Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Gratitude in Difficult Times


Tomorrow we celebrate Thanksgiving, certainly a different holiday for many this year than all the years before. Many of us will follow the CDC guidelines and stay home, celebrating only with the people in our household. The turkey will be much smaller and maybe there won't be that many side dishes because Aunt Mary who usually made the sweet potatoes with marshmallows is not coming this year. My husband and I will be the only ones at the Thanksgiving table (usually we celebrate with friends) and we won't have turkey since we both don't like turkey too much anyway.

While scaled down, I hope all of you will have a lovely Thanksgiving.

This is the time when we normally give thanks (which we honestly should do every day). But what about giving thanks in a year that has been so different? A year about which most people only complain and whine? When people lost loved ones to a virus we still don't understand, or lost a job because of the economy's downturn? It must be difficult to be thankful.

But the rest of us?

So far I don't know anybody who became sick with the virus and I'm glad that I don't. There you have it, first thing to be grateful for. I myself am healthy and so is my family and are my friends and colleagues. Second thing to be deeply grateful for. 

As every day I am grateful for my family. I couldn't have a better husband than the Geek, and I can't think of having a better daughter than Kaefer. Yes, I miss her and this virus doesn't even give us the remote possibility of just dreaming about seeing each other. But she is healthy, she likes living in Munich, she enjoys her studies and the international environment of her University program. What would I do without my family? My husband's humor often has filled a darker hour with light, and modern technology enables us to have video calls with Kaefer whenever we want. I'm certainly thankful for that.

We both still have our jobs. While both my jobs have changed due to distance learning, it has also offered opportunities to learn. The biggest change in this regard has been my work at the German School since I was able to offer conversation classes during the summer and an add-on class this fall in creative writing. Before we even started to think about online classes I had this idea of teaching a creative writing class because I know how difficult it is to write in a language that is not your first language. The pandemic handed me the opportunity to do this much sooner than I had expected. Yes, I was nervous - I was downright terrified, to be honest - but then the class went much better than I had hoped. It was a lot of work, but so worth it. So so grateful for that!

Beside all these changes in my jobs I was also very busy with my Etsy shop. It kind of took off during the pandemic. Suddenly everybody wants hand knitted socks! I don't think I spent a single day since March without working my knitting needles.

I am grateful for our warm home where we can snuggle up - and my garden. Working in the garden was a particular big help this year. Creating something beautiful not only for me but also for people who walk by and often stop for a chat (socially distanced of course). Another gardener two blocks down and I exchanged gardening knowledge and plants. Reading many gardening books inspired me and motivated to some changes - like new paths and an even more organic way to treat the garden than I already had done. The result has been a gorgeous garden that still has several plants in bloom.

We finally had some rain which (hopefully) means the end of the fire season - VERY grateful for that. This season, especially these days around Thanksgiving, are so full of color that it almost takes my breath away. It seems as if 2020 tries to make it up a little bit. Fall color is at its peak right now and it is simply stunning. Every day I walk through the neighborhood and beyond, admiring this magnificent display of nature.

There is so much to be grateful for.

Last Thursday in my creative writing class I asked my students in a timed writing exercise to write about what they are grateful for. Following that we did an exercise writing a longer text about "the pandemic and I". Afterwards all of them said that writing about gratitude first changed their outlook about 2020. It's just a question of perspective I guess.

What are you grateful for?


Elephant's Child said...

I am grateful for so many things.
My friends in the blogosphere (who are very dear to me though I may never meet some of them in person).
My parents gave me the gift of reading - and encouraged it. I learn from books, I escape in books, I find comfort in them...
The garden (and nature more generally) are heart balm. Solace, comfort and delight.
And finally, huge thanks to you for sharing your autumnal colour. Autumn is one of my favourite seasons and your arboreal fireworks are out of this world.

Valerie-Jael said...

Wonderful photos. Being thankful is good. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! Valerie

La Vie Quotidienne said...

What a lovely and thoughtful post. I really appreciated what you said, Thank you.

Lowcarb team member said...

Lovely photographs within your post.
Even in these times of Covid, we do have a lot to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving.

