Archive for Gratitude

What Do You Have to Be Thankful For in 2013?

Today means different things to different people. For many, it is a reminder of Native American hospitality that was repaid with genocide. Ironically, it is also Native American Heritage Month. For others (I’d dare say most), it’s the day that precedes Black Friday and the advent of the commercialism we have grown to associate with the Christmas holidays.

During this time I usually go into myself, becoming introspective. I reflect on what I have and what I have to be thankful for. [Yeah, I do this every day, but I tend to do more of it on this day]. Last year, I wrote my list of thanks. When I reviewed it, I found that it was pretty much the same. Here goes:

I am thankful that:

  1. I woke up this morning and have another day to realize my potential
  2. I am of sound mind
  3. I am in relatively good health
  4. I have a roof over my head and a safe and warm environment in which to dwell
  5. Unlike my mother, who lost hers when she was just two years old, I got a chance to know mine before she passed to the spirit world
  6. I can hear and appreciate music
  7. In spite of slavery, oppression, discrimination, and obstacles at every turn, my ancestors survived and made it possible for me to be here
  8. Though the population of Native peoples in North America has been greatly diminished, they also survived and their presence is a constant reminder of their greatness
  9. I can share this with you.

Regardless of how you choose to utilize this day, have a good and peaceful one.

What does today mean to you? How are you celebrating? What are you thankful for? If you made a list, is it different than last year’s? Comment and let me know.

Emancipation on the Eve of a New Year

January 1st is the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the decree signed by President Lincoln that freed those slaves living in states not under Union control. Though it did not abolish slavery (the Thirteenth Amendment, passed in January of 1865, did this), it was significant in that it paved the way for African Americans to be enlisted into the federal army. It also turned the dialogue from the war being one to “save the Union” to one being fought against slavery.

To commemorate the 150th year of this document, the National Archives will display the original document through January 1 in the East Rotunda Gallery where the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights are displayed.

Years ago, I stood at the door of no return at Goree Island in Senegal, West Africa – a door undoubtedly that my ancestors crossed to come to these Americas. DoorofNoReturnGoreeIs
As I stood at the threshold of that door of my own free will, I wondered what those who have stood here against their will would have been thinking, the fear of the unknown, of the horrors that lie ahead.

The Emancipation Proclamation was not perfect document, but I will be at the National Archives to commemorate its 150th year as well as its place among the other imperfect yet significant documents that have formed this nation.

[flagallery gid=4 name=”Emancipation Proclamation”].

For additional information on events being held to celebrate the 150th anniversary at the National Archives, click here. For additional information on the Emancipation Proclamation, follow this link.

Here’s to freedom, justice and a very HAPPY NEW YEAR.

On Perseverance… in Life and Art

The other day I was wallowing in self pity and doubt about my path of creative entrepreneurship. Sales have not been up to my expectations and I have to admit that there are times when I wonder if my time and effort are better spent on other endeavors I’m neglecting. It’s often times like these when just the smallest signs keep me going toward my true North.

I sometimes walk my elderly neighbor’s dog as he has difficulty getting around.


Natcho, my neighbor's doggie

While walking with Natcho in our favorite park (well not really a park, but a public space overlooking a railroad track), I noticed an unusual flower in the midst of a sea of green. I’d never seen it before, so I took a closer look.

Red blooms

What's this? I need to take a closer look.

It was a reminder that the unusual happens when we least expect it. Sometimes it’s a kind gesture from a stranger or casual acquaintance. Other times it might be an unexpected flower in the midst of a green jungle.
Unexpected surprise

Unexpected surprise

Sometimes all it takes is a walk, a moment to be aware of nature’s wonders, time to just be in the moment and notice the unexpected to realign our compasses and recommit. This week I had another unexpected moment: my first international sale! So long, self pity. Hello, true North.

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