Gratitude and Helping Others

Kate Spade: Photo from the internet

Anthony Bourdain: A meme from the internet

KATE SPADE, 55 years old
ANTHONY BOURDAIN, 61 years old

…This Week joining the likes of
MARILYN MONROE, 36 years old
ERNEST HEMINGWAY, 61 years old
VINCENT VAN GOGH, 37 years old
SYLVIA PLATH, 30 years old
VIRGINIA WOOLF, 59 years old
FREDDIE PRINZ, 22 years old
SAWYER SWEETEN, 19 years old
ALEXANDER MCQUEEN, 40 years old
DON CORNELIUS, 78 years old
ROBIN WILLIAMS, 63 years old

When I was in 2nd Grade in Catholic Grammar School, the Dominican Nun at the front of the room was teaching us about Sin and Forgiveness.
“Sister, is there any sin that is not forgivable?” myself or some other curious seven-year old raised their hand to ask.
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THANK FULL!

Sign on our Door

I am Grateful for Music.
I am Grateful for Laughter!
I am Grateful for Colors — Every One of them!
Purple, Orange, Magenta, Mahogany, Yellow, Mauve, Red, Green, Silver and Gold, Blue, Pink, Violet, Chartreuse, Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Indigo, Scarlet, Peach, Ruby, Azure, Cream and Crimson… and all those Colors in the sky that don’t even have names!
I am Grateful for the Sky
And the Ocean,
Every Blade of Grass
And Every Leaf!
I am Grateful for MOM!
I am Grateful for my BigHearted Partner!
I am Grateful for my Very Amazing Friends!
I am Grateful for my Education!
I am Grateful for the Challenges that Teach Me!
I am Grateful to Know.
I am even More Grateful to Question!

I am Grateful for Transportation, even though the MTA makes me Crazy most Days!
I am Grateful for my Meditation Process even though it’s messy and sloppy and I don’t really achieve a state of Nirvana, except for Fleeting Moments — I think that’s normal, and even if it’s not, I am Grateful for it!
I am Grateful for the Crazy Last Minute Jobs and my humble little Office in Manhattan and for the Gift of Work!
I am Grateful for Health — with its Second-Half-of-Life Challenges! We’re Here!
I am Grateful for Clothing!
For My Bed!
And for HousePlants
And Magic… So Much MAGIC!
And So Many MIRACLES!
And for the Miracle of the Day!

Such a Festive Plate! So Many Autumn Colors!

I am Grateful for Breath
And Being Born
And all of the sacrifices my parents made so I could have my Education
And Books
And Carfare…

I am Grateful for the Crazy amount of Cooking that this Holiday Entails!
So far, I have made Macaroni and Cheese (Not a usual dish at our GivingThanks Day Table, but I like to mix it up a bit!)
Ratatouille (It’s nice to have some Healthy Low Calorie Leftovers too!)
Fudge Oat Bars (It’s also nice to have some Treats and not worry about Calories!)
Homemade Cranberry Sauce (with no sugar — This year I cooked the CranBerries in Orange Juice with cinnamon sticks as usual, but tried reducing the Orange Juice, added a can of Crushed Pineapple in its own juice, and some tiny slices of fresh orange!)
HomeMade AppleSauce which reminds me of COUSIN ALICE!

Oh, How I Adored Her!
Such an Enchanting Human Being!
Such a Delight!
I remember once, as a Kid, saying to MAMA, “I Love Her!”
MAMA assured me with a smile, “She knows!”
I suppose I tend to wear my Heart on my Sleeve a bit.
When you would go to COUSIN ALICE’s House — she was in her Eighties —
She would have Cold Cuts and a spread of freshly sliced tomatoes, pickles, coleslaw — all store bought fresh for your visit.
And she would put out some HomeMade Apple Sauce.
It was Delicious!
I never got her recipe, and I expect she didn’t really follow one.
But I found one — some Awesome friends gave me The Comfort Diner CookBook years ago, and there was a Wonderful Recipe for HomeMade AppleSauce — simple, easy and Delicious, just the way COUSIN ALICE liked her Cooking to be!
Here it is:
Comfort Diner Apple Sauce

I leave out the sugar and the raisins, and I double the spices.
I try to avoid sugar in general, and COUSIN ALICE loathed Raisins.
I remember she once told us, quite cheerfully, “This nice young girl moved in just a few houses down here, and she knocked on my door and said, ‘I baked you a Zucchini Bread!’ I thought that was So Nice! So I thanked her and…” Here her voice dropped several octaves and her demeanor changed dramatically
“Wouldn’t you know it! Loaded with Raisins!” and she gave a big frown!

