December 28, 2013
I made a pot of chicken and vegetable soup for Christmas dinner (and supper). And before you say, “Poor old woman,” this was a deliberate choice based on several factors – the main one being, had I bought a whole turkey, or even a turkey breast, I would still be eating parts of it next Christmas (let alone all the “fixings”). To the bits of roasted chicken I found hiding away in the vegetable section of my freezer, I added some chicken broth, some diced cabbage, spinach and green beans from my indoor winter garden, corn and diced onions from my summer garden and some carrots and peas (neither of which I’ve had any luck growing) from a bag of frozen supermarket vegetables. In honor of the cabbage and spinach, I threw in a healthy handful of rice and a dash of soy sauce. With a slice of toasted whole-wheat bread topped with butter and a chuck of dark chocolate for desert, the meal was both delicious and sufficient.
Other than listening to Christmas music and wishing friends and family (including you, dear readers) a merry Christmas or a happy holiday season, I don’t celebrate the day. Nor do I celebrate the coming of a new year, other than to be surprised (and grateful) I’ve survived the old year.
As the new year approaches, it does seem wise, however, to spend some time reflecting on things I’ve accomplished, not yet accomplished or have been particularly grateful for this past year. I find it frees up my mind to look forward – to what I need to or want to accomplish in the coming year. So, in that spirit, here are the things I’ve been most grateful for this last year:
I’m grateful for my health.
I’m grateful that both of my older brothers and my sister, who is a year younger than I am, are still around and in relatively good health, that, after all these years, we still love each other and remain good friends as well as siblings. And I am grateful for their many progeny who drop by or keep in touch, who make me laugh and leave me glad that they are in my life.
I’m grateful for my son who, as he was making his own plans to move to California, took the time to help me move to the downstairs apartment, made sure I settled in, arranged for a man to help with the lawn care and one who would do needed repairs the warranty insurance didn’t cover and made arrangements with both his friends and mine to check up on me and see that I had a way to get where I needed to go if I needed it. (I’m also grateful that, since he sold or shipped ahead most of his belongings and took off a week early on his motorcycle to avoid a snow storm that was moving in, he made it to California safe and in one piece – even though he ran smack into the tail end of that snow storm as he crossed into New Mexico and it took him three hours to make the thirty miles to the first town.) And I’m grateful that he has matured into a compassionate, aware and questioning adult.
I’m grateful for my step-son, his wife and children who, though I do not see them nearly often enough, have touched my life and taught me so much about love through the years.
I’m grateful for my two friends from south Springfield who took the better part of a day to come up north and help my son and me with my move downstairs and who come to visit, phone and keep in touch by Facebook to make sure I’m all right. And I am grateful to my friends at the store next door and those in the neighborhood who keep a watchful eye out for me, in both foul weather and fair.
I’m grateful to the readers of this blog, my acquaintances on the forums and blogs I frequent and on Facebook who, although they probably would not recognize me if they ran into me on the street, nevertheless share my grief over what we have done to the earth through our carelessness and greed and my passion to live a simpler, more self-sufficient life to reduce the many burdens we have placed on the earth and the non-human inhabitants with which we share it.
I’m grateful to all of you – family, friends and acquaintances – for the wisdom and laughter, the sorrows and fears you have shared with me and allowed me to share with you throughout this year. I am one lucky lady and the better for all of you.
I wish each of you a new year filled with love, joy and strength for the days ahead, whatever they bring. It comforts me to know you are there.