Thursday, June 26, 2014

New Posts: Gratitude, a Daily Effort

I've been posting my daily gratitude observation on Facebook for a little over a week now and thought I'd move it to my blog. Here's what's been presented so far, beginning with this morning's post. You'll see one a day--I hope--from now on.

June 25, 2014 Today I am grateful for:

A growing ability to find the value in what is presented daily, whether or not it appears to be a threat. My experience is telling me consistently that situations, attitudes, actions and perceptions are mine to interpret and I want to choose an interpretation that has lasting value. That requires full attention in most circumstances, something I'm not good at (ADD has delayed me on many, many occasions), but the effort required is most often of great benefit to me and those around me. It also requires forgiveness (beginning with myself), relaxing of the ego intrusion and an effort to understand why and how situations and circumstances develop. Sounds like a lot of effort and it is. But the result is often worth the work.

June 24, 2014

Today I am grateful for:

The unexpected. The truly unexpected, that which comes out of nowhere, grabs us by whatever's handy and leads us to places we never anticipated or even knew we wanted to visit. It happens in my life frequently because, I think, I am open to it. If I close down, it passes by like a car thief looking for a 'Vette with the keys in the ignition. I became a writer because of serendipity. I learned hiking and paddling and other physical outlets when my days of playing ball were over because I was open to them. I've found fulfilling relationships because I didn't block them. I founded a writers conference because the opportunity presented itself. Examples abound and I can't wait for the next one. Maybe tonight on City Market where I'm dining with somebody intriguing and totally unexpected. The unexpected keeps the level of hope, excitement, enthusiasm and joy at a high level.


 June 24, 2014

Today I am grateful for:

Opportunity. When I sold my half interest in FRONT magazine about a year ago to finish writing my novel CLOG!, I had no idea what I would do for income. I am not wealthy and must work if I am to bring home enough to be comfy. But the work has consistently been there and the projects have been great fun, the editors demanding and competent and the pay generous considering this economy. There has been so much work of late, in fact, that I haven't written a word on my next novel NEWS! in a couple of months. It is a good problem to have and I feel extremely fortunate to be a 67-year-old writer, edging toward 50 years in the business (Aug. 22) whose work is still appreciated and wanted.

June 23, 2014

Today, I am grateful for:
People who disagree with me and don't hesitate to express that disagreement--even those with whom the disagreement is sharp and irreconcilable. Much of what I learn comes from those who show/tell me what I don't know or show me where/how to find that information. These brisk conversations can be inspiring and invigorating, even when my own ignorance is the primary target. That gives me an opportunity to adjust my ego's demands, as well.

June 22, 201

Today I am grateful for:

People who return phone calls in a timely manner. People who don't over-text (more than two in succession requires a phone call). Class acts who write thank-you notes ... by hand ... on paper ... with stamps. People who write letters (Kitty Koomen, you are a dear). People who listen without concentrating on what their response will be and those who explain without missing key steps. There's more (like writing without destroying the language in the process), but the basic of this gratitude list is communication. I adore people who communicate well.

June 20, 2014

Today I am grateful for:

The high levels of integrity I find among my friends. They inspire me with their involvement, honesty, energy, kindness, generosity and intelligence. I'm also inspired by my summer tomatoes, about 60 of them at the moment, that are getting to be bright red summer tomatoes. Yay, 'mater sammiches!

June 19, 2014

Today I am grateful for:

 A rich cultural community in the Roanoke Valley, one where art and music, theater and the written word are as important as football and stock car racing. We have a broad and deep cultural heritage here and in my small version of the world, it is deeply appreciated and supported.

June 18, 2014


Today, I'm thankful for:

These two (left). I miss them, but I know they're safe, healthy, happy and living an experience in Southern Spain they'll cherish for their lives.


June 17, 2014

Today, I am grateful for:

 A clean house, thanks to my pal Ashley Mullen (who owns Keep it Simple Cleaning Services). She will clean my castle this a.m. I'm not a dirty or messy guy--like so many unmarried men--but Ash steps this up several notches and makes the house not only shine, but smell bright and new. Love the stuff she puts on the floors. And she's such a delight to be around, even when I'm working.
June 16, 2014

Today, I am grateful for:

Social Security and Medicare. I benefit from both. My knee replacement was a gift from Medicare and the new knee has changed my life--given it back, actually. Social Security allows me to work as I want, when I want, how I want, in the field I want. I have been working daily for more than 50 years and have no intention of stopping unless there is some unexpected medical problem, but the government programs give me the security to continue working if I want or stopping if I must. When my father died, leaving us nothing, we were able to eat because of a small Social Security check. This is America at its best.

June 15, 2014

Today I am grateful for:

Some of the perks of being a journalist, like the train excursion to Lynchburg I'm taking this morning. I've met six Virginia governors (know three of them fairly well), top-end entertainers, international figures like Pakinstan martyr and hero Benazir Bhuto and Nobel winner Lech Walesa, Pulitzer winners A.O. Wilson and Doris Kerns Goodwin, and some of the most fascinating lesser-known people god put on earth. Journalism has afforded the opportunity to be a clown for a day with a big circus (I rode in on an elephant named Mollie, sweet girl she was), to write about people who make a difference and people who inspire. It has helped educate me in areas where I normally would have had little interest or reason to learn. This career has been a blessing beyond measure and in August I'll have been doing it for 50 years.

June 14, 2014

Today, I am thankful for:

My renewed ability to hike our rare and precious mountains where some of the most beautiful vistas in the world are found. This is the result of the miracles (and I use that word advisedly, since joint replacement is relatively new and jaw-droppingly effective) of medical science and a whole lot of sweat, aching muscles and determination to damn well not be a cripple any more. Good hiking partners and a lot of encouragement also figure into the equation. (Yep,  down below that's Editr Pampa at McAfee's Knob.)
 

June 13, 2014

Today I am grateful for: 

So much. So very much. But let's just pick one. My formal education is quite limited, about an hour at UNCAsheville. Never passed a course at the college level. That has not mattered. I have worked nearly 50 years (Aug. 22) as a journalist and have taught at the college level because of mentors along the way like Al Geremonte, the old Army platoon sargeant who fought at Guadalcanal and became a sports writer. He taught me "everything you know, but not everything I know." I was hired as a copy boy (something that doesn't exist now) in the sports department of the Asheville Citizen, applying on a lark and beginning work that day in 1964.The mentors keep coming and they are every age, every profession, both genders, every economic level, and of wildly varied backgrounds and interests. Every day of my life since 1964, I have looked forward to working and learning. Not many of us get to do that. 

June 12, 2014

Today I am grateful for:

A mother, Opal Dane McCourry Smith, whose sense of humor often put joy into the most difficult situations. She laughed, whistled and sang through tragedy and disappointment and passed her irreverence and eye-poke to reality on to her eight kids (I'm 6th and there's a good story with that). We've all lived flawed lives, but we've been able to laugh through every bump and bruise. Thanks, Mom.


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