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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 -- The Art of Imperfection

From our archives -- Saddle Up

From our archives -- Taking Ourselves Off Automatic

Early Summer 2014 -- Embracing our Dormant Times

From our archives -- Taking Time to Listen

Late Spring 2014 -- Seeing More Clearly

Spring 2014 -- Savor What Makes Your Heart Sing

Early Spring 2014 -- The Power of Quotes

Holiday 2013 -- Taking the Time to Listen

Holiday 2013 -- Open our Hearts to the Good Around Us

Fall 2013 -- How to Cope in Tough Times

Late Summer 2013 - The Priceless Gift of Friendship

Midsummer 2013 -- My Luck is Pretty Good Luck

Early Summer 2013 -- Slow Down Enough to Smile

Late Spring 2013 -- Recognizing Gifts

Spring 2013 -- Doing the Best We Can

Early Spring 2013 -- Know Where You're Going

Holiday 2012 -- Our Power to Adapt

Early Fall 2012 -- See the Beauty in Front of Us

Late Summer 2012 -- Modify So It Works for You

Summer 2012 -- Finding Balance

Early Summer 2012 -- Go Ahead and Take that Risk!

Late Spring 2012 - Trusting Your Gut

Spring 2012 - Living Life to the Fullest

Early Spring 2012 - New Year, No Excuses

Winter 2011 - A Thoughtful Tip

Holiday 2011 - How Did I Get Here?

Fall 2011 - Giving Thanks for What We Already Have

Late Summer 2011 - Taking Ourselves Off Automatic

Midsummer 2011 - Friends Through Thick and Thin

Early Summer 2011 - The Power of Nice

Late Spring 2011 - The Gifts of Spring

Spring 2011 - Worst Case Scenario

Early Spring 2011 - Break Away From the Herd

Winter 2010 - Lessons From Feral Kitty

Holiday 2010 - The Art of Imperfection

Fall 2010 - When the Student is Ready...

Late Summer 2010 - Saddle Up

Midsummer 2010 - Hurry Up and Wait

Early Summer 2010 - Don't Just Stand There. Do Something!

Late Spring 2010 - Gifts From My Mother

Spring 2010 - Taking That First Step

Early Spring 2010 - I Think it's Time

Winter 2009 - Choose Love, Not Fear

Holiday 2009 - Paying it Forward

Fall 2009 - You're Not Alone

Late Summer 2009 - "Searching" for Peace

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Holiday 2008

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Holiday 2007

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