Giveaway Winner and Some Thoughts

The Flavor BibleLet’s cut right to the chase and announce the winner of The Flavor Bible giveaway! As randomly picked on Random.org, it is #31, Carolyn Page. Her comment was “My favorite meal is pot roast, mashed potatoes and carrots. Cornbread also. Great dinner. Would love to have this book!Carolyn, I will be contacting you by email. If you don’t see an email from me, be sure to check your spam-box. You may contact me either through the contact page on this blog or at my email address — tsgcookin at gmail dot com.

I often see bloggers write that they wish they could give away the prize to everyone who entered the contest. I know just what they mean. On the one hand I am so excited to be able to offer something to my readers, but on the other hand I am really stressed out about not being able to give this prize to everyone! Although I haven’t personally met a single one of you, I have come to know some of you through your comments and emails and I keep thinking what wonderful people there are in this world.

This isn’t the direction at all that I had planned to go with this post, but my heart is really full and I need to express some things that are on my mind. There are several things that have happened very recently, both in my personal life and in the world at large that have given me cause for deep thoughts.

As I reflect on the past 24 hours, I find myself nearly over-whelmed by the enormous variety of experiences, thoughts and emotions which I have had. There has been remarkable joy and remarkable sadness, volumes of both hope and despair, inner peace juxtaposed with tumultuous thoughts. In some ways it was an ordinary 24 hours, yet in other ways my life has been changed forever.

We live in a world turned upside down and inside out with hate and unspeakable cruelty; with violence and perversion and uncontrollable diseases. In the face of all of these things, how can we as individuals keep moving forward in positive ways? How do we cope with world and personal tragedies and remain (or become) productive members of society? I can only give you the answers that work for me.

  1. Prayer and gratitude. I pray a lot. I pray for help or hope or personal peace. Many of my prayers are simply a one sentence expression of gratitude — “Thank you, Heavenly Father, for this moment.” Seven years ago I was presented with a life altering health issue and I learned what it was to be terrified. I also learned about being grateful for even the most ordinary things — a warm breeze, my neighbor’s funny chickens, a tiny yellow autumn leaf, the way the sunlight made little flecks of sand in the concrete sparkle. Then there were the big things — the weight of a grandchild’s tiny body against mine as they snuggled up with me for a moment, the sounds of my family’s voices, the expanse of a starlit night sky, stillness in my soul, hearing a beautiful piece of music, getting to be a nurse. Each and every one of these things, and so many more, are causes for prayers of gratitude.
  2. Deliberate cheerfulness. Cheerfulness is often a choice. No, we won’t always be cheerful because some things in life are dark and gloomy and fearful. (Those are really good times to pray for strength and inner peace.) Nevertheless, I do honestly believe that we can find a way or a cause to express a measure of cheerfulness. Cheerfulness is directly related to laughter and laughter is healing. If I have to have wrinkles, I’d at least like them to be mostly made up of laugh lines.
  3. Service to others. Service is putting someone else before self. We often think of acts of service as being something huge or grand, but from my perspective, service is sometimes as simple as blessing someone’s life with a cheerful smile. I remember once when I was having a truly difficult day, a day when the sadness in my heart couldn’t have been heavier. I had bought a few groceries and had just finished loading them into the trunk of my car. As I turned to put the empty shopping cart in the cart return, a woman walked up to me, smiled and took the cart. “I’ll put it away for you,” she said cheerfully. That simple act of service from a complete stranger stunned me and the tears welled up in my eyes as I stammered a “thank you”. Since that day I have made a more determined effort to be aware of those around me so that I can offer small acts of kindness as well. The rewards have been substantial in the form of my own personal peace and happiness. Showing kindness is teaching kindness.

Those are the three big things in my life, the things that get me through each day. They are avenues to connecting in positive ways with others and the world around me. Making positive connections is one of the reasons that I enjoy blogging. I really like my little band of blog friends. I am grateful for your charity and goodness as expressed through your comments and emails. Your goodness shines through your writing. Thank you for helping to make the world a better place.

If you’d like to share, please tell me what your personal coping strategies are for daily life. What makes your days brighter?

Comments

  1. BARBARA says

    Terri,
    Your lovey thoughts were the first blog I’ve read today; do you ever wonder why “these” little events happen? I’ve so many quilting blogs that I could have opened but I chose yours, hhhmmmm. Your lovely thoughts given so freely will stay with me throughout many days, thank you for your generosity.

    I would like to share something with you regarding a serious health issue & what it taught me. I had both breast & colon cancer similtaneously, both of my adult children are specialty nurses but neither in oncology so we trod this learning curve together. I had volunteered on an oncology floor in a hospital for about 12 years & I had learned a lot about about different cancers. My children would often ask me questions of an unimportant nature but my knowledge, as limited as it was would surprise them in the usefulness.

