A Day of Gratitude and Thanks

Today I am taking a moment to publicly express my gratitude and thanks. So often I get caught up in life that I don’t appreciate what I am given.

I am thankful for my family. Though my family is not geographically fit, technology allows us to continue to stay close. I am probably closer to my brothers as an adult than we were as children, which is unusual for many. This summer I was able to renew connections to a few of my cousins. Cousins were a holiday connection growing up, but they have grown up to be some of the coolest human beings I know. I am thankful for my sister-in-law, because she is a dear part of my husband.

I am thankful for my friends who are like family. I am fortunate I have more friends than I can count on my hands and toes. This year I am missing the Thanksgiving dinner with my Montana family. I was given the honor of being included with that special family for the last 15 years. I am thankful for the friends I have made over the years who continue to work with me to keep our connections strong with calls, email, text, video chats, and snail mail. I am thankful for those few lifetime friends, who I have made, who no matter how long we go between connections when we do connect, it is like we just talked yesterday. They are sisters of my heart.

I am thankful for the home I have made with RangerSir. We are blessed with a roof over our heads, heat running water, and a full larder. Not only, do we not go to bed hungry, we are able to pick and choose what we will eat each day. There are many folks in this country who are not so fortunate. These are not just third-world problems. It is a problem for working families, the unemployed, people on fixed incomes, the homeless, and others I am not even aware of. I think that the homeless are sometimes the only ones thought of facing these challenges, but they are not. When I look at the percentage of kids in school systems qualifying for free meals it reminds me that many of the poor in this country hide behind closed doors that we don’t see. They appear on the outside just like us. So sometimes we fail to realize we are blessed when our neighbors appear to be in the same situation as us but are not.

I am in a safe, loving relationship. I know what the other looks like and I never ever forget it. Each moment with a spouse or partner who not only loves you, but respects you is priceless. No relationship lasts without lots of work. You both have to want and strive to support the other person in becoming all that they should be. You may not always see the same path to the end, but you both know and see the same endpoint. It is that single moral compass of life that will sustain your relationship.

I have my health. There have been some serious challenges in the road, but each time I have come out the other side. I am lucky because I feel I have adequate access to health care. I am thankful for the health I currently have and try to be a good steward of my body.

Today I will be joining my sister of the heart and her husband as she makes her first Thanksgiving dinner. I will be reflecting on all my blessings, some of which I touched on here. It is not all about food, football, or even the folks you gather with. It is a day of gratitude for your blessings. Some have many. Some have few. I hope you take a moment to reflect on yours as I will on mine. Wishing you peace, kindness, and a year with many blessings.

What Did You Do For Summer Vacation?

When I was a kid, one of the first projects school children were assigned was to write about what they did on during their vacation from school. It was always a hard assignment for me because my family did not go on summer vacation. I suspect I was not alone in the small working-class agricultural community I grew up in. There was no money or time for the local families to leave Dodge on some great adventure.

This always seemed a daunting assignment to me as a child. It somehow implied that you were supposed to report some amazing trip that would leave others in awe. As we enter the next season of COVID and I think back over my summer season in Montana for our family. It seems like writing about what I did with the season of good weather would be hard when all the plans we had were blown away with the sensibilities of limiting our exposure.

Dining out and eating new things is a form of recreation for RangerSir and I. Suddenly the idea of going out and eating just held no appeal. We regularly participated in “Take Out Tuesday.” We called ahead, don our masks, and picked up dinner from all sorts of local joints. We discovered new places. We mourned old favorites who decided to call it quits. We want local businesses to weather this storm, but take out just isn’t the same as sitting in a place and knowing when it is over you get up and the same folks who have taken care of making your dinner, will clean up after you leave. There are no cleanup fairies at our house. I miss this most of all. I don’t know what a comfortable eating out will look like to us, but I am looking forward to it.

Another of my favorite things to do this summer was to meet up for picnic lunches with friends. Some friends bought into the idea and others not so much. I ended up eating lunch out at least once a week, sometimes twice, and on one rare occasion three times. Sometimes we’d pick up carryout from a local place and other times we’d collaborate and make a picnic lunch each of us bringing food to share. The local park had a lovely pavilion where you could people watch and sit in the sun or shade depending on the day. It was relaxed because for a little while I did not worry about the virus and I caught up with friends. It was fun because my friends who liked to cook got a chance to show off their skills, and I did the same. It was nice because we did “show and tell” on our creative adventures and cheered one another on. I renewed friendships and discovered that others were feeling as alone as I was, but they were just as concerned as I was about reducing risk.

