose of the day was to honor the less famous saints who didn't already have their own feast day, and the martyrs. But that was in contrast to the innocents, or the faithful but not beatified- who are honored on the following day, All Souls' Day.
All Saints' Day in our modern world is marked by rituals practiced by members of many congregations. In New Orleans, people gather in local cemeteries and repair, whitewash, and decorate the graves with flowers.
St. Joseph Cemetery, New Orleans
In St. Martinsville, Louisiana, there is a more French flavor to the observations. People there lay wreaths and bouquets on even the most obscure graves; this is followed by a priest's blessing of the graves.
But around the world, All Saints' Day is observed, and much of it looks like Dia de los Muertos. Here, a photo from Croatia, taken by Ivan Klindic.
A sheaf of wheat, a rayed hand of God, and the crown are all symbols of All Saints Day. If you aren't headed for the cemetery to honor the unknown or obscure, or loved ones of your own, you can still portray remembrance with those symbols in your home. Below are some examples of these traditional items.
If you are like most of us, you'll probably hold your observances for November 2, and spend today in preparation. Regardless of what you do, or your intentions, November is a month for gratitude. It seems fitting to spend a moment or two in gratitude for those who are no longer with us, but who touched our lives; to remember that our connections to beings passed are part of us always.
Blessings to you, and today, blessings to all those who've left this world - saints and sinners, the wise and the innocents, humans and other living beings, one and all.