Hello, my name is Grat­i­tude

The Covington News - - Sunday Living - Beth McAfeeHall­man Colum­nist Beth McAfee-Hall­man lives in Cov­ing­ton and can be e-mailed at mam­abee@one­fab­u­lous­mama.com.

As the weather turns cooler, I of­ten turn in­ward, seek­ing warmth and clar­ity af­ter the ac­tive, overtly out­ward liv­ing of spring and sum­mer. Novem­ber marks the be­gin­ning of such spir­i­tual shenani­gans for me with the blus­tery days lead­ing up to our big day of Thanks­giv­ing. I spend time ev­ery­day giv­ing thanks and tak­ing names. This year, I took the idea of re­flec­tion a step fur­ther with a se­ries called “Hello, my name is Grat­i­tude” on my blog - daily posts ded­i­cated to reintroducing grat­i­tude into my life and, by ex­ten­sion, my read­ers’ lives. Here’s a few of those posts, a mon­tage of grat­i­tude, if you will. Cue the 80s sound­track.

I am grate­ful for cof­fee talk. Once a week, my friend and I meet at Frank’s Res­tau­rant and talk over co­pi­ous amounts of cof­fee. We’re work­ing on month three of cof­fee talks and, I gotta tell you, there’s some­thing to the whole cof­fee, friends and talk­ing mix that is sim­ply Right and Good.

The folks out at Frank’s are some kind of won­der­ful, but I think we are their first reg­u­lar cof­fee talk cus­tomers. Be­hind those sweet smiles and wel­com­ing words, I can see some trep­i­da­tion over what we could pos­si­bly be dis­cussing week af­ter week. We bring our own fla­vored creamer and we usu­ally or­der a plate of very bad for us, but oh, so good, fried foods to share.

No agenda, no books to dis­cuss, or lives to save. Not a lot of com­plain­ing or pur­pose driven soul search­ing. Just two friends, en­joy­ing one an­other’s com­pany over cups of cof­fee, a lit­tle respite for ma­mas who give as much as we have, as of­ten as we can to our fam­i­lies and friends. Cof­fee talk helps keep my mama mojo flow­ing and re­minds me to just be Beth in ev­ery­thing I do.

I am grate­ful for doovers. I used to get caught up in the mis­takes, the re­grets, and the in­ten­sity of liv­ing, friends. Then, I em- braced a won­der­ful con­cept from child­hood, the doover. An un­writ­ten by­law of youth, an ax­iom of the gods, a tenet of uni­ver­sal right­ness, the do-over is our great­est gift to our­selves and oth­ers.

I give my­self per­mis­sion to screw up. I give my­self per­mis­sion to heal. I give my­self per­mis­sion for a doover any time I need one. Hair grows back and life goes on.

I get do-overs. I make sure my kids know this about life and liv­ing, so they’ll be gen­tle with them­selves. Maybe it’s a poorly writ­ten es­say or a cake that won’t rise. Maybe it’s a stalled ca­reer or a fail­ing re­la­tion­ship. Maybe it’s the mother of all bad hair days. What­ever it is, we all get as many doovers as we need to get it right. Isn’t life in­cred­i­ble, friends? Do-overs and all.

I am grate­ful for my friends. Soul sis­ter friends and bestest friends. Friends I only know through face­book and friends I haven’t seen in 20 years. Band par­ent friends, for­mer stu­dent friends, coupon­ing friends. My friends are the fam­ily my soul craves!

I think life is all about mak­ing con­nec­tions with other peo­ple. I make con­nec­tions of­ten and deeply. From the per­son in front of me in the gro­cery store to the mom sit­ting on the next park bench, I’m gonna reach out and make a con­nec­tion. Odds are if I talk to you, we’re gonna be friends. Maybe wave at each other friends, but maybe — just maybe — play to­gether friends. It doesn’t mat­ter. Ev­ery friend I make is a soul friend.

I am grate­ful for war­rior women. War­rior women who put on uni­forms and march out into that good night. War­rior women who leave their fam­i­lies be­hind, so all Amer­i­can fam­i­lies can be safe and free. Moth­ers, wives, sis­ters, daugh­ters, friends...war­rior women.

Wa­hatchee means “war woman” and is the name the Creek In­di­ans gave to Nancy Hart, a rough and rowdy red­headed Ge­or­gian who took no guff from the Tories dur­ing the Amer­i­can Revo­lu­tion. This orig­i­nal Wa­hatchee stood over six feet tall, cussed, smoked, drank, and was feared and re­spected by the Na­tive Amer­i­cans who lived around her homestead. She be­came my hero the moment I learned her story. I whis­per the word wa­hatchee aloud when­ever I need a lit­tle ex­tra courage and spirit to get me through the day.

To all you mod­ern day wa­hatchee who have served and pro­tected Amer­i­cans and to all the wa­hatchee still serv­ing and pro­tect­ing, I of­fer you my heart­felt grat­i­tude. I cel­e­brate you and rec­og­nize your sac­ri­fices. I re­spect and ad­mire you, my sis­ters, my wa­hatchee, my friends. To­day, I won’t whis­per the word wa­hatchee; I’ll shout it loud and clear in your honor...WA­HATCHEE!

I am grate­ful for my daugh­ters. Col­lec­tively known as the Fab­u­lous Hall­man Girls, they em­body all that is right and good and won­der­ful about this jour­ney. Cham­pi­ons of the un­der­dog. Bear­ers of kind­ness. Harpies. Saints. Sin­ners. The Teenager with her ea­gle eyed sense of be­ing and self. The mid­dle-Lit­tle with her old soul doc­trines and quirky sense of how. The Lit­tle with the wit of a cur­mud­geon and the charms of a princess. My daugh­ters, my fierce war­rior women, my loves.

I am grate­ful for Johnny Hall­man. He res­cues me when I am a damsel in dis­tress; calls me on my BS; kisses me when I need/want kiss­ing; plays drums like a rock star; kills bugs and takes care of gross things; needs me; wants me; loves me; fa­thers our chil­dren with pa­tience and kind­ness; teaches me some­thing new al­most ev­ery day; is the smartest man I know; teases me when I take my­self too se­ri­ously; puts up with my dog; puts up with me; makes crude jokes like a 12-year-old boy; and is the most hand­some man on the planet. I am grate­ful he picked me. Grate­ful be­yond words.

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