CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving is Every Day: Transformation Through Gratitude

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THANKSGIVING IS EVERY DAY:

TRANSFORMATION THROUGH GRATITUDE

…the problem is, we celebrate Thanksgiving on this one day, but it’s something we should be celebrating every day.

Dr. Gary Welton

Turkeys in a garden in East Weymouth, Mass.

Turkeys in a garden in East Weymouth, Mass.

What is this new sub-discipline of psychology called positive psychology?

Positive psychology was developed as recently as 1998 to seek understanding of the fulfilling aspects of the human experience. It counteracts psychology’s historic focus on mental illness and dysfunction.*

Psychologists Robert Emmons and Robert Stern, upon reviewing the research on the benefits of gratitude, concluded that gratitude has …dramatic and lasting benefits in both the physical and psychological realms.*

Physically (an attitude of gratitude) can

  • lower blood pressure
  • improve immune functioning
  • increase energy

Psychologically (an attitude of gratitude) can

  • reduce depression, anxiety, and substance abuse
  • provide protection from the destructive impulses of envy, resentment, and bitterness
  • may offer some protection against psychiatric disorders

(An attitude of gratitude) is larger than the effects of optimism, hope, (more…)

November 25, 2014

Give Thanks for the Ordinary

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GIVE THANKS FOR THE ORDINARY

When the extraordinary becomes ordinary and the ordinary evolves into entitlement the need for giving thanks dissipates.

When I first visited Kentuck Knob I wondered why Frank Lloyd Wright located the structure a distance back from the knob, denying residents the opportunity to view the knob’s spectacular sunrises over the rolling Laurel Highlands hills, the Youghiogheny River gorge and nearby farmland.w of the .

I learned that Wright chose the location away from the peak to enable the house to become part of the landscape. It’s also my understanding that he also chose that location so that persons who wanted to experience the view had to make an effort, had to walk from the house to the knob—because he understood that a scene of beauty readily available would soon become commonplace, making it ordinary, and therefore less miraculous, less profound.

When we first visited our community of Laurel Mountain Borough it was magical. The one-lane gravel roads, the forested atmosphere, the almost eccentric aura contrasted with the cookie-cutter world we were accustomed to. We felt like we were being transported back in time to an era reputed to be less stressful, to a back-to-earth time. It was magical.

Gradually this profound, magical, feeling dissipated. The sense of uniqueness and magic evolved into the commonplace, the ordinary.

This evolution from the miraculous, the profound, to the commonplace, the ordinary, is a part of the human condition. Once a situation becomes ordinary it evolves into entitlement.

Which brings me to a statement I read in the November 23, 2014, newspaper column, Giving thanks can be a challenge. The quote is somewhat altered: That which was a pleasant and gracious (experience) year quickly becomes an expected entitlement. That for which I was thankful in the past, I now assume to be my right.

The author, Gary Welton, professor of psychology at Grove City College (Pennsylvania), noted that he’s been blessed with incredible health, yet I have never appreciated it. I have only taken it for granted. Only when I am ill do I recognize the incredible gift I have been given.

That for which we feel entitled we don’t feel thankful for. It it belongs to us so there is no need to give thanks.

 

Perhaps we need to step back from the commonplace, the ordinary, in our lives and revisit it with new eyes. So today (and every day) I will be thankful for (in no particular order):

  • my morning coffee, and the persons who planted the seeds, grew it to maturity, picked the beans, prepared them for market, and transported them, all so I can enjoy my morning wake-up time
  • my morning newspaper, and the journalists (who sometimes risk their lives) to research, interview subjects, and write the copy; and for the delivery person who brings it to my newspaper box in the wee hours of the morning so I can relax reading it while partaking of my morning coffee
  • my gray cat King and his former owner, who abandoned two cats in our community, one of which adopted our family. King offers us companionship, adulation, and conversation
  • my family, without whom I would not be who I am today
  • the dishes that clutter my kitchen counter, waiting to be washed and put away. I am no more entitled to this luxury than is the person living in a hut eating out of pie tin
  • water that flows freely from  my household taps, water I am no more entitled to than the woman who must walk a mile to find water to fill the jugs she carries back to her home.