So I leave out the Raisins, and the Sugar.
But Giving Thanks Day is the Holiday that COUSIN ALICE always spent with us.
DAD adored her! (She was technically his Cousin, so my First Cousin, Once Removed.) DAD would drive out to Staten Island to pick her up on Wednesday, drive her back to the Bronx where we lived; she would stay with us two nights, and he would drive her back to Staten Island on Friday.

I miss her.
She is gone some ten years now.

A Meme from the Internet

And So, Today,
We Celebrate Giving Thanks!
That is the root of this Holiday.
As LINDSAY MCVAY writes on the website of the National Museum of the American Indian  about the Wampanoag People who celebrated with the Pilgrims what we think of as the First “ThanksGiving,”

“Like indigenous groups everywhere, the Wampanoag had a reciprocal relationship with nature and believed that as long as they gave thanks to the bountiful world, it would give back to them. Long before the arrival of the Pilgrims, the Wampanoag held frequent Thanksgiving-like celebrations, giving thanks in the form of feasts and ceremonial games.”

In honor of GivingThanks Day Today,
I made a Feast which includes:

GivingThanks Day 2017 with MOM

Turkey,
Sausage Stuffing,
Sweet Potatoes,
Homemade Cranberry Sauce,
Cranberry Mold (Another of COUSIN ALICE’s Signature Dishes!)
Stuffed Mushrooms,
Ratatouille,
Macaroni and Cheese,
Broccoli & Cauliflower Au Gratin
Apple Cake,
Oat Fudge Bars…

And HomeMade Apple Sauce.

Stuffed Mushrooms

I also learned today that when making an Apple Cake in a Tube Pan, if you plan to turn it upside down to cool, it is Better to let it cool and set for 15 minutes or so before you do that! 🙂 Whoops!

There is So Much for which to be Grateful!
How Blest we Are!
The LeftOvers will last for a week.
Let’s make sure the Celebration of Gratitude that this Feast represents lasts for a LifeTime!

The Complete Door

Happy GivingThanks Day!

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My First Diwali

Arrival in Delhi

Annnnnnd… I’m Here!
…In India
For my First Diwali.

In my last post, I talked about how exciting and Beautiful I find this Holiday!
Read about that HERE
And here I am!
And now, let us talk of Miracles…
About the power of Manifestation…
About all that can Happen for you!
As Abraham Hicks says, “It is as easy to create a Castle as a Button!”

Last April, a Very Special Friend was due to have a Very Special Birthday!
Her Husband, another Very Special Friend, told me a year before that he was taking her to India, and he thought it would be Fun to surprise her with a group of her friends showing up for Breakfast at the same hotel where they’d be staying.
This was all meticulously planned for last April,
But a series of events caused the trip to be rescheduled for Autumn.
A week before we left, my friend said to me, “By the way, you know it’s some festival while we’re there next week. There’s something going on in India then. I think it’s called, ‘Diwali.’”
I Gasped with a sound I had never heard come out of me before — It was some kind of Jubilation mixed with Blissful Recognition and AwesomeSauce!
“DIWALI!!!???”
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Miracles in the Tapestry

My weathered copy of HENRIK IBSEN’s A DOLL’S HOUSE

As a Casting Director, I have to see pretty much Everything.
Knowing Actors’ performances & capabilities beyond what they might do in the Audition Room is essential.
It enables me to speak up for them!
It is Important, and a responsibility which I take very seriously.

I know to those not in Show Business, this might seem terribly glamorous —
What a Great Job!
Imagine if seeing Shows all the time were your Work!
Well, YES!
I Love my Work!
But as it happens, Producers do not provide Casting Directors with free tickets. (These are the same Producers who expect me to have seen everything when they hire me!)
So, I do a lot of Rush Tickets.

