Grateful by Christina Knowles

garden_of_the_gods_by_jawahunter003-d4p9tfg
by jawahunter003

It’s that time of year, hopefully not the only time of year, when we take stock of all the good things in our lives and express our gratitude. Well, this year has been a difficult one, and it would probably be a lot easier to list all of the things that went wrong, but that makes engaging in this type of positive reflection even more important. Realizing how good I really have it is most critical when it seems like everything is going wrong. So here are a few things for which I’m very thankful.

  1. My husband. I am lucky to have married a kind and gentle man, who is genuinely a good and ethical person.Randy and me He’s compassionate and sincere. My husband is a true artist, a musician, who feels deeply, sees deeply, and thinks deeply. He also makes me laugh every day. When I feel lost and alone, he’s there to let me know that he’s always on my side. He’s loyal and understanding, and he never expects me to be anything other than what I am. He doesn’t need to be in charge or have everything his way. He respects my independence with no macho bullshit, and his easy-going personality makes our home a peaceful refuge from the harsh world.
  2. Family. My brothers and sisters are very close.

    We don’t agree on everything, but we always love each other. They are the kind of people you can always count on to drop everything and be there when you need them. My sisters and I get together often for movie nights and scrapbooking days. We are so different from one another, but it never matters when we are laughing and talking, sharing stories from our individual lives. I love them beyond words, and I know nothing is going to change that. It’s nice to have something certain in a world of uncertainty

  3. Health and well-being of those I love.morganfamily I am thankful that my children are healthy and are passionately pursuing things they love. ValerieI’m thankful for the medical science that has given my grandson the opportunity for a vibrant and happy life, and I’m thankful that my other grandson is full of joy and enthusiasm for life.

4. Home. I appreciate my cozy home. ChristmasWith all of its needed repairs and upkeep, my home is a beautiful refuge for me, and I love coming home to it every day. I love spending time with my husband and dog in front of a cozy fire on a cold day and planting flowers in our jungle of a yard in the summer. I love puttering around in my art studio, writing on my computer, or curling up in our family-room-converted-to-library, reading a book. It’s pure peace and relaxation.

5. Friends. I am thankful for my close friends, old and new. FriendsSome I see all the time, and some I see a few times a year, but I love them all. I am grateful that my friends do not engage in typical “friend drama.” They are mature and above that nonsense. Old friendsThey are trustworthy. I can tell my friends anything and everything, and I do. My secrets are safe with them. I am safe with them. I can be myself without any pretense, and I am still loved and accepted. They make me laugh and think. They are silly, bold, caring, intellectual, and fun. I am lucky to have them.

6. Employment. This has been a good year at work, at all of my jobs. English DepartmentTeaching high school is wonderful if you do it right. This year I’ve set boundaries with how much work I will do at home. I work my butt off all day, stay late if necessary, and barely touch it when I go home. My students are sweet, smart, and amazing, and they make it rewarding. I have a great team this year in the English department too. We really enjoy each other, and the wide-range of personalities has made lunch and meetings a lot of fun. My administration is the best I’ve ever had. They respect us and are reasonable, and they’re just good, real people.

Moonlighting at the college, teaching writing has been really fun. I enjoy the diverse interaction, the freedom, and the academic atmosphere. The extra money is good too. Of course, writing is my passion, and I am thankful for this blog, where I am free to express myself. Writing my blog is so fulfilling and freeing. Writing makes me understand myself and the world better. This year I’ve written tons of poetry and am working on a new suspense thriller as well. I have also enjoyed creating the cover for my new book. Signs of Life jpegThis is the first time I have ever taken a design from concept to completion all by myself. It was challenging and fun. I can’t wait to do it again.

  1. Dog.I am grateful that I come home each day to a sweet little guy named Chacho.IMG_1456 He fits in with us so well. He’s laid-back and gentle. His personality is quite human. Chacho is sensitive and gets his feelings hurt easily if he is slighted in some way, but he forgives easily as well. He is independent and doesn’t need a lot, but he does need love, some cuddling, yummy food, walks around the neighborhood, and trips to the dog park. Chacho deserves all this and more. He is so easy to take care of—he never chews up our things, he doesn’t have accidents in the house, he makes us laugh and smile, and he loves us.
  2. Colorado. GogI am so thankful that I get to live in one of the most beautiful and pristine places in the world. Colorado has so much of what I love—great weather, snow, snow, snow, but it’s hardly ever bitterly cold. We get wonderful fluffy snowstorms, and then the snow melts, and we have mild temperatures again. It never gets too hot in the summer. Colorado has gorgeous mountains and clear, clean air. Colorado Springs is in the foothills of Pikes Peak, and we are surrounded by forests, jutting red rocks, crystal clear lakes, and snow-covered mountains. Garden of the godsThere’s a reason why so many Christmas movies are set in Colorado. We have bike trails, dog parks, river-rafting, skiing, and the cozy little tourist towns everyone loves—the kind that seem like they came right out of a Hallmark movie. We have hippies, hipsters, and cowboys, and we usually get along together. I love my Colorado.
  3. Community groups. I am grateful for community groups like the Pikes Peak Atheists and Freethinkers of Colorado Springs. These groups organize charity work, fundraisers, toy and clothing drives, and generally are there to help people who need it in our community without any ulterior motives. They are humanists who desire to create a better world, to increase the well-being of humans (and often animals). They are also a fun and intellectual group. We have lots of get-togethers and social activities as well. They are a wonderful support group for non-believers who live in a very religious city.PPA I am really thankful I found them and that they’ve been so kind to me.
  4. Progress. I am thankful that even though the world seems like a crazy and dangerous place oftentimes, we are making progress in so many ways. As a people, we are becoming more open-minded, critically thinking, and accepting of diversity and human rights than ever before. We have made wonderful advances scientifically, morally, and intellectually. Perhaps, this contrast between progressive ideals and religious dogma is one reason why some of these tensions are escalating. Some people don’t want to see progress, but progress will win, and for that, I am thankful.