I could continue, but I think you have the idea.

Do you agree with the items on this list? For what do you feel entitled, so thoughtlessly leave off your list of things to be thankful for? I invite you to share your thoughts in the comment box below.

May you and your yours have a blessed Thanksgiving.

November 16, 2014

11 Unique Facts About Thanksgiving

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11 UNIQUE FACTS ABOUT THANKSGIVING

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

“The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts.

No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless,

set aside a day of Thanksgiving.”

– H. U. Westermayer^^^^^

Many historians believe that only five women were present at the first Thanksgiving, as many women settlers didn’t survive that difficult first year in the U.S.* Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts

Thanksgiving is an amalgam of different traditions, including ancient harvest festivals, the religious New England Puritan Thanksgiving, the traditional harvest celebrations of England and New England, and changing political and ideological assumptions of Native Americans. Thanksgiving is often considered the site of the first cultural war because it contains both a narrative of the birth of freedom and democracy as well as an account of racism, mistreatment of Native Americans, and conflict.**

Abraham Lincoln issued a ‘Thanksgiving Proclamation’ on third October 1863 and officially set aside the last Thursday of November as the national day for Thanksgiving.**** Thanksgiving can occur as early as November 22 and as late as November 28. **

Below is a quiz to entertain and puzzle you. Something to share with your friends and family following your Thanksgiving feast.

Turkeys in a garden in East Weymouth, Mass.

Turkeys in a garden in East Weymouth, Mass.

QUESTIONS

  1. Was the autumn 1621 Thanksgiving at Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts the first thanksgiving celebration on North American soil in the New World?
  2. Who is considered the Mother of Thanksgiving?
  3. What utensils were used at the first Thanksgiving?
  4. What popular product did Thanksgiving spawn in 1953?
  5. Who taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate the land?
  6. How did the early settlers plan on celebrating the first Thanksgiving?
  7. What was on the menu at the Pilgrim’s 1621 Thanksgiving dinner?
  8. What is the average long-distance mileage of Thanksgiving travel?
  9. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is not the original holiday parade. Which parade was the first?
  10.  What is the National Day of Mourning?

BONUS QUESTION

Who wrote the two accounts of the first Thanksgiving?

 To learn the answers click on MORE:

(more…)

October 5, 2014

11 Facts About Pumpkins

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11 FACTS ABOUT PUMPKINS

Watch for upcoming quiz on jackolanterns…

Hubby Monte

Hubby Monte

Ahh, autumn, a season of holidays which feature the pumpkin—be they the traditional orange or yellow, white, green or red^^ The traditional American pumpkin is the Connecticut field variety.*

But what is a pumpkin? It is a squash, is a member of the Cucurbita family which includes squash, cucumbers,*** honeydew melons, cantaloupe, watermelons and zucchini. **

Autumn is the season when my husband, Monte, becomes enthused about making pumpkin pies, filling our home with the sweet odor of cooked pumpkin.

We don’t suffer the hardships the Pilgrims suffered when arriving on the shores of the New World. One 1630 Pilgrim described his hardships as follows (1630):

“For pottage and puddings and custard and pies,
 Our pumpkins and parsnips are common supplies:
 We have pumpkins at morning and pumpkins at noon,
 If it were not for pumpkins, we should be undoon.”****

What do you know about pumpkins? Below are 10 questions plus a bonus question. Answers are on the next page.

