Fall 2012 -- Gratitude for What We Have

Dear Friends

These days whenever I meet someone from my 'era,' we often find ourselves reminiscing about everything from Yardley Pot O'Gloss to Three Dog Night. Whether we were disco queens or flower children, we Baby Boomers seem to share a special bond when it comes to nostalgia. The woman I met today, who was born 2 months before I was, has very different memories. While I was playing hide-and-seek on the shores of Puget Sound, she was ducking for cover as war planes fired overhead. When I was drinking Tab and eating Diet Figurine Bars to fit into my Danskin disco dresses, she would have given anything for a cup of rice in her village in South Vietnam.

I walked into 'Kim’s Alterations' today to get a dress altered, but I was the one who was altered by the time I left. Having just talked with a friend about the significance of people's 'stories,' I felt compelled to ask Kim if she'd feel comfortable telling me a little about her experiences in Vietnam. As obtrusive as this may sound, it was just the two of us in the shop, and we had established a friendly rapport while she pinned the hem of my dress. She seemed genuinely touched that someone was interested in her story.

I fought back tears as she recounted what it was like to live with constant air raids, bombing, and the loss of so many loved ones. History came alive for me, and perhaps for the first time, I truly 'got' just how small those vessels were that 'the boat people' stepped onto in search of refuge and hope for the future. Kim was 25 years old with a 2-year-old boy and a nursing 1-year-old baby girl when she stepped onto one of those boats. Pirates seized their boat and kidnapped several young women, and Kim's worst fear was that they would take her, and then what would become of her babies?

While there is much more to her story, I'll cut to the happy ending.

Today Kim is a happily married business owner. She raised four children who graduated from college, two of whom were valedictorians. The 2-year-old who almost died in her arms on the boat is now a very successful M.D., and her baby? She's an executive for a Fortune 500 company.

I recently read the quote 'You can be greater than anything that can happen to you.' This perfectly describes Kim. Now my question for her was,'How?' While some of us allow injustices to hold us hostage in a perpetual state of victimhood, how was she able to not only move forward, but to thrive? Kim says it's because she always looked toward the future by working hard and by feeling gratitude every day for being alive in the United States.

Kim is my inspiration this Thanksgiving. If someone who has lived through the horrors of war can allow hard work and gratitude to propel her into such a satisfying life, why can't it work for us all? Rather than dwelling in the past, she was and still is committed to working toward a better future. And rather than being driven by pride or the desire for prestige or more things, she is inspired by a sense of gratitude every day. My hope is that her story inspires you as much as it did me and that it leads you to a deep sense of gratitude for your own story, knowing you really can be greater than anything that can happen to you.

Other Issues:
From our archives -- Offering Wisdom to New Moms

From our archives -- The Best Good Deed

From our archives -- Embracing the Wonder of Children

From our archives -- Encouraging children to live their bliss

From our archives

Holiday 2013 -- Embracing the World of Wonder

Winter 2013 -- Recipe for a Happy Thanksgiving

Fall 2013 -- Finding Beauty in the Everyday Tasks

Late Summer 2013 - Taking Our Own Advice

Midsummer 2013 -- Appreciating Nature's Bounty

Early Summer 2013 -- Being Prepared

Late Spring 2013 -- Having Realistic Expectations

Spring 2013 -- Offering Mothering Wisdom

Early Spring 2013 -- Being True to Our Nature

Holiday 2012 -- Appreciate the Goodness

Winter 2012 -- Enjoying the Anticipation

Early Fall 2012 -- Looking Back to Appreciate Now

Summer 2012 -- Chinaberry's History & Future

Early Summer 2012 -- My Dad

Late Spring 2012 -- My Satisfying Yet Untraditional Upbringing

Spring 2012 - The Consequences of Our Actions

Early Spring 2012 - Learning From Experience

Winter 2011 - The Small Moments

Holiday 2011 - The Good Deed

Fall 2011 - Gratitude

Late Summer 2011 - Overwhelmed? You're Not Alone.

Midsummer 2011 - Louise's Gallery

Early Summer 2011 - Flying 101: Giving Them Wings

Late Spring 2011 - Letting Them Fail

Spring 2011

Early Spring 2011 - Encouraging Your Kids to Live Their Bliss

Fall 2010 - The Chinaberry Commitment

Late Summer 2010 - In the Blink of an Eye

Midsummer 2010 - It's Her Story

Early Summer 2010 - Weathering the Storm

Gifts From My Mother

Spring 2010 - Enjoy the Ride

Early Spring 2010 - Enter the Land of Dirt and Bugs

Winter 2009 - Less Cleaning, More Meaning

Holiday 2009 - Finding Gratitude Every Day

Fall 2009 - Teaching Children Through Our Actions

Late Summer 2009 - A Spoonful of Sugar

Midsummer 2009 - Give Your Kids the Gift of Boredom this Summer

Early Summer 2009 - Who's the Kid and Who's the Parent?

Late Spring 2009 - Making Connections

Spring 2009 - Fully Engaging With Our Children

Early Spring 2009 - Building Character While Playing Characters

Winter 2008 - Never Underestimate the Value of a Good Hello

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