Two sisters, two coasts, one blog

The Alphabet Game

West Twin:

Well here it is folks. The week before our annual national ritual of Thanksgiving: bum-rushing the stores for the last can of pumpkin filling, gearing up for all that “family time”, dusting off the good china and oh yeah, giving thanks.

I’ve seen some folks on FB doing a practice this month of posting something they are grateful for each day (did anyone really do it the whole month?). I like to see the simple things that people are acknowledging in their lives, and I’m reminded that sometimes  gratitude doesnt come without effort.

Once years ago when I was big into to self-help groups, I learned a game that was a fail-safe readjustment technique for getting back to gratitude. When I’m sad or angry or especially if I’m  feeling sorry for myself, the alphabet game always sets me straight.

The idea is simple, you start with the first letter of the alphabet, think of something you are grateful for in your life that starts with that letter and then move to the next. Easy right? Well not always. Sometimes I have to dig deep (especially for X or Z !) but it’s always fun to try and get through the whole alphabet, and always illuminating to see how many simple blessings surround us once we put our attention on it.

You can try this yourself  (in your mind or on paper) or out out loud with your friends or family. And it’s a great dinner table game for the upcoming holiday festivities (just sayin’). It can be endearing and a little mystifying to find out just what our loved ones hold close to their hearts.

(For example the other night my husband went through his list while we sat together in a rare moment of repose on the couch. When he got to the letter Q he settled on “quarterback”, grateful that ‘his’ team the Pittsburgh Steelers continue to have a decent season despite big Ben Roethlisbeger’s recent thumb injury. Awww, so sweet.)

And to up the ante you can set a timer if you like, as a way to avoid over-thinking what it is you are grateful for. Don’t be too critical or precious with yourself during this exercise. These things may be goofy or materialistic or even a little twisted, but they are yours. Your blessings. The things that make your days a little lighter and brighter, and make the ride through Life a little more bearable.

So here goes. Right here and now I’m setting the timer for 26 minutes (one for each letter) and go for it. And I encourage you all to do the same. Maybe you’ll discover something you didn’t know about yourself? Or maybe you will find that your current perspective  shifts a little. Or maybe you’ll just be reminded that each and every day there is ALWAYS something worth being grateful for. Whatever it is, we’d love to hear from you about it.

Until then, be happy and give thanks.

This year's haul from Apple Hill.

A is for Apples, and all the yummy things that can be made from them: chunky homemade applesauce, applesauce cake, apple crumble and I guess if there’s enough left over, apple pie.

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B is Birthdays and the joyful celebration of each child as they get older and all the changes they go through. Happy Birthday to Lincoln who just turned six and had us all reminiscing about how far we’ve come.

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C is for Cable TV and the insane offerings of reality shows one finds there. This from the woman who stayed up at a friend’s house until midnight last night watching a  “Hoarders” marathon. Hey, I was being reminded that my own garage isn’t quite the disaster I think it is. there’s worse.

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D is for dreadlocks and I sure do love mine. Ten years on and they are just getting really good and finally taking on a life of their own! Like the roots of a tree they knarl and twist and bind together, silent witness to the years of growth.

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E is for is Everything my friends have ever done for me! (I know this is kind of a cheat but I wanted to make sure I squeeze it in). In this season of thanks I am reflecting on how I have negotiated through the terrain of motherhood and adulthood. And without a doubt, it has always been because of the graceful support and loving help of my friends. I love you all!

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F is for Fall colors in the trees, which are incredible in Sacramento this year. A late cold spell and a lack (so far) of winter storms has given us an incredible display. Golden yellows and shocking reds, and huge crunchy maple leaves everywhere. It’s like Sacramento snow.

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G is for Gardening, my favorite thing to do and the key to my sanity. I am grateful to have a green thumb, and glad that one of the most meditative and re-calibrating activities I know is always just outside my door and at the tips of my fingers.

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H is for Haircut. My littlest boy got his first real haircut (I’m grateful too for my dear friend Mary, out personal in-home hairdresser) and the transformation from baby to big boy is complete!