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QUESTIONS

  1. Name the only continent that cannot grow pumpkins.
  2. Why do some people think that the pumpkin should be our national fruit?
  3. Where did the pumpkin plant originate?
  4. Where is the self-proclaimed pumpkin capital of the world? Why there?
  5. How many pounds of pumpkin are produced in the United States every year?
  6. In early colonial times how did the colonists make the original pumpkin pie?
  7. What is the origin of the name “pumpkin?” What did Native Americans call them?
  8. What is the water content of pumpkins, and how many calories of energy does 100 grams produce, and what is its dietary benefit?
  9. How big was the largest pumpkin pie ever made, how much did it weigh, and how long did it take to bake?
  10. Giant pumpkins are often grown for competitions. The heaviest pumpkin on record weighed  __________; the largest “official” pumpkin on record weighed ________,

BONUS QUESTION

The largest pumpkin pie used ____ pounds of cooked pumpkin, ____ pounds of sugar, and ____ dozen eggs.

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To learn the answers click on MORE

(more…)

December 3, 2013

Thanksgivukkah—Thanksgiving & Hanukkah Merge

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Hug to Janet

THANKSGIVUKKAH—

A CONVERGENCE OF

THANKSGIVING and

the first day of HANUKKAH

It happened once in the past, but not during the lifetime of any living person.

And no person living November 28, 2013, will experience this rare event a second time.

In simple terms, Thanksgiving (the fourth Thursday in November) and the first day of Hanukkah occurred simultaneously this year—November 28th.

In a January 14, 2013 blogpost Jonathan Mizrahl, a Jewish American physicist, pondered and mathematically calculated how often this convergence occurs:

Thanksgiving is set as the fourth Thursday in November, meaning the latest it can be is 11/28. 11/28 is also the earliest Hanukkah can be. The Jewish calendar repeats on a 19 year cycle, and Thanksgiving repeats on a 7 year cycle. You would therefore expect them to coincide roughly every 19×7 = 133 years. Looking back, this is approximately correct – the last time it would have happened is 1861. However, Thanksgiving was only formally established by President Lincoln in 1863. So, it has never happened before… (Thanksgiving) originally it was the LAST Thursday in November.  This changed in 1942. If you use the last Thursday rather than the fourth Thursday, then the overlap has happened once before, in 1888.

And it won’t happen again until (more…)

November 29, 2013

Black Friday 2013: To Shop or Not to Shop

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Hug for Joanne

 BLACK FRIDAY 2013: TO SHOP OR NOT TO SHOP

Heroes come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, in all kinds of situations.

From a Pizza Hut Official Statement: This was clearly an unfortunate situation…

Manager Tony Rohr balked at opening the Pizza Hut on Thanksgiving.

In fact, he did more than balk. The 10-yrear employee refused to open the Indiana franchise where he was manager. He didn’t want to force his staff to work on this family holiday.

He was asked to write a letter of resignation.

He took responsibility for his decision in a letter explaining his actions, according to what he told CNN affiliate WSBT:

“I said, ‘Why can’t we be the company that stands up and says we care about your employees and you can have the day off?’ Thanksgiving and Christmas are the only two days that they’re closed in the whole year. And they’re the only two days that those people are guaranteed to have off to spend with their families.” Who wants to work on Thanksgiving?

Rohr said he refused to quit and detailed his frustration in the letter.

“I accept that the refusal to comply with this greedy, immoral request means the end of my tenure with this company. I hope you realize that it is the people at the bottom of the totem pole that make your life possible.”

He said he was fired shortly after.

The Pizza Hut Official Statement continued: …and we are very upset by what has transpired in Elkhart, Indiana. While the choice as to whether a restaurant should be open or closed on a holiday is handled at the local level by our independent franchisees, we feel strongly that this situation could have been avoided. We respect an employee’s decision (more…)

November 28, 2013

WP Daily Prompt 11/16/2013: FAQ—Thanksgiving Questions to Chief Tom Turkey

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Hugs for al my friends, near and far

WP Daily Prompt 11/16/2013: FAQ—Thanksgiving Questions to Chief Tom Turkey

WORDPRESS DAILY PROMPT 11/16/2013: FAQ

AN INTERVIEW WITH CHIEF TOM TURKEY

Written by Cochran Cornell the Cantankerous Cockroach

The WordPress Daily Prompt for November 16, 2013, was FAQInterview someone—a friend, another blogger, your mother, the mailman—and write a post based on their responses. Being as it’s Thanksgiving and I am quite busy, I asked Cochran Cornell the Cantankerous Cockroach if he’d write this post for me.