All the best Jan

noone said...

I am thankful for my family every day. Such beautiful foliage in gorgeous fall colours.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

These were lovely photos to accompany a thoughtful post, Carola. I too am thankful for our well being and that of our family and friends. We also do not personally know of anyone who has been affected by covid, but the heartbreak it has caused to so many is so very sad and unfortunately so very real even though there are some who would deny it and flaunt precautions. We also celebrated at home as a party of two but contacted family and friends through calls and video chats and before that mailed cards.

Iris Flavia said...

Wonderful pictures and yes, we should be thankful for so much that whining is actually a bit out of the question looking at others who are off way worse.
Wish I found a job, though.
At least I have an abundance of socks Hubby´s late Grandma knitted for me out of rests.
It started as a compromise and then everyone in the family wanted them :-)
Sweet memories of finding her on the ground with "rests" for making matching socks for everyone.
I am thankful we met.

Martha said...

Hi Carola! You have such gorgeous fall photos here, beautiful post too. I say every single day that as long as my family has remained safe and healthy I have something huge to be thankful for. I have known several people who have had the virus, but thankfully most were on the mild side without hospitalizations. One blogger I know was hospitalized with it, and another's husband just died from it on Thanksgiving, so sad. I'm sorry you won't be able to be with your daughter for the holidays this year, I know that has to be hard. I don't know what we would do without things like zoom during these times. Thanks so much for stopping by to visit today. It's very nice to "meet" you.

Red Rose Alley said...

It so good that you find gratitude in these difficult and worrisome times, Carola. Your photos are wonderful, and you still have the beautiful Autumn colors in your area. Yes, there is so much to be thankful for. It sounds like your daughter is coming along nicely and loves her new area she's living in now. Your photos always make my heart sing.

It's Christmastime! Enjoy the season, Carola.


Tammie Lee said...

Such gorgeous autumn photos!
May thankfulness continue on and on.

Barb said...

Thinking of you Carola and liked your very positive post. I'm so glad to read that Kaefer is doing well in Munich. Bob and I celebrated alone, too. We did speak to family and friends digitally which was nice. I know that much of CA is going into greater restrictions. We are also in tighter restrictions in CO, though the tourists still arrive in droves.

Willkommen auf meiner Kreativseite. said...

Ich hoffe es geht euch gut. Ich schaue immer, ob es einen neuen Beitrag gibt, aber es war jetzt so lange ruhig. Hoffe, du bist nur im "Weihnachtsstress".
Wir hatten gestern 16° und da will so gar keine richtige Weihnachtsstimmung aufkommen. Corona tut noch das übrige dazu. Die Familienfeier haben wir abgesagt.
Ich wünsche dir und deinen Lieben ein friedliches Weihnachtsfest und ein gutes Neues Jahr. Bleibt gesund!

Willkommen auf meiner Kreativseite. said...

Hallo Carola,
so langsam mache ich mir echt Gedanken, weil man so lange nichts Neues von dir liest. Ich hoffe, ihr seid gesund und munter!
Ich wünsche dir ein gutes neues Jahr! Hoffen wir, dass es wieder etwas aufwärts geht. Bei uns die Leute scheinen immer verrückter zu werden. In den Skigebieten und Freizeitgebieten ist es voll wie eh und je. Kein Abstand, so als wäre Corona längst vorbei. Da greift man sich echt an den Kopf! So wird das nie besser und verlängert den Lockdown eher noch auf ungewisse Zeit!
Bleibt gesund!
Liebe Grüße

Tara said...

Like you, I am grateful that I haven't caught this virus, nor anyone in my family or circle of friends. My daughter teaches high school, and I worry since they are scheduled to go back into the classroom mid-January, even though this new, more quickly spread version, is in our state of Colorado.

I'm grateful that the weather on Christmas day was mild so that I could spend a whole two hours on the deck of my daughter's house, watching the grand kids open my presents. THAT was the highlight of these past 10 months.

I took a look at your etsy store -- so many wonderful things! You are quite creative.

Wishing you and the Geek a happy and healthy new year.