IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, SoCS, Special Occasions

Gimme Gimme Gimme, #SoCS #optoutside

Squashed in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday:

http://lindaghill.com/2015/11/27/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-nov-2815/

It’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday!!!

SoCS

A retailer I hadn’t heard of before, REI, wasn’t open and taking part in the craziness that is Black Friday.

It encouraged people to opt out of the whole thing and spend the day outside instead.

Interesting.

#optoutside

I am not a fan of Black Friday.

Here in Canada Thanksgiving was last month, but I see what a big deal this weekend is to the US: food, football, and family.

But that’s not all.

It reminds me of Christmas and Boxing Day, but all of it’s become too much about things and stuff.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my family’s Thanksgiving in Canada in October, but I prefer to associate Thanksgiving with harvest, rather than with buying stuff.

I mean, there’s my mom’s fabulous stuffing that her mother made before her. It’s a favourite of the whole family.

I just don’t understand, although I love stuff just as much as the next person, but it’s probably a North American thing, more is better with both food and material goods. Stuff yourself and then go buy lots of stuff, for cheap deal prices.

I know what people might say, that the media just takes the few bad incidents that did probably happen and blow it way out of proportion, but I saw at least the example of people getting crazy and punching each other out at retailers in Kentucky, Oregon, Texas I think it was. Over a television or a pair of shoes? Really?

There was the rumour that at least one of those was a skit, a hoax, put on by Jimmy Kimmel. Allegedly.

Canadian dollar being better this year meant fewer Canadians made the trip to the US to shop, but some still went. Some make a day or more out of it, a tradition I guess.

Hmmm. Long lines. No thanks. Just to get a deal. I don’t need anything that badly.

I was like any other child, loving Christmas and presents. I know this time of year, gift giving and receiving is a huge part of the festivities, but I can’t quite reconcile that all with the good will and things we’re supposed to feel. It’s nice to get or give a gift, but the whole commercialization is a little too much to take sometimes. I am not sick of Christmas music, by the end of it all, but I am sick of the stores, which could be my mother’s dislike of shopping taking hold of me, somewhere in there.

Black Friday makes money for retailers, even with the deals, but it got me thinking about what would happen if all retailers did what REI did and closed. What if people had no choice, the hash tag told them all to “optoutside”?

Nature or electronics. Tough one.

People pushing and shoving for a bargain.

Sure, there are exceptions to this rule and it’s not all bad, but the Black Friday thing is pretty out-of-control by this point. Of course, a lot of people shop online. Best Buy Canada’s website crashed in the morning yesterday. That’s how many people are on those sites, hunting for deals on stuff.

Then there’s Cyber Monday, followed by Giving Tuesday.

Of course, we must make up for all the consumerism with a day to give back to our favourite causes and those who are less fortunate.

I personally like the campaign to give a book to a child, promoting literacy, but there’s always going to be that one fight for a television that will make the news.

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes

And Then There’s Books, #1000Speak #Grateful #GivingThanks

November’s 1000 Speak For Compassion topic is

Gratitude

and today is Thanksgiving in the US, but I am in Canada.

We celebrated our Thanksgiving a month ago. My family and I spent that beautiful weekend at a pumpkin patch and corn maze. I will always be thankful for days like that with my family.

I have had all week to write about gratitude. I did not write a post for this on the 20th, but I thought, since I am not celebrating feeling thankful and grateful by eating turkey and pie, I’d write about feeling thankful and grateful instead.

I like to associate this holiday with pumpkins and harvest, rather than Natives and Pilgrims. I don’t associate feeling thankful with any sort of history and I don’t even really like pie.

🙂

I also don’t like that tomorrow is Black Friday. It feels bad to me. I like things, material objects, as much as anybody. I just wouldn’t be willing to get trampled to death for the pleasure of obtaining more of them.

I know what the holidays, starting with tomorrow are about, a lot of the time, but I am not even sure how I’m going to feel about the holidays this year.

I don’t know about miracles, but I have seen a lot of things that come close. why, just last week my brother became very ill very fast. I am thankful he’s doing better. It could have been something so much more serious.

I can list many things for which I am grateful, because I like to say my glass isn’t ever half empty or half full. I just spill a little sometimes.

I guess I feel weary with all the materialism of these celebrations, when I hear about all the bad stuff going on, but I don’t have to look far to find things to be thankful for in my own life.

I do it on a weekly basis now, thanks to the blog hop I discovered six months ago:

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for this weekly exercise in silver linings, thanks to Lizzi at Silver Linings.

I know Americans like to say what they are thankful for on this day. In addition to Ten Things of Thankful, here are some more things I am thankful for. Instead of speaking about them around a dinner table I will talk about them here.

I am determined to focus on feeling thankful, even as I feel the bad stuff in the wider world growing. If it’s true that terrorists want to divide and conquer, I won’t stop thinking positive. I won’t let them have everything, not if I can help it.

I have enough trouble thinking of the pain and misery humans keep causing for other humans, but I keep many thoughts buried deep in my own head. Sometimes it feels like I might explode with all that bothers me, but as long as I have writing and my blog to help make things a little easier, I will use both for taking the edge off of that hurt.

