Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thankful

I hope everyone had a great weekend. I especially hope our US members enjoyed this long Thanksgiving holiday weekend. I hope you spent it with friends, family and loved ones and remembered those who are no longer with us to join in the celebration.

I counted my blessings as I hosted my family at my home. A traditional holiday in our family is generally centered around a meal. The tradition of the family sitting around the table discussing their lives and their days have long gone by the way side. With hectic schedules and numerous distractions the evening meal can be rushed and unconnected.

The television was turned off and the cell phones silenced as my family, each one, gave thanks for something specific in their lives, we honored each other with positive affirmations and honored our father (Zellie Lee Dow Jr who passed away two years ago). We stood in a circle holding hands (the power of connection) sharing each other's energy. When we finished our thanksgiving thoughts we prayed for protection, good health and a prosperous new year. I PRAY THAT PRAYER FOR EVERYONE READING THIS RIGHT NOW.

Each family has different Thanksgiving traditions and I would love to hear yours. Please share them with me on Facebook (by searching for Chaplain Dow) or email me at ChaplainDow@yahoo.com

Another part of the Thanksgiving holiday season is shopping. The day after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday because retailers plan big sales to lure in consumers with the goal of making their store's profits go from being in the red (owing) to being in the Black (profitting). The Thursday paper is bigger than most Sunday Papers with ads from every store you can imagine encouraging the consumer (shopper) to visit their store and purchase lots of merchandise. They list popular items as incentive to get you to come to their store and advertise an early opening with special prices to get you there. They call them "Door Buster" because the items are priced so low people will wait in line and bust through the door to get them when they become available.

Everyone brought a Thursday paper when they arrived at my house (I have a lot of paper for recycling tomorrow). After dinner we compared advertisement and mapped out a shopping plan. Las Vegas is a 24 hour town so most of the major retailers are open 24 hours. We decided to stay up and go shopping at midnight to catch the 1201 am sales which would have the November 26th date.

The fun of the whole Black Friday Door Buster experience is really the company you have while enjoying it. There was really no thing so pressing that it could not wait until any day to be purchased during the sale. It was the act of shopping with my mom and my siblings that made it fun. I also later that day shopped with a friend again for the fellowship and adventure not so much the items we bought.

Eating meals out at restaurants with friends, visiting friends and hanging out with friends rounded out the Thanksgiving activities.

My mom enjoyed driving around my neighborhood looking at the Holiday lights that were displayed on many homes. For some the day after Thanksgiving is a time to decorate their houses for the upcoming holidays. Looking at the holiday lights while listening to the radio playing seasonal music really gets me in the mood for the season.

I observe Christmas and will be completing my Christmas decorating this week. In the coming weeks in recognition of the diverse religions our member's observe, I will be sharing religious traditions and observances from around the world. I would like to make them as personal as possible so if you would like to share a story of how your family celebrates and/or observe an upcoming religious holiday please contact me. I know our members would love to hear stories from around the world.

I pray you all stay safe and have a great week.

with gratitude,

Chaplain Dow

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Family Time

In the United States most in the country are observing a season of Thanksgiving. It is a time when people get together with family and friends and reflected on the people and things they are thankful for in their lives.

Thursday started with the actually Thanksgiving Holiday. Fellowshipping around a meal is generally the center piece of this holiday. Whether your tradition is lasanga, turkey, or roasted pork it is generally something that was instilled in you from childhood. Mothers and Fathers sit their children down and they teach them to give thanks. The purpose of giving thanks was to focus and recognize the blessings you truly have in your life.

Often the negative or the lack is what gets the focus. Truly it is what you do have that should be recognized and respected. Counting your "Haves" help you to realize that "Have nots" are not necessities yet maybe wants. The things you need will be provided. I believe all faiths believe that counting your blessings and giving thanks for them is a big part of honoring your higher power.

I hope this weekend you will continue to enjoy your time with your family and friends. I hope you have the opportunity to make new friends and to speak positively into their lives. Be thankful for the people who are placed in your path because thankfully we do not walk the path of our lives alone. The people along the way help shape our story and how we treat and react to them is how we create our legacy.

