November 27, 2021
It is two days now since Thanksgiving Day this year. To be honest, I am struggling. Family life and past trauma and court decisions has taken a huge bite out of my spirit this year and Thanksgiving Day brought me to a standstill.
In our American culture, we celebrate family and all good gifts with a day to give thanks. Given how brutal this year as been, it did not feel honest, nor worth my energy to “celebrate.” So it was a quiet day with some of my kids — take-out fried chicken and movies. We watched the second ‘Hunger Games’ movie, ‘The Secret Life of Arietty,’ and ’27 Dresses.’ Not much ‘giving thanks’ mindfulness to the day.
Yesterday, the Day After Thanksgiving, my thoughts turned to the up-coming Christmas season and I spent much of the day wishing that I didn’t have “celebrate” that day, either. Bah humbug! Scuttle Black Friday and Santa and decorating. Give baking and cards the heave-ho. Ho, ho, ho nothing!
Today, I woke up feeling differently. Nothing has changed. The Seattle rain is still raining. The dishes still need doing. The aquarium still needs to be cleaned. The Littles are still with their father. The runaway is still on the run. My dad is still gone. School is still a mess for all 4 teens.
But inside of me, everything feels different. My mind is clear. The grumpies are gone. And the hope is back. My first thought this morning, after eschewing Black Friday yesterday (as I do every year), was about Small Business Saturday. And I sat up in bed and told myself that I must make a difference today for a local small business. Then I asked myself, “Why stop with just one action?”
I had my coffee this morning and I made a plan. It is sometimes hard to pick HOW to make a difference. There is so much need and so much pain and grief in our world right now! Where do we start? I say, start anywhere! Start small or medium or big! Every pebble of goodness we drop into the pond will ripple out and touch distant shores in ways we will never see. But don’t doubt that goodness comes of it!
–> To make a difference in the WORLD today I bought a chicken through World Vision at https://donate.worldvision.org/give/chickens. Families around the world can use one small change in their lives to create a big change in their community.
–> To make a difference in our NATION today I donated to the GoFundMe account for one of the young dancers critically injured in the Waukesha Christmas Parade tragedy last week. There are young 5 girls from the dance team that got hit by the driver of the car who are still in the ICU. All of them and their families have a long road of recovery ahead of them.
–> To make a difference LOCALLY today I shopped (and bought) small-business-local from 8th Generation at https://eighthgeneration.com/collections/jewelry/products/resilient-earring.
I bought these earrings for one of my daughters. Alice’s mom was murdered and she is part of the #MMIW movement (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women). As a native focused family, we shop #InspiredNatives (and not native inspired) merchandise. Red dresses focus on our resilient native communities.
–> To make a difference within my personal COMMUNITY today I wrote note cards to three elderly friends from my church congregation. They don’t get out much and hand written notes are valuable!
–> To make a difference within our NEIGHBORHOOD (and Mother Earth) I took a 45-minute walk (in the rain, of course) and picked up garbage along the busy sidewalk throughway that runs in front of our house. There are several small corner stores nearby and many people drop their wrappers and garbage along the way as they walk down the sidewalk. I got to greet several neighbors, too, while I was out and about.
–> To make a difference today at a MICRO level, I shopped for extra special supplies for our Giving Kiosk. We installed a small hutch in front our home at the beginning of the pandemic. It has a bookshelf for sharing books and a shelf that we and our neighbors keep stocked for our unhoused and low-income community members – food, toiletries and supplies. As many formal food banks can attest, the rarer items that are donated are socks, fresh bread (for all the peanut butter and tuna), can openers (for all the wonderful canned goods), oil and butter (for all those boxes of mac and cheese), and women’s feminine products. I bought some of all of these today and added them to our Giving Kiosk.
Tonight, my spirit is still calm. It’s not because I did good and I don’t expect gratitude for doing activities that were easy and within my abilities to do so. My spirit is calm because my eyes were able to see outside myself. That is the true gift and for that, I am THANKFUL!