No Betsy Ross for me

You just know that someone who will dress up as Betsy Ross for the annual 4th of July kiddie parade has to be a pretty special father.

And a great volunteer.

I was thinking about him today and how he’s impacted so many in his community by participating in the short three block event.

Even if it’s just by painting sweet smiles on the faces of the children.

In my book, that’s huge.

Maybe more of us can volunteer to help out our towns.

I know I can.

But you won’t see me dressing up as Betsy Ross.

I’m aiming instead for the role of the white bearded Uncle Sam on stilts.

Now that ought to get everyone laughing.

Journey down a slightly different road

The wheels are starting to turn in my head.

Though it hasn’t been quite two weeks since my husband passed away, I know I’ll remain committed to helping those afflicted with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. I’ve been involved on a daily basis for well over ten years with care for my spouse, Mom, and Dad.

And I won’t be stopping now.

Additionally, I want to assist caregivers in receiving more help. They need better options for respite care, emergency back up support, and assistance in their communities.

Plenty more hugs would be a great thing, too.

Caregivers are often unsung heroes and deserve so much more.

My wheels are continuing to pedal closer to a decision on how I will best make a difference this year, and next.

And once I make that decision, I expect I’ll experience one fulfilling journey.

It takes a village

We often hear, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

I was thinking last night how it also takes a village to help care for someone afflicted with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementias.

I was blessed to find such a village for my husband, Richard.

And it was a beautiful one.

Adult day care programs full of music and art to nurture the soul.

Caregivers to provide love and comfort while I was working or resting.

Medical professionals who have guided Richard and myself through his long journey.

My daughter and I will be thanking village residents for the great gifts they have shared
at my husband’s celebration of life this week.

And I believe Richard will be as well, in his own way.

Month of Gratitude: Day 21

I woke up at 4:30 this morning so I could get some extra chores done before going to work. Paying bills. Trying to balance my checkbook. Not my favorite tasks.

Coffee is helping me escape the fog of sleepiness, as is the background of chatter from the local morning newscast.

I just overhead the anchors talking about holiday shopping being fully underway. I wasn’t paying much attention until they said, “There is more optimism this year”.

That made me smile.

Optimism on the dark days of November can be especially challenging. But I’m thankful for the message, and I’ll take it to heart by being more optimistic this holiday season.

I’ll start by updating my shopping list for the homebound seniors and children I’ve chosen to shop for this month. I know if I work at it, I can find them some great gifts and still stay within my budget. That will make me smile.

And I hope these special recipients will be smiling in December as they open them.

Month of Gratitude: Day 15

Normally I’m not a big fan of shopping, but this time of year I love going to the grocery store. The excitement seems to build with every visit as we get closer to Thanksgiving. Displays are full of the traditional items I grew up with. Canned goods for green bean casseroles. Bags of cornbread stuffing. Cranberries in the refrigerator case. Colorful foil wrapped chocolate turkeys.

Every aisle evokes another memory of a Thanksgiving past. But they’ll always be a few new items to try as well. Cheese rolled in candied cranberries. Harvest blend herbal teas. Maple roasted sweet potatoes. Free samples are everywhere, putting a smile on this face.

And my smile widens as I see the efforts of my local retailers to gather extra goods for the food shelves. They’re donating food themselves, and also encouraging customers to pick up extra bags of groceries to donate in the bins. I’ll be doing so this weekend, and it looks like many others already have.

I’m grateful for this effort and I know many others will be, too.

Simple gifts

Three miles due west of here sits a stunning property listed for sale at $11,900,000. Three miles northwest of me is the food shelf and adjoining thrift store.

My car chose to go northwest today. I stopped at the thrift store to look around and drop off a check for an annual event that kicks off tonight, started 18 years back by the local shoe repair man. That first year he slept in a tent in the November snow and cold for two weeks to raise money to provide Thanksgiving meals to 100 people in the community. The autumn event has been going strong ever since and now raises funds to help the homeless and others in need all year long.

This evening as the wealthy owners of the impeccably decorated property start their fire in the shiny marble fireplace, others in the community will be sleeping in tents in the cold and wind. I’m hoping if the owners aren’t too busy cleaning their ten bathrooms, they’ll have time and be warm-hearted enough to write a very generous donation check.

I do know many others are making that time.