Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Thursday Thirteen - Gratitude

Thirteen Blessings I Have Enjoyed This Week
Gratitude takes three forms: a feeling in the heart, an expression in words, and a giving in return.--John Wanamaker

I am taking a tip from my daughter's new blog, Sleepless Juggler, and "counting my blessings" at least once a week. I won't often do it in this blog, but I intend to do it each week. Sometimes I become aware of the possessions of others and perceive my share to be meager compared to theirs, when, in truth I am so blessed. I guess this is a New Year's Resolution, although I haven't labeled as one in my mind until now.

So I present just a few of the blessings I have experienced this past week:

1. I had a great visit yesterday with my sister from another state (The Median Sib). She came to our town to visit our mother (Ruthlace), who lives near me, and I went over for a visit. I don't get to see her all that often, but she is a terrific person. She is smart, beautiful, uplifting, and fun! She is a great cook, an engaging conversationalist, and a super-organizer. Our conversations were a trip back to the carefree time of childhood as well as an opportunity for getting to know better this adult friend who was once just my little sister. I am thankful for siblings with whom I can really enjoy spending time.

2. I got to spend time with two more of my siblings yesterday as well. They live here in town, but I actually don't get to visit with them as often as one would expect. Both are loving, intelligent, responsible, contributing members of our community. This brother and sister are also bloggers: Terrell, of Alone on a Limb and Beth of Blue Star Chronicles. If you have read these blogs, you know that these two hold drastically differing political positions (a slight understatement to start the new year!); however, I am thankful that these differences, though strongly held by each, are not detrimental to their love for each other or to our family unity. I know many families have been fractured by such differences.

3. I got to have a long visit with another sister who came to Mother's house yesterday and brought two big pots of soup (Gumbo and Cream of Chicken -- YUM!) This sister is the quintessential (pure and concentrated in nature) nurturer. She truly cares about injustices and sorrows being suffered around her and provides, for family as well as friends, a shoulder to cry on. She donates HOURS of volunteer work in the church and in the community on a regular basis. What a joy it is to have family members who are supportive and who are a credit to their families!

4. I enjoyed good conversation and shared work with my Mother yesterday. We did some sorting through her belongings, assembling Christmas gifts, and moving furniture. I do not take lightly the blessing it is to have good and Godly parents who love their children unconditionally and yet have high expectations that encourage success and happiness. I thank God every day for my mother and for the memory of my father.

5. Yesterday I realized again that our generation is leaving the world in the hands of some absolutely fantastic younger folks. Three of my nephews and one niece also came to Mother's house last night. These early twenty-somethings have so many amazing qualities that I wouldn't even begin to extol them here. They, with help from three of their uncles, moved an extremely heavy entertainment center from the sunroom of my house into my pickup truck, drove a few blocks, and moved that big ol' piece of furniture into Mother's house. They got it moved in and set up, transferred her TV, VCR, and DVD players into it, removed the old bookcase that it replaced, and rearranged all the family pictures and knick-knacks, leaving the room almost completely in order. I love these adults whom I so clearly remember as diaper-clad toddlers entertaining at family gatherings and crawling onto laps for hugs! Each one of them had their turn as toddlers to run away in simulated terror from my DH's playful "spider." -- and they always came running back with wide grins hoping the spider would chase them again.

6. Inlaws! One BIL and one SIL visited with us yesterday, too. The talked and laughed and ate and worked with us as usual. Both of these have been my siblings for more than 30 years! I could not love either of these more if they had shared childhood meals and beds with me as their spouses did. I have always thought it was a little pretentious to change the wording of "in law" to "in love", as "my brother-in-love"; however it works in this case. I am blessed with my siblings-in-love!

7. A husband who loves and supports me, adult children who are successful, loving, contributing members of their community and who are raising our 6 beautiful grandchildren so well -- these are my continuing blessings!

8. The renewed and closer relationship with our son and his wife since we moved into their town. They have just started their own blog - The First String. If you have time, give it a trial read.

9. The enlarging of my territory by the good folks I have "met" in the blogsphere. Three come to mind immediately: The Questing Parson, Kim of Life in a Shoe, and Britt of Aletheia Liberty.

In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.--Albert Schweitzer

10. Good Health. What a blessing to have generally good health and a high energy level.

11. Bee-ay-you-ti-ful weather! Oh the joy of living in the South when a January day can be a walk-over-to-Mother's-house-in-a-light-jacket day.

13. Self-control: I just spent 30 minutes finishing and polishing this post and was trying to add some pictures when Blogger refused to post a picture and had no way of going back to the post. When the post finally came up, it was sans revisions. I WILL NOT SHOUT! I WILL NOT CRY! I have to say, however, that this experience has almost shut down the grateful mode in which I was operating! I won't attempt to add pictures again, since that is what lost the last revision.

... when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that's present--love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature, and personal pursuits that bring us pleasure--the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience heaven on earth.--Sarah Ban Brethnach

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