Thursday, January 19, 2012

More Reasons to be Cheerful in January

I have to admit, cheerfulness seemed a bit out of reach at the beginning of the week. The Aged Parents have been going through some very tough times - another sudden and extreme downturn in my mom's health, resulting in pain and increased dementia for her, yet more exhaustion for my dad, and frustration for those of us who are far away, willing but unable to help.

However, (and this is Reason #1), my sister was able, at very short notice, to fly out to California (thanks to the generous gift of a family member), and we have great hopes that she will be able to help my dad make some tough choices that he's been avoiding for too long. I'm so grateful she could go. I'm also happy that our employer has been extremely understanding and supportive, telling us both to take whatever time we need, whenever we need it, for our parents. We're very lucky to work for, and with, such a compassionate group of people.

#2: This is outside...

(Fahrenheit. It's even worse in Celsius.)

...but we are inside, safe and warm. A heated house makes me feel very cheerful in January.

Reason #3: Even in the dead of winter, I can still look out the window in the morning and see these signs of life... the very top of the Very Tall Tree next door. (I can't quite figure out what sort of birds those are - they don't look big enough to be the neighbourhood crows.)

How do the birds and the squirrel do it? Are they just better-insulated than I, or is it something to do with their metabolism? (It's hard to believe anyone could be better-insulated than I am in the weeks after Christmas, but despite the extra layers of blubber you won't find me climbing trees when it's -8┬║ out.)

Somehow those perching birds, and the squirrel hopping blithely from branch to branch in the extreme cold of a January morning, add to my sum of happiness. The cold hasn't beat them - they'll hang on and keep moving until spring brings warmth to the air. A very good example to follow.

For more January cheer, head over to Planet Penny, where you can leave a happy comment or link up a gladsome post of your own. Here's to warmth within and without.

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  1. Hope your sister can help your Dad sort things out, stuff like that is so hard. My gosh it looks cold where you are, I complain when it goes below 50 degrees.

  2. I am so sorry to learn of your Mother's downturn and hope that your sister will be able to bring some relief.

    It is very good that you have remained cheerful but January is almost done, so moe cheer to come.

  3. I am sorry for the problems with your mother's health and so glad your sister can go and help. You are doing well being cheerful in the cold! I am finding it rather hard. I think it has something to do with being stuck in the barn with Ella for so long. However, they say 40 degree temps are coming. Bring it on, I say!

  4. It's so difficult when we have to make these decisions for our parents. I really sympathise. At time like this we have to look hard to find little moments of cheerfulness to keep us going. Sending virtual hugs, Penny xxx

  5. So sorry to read that things aren't so good with your parents. The natural world always offers solace when times are hard don't you find. But -8, that's not very cheerful at all! Glad you are happy and snug indoors :D

  6. All of this is so difficult. I am so sorry and there is nothing, I know, that can be said to ease your pain. The only thing I can say, is that I do know what it is like, and I have been there. It was a very long time ago for me, but I do remember it so well.
    Tonight when I go to bed, I will truly think of you and send prayers up. Perhaps that will help, perhaps not, but please know that someone is thinking of you and your family.
    It is truly what happens, but that doesn't make it any easier or better. Painful for sure.
    Sending love.

  7. I admire your undaunted desire to find good when things must be emotionally tough for you. Of course you are absolutely right to pursue your quest for beauty and gratitude. I am so sorry to read about your parents difficulties. I hope and pray a solution will be found soon to ease your father's troubles.

    The natural world is truly a sight for sore eyes provided we stop long enough to see it really.

    Good luck to you and your picture of the thermometer really made me smile.

  8. How comforting that your sister was able to get to your parents to help, the number of times I've known the money to come in to get someone somewhere they need to be is uncanny, whether obvious (like a family member) or not so much (finding money in your letter box) God always provides when we need it.

    Bbbrrrrrr.....I feel your cold, I'm not great at being cold, actually I'm not great at being hot either, so maybe I'm a bit of a whinge!

    Keep warm, busy and cheery!

  9. So sorry to hear of the difficulties that you and yours have been experiencing. I know this very situation as this past year we have gone through the same tough conversations ('you can't live alone and so far away, any longer'). I know what it is to be far away and unable to be a presence in the parents lives. Bless you and your family as you go through these days and may cheerfulness always shine down to keep you! Jan

  10. Add me to the list of people praying and hoping things go well for your parents. I too admire your quest to find and share joy in the middle of a cold, dark January.

  11. Oh, Sue, I'm so sorry that your mom has had this downturn. Great your sis could get out there. As much as it is difficult to deal with disease, it must be very frustrating to be so far away. I hope she can give your dad the support he needs to make those tough decisions. It all looks easy when it's someone else's family, but when it's your own...Ach.

    Glad you continue to find things to be cheerful about - the best way to keep your sanity and stay healthy.


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