    Human-Rights
    accessinfo.org

So, as I suspected, reflecting on the things for which I am grateful has made me realize that things are not so bad. Sure, life is difficult, and bad things happen. Sometimes just getting through the day is hard. The world is filled with tragedy and unexpected hardships. Surviving it takes a lot of energy, but there is a reason we keep at it. There are always things that make it all worthwhile. Things that make it more than bearable. Things that are downright beautiful.—Christina Knowles

“Old Dogs” by Christina Knowles

Old Dog
Photo: petbucket.com

Old dogs

Gray around the temples and chin

Walk with a limp

A stiff gait

But still try to chase squirrels up gnarled oaks

Old dogs

Still enjoy slow strolls down friendly streets

Sniffing everyone they meet

Greeting neighbors and young pups

Even though they don’t smell much anymore

Old dogs

Reminisce about their youth

Days when you threw the ball in the park

And they could run like the wind and you tired long before them

Old dogs

Are more interested in tummy rubs and loving scratches behind the ears

Than in begging for treats

Or playing tug-of-war with an old rope

But they’ll still gather the energy to play

If it will make you happy

Old dogs

Embarrass easily

When the mailman sneaks up on them unnoticed

They look around to make sure you didn’t see them

Letting down their guard

Old dogs

Try hard to do their duties

Even if you tell them that it’s time

Time for them to be cared for now

Old dogs

Will muster up excitement when you come in the door

After a long hard day

They won’t let you think for a moment

That you weren’t missed

Old dogs

Fall asleep next to you and don’t wake up when you leave the room

When they do wake, they struggle to their feet

Joints stiff, and go searching for you

Old dogs

Are wiser than young dogs

They know the value of a life-long friendship

They don’t care about slippers anymore

Just companionship and loyalty

Old dogs

Can’t hear or see very well

Except with their hearts

They are selfless souls

Growing more pure with each passing year

Old dogs

Feel shame if they can’t keep up with you

Until they see their own heart shining back at them

And then they know

They’ve taught you what you needed to learn

Their work is done

Because when old dogs

Take a piece of your heart

With them when they go

You’re still better off for having known them

Because with an old dog

Your heart grows larger through each and every

Old dog you’ve ever loved.

Mulder old
Mulder Pitman Knowles (1993-2008)

—Christina Knowles

 

“On a Cold November Day” by Christina Knowles

cozy autumn fireplace

 

On a cold November day, the family’s all at home

The young, the old, the in-between

Gathered ‘round the table where the love we feel is known

 

Elbow to elbow, at the table we’ve outgrown

We pass the traditional cuisine

On a cold November day with the family all at home

 

The clattering of the dishes, the warm chaotic tone

It’s always the same beautiful routine

Gathered ‘round the table where the love we feel is shown

 

The smell of sage and cinnamon, satiety we bemoan

Still we pass the dishes, endless fare it seems

On a cold November day when the family’s all at home

 

Napping on the sofa, Grandpa snores and groans

While a Christmas movie plays on the TV screen

We’ve gathered ‘round the fire where the love we feel is known

 

The bantering and the laughing, the joyful overtone

Grouping for a photo, capturing the scene

On a cold November day with the family all at home

Gathered ‘round the fire where the love is always known—Christina Knowles (2014)

Photo snagged from hdwallpapers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tomb by Christina Knowles

Blackened MausoleumDo you mean to kill me slowly?

Breath by breath

Smothering me with every withheld word

Every silent occasion

Your absence screams

What you won’t say

Do you want to break me,

Utterly destroy me?

Do you even realize

Your words unspoken

Choked down and swallowed

Suck the air from the world?

Suffocating, desperate for relief

Sliding, grasping at anything

To assuage the pain that unexpectedly leaps

Into my consciousness

Pain that lies dull and dormant

Until the stillness arrives

Do you want to empty me?

Hollow me

Till I blow away in the wind?

Or turn me to vacant stone?

My slow transformation

Unexplained

In the darkness, I will the coldness to take over

Till I’m the tomb and not the body

—Christina Knowles (2015)

Honesty by Christina Knowles

Honesty“Honesty”

Like through crystal clear glass

I see you beyond

The unconscious impasse

Your words and your actions correspond

Not even a mist fogs this air

Things we share impossibly

Risking all that we care

For honesty

Because without it, we’re just strangers

Alone in the world of the mind

Lonely traitors

Intimacy left behind

Without truth

We can’t find each other

Play the game of sleuth

Why bother?

The real me misconstrued

The real you

Subdued

Living lives we never knew

So, with you, only honesty

I won’t conceal me

No pretense; an improbability

But there’s no lying harmlessly

No caravan of tales

I don’t want to live alone

Because honestly, pretending pales

In the light of being known

—Christina Knowles

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