Now I wish I had take pictures of the many picnics I had gone on. I wish I had captured those simple moments of human connection. We have had our first serious snow and the temperatures dropped so lunch in the park is over. Now the ladies who I met so often at the park that allowed us to relax and stay in touch are now trying to figure out what we can do to keep up the momentum. Simple safe gatherings of friendship. We are batting around ideas. I am sure we will figure something out.

Friends Who Are Family


I have spent all of my adult life living more than eight hours from where I grew up.   This means that my family has never been able to bop over to chat.    It means I have never made a Sunday family dinner, or the monthly family birthday party. It means that my friends have stepped in when when tradition would say it would be your family.    I have been blessed with friends who are family for me.

As we approach Thanksgiving I want to give thanks to and for my friends.

To my lifetime friend, who no matter how long it is between phone calls, and even longer times between when we get together you are there. It is like we just connected last week, time seems to not matter for us.   You get me.   You make me laugh  when I don’t know I need it. You provide insight about myself sometimes I don’t recognize.   You challenge me and make me a better person.    I hope I have been as good of friend to you as you have been to me.

To my little sister friend, who is all grown up now.  Who’d have imagined when as a college student and you decided to rent a room from me that this would result in a friendship that was more like sisterhood. You never cease to amaze me with your drive.   Knowing you has helped me to realize it is never too late, or you are never too old to explore new things and dream a new dream.

To all my Thanksgiving family friends.   RangerSir and I have never been alone on my favorite holiday of the year.    Thanks to all my friends in Minnesota, Colorado, Michigan, and Montana who have be part of the the many dinners we have shared with you.

Thanks to all my creative friends who have been with me for all my creative endeavors.   Your support and encouragement have meant the world to me when I was full of doubt.

Thanks to my family who are not only friends but also family.   I am lucky that I have brothers who rock and never let me forget who I am or where I came from.

Thanks to RangerSir, who is not only my husband, but my best friend.

This holiday season I just want everyone to know I am thankful for having you in my life.




Dumb Luck

When you make emotional decisions, they generally are flawed and this one was no different.  I was heading to town after my lifetime friend and her husband left after spending some time with us.   It was nothing short of a great time and like always we reconnected as though we had been together last week rather than two years ago.   I was sad to see them go as I  know that we won’t see one another for at least a year.    Though I was heading to town I wasn’t ready for people and so impulsively decided to head to a forest trail I had always wanted to try.

I parked my rig a the trail head, pulled out a photo copy map from the kiosk and headed out.   I enjoyed the sounds of nature and got myself grounded again.    I was about three miles out when I had an ah ha moment.  I had taken this hike without thinking  first and I was now the realization was hitting me what I had done.

  • I had thrown out my drink glass in a bear proof container and I had not thought about bear spray, something I usually walk with.
  • l found  a great rock formation in the sun to photograph.   It seemed like a great spot to sit and soak in the sun.    Then I realized that rattlesnakes were not unheard of in this area and for the first time I was not hiking in boots, but rather I was  where was wearing my sandels!
  • I had taken off with out water at noon at August.   Fortunately I had done enough training that this did not put me under, and I was not in the full sun.   The distance and the temperature dictated I had water with me.
  • I had originally taken a rails to trails, but when I went back I took a forest trail.  The grade there turned out to be pretty intense.   I would have sold my soul for my hiking poles.  They really help take so much of the stress off of your knees when are faced with steep climbs.
  •  I had gone out into the woods and not told a single person where I had gone.  No one had a time that I was due back.   If you do nothing else when you head out into the woods that is the most critical thing you need to do.   It is your safety net.

Dumb luck was with me and it all worked out.  It was a reminder that emotional decisions can be full of flaws due to the impulsive nature.   It would have only take an few minutes to call home and leave message where I was going and when I should be home.    I keep all the other supplies I should have taken in a crate in my rig at all times.   There were all there for me.   I should have taken them them with me.   There are no walks or hikes that are too short to take your safety supplies.    This all worked out fine, and it serve as a great reminder of what I already know.    THINK.    It could be live saving.