    Out of this hard & hateful disease I learned this one particular lesson which in my heart I believe came from GOD. Nothing is as important as taking care of ourselves because we are formed by God & is a TEMPLE of his goodness.

    Therefore, I learned all this time I have wasted worrying about what I now know is trivial & wasted valuable time that I could have spent with family, friends, or strangers & simply giving of myself as the lady who returned your grocery cart.

    Now, everyone who knows me says when we are talking about life, “I’ts just a THING.” By that I mean in life we can allow (our Free Will) “stuff” to clutter our lives but now, all that “stuff” is Just a Thing rarely important. I cannot tell you the freedom this “Just a Thing” has given me & my children, the freedom is exhilarating & so peaceful. My life is now so precious & I take care of my body (Temple), the very best I can.

    So thank you Terri for your wonderful thoughts/blog today. Take care & stay safe.
    BARBARA

  2. Rie says

    I signed on now after reading the initial blog early this morning, to congratulate Carolyn on her win….You go girl….Enjoy your book.
    I just read Barbara’s comments and I felt I needed to reply. Blessedly, I am not going through any health care crisis at this time but my BFF’s niece is. A lovely young woman with a husband and LITTLE children. (She has cancer and just had a tumor removed near her heart yesterday.) I am under stress at work and Barbara’s words are helping me. “It’s just a thing” will be my mantra. ALWAYS, when I start feeling this way, or start to have a pity party for myself, God has always put someone in my path who it worse off then me. When this happens I always offer up a thank you prayer with the words, “I got it, Lord”….
    Thank you Barbara! I will be speaking your words (in my head) often…..

  3. Dalila G. says

    Congrats Carolyn P.!!
    Wishing you lots of fun creating assorted yummies with your spice book!

    OH MY GOSH Terri, what a beautiful post today.
    Everyone has issues at some point in life, how we handle them is entirely up to us.
    You are one strong and sweet lady, a person I have the pleasure of calling “my friend” if only through your blog.
    I have learned so much from you about cooking, thank you!
    I am a good cook, now I’m better, you make learning fun. 🙂
    I have also learned that you are human just like us.
    Ups and downs are part of life, how we deal with them is in our power.
    You have taught us that giving up is not an option, you certainly did not give up….YAY YOU!!
    I have some things going on in my life right now with my hubby concerning his health, but as long as we go at it together we feel we can deal with anything thrown our way.
    I’m extremely happy and thankful he is still with me, but I can never forget that 10 years ago I would of been alone. I always think positive, always happy thoughts and NEVER, NEVER pity myself. If hubby doesn’t complain then I refuse to complain, why should I, I gain nothing from negetive thoughts.
    I am not going to waste my time on useless feelings and thoughts.
    Life is hard for my hubby, he’ll never be his old self again, but this is another journey for us and together is a good way to be.
    We always say ……everyday’s a holiday, every meal’s a banquet……..we’re happy and that’s what counts.

    Have a great day Terri and thank you for sharing with us.
    This post is one reason I truly enjoy your blog, you’re the best!!

  4. Carol says

    Congratulations Carolyn—I know you’re going to enjoy that book!

    Terri, thanks so much for this beautiful post. I love your blog because you have such a gift for writing from your heart.

    Thank you too, Barbara, for your inspiration-I will remember “It’s just a thing”…..

    I always try to think positive….hard to do for the ultimate pessimist….and when things in my life bog me down, my mantra is “there’s someone out there worse off than you are….if they can handle it, YOU can handle it.”

    I find joy in the simple things…..sitting down with my knitting needles or an old favorite cookbook. The world today is so fast paced…I liken back to the “old days” when there were no home computers or video games….we made our own “fun” outside in all 4 seasons. I miss those days….

    Isn’t it amazing what a simple act of kindness can do? I always try to look back at the store to see if the person behind me in line has less to buy than I do. If they do, I always offer to let them go before me when I have a huge order (like every other week at the grocery store). It’s a simple thing that costs me nothing. Just like that lady taking the cart from you….you did each other a favor without even thinking about it.

    I try to learn something new every day….gotta keep the cobwebs out of this brain of mine and keep the creative juices flowing.

    Life is a series of ups and downs that’s for sure…it’s far better to find the good in every bit of it than focus on the bad.

    Have a wonderful day Terri…God bless….

    Hugs,

    Carol

  5. says

    Congratulations to the winner. 🙂 Terri, you are always so thoughtful and heartfelt in your writing. I agree, doing service to others makes you feel so good inside. I helped a man out recently that dropped his money and I returned it to him. He was so grateful and I was so thrilled about doing a good deed. I came home and told my kids and husband. It was not like a rescued him from a burning building or anything that heroic, but he was honestly appreciative from my gesture. I wish we could all be a little more kind to one another in this world… it would make it a much better place. All I can do is be kind to my fellow man and teach my children to be kind..

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