Gratitude for November . . . for always!


It’s the season of thankfulness, a mind set to carry forward throughout the year.  Mel Davenport (thanks, Mel) brought up  the idea of posting an item of gratitude each day, in preparation for Thanksgiving.  I’ll give it a try, in combination with some thoughts I’ve been gathering for a while, a bit disconnected, and may take more than one blog post . . . but it’s only week one of November . . .

Being kind costs nothing and makes such a difference.

Looking up, I see the dream cards Holly Gault made for me and realize that many of those dreams have come true.

I also see the beautiful Sheherazade graphics that Jackie Baldwin sent, with the suggestion that I collect good wishes for the storytelling concert at the NSN conference in L.A.

Sheherazade wishes

When my sister was in the hospital, I was in the elevator, leaving after a reassuring visit.  I started to thoughtlessly mutter, “I hate hospitals” (face it, never anyone’s favorite place to be).  Just in time, I realized there were hard-working staff members in that elevator.  I changed my sentence to “I’m so glad there are people here to help my sister,” which was a far better message for all of us . . . and I have to say, she did get good care and is now much healthier.

A hospice nurse recently used my CD to ease a distressed patient.  I was touched to hear it.  I had given it to my mail carrier, who passed it on to her daughter.  Easing someone’s last days feels like a special gift.

Years back, I knitted little sweaters for dolls and bears while I sat in Mom’s hospital room.  When she was awake, she’d offer suggestions on them, one more loving piece of connection to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren . . . heart for Jill’s, truck for Stephen’s bear, kitty for Moriah’s . . .  It was a sweet distraction.



Teaching was a special joy to me, and giving and receiving thanks with students, parents, and other teachers made it special.  A friend encouraged me to find as many things as possible to compliment, and we made a point of passing along good comments we overheard, knowing that people are sometimes too shy to share them in person .

I tried to give students recognition of their creativity.  One of my sweetest moments was when a student told me I’d helped her see that she could express herself in writing just as she did in dance.

When I announced that I’d be retiring from teaching, a student expressed dismay until I reminded her that she was graduating, so we “graduated” together.  I told my students that year that I had to go because they couldn’t possibly be matched by any future group.

Here’s to new adventures!


You keep what you’ve shared.  A friend in college was always generous with cuttings from her houseplants, insurance against future disasters, knowing she could restart with cuttings from the transplants . . .

I’ve been giving away CDs, to every place that hires me to tell, and also to people I meet out and about.  It’s delightful fun, people are so pleased, and these days many can’t afford treats.  When I give them away, I’m also passing along the help of many other people.

At last spring’s Festival, I thought to give one CD to Lynn Rubright*, who taught the very first storytelling class I attended.  In return, I received words I will treasure.

I gave another to Michael Parent**, who started me on the CD project with his workshop on doing big projects one step at a time.  That was at the Tejas Conference in Denton, Texas, and I had been given a scholarship to attend that workshop — one more thing to be oh so grateful for.

Cynthia Changaris and Mary Hamilton’s WOW Weekend helped me with planning, and was great fun as well . . . and so very nurturing!

Elizabeth Ellis shared permission to tell one of her stories, and gentle advice when I most needed it.

Some words from my mentors:

*Mary,   I listened carefully to Courage and Wisdom CD –  (in my car, where I do all my listening)….and enjoyed each and every story.   I  very much like your forthright style –  each a story a story well told.   Good tempo  (cadence) to each story, allowing the listener to visualize the setting, characters and setting.  You allowed listeners time to internalize the tale as it was unfolding.  I can see how your high school students were drawn into story and storytelling.  They will not forget their “storytelling teacher”….or the stories you told and the “lessons” embedded within them.  I like Heaven and Hell parable  (Chinese version).  Can you lead me to some other versions of this story?    Your love for the art form,  and respect for your stories and listeners is evident.  Thank you for your gift to me of tales well told.

Lynn Rubright


** Hiya, Mary,

Finally got around to listening to your CDs, and enjoyed them both.

You seem to understand that the best gift we can give to children is to tell them stories.

All the best,

Michael Parent

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