Holes in Our Hearts

I seems the holiday season always reminds of the holes in our hearts left by those who have gone before us.  Those members of our family and friends who made our time her special.

My Aunt Linda and Aunt Nancy were sisters and best friends.   One of the things that the did was make Christmas candy together.   My Aunt Linda is gone now, but my Aunt Nancy still carries on the tradition of making sure that Christmas candy gets made and shared.   Her husband has turned in to her “master candy dipper.”  In spite of his support it isn’t the same.   Sister’s make you laugh in special ways that no one else can.

My Grandma Virtue and her best friend “Aunt” Hermine,  both gone, were a crafty couple of ladies.  Grandma was always thinking of things to make for Christmas and “Aunt” Hermine was her trusty sidekick.  One year they attached clear medicine cups with glitter on the rim to a Styrofoam ball and hung as a Christmas decoration.   Even  now I am not sure what made them think that was festive, but I can see them with their enthusiasm making them.   Another year they made tree decorations using left over flash cubes and jewelry the bought at  rummage sales.   I still have mine left, and it still hangs on my tree.  It sounds a little odd, but it was one of their better ideas.

My friend, Barb, lost her battle to ovarian cancer this spring, and I miss her when working  a design for my Christmas cards this year.   We always crafted with paper together.  Barb loved glitter and I wasn’t so sure ( I think it was those medicine cups).  She had an uncanny ability to know what what odd obscure thing to add to make it just a little better.     Her collection of ephemera was mind-boggling and she could find another used for it when we started brainstorming when working on altered art, cards, and even scrapbooks.

Vince Gill has a song on one of his Christmas albums about his brother who passed away called “It wont be the same this year.”  I really do like it because it a great song that is a tribute to all those who can’t be with us during this holiday season.

An Unexpected Gift

Yesterday was a terrible day!  I am not going to go into the details, but I went from rage, to indignation, and finally to just plain hurt that someone could be so mean.   In the process I went from reactionary, to trying to justify their behavior but though my rational brain said it wasn’t about me, it still made me sad.

Last evening as I was perking on all that had happened my husband came in with a box that had come in the mail.   I was an unexpected gift from a friend in Michigan.  A perfectly timed gift. My friend, LaNette,  had discovered a new tea and decided she had to share it with me.  She carefully crafted a box with goodies that would make the perfect relaxing moment with a cup of tea.    It had a can of Comfort  & Joy tea, a limited edition tea, I had not had a cup of in years, but is a personal favorite.  Cardinals are a bird we don’t have where I live in Montana, but the box included a tea bag caddie with beautiful red cardinals in winter. There was a tea mat, to put my warm cup and enjoy the scent released by the warm tea.  There would be a ball of frosted fruit that will hang in my studio space to be added to the collection that surrounds me with the love and thoughtfulness of those who have touched my life.  Lastly there was a CD with relaxing music and nature sounds.

An unexpected gift from a friend turned my day from terrible to great.  Thanks to LaNette your kindness and friendship mean so much to me.

By Diana @ Looking Out the Window Posted in Friendship Tagged

Embrace the Moment

One of my dearest friends is struggling in her fight against cancer.  Up until now her fight has been going as smooth as this fight can go for someone with her amazing resiliency, belief in the positive and dogged determination in spite of the trials of surgery and chemotherapy.   Today it took a wicked twist, and she is headed across the state for another surgery that we are not sure if it is caused by the  disease or all the drugs used to fight it.

All of this made me reflect on my last blog about loosing myself, not taking time for myself,  not taking care of myself or my life.   My friend, Barb, is one of those friends who always makes me more grounded and more balanced.  When we get together we don’t talk about her disease.  We laugh about our childhoods and families.  We count the blessings of our spouses and the lives we live with them.   We encourage one another to pursue our  creative dreams; write, draw, paint, cook, create, blog and more.  Our critters always visit during our time together to remind us that they are one of part of our crazy lives. We share risks we want to take but haven’t yet and  encourage one another to take that first step.

Barb and I stayed connected while I let my work take over my life, a phone call here, an email there, and an occasional  Facebook post.  All the while promising the week after the conference we would make time to get together in person.   While I am not sure if I will see my friend this week, like always she is making me grow, reminding me to embrace the moment.  Praying for a speedy recovery for my friend, Barb.