The fires are over, but the shock is still upon us. The effects of the destruction will continue for many years in Sonoma County and my heart goes out to the families who have lost their homes and years of memories. Many are still homeless and looking for a place to live. My mother-in-law, Mary, lost her house on Fountain Grove Ridge. She is lucky to be alive, being rescued and escaping only with her purse and her cat Meeko. I am thankful for her survival and happy that my wife and I are able to give her a safe place to live.
Life must continue onward, even when it is difficult. There is only so much that we can control. Natural disasters are shockingly unpredictable and cause stressful, unwanted change. Forced to adapt, we must endure, though difficult, and be thankful for what we do have.
Thanksgiving is a time for family, giving thanks and refection. “Thanks” and “giving,” two important words to live by. I am from the ‘Boomer Generation’ that has only seen continual material improvement in life since WWII. Now is the time for some inward reflection on what is really important in our lives and family and friends come to mind. The value of the quality of life and good health should replace the importance of acquiring material possessions. Let us take time to appreciate what we have. There is a limit to the stress we as humans can press on mother earth, with more and more people and only a limited number of resources. Our continued expansion and consumer mentality needs to be adjusted to a more centered life style and satisfaction with the now.
Our digital age connection allows us to see the poverty, destruction and terror, as well as the beauty, joy and love throughout our world in an instant. The constant speed of change can lead to stress. And our incredible speeding busyness can consume our precious time. So let us take a few moments to slow down and glaze at the beauty around us and enjoy the moment.
The holidays are always a balance between stress and joy. There is so much more to do and you have to be merry while doing it all. Work does not stop and in many cases gets busier, having to finish everything before the end of the year, plus shopping, trees, decorating, lights, wrapping, parties, church, cards and holiday letters. Ironically, the holiday season should be the most spiritual time. It should be a time of forgiveness, accepting and taking the pressure off yourself and others. It should be a time of self-reflection, a spiritual time of inner peace, and communion with God, earth, the universe and everything. It should be a time for what is important: family and friends, cherishing the moment and living the day.
The holidays can be particularly stressful for the many people who are alone for the holidays and for the many, who are barely making ends meet, or without work or without a home. Giving to those in need can be the most rewarding time spent during the holidays and throughout the year. Joining a service club, like the Rotary or 20/30 is one rewarding way to give back to the community and help throughout the world.
I am a member of the Rotary Club of Rancho Cotati. During my younger years, I was active in the 20/30 Club. Both service clubs give back to the community. Locally, the club is involved in giving out food weekly to the needy in our community. Last Sunday, the local Rotary Clubs sponsored a pasta food and music event at the RP Community Center for fire relief fund.
On Tuesday Dec. 12 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., the SSU Rotaract Club is helping The Lime Foundation put on “NIGHT of 1,000 COATS.” Families affected by the fires are encouraged to come and choose a coat and enjoy an evening of fun. There will be fun activities for kids and adults, including arts and crafts, massages, facial waxing, hair styling, puppet show, karaoke and more. The event will be at Sally Tomatoes, 1100 Valley House Dr., RP. WWW.LIMECOATSSONOMA.EVENTBRITE.COM
For the holidays, Rotary helps the local fire and police force give presents to needy children in Cotati and Rohnert Park. Via a Fire Truck, Santa Claus visits their homes and his helpers give presents from Santa’s bag. The excitement, the smiles and high 5s from the children are touching.
I have much to be thankful for and feel particularly lucky in my life. I have a wonderful family. I want to thank my wife Mary Alice and my family for their continued love and support. We will have Thanksgiving at our home with four generations of family, including my 91-year-old father, Gene, and his great grandsons 2-year-old Ocean and Arthur. And of course Mary Alice’s Mom will be prominent in her new home with us on Thanksgiving.
I am thankful for being a cancer survivor, healthy and cancer free for over ten years after having colorectal surgery on December 6, 2006. I have many patients who have become friends over the years and who have been supportive during stressful times. I want to thank my dedicated staff for their hard work in helping me serve our patients in a warm, caring atmosphere. I have a rewarding dental practice, which allows me to help people enjoy good health.
I also want to thank the passionate dedicated people at the Community Voice for giving me the opportunity to give back my knowledge of health through these bi-weekly articles. I have been enjoying writing since the beginning of 2006. Writing for an ongoing paper has its stressful deadline moments and I admire the people at the Voice for their ability to come up with an interesting weekly paper.
Finally, please keep a positive attitude during these turbulent times — smile, laugh and be joyful throughout the day. We can consciously pick our own attitude every day. So begin each day with a refreshing, positive, uplifting attitude. Your happy radiance can become contagious to others. And their joyous response can reflect back onto you. I make a conscious decision every morning when I wake up to be happy, positive and cheerful.
Have A Great Holiday Season! And take a moment to ‘Give Thanks’.
Enjoy Life and Keep Smiling!
George Malkemus has a Family and Cosmetic Dental Practice in Rohnert Park at 2 Padre Parkway, Suite 200. Call 585-8595, or email info@ malkemusdds.com. Visit Dr. Malkemus’ Web site at http://www.malkemusdds.com