As the Morning Turns

Inspiration, MALIZ ONG, Trials

A new day…yes here I am, welcoming a new day. As I routinely do, I open my blinds to reveal another morning of life. This morning the sky is filled with low hanging gray clouds, you know the stormy and intimidating kind? Yet, as I comb the mass accumulation up above, a glowing brightness pierces a spot in this dreariness. The bright morning star may be shielded but its presence is not hidden. Then there was a patch drifting above the billows of gray revealing a hole where the blue sky peeked through.

A smile emerged from my lips as a ray of hope pierced through the shadows reminding me that gray storm clouds will certainly come again although they will be different the next time around. Still even the next time, no matter the intensity, those storms will pass away swept by the breath of light and life.


Thanks for the Memories That Bind Us

Memories, Camera

George Hodan

My fellow Baby Boomers: If you are blessed to grow older, in spite of the aches, pains, physical therapy and pills you may now have to take, you reflect on memories of old without waiting on a New Year to proclaim such memories. We are serenaded by those memories that bind us to our familial and communal network and find a comforting place in the arms of nostalgia.

We look at photos from our albums, remembering the great meals that we shared around a table fit for royalty, even if the place settings were chipped or mismatched. We remember our wonder years, the heartbreaks and challenges that accompanied growing up during a certain era or culturally categorized according to the status quo. We remember our first crush, our first love, our first embarrassment, our first failure, our first victory, our first kiss, our first tragedy, and our first disappointment, and then relish in the fact that we survived times we thought we would have died from the impact of great adversity.

Those of us who are blessed to have children, that turned into grandchildren, that turned into great-grands, we rejoice in seeing those new branches of life from the seeds we’ve planted. Although I was unable to have biological children, God had other plans of fruitfulness for me whether I expected them or not. We look fondly on the memories of close friends who have since passed away, as parents and other family members who have transitioned to that place I believe is in Heaven.

I find myself sitting, lost in multiple memories of ‘when’ and at times I am overwhelmed by melancholy from those who I think of often and are no longer here. Oh, how I would love to talk to them now and share many experiences I never thought I would ever have to deal with. Such is life.

But during these times of reflection, I am grateful to have memories that helped me to grow in ways I never imagined, even though many of those lessons were challenging. To those memories of old, I would not be what I am and where I am today if I did not have those experiences to build on, that bind me to generations of irreplaceable memories.

Ongoing Thoughts About Our Magnitude of Gratitude

Thanksgiving, Gratitude

Image credit: Kai Stachowiak

A week ago today we celebrated Thanksgiving and when asked what we were thankful for, the top three answers were family, friends, and food.

My thoughts for today, post-Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, makes one ask again and wonder what you are truly grateful for. Is it still the same as it was a week ago? I thought about this as I looked through my slew of emails in my inbox at the EXTENDED Black Friday/Cyber Monday offers.

I can’t help but think about the people affected by this year’s devasting hurricanes, floods, tornados, earthquakes, and wildfires who lost everything, some including their lives. I can’t help but think about the people who were brutally murdered by the hands of domestic violence, the school and nightclub shootings, the shootings in synagogues and other institutions of worship. Lives changed forever. Where does the level of the survivor’s gratitude stand today?

I think about the missing people who were found brutally murdered or individuals caught in the crossfire of injustice and hatred. I think about friends and relatives who passed away and people I knew who were tragically killed in a vehicle accident due to a driver who was driving impaired, or with a suspended/revoked driver’s license. Can survivors still find a glimmer of hope in gratitude?

I think about all of those innocent, immigrant children who were separated from their parents with the greatest of insensitivity, some who will probably never be reunited with their families ever again. I think about those parents who seek safe refuge for their families, who are demonized for trying to fulfill that responsibility of protecting and serving. Can they still remain hopeful and grateful?

As I watched the crowds who swarmed the aisles of stores during marathon hours of operation over the past week, seeking ‘slasher’ deals for items that may be obsolete this time next year, I am reminded of the humble gratitude of people who appreciate food donations or lonely seniors who have no family who checks on them frequently or anyone who will take the time to talk. 

So, in retrospect, I do not frown on those super fantastic deals that everyone is either rushing to brick-n-mortar or online stores to take advantage of. Nah. I simply say, let’s not forget how much we truly have to be grateful for each day, as we show compassion for the least of these, far passed the day we call and celebrate Thanksgiving.

A Cornucopia of Gratitude

Cornucopia, Food, Thanksgiving, Gratitude

George Grimm Howell

To what extent does your gratitude meter reach? It seems we only think about being thankful when it is convenient and when things are going smoothly. Yet, in times of turmoil and the unexpected “whoops” in life, we don’t feel that high level of gratitude when this is the time we should.

The hiccups in life all too often send us to a place of dismay, discouragement, and dissension, instead of hope, encouragement, peace, and harmony. When we take a daily dose of gratitude, we will find that the benefits are great. We experience better health, more peace, a greater appreciation for the common good, we are more kind, we give more, we are happier, but more importantly, we grow in greater awareness of daily thanksgiving.


It’s in the Storm That We Pay Attention

Storms, Life's Storms

George Hodan

In the approach or in the midst of a storm, our awareness antennas go up and we pay attention to the least little thing. During days when the sun is shining, the sky is blue, the clouds are a perfect opulent shade of milk-white, and the temperature is ideal, we get caught up in moments of either self-gratification or nonobservance of treasured details that surround us.

When there is an oncoming storm (hurricane, tornado, snowstorm, etc.) however, we zero in on the forecasts of local weather reports from meteorologists updating us on weather and climate changes. This helps us to prepare for the possibility of a shift to the worst case scenario in preparation for our safety.

We are glued to the TV, radio, Internet, Smartphones or any other broadcasting devices to give us the latest updates from the weather service. We pay attention to wind gusts, water surges and any other facet the eye of the storm may bring.

As we look at life, our lives and the lives of others whether in our community, city, state, nation, country or continent, we pay little attention to those important details that affect the health, welfare, and lives of so many others outside our circle. It seems as if it doesn’t affect us personally, then there is no need to care. Yet, like the weather-related and natural storms occurring throughout the seasons, just as the reach of the storm has a domino effect that affects the lives of hundreds and thousands of people, the same applies to the storms occurring in the lives of other people having an adverse and residual effect on us.

As we band together during natural disasters or other crises that impact our lives and that of our communities, so must we be cognizant of those challenging ‘details’ others experience that could be the epicenter of a massively destructive personal storm headed our way. It’s sad that it takes a storm for us to pay attention to the very things that mean the most to us, which we miss when they’re gone or destroyed.

How Far Do You Search for a Miracle?

 Miracles, Life

Image Credit: fotoshop fs


Sometimes we are so busy looking for big marvels to appear when we want them to…something phenomenal and spectacular that materializes like a rabbit suddenly being pulled from a magician’s hat.

Miracles, Life

Image Credit: Anna Langova

Yet in our searching and wishing for the miracles we want to appear at any moment from our pleading and prayers, we fail to see the multitude of miracles that already surround us, those we fail to recognize and are incapable of truly acknowledging.

Life, butterflies, Miracles

Image Credit: Petr Kratochvil

Sometimes we are so eager to seek a miracle so great that we fail to see the beautiful miracle of life we possess inside of us.

Life, Miracles

Image Credit: mohamed mohamed mahmoud hassan