“It takes less muscles to smile than it does to frown, Nancy.”
My father, Fred Alkema, when I was 10 years old
Very likely these are my last written thoughts for 2016. Hence I have given myself permission to quote my father……he has been on my mind and in my heart a great deal this last week and more. He would be aghast and appalled at the state of affairs in his beloved country. The country his parents began their family together in when they immigrated from The Netherlands. Holland. My father was proud to have come from Holland. But even more so he was proud of being a Republican in the United States of America……land of opportunity, safety, justice for all.
He would be sad and disappointed.
I leave in a couple of hours to spend Thanksgiving with family in Missouri and I am excited, pleased, happy, grateful to be going there and sharing loving time together. It will be precious to see the little ones, to have quality time with the grown ups, to be in the midst of whatever is happening and be able to see for myself what it feels like and looks like to me: to be with family and to be in the US. I strongly suspect there will be little if any noticeable difference. Ultimately, life goes on.
I have much to be thankful for throughout this past year, not the least of which is the opportunity to share my thinking and my heart with many of you who are letting me know this writing matters. Thank you!
I think of my father’s wisdom every day. I am intentional about being generous with my smiles. I am intentional about laughing at myself. I can become so unnecessarily anxious. Relax, Ross! Smile. Frowning just makes you tired. My father is my hero. He has integrity. He was kind and exceedingly loyal and committed to my mother and our family. He knew how to hunker down and plow on through when the going got tough. And he absolutely knew his share and more of tough.
If you can’t find anything to smile about just now, think of Fred. Dear Fred with a cigarette hanging out the middle of his mouth to keep his nose warm; with strong arms that put me on the wide back of working horses who pulled the milk carts throughout the city and rural areas every day of the week; who took me to Fourth of July fireworks over Lake Michigan and pushed me high in the swing so I could see the beautiful bursts of colours over the water; and who knew the value of a smile and a hug a day.
- I am grateful for a wise and loving father
- I am grateful for a differently wise, but equally wise, and very generous and kind mother.
- I am grateful for everyone of my adult children, in law adult children, grandchildren and great grand children. I am so very blessed
- I am grateful for good weather for travel today.
- I am grateful for a son and daughter in law who will be meeting me at the air port in St. Louis in just a few hours.
- I am grateful for my precious blessed life.
Love always, Nancy