Having been away for a few weeks,
And with a heavy Travel Schedule over this past little while,
I had some shows to catch up on.
It was my plan (more…)

Giving Thanks, 2016

Me and MOM at GivingThanks Day, 2014

Me and MOM at GivingThanks Day, 2014

 

 

Has there Ever Been a More Welcome Holiday!?
Has there Ever Been a Better Time?

Pause and Give Thanks!
STOP!
BREATHE…
Let us Take a Moment and Just Be Grateful for What We Have!
Give Thanks to God
Or The Universe
Or Each Other
Or Whatever Divine Force You May Believe In
Or Just to The Air
Or the Sun
Or the Moon!
Just Speak It!
Just say it OUT LOUD,
Even to No One, in particular!
Just say the Words, “Thank You!”
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On the Border of Us and Them

from THE COURSE IN MIRACLES

from THE COURSE IN MIRACLES

I don’t want there to be an “Us” and “Them.”
I am trying to avoid that path of thinking.
UNITED States!
UNITED States!
Stay UNITED!

Trying to get on with my Life and get back to Writing and Working and Taking Care of MOM,
Casting Shows, and Being Present in my Teaching, and Organizing for Christmas, and Cooking for GivingThanks Day…
I have to make Apple Sauce!
(I know. Who does that!?)

I go back and forth
Between my Fundamental Belief in the Good of People
And Trying to pick Myself Up Off the Floor from all of this!
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Things to Do Today

20160921_003717Today is World Gratitude Day.
September 21st.
Who knew?
I mean, it’s not a Holiday which I grew up knowing.
Apparently the United Nations Meditation Group created this Day back in 1977, by paying tribute to SRI CHINMOY, a Meditation Guru who had begun the concept some twelve years earlier at the East-West Center in Hawaii.

And so Here, Today, is a Day to Give Thanks across the World,
For All of Us to Come Together and Give Thanks!
LET’S!!!

Here are Ten Suggestions to Celebrate World Gratitude Day: (more…)

A Hundred Million Miracles

A Hundred Million Miracles -- Just on this one Tree!

A Hundred Million Miracles — Just on this one Tree!

“A HUNDRED-MILLION MIRACLES
A HUNDRED-MILLION MIRACLES
A HUNDRED-MILLION MIRACLES
ARE HAPPENING EVERY DAY”
— Flower Drum Song, Rodgers & Hammerstein

Are you counting?
I think we’ve reached 95 Million and it’s barely Lunchtime!
Lunch — Another Miracle!
Time — Another Miracle!
Reaching — Another Miracle!
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REBIRTH

IMG_4506Easter Morning.
Another one of those “Religious” Holidays
So I am nervous about saying, “Happy Easter!”
Because if someone belongs to a religion that doesn’t celebrate
Or associates Christianity with the ideology of TED CRUZ or other neo-cons,
They might be offended.
But, like most Holidays from YOM KIPPUR to DIWALI to CHRISTMAS…
To me, it’s an Invitation!
Welcome!
Come Celebrate!
HAPPY EASTER!

REBIRTH!
It can mean So Many Things.

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My Friend, JOHN*

JoyDr. JOHN WADDELL
Earthling, Mr. Wonderful, Psychologist, Metaphysical Teacher
& Expert on the Conscious and Practical Application of the Law Of Attraction

JOHN helped sort things out.
He was the Beloved of our Beloved SARK
And she was So Generous in sharing him with all of us.

I once frenetically whined to him that I did not understand how the Law of Attraction worked.
I told him that as I was heading home to speak with him on the phone
rushing from a day of Work and taking care of MOM,
I was late because of missing several different trains, each by a hair’s breadth,
and my phone battery dying
when just as I stepped from the station, the skies broke into torrential rain…
Really? Could I be attracting all of this!?
He spoke calmly and Lovingly, “Yes!
You can change these things. Quite easily.
But why would you want to?
Your Life sounds like a movie — something most of us only dream of Living.
You have that.
Why would you want to change it?
I don’t think that you do.”

JOHN had a way of turning on a LightBulb for people in their Lives.
He handed out small Epiphanies
the way other generous souls might hand out candy to children.
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