Have a great weekend.

(On November 26, 2010 my mother, brothers and I honored my father Zellie Lee Dow Jr who passed away on that date in 2008. Treasure your loved ones while they are still with you.)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Simple VS Real


A simple friend has never seen you cry.
A real friend has shoulders soggy from tears.

A simple friend doesn't know your parent's first names.
A real friend has their phone numbers in their address book.

A simple friend brings a bottle of wine to your party.
A real friend comes early to help you cook and stays late to help you clean up.

A simple friend hates it when you call after they have gone to bed.
A real friend asks you why it took you so long to call.

A simple friend seeks to talk with you about their problems.
A real friend seeks to help you with your problems.

A simple friend wonders about your romantic history.
A real friend could blackmail you with it.

A simple friend , when visiting, acts like a guest.
A real friend opens the refrigerator and helps himself.

A simple friend thinks the friendship is over when you have an argument.
A real friend knows thet it's not a friendship until after you've had a fight.

A simple friend expects you to always be there for them.
A real friend expects to always be there for you.

A simple friend will read this and throw it away.
A real friend will send it back to you until she's sure it's been received.


Which one are you in your friendship relationships? Are you Real or Simple? Change it if you desire to have a deeper level of relationship with your friends. The holidays are the perfect time to reconnect and to get to know your friend's families while extended family members are visiting.

Share this list with your friends. It will be a good opener when you re-connect.

Happy Holidays.


(this was shared with me years ago by a REAL friend)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Re-Connect before it's too late


I spent the last weekend of October in a small town in Ohio where I once lived with one of my dearest and oldest (long serving) friend. For years we have kept in touch via telephone and occassional letters. He thought of coming my way (as I continuously suggested the visit) yet never made it to the 24 hour high speed partying lifestyle of Vegas.

In July I decided I would go and visit him. I had not seen him since I was in college on Spring Break in the early 80s when I visited him while he was stationed in Hawaii as a US Marine.

October 14, 2010 one of my good high school friends (who I was very close to in High School, went on to college with and fell out of touch with when he went on to grad school) died of a very painful cancer. Through my mind came the thought "What if?"

What if I had stayed in touch with him? What if I knew he had returned to town? What if I was an active/current part of his life? Would his last days have been different?

I was sad when I found out Jim had been back in town for ten years and lived less than three miles from two of my other high school classmates (and they all shared the exact same birhtday). I had to forgive myself and free myself from walking down the "What if" path. There is no way to change the level of relationship we had when someone passed away as that door is closed.

I attended his funeral and met his family, coworkers and friends. I heard the stories of his life well lived though he was taken too soon. He was only 45.
I prayed for insight from God as to why I was not aware of what was going on in his life and why I had not been prompted to re-connect prior to his passing. The answer came slowly. It was not in His will.

This experience made me all the more determined to complete my visit to Ohio and to make the most of the re-connection. I believe people are put into your life for a reason. Be it for one incident or a brief period or to be a key and long standing influences in your life that help you grow into the person you ultimately become. Edward is the latter. He and I have been friends in each others lives over the miles and the years for three decades.

When I arrived to visit him and his family in Ohio it was as if we began right where we last left off in 1980. We were grown up kids. We visited our old houses and our old schools and hangouts. We went people watching at Walmart (really we were shopping though you have to take in the sights while in Walmart). For two days I experienced time with my dearest friend and I am glad I did. No "what if" there.

It took action. I had to go. I had to plan the trip and show up. He too had to interact. Friendship is two sided and both parties must participate.

As we enter the holiday season I encourage everyone to pray and meditate on who your soul directs you to re-connect with. Then act. Call them. Plan a visit. If they are close enough make it a priority to physically meet with them. Many of us are reaching the time in our life when we recognize the names in the obituaries. We are starting to see co-workers, friends and former classmates in those columns and we wonder how we fell out of touch.

Make the most of your life. Share it with the friends you have been blessed with. True friends are a blessing. Do not take them for granted. Do not assume they will always be there. Do what you need to do so that you are not saying "What if" when you receive notice of their passing.

I look forward to hearing your stories of re-connections.


Stay Safe