I is for ice cream because I just remembered there’s a couple of pints in freezer, leftover from the birthday party. Ben and Jerry here I come.

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J is for Judith my beautiful mother from whom I learned to love Art, lentil soup, and the vibrant beauty of the natural world. I miss you mom and I’ll be making your carrot-jello these holidays.

Judith working on Judy Chicago's 'The Dinner Party ' art installation circa 1978.

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K is for Kombucha the elixir of life and my favorite fermented beverage. And the new and improved “Enlightened” formula which has raw chia seeds floating in it,  is the best and weirdest drink ever. Ch-ch-ch-Chia!

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L  is for Ladies night at Lisa’s place! A sleepover for the mamas which included delightful company, conversations, wine, manicures, and oh yeah did I mention…cable television!

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M is for my marriage which is the hidden gem of my life. It’s true, there are days when we may not get the chance for more than a passing conversation, but I still love my husband deeply.  He is my anchor and my inspiration, and I just thought I’d take the chance to tell ya’ll so.

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N is for nailpolish, nothing like a new coat to make you feel pretty and put together. But alas my nails can never withstand the demands of my hosuewifely duties and my cute lilac paint job from last night is already chipped.

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O is for Oami, my twin sister and my ‘other half’. You are the salt to my pepper, the teeter to my totter. I love you girl!

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P is for Pets. My cats Bubble and Sparkle are the sweetest souls, totally devoted to one another and to us their human family. They are so great that I forgive the cat poop in my garden and the 6 a.m wake-ups for feeding (mostly).

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Q is for Quail.  I saw three little ones run across the road this morning on my way back from Rescue (so cute!). Just a few hours later in a random unrelated conversation, my son wondered aloud what the state bird of California was. I did some asking around…turns out it’s the quail!

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R is for a Roof over our head. No small feat in this day and age, and certainly a privileged way to live compared to many in this world.

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a rare photo op with all three together, just days after the birth of Royal (2008)

S is for Sons. I never thought I would end up with three sons, living in almost all-male household but here I am. And what a such a joy and a mystery and a surprise they are  each day.  I cannot help but be grateful for this opportunity to watch these boys grow into into such awesome young men.

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T is for Tea. There is nothing in life that cannot be remedied by a good cup of tea. My favorite right now is Tulsi Sweet Rose tea with milk and honey. It even says so right on the box, “Stress-relieving and Magical”. Enough said.

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U is for Underwear. Any day that there’s actually a clean pair of underwear in my drawers,  is a good day.

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V is for Vino, Mother’s little helper. I’m kidding. (sort of).

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W is for Wine. wait…I said that already. Okay, okay….umm,

W is for Waldorf education. I am grateful that there is such a thing as a curriculum which honors childhood, I’m grateful for all the teachers who are so committed to their students,  and for the healthy rhythms and lifestyle changes this education has brought to our lives. And for the fact that I finally learned how to knit.

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X is for the X-factor. Either you’ve got it…or you don’t ; )

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Y is for youthful vigor and health. May I never take it for granted, May I use my good health productively, and may I foster the desire to take better care of myself now that my forties are in sight.

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Lincoln, Royal and the Z-Man

Z is for baby Zeke because well, why not?! A dear family friend, my boys have known him since the day he was born and it’s so fun to see them all grow up together. Besides the boy has the elegant and unique letter Z as his initial. How cool is that?

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(p.s yes, this did take me longer than 26 minutes to write, but it was a noble effort. And for that, one must be grateful. )

6 Responses to “The Alphabet Game”

  1. oami powers

    I was JUST today thinking about all the things I have to be grateful for in my life. You are one of them, my deep thinking, huge hearted, sassy sister. I love you too…big blubbery kisses xxxooo O

    Reply
    • ruchapowers

      JoAnn! I am so thrilled you are reading our blog! We miss you and look forward to seeing you some day soon, now that you are back in California. Hugs!, Rucha

      Reply
  2. Mary

    What a great idea (and as always – so well written)!! Just read this post now (better late than never!?) and I can assure you Mr. Zeke has a lot of gratitude for his boyz and Auntie Rucha!

    Love you! You are my “R”!
    -Mary

    Reply

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