I am thankful for the direction Canada appears to be heading. I was numb and hiding from national and political stuff for several years. I felt like I had no control and I did not like the things that were going on, like someone was trying to pull wool over my eyes and the eyes of Canada, so I checked out as my way of dealing with that feeling.

Justin Trudeau could turn out to be just as bad, but I have a good feeling about him and I hope I’m right. The change, either way, has made me grateful for several weeks now. I hope Trudeau’s government and the decisions they make on terrorism and environmental issues, for example, are going to make us all proud to be Canadian.

I am thankful for Christmas. Even as hard as last year was, I still am a Christmas girl at heart, which gives me hope that this year I will be able to find all the happiness and joy in the season that I’ve always found.

I am thankful for my father, who turns sixty in a few days. I am trying to figure out just what to say about that. I want to say more than a few words of gratitude, as the best present I can think to give him are my words, but it’s hard to put that kind of thing into words of any kind.

It’s strange to write so much about gratitude and thankfulness, focusing on it at least once a week. So many times I want to let other things win: envy, fear, hopelessness. I remind myself, several times a day sometimes, that being grateful is worth the extra energy it often takes. The reminder is necessary. It keeps me going.

My envy for other people and the things they have sometimes threatens to swallow me whole. If it weren’t for how lucky I logically know I am, it would be impossible to go on.

I am grateful for the kindness of people, those who take the time to get to know me, to speak to me like a human being. I don’t want pity and never have. I am grateful for so much, but that wouldn’t be so true and meaningful if it weren’t for all the things that remain hard and painful and lost to me.

When I am having a bad day, wishing I could see colours still, remembering the loss of a family member, relationship, or time in my life I loved I want to throw my hands up and scream. Then the clouds that were so grey one minute part and the sun shines in. I don’t have to work too hard to make this happen.

I am thankful I have no serious mental illness. A girl shouldn’t have to shoulder both physical and mental illness at once. I know there are people who do, but I got the one, not the other. I am thankful for a clear mind, albeit foggy at times. I look at the world in crisis, so much of the time, and I focus on the stability I am so lucky to have in my own life.

So I am not sure how long I should wait for the other shoe to drop. That’s how I often think. All the thankful posts in the world can’t truly drown that thought out, but I’ll keep trying anyway.

So there you have it. This post did not include lots of statistics or scientific articles about gratitude. Others wrote about that. I could only tackle the subject from my personal perspective. I am thankful for personal perspective, in all its forms.

P.S. And then there’s books. How could I forget books?

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Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes, Memoir Monday, Special Occasions, This Day In Literature

Special Magnificence

It’s the start of a new week once more and once again, on this Memoir Monday, I participate in:

The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge.

Last week I answered Part A of this question:

If you have a medical diagnosis, do you see yourself as having a disability? Why or why not?

And

HEre, was my answer.

And Now, in Week Four, Part B: My mother speaks to the following:

Q: If you don’t have one, how do you view the concept of disability or the people in your life who have them?

A: Disability is such a broad term, it can be physical, developmental, very minor in it’s effects or all encompassing.

When you’ve had little experience with someone with disabilities, you often only see what someone is unable to do. The longer you know or more people you know with disabilities, you see them first as the person that they are and don’t even see their disability.

Everyone does their best to cope and deal with their own disability.
One of the hardest parts is when you are closely related, feeling helpless to fix or make it all better for the people you love.

Thank you to my mother and father for their sincere and heartfelt answers to the questions I have asked them to answer these last few weeks.

Next week, together, we answer the following question:

What have your experiences been with medical treatment and/or therapy been like? Do you have positive, negative, or mixed feelings about your experiences?

***

“The Bagginses had lived in the neighbourhood of the hill for time out of mind, and people considered them very respectable, not only because most of them were rich, but also because they never had any adventures or did anything unexpected. This is a story of how a Baggins had an adventure and found himself doing and saying things altogether unexpected.”

The above quote is from J.R.R. Tolkien, on this the eve of the first day of autumn and Hobbit Day.

This, in Middle-Earth, is when the celebrations take place: The Big Birthday.

This, around the world, is the start of the autumn season and Frodo, Bilbo, and Tolkien are celebrated by fans everywhere.
I love this particular season, feeling a shift and a change.

September 22nd is a big day for Frodo and Bilbo in those books and for me, I feel it too.

This week and day were first recognized and celebrated back in 1978 and since then parties have been thrown, food consumed for the occasion, and Middle-Earth literature and films have been screened. Both Tolkien and his son Christopher (just like Bilbo and his nephew Frodo) are celebrated all week long.

In past years my favourite holiday was always Christmas, but this year in particular I am looking forward to the theme of harvest, the apples and the pumpkins, and the bright colours of the leaves and the cool and crisp fall air.

It was the start of a new journey for both Bilbo and Frodo. Sure, the journey was just beginning and their were many cold, dark, and difficult days to come still.

I know winter naturally follows fall, but these autumn months are just the break from the crazy days of summer that I have been waiting for. Those two loveable creatures of my favourite stories in literature give me so much joy.

“Today is a day of special magnificence!”

Happy Hobbit Day to you all.

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