“I guess so,” he said in a tone in which I detected a lack of enthusiasm.

“And no shenanigans,” I added. “It’s Thanksgiving, and interviewing Chief Tom Turkey is important. He doesn’t give interviews to just anybody. You might want to read about the Henningsen Cold Storage Col in Stilwell, Oklahoma, before you leave.”

“I read that article yesterday while you were reading it,” huffed Cochran.

“You don’t have to get snippy with me. Now off you go to find Chief Turkey. And I expect your article to be on my computer before I go to bed at 3:30 a. m. so I can post it at the regular time, 3:00 a. m.”

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I found Chief Tom Turkey safe at a residence on the banks of the Jordan River in Lamoine, Maine, where he was keeping a low profile under the protective wing of the property owner who didn’t want to be identified.

“It’s a safe place here,” Chief Turkey said. “I’ve sent an invitation to Popcorn to join me.”

“Popcorn?” I queried.’

“Yes…he’s the lucky turkey President Obama pardoned…”

“That’s right. Every year the President pardons a turkey.”

“It’s a holiday ritual,” said Chief Turkey. “It kind of began when Abraham Lincoln saved the life of a dinner-bound turkey his son liked. Since then presidents have been given turkeys by various organizations. Usually they made a meal for the President. It was President John F. Kennedy that started the annual tradition of (more…)

November 24, 2013

Why My Christmas Cactus Blooms on Thanksgiving

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

Movicons2-hugsandkisses(3)

Hug for Ben, who just lost his wife.

WHY MY CHRISTMAS CACTUS BLOOMS ON THANKSGIVING

In early November I glanced at my plants as I checked them for aridness. One, I noticed, had numerous buds at its tips.

During my next week’s watering the plant was half covered in peach colored blooms.

Oh, my, How beautiful. But it never blooms on Christmas, to my disappointment.

IMG_1951E

Within the week its prolific peachy-hued blooms were  so spectacular they dwarfed the clutter of the room.

I must move it elsewhere, where it has center stage.

I moved it to my newly painted living room, a space cleared from its former clutter, where it stood out against the light olive green walls. The peachy color above the fireplace and in the curtains accented the plant perfectly.

Oh, that my life could offer blooms like that to uplift the persons in my life.

IMG_1950E

I decided to verify that my plant is a Christmas cactus before completing this post..

And I learned I erred. There is a (more…)

November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

THANKSGIVING 2012

One of my friends suggested that beginning January 1 we should get a mason jar (or any other kind of jar with a lid) and place in that jar something we are thankful for each and every day. At the end of the year, take the lid off the jar and begin to read all those “thankful” messages.

Maybe we shouldn’t wait until January. Maybe we should begin on Thanksgiving Day and then take the lid off next Thanksgiving. I don’t think we even need to limit ourselves to one “thanks” a day.2

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I’m posting this late, I admit, due to the holiday’s hectic nature and to fighting off a mild headache.

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On Thanksgiving Day both our children visit their in-laws, which leaves my husband Monte and I alone. A neighbor and friend, Joanne, invited us to join her family. Monte wanted to relax at home, but I went. One of her guests teaches fifth grade science and was fascinated that Monte changed from teaching college physics to being an ordained pastor. He regretted that Monte hadn’t come with me.

The day ended with excitement. Joanne’s four (one her daughter’s) dogs escaped at dusk. Three were retrieved. The oldest one, the arthritic female, couldn’t be found. Off Joanne and numerous guests went to search for her. One man saw her but was unable to retrieve her. The dog remained missing and Joanne was quite worried.

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On Friday because my daughter had to work, and our son didn’t plan to arrive until into the afternoon, leaving us free to participate in Black Friday—even when it began on Thursday. However, there was no temptation to participate in this consumer madness.

When my son, his wife, and two grandsons arrived on Friday I was immediately immersed in playing flip Uno, computer-induced word searches, and (more…)

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