Last Thursday, April 30, I took a bold step for me. I began counting gifts, one for each day of the calendar. On April 30, I listed thirty things. On May 1, I listed one; on the 2nd, I listed two. On the third and the fourth, I fell off the wagon, but got right back on it on the 5th. So, here I am on May 7 listing seven things for which I am grateful, with some images perhaps.
I signed up for Alene’s and Susan’s “Radiant HeART” class, which combines painting and photography. The painting part (Alene’s lessons) scares the bejesus out of me; I’m more comfortable with Susan’s photography lessons. This week, Susan sends us out with our cameras to capture images of those things for which we are grateful. So, in the spirit of the gratitude lesson, here are my seven things for this Thankful Thursday:
1. my blooming orchids. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a true green thumb. I can kill most plants pretty quickly. But I found out years ago, shortly after I married, in fact, that I can grow and keep phalaenopsis orchids. I have two window sills full of phals, or more commonly known as moth orchids because of the shape of their wings. Right now, I have seven in bloom; the eighth one is beginning to wilt. These orchids are just beautiful, and they remind me to see beauty.
2. Books. . . . Did you know I loved to read? I think sometimes I’d rather read than photograph things. I still very much love the feel of a real paper and ink book in my hands and the smell of a new book, too, but since I live in a small space, I have turned to reading electronically more and more. Just give me a good book, and I can escape for hours. I do very much like my new Kindle Voyage. I can read in broad daylight, outside in the bright sun, and I can read in bed at midnight in the dark. It was definitely a smart purchase for me. (Aaron can keep my old Kindle.)
3. I must confess that I do not like to do the dishes, and I have a sink full of dirty pots and pans. So, why should I be thankful for a kitchen that needs a thorough cleaning and organizing? First, I have the kitchen. We endured complete loses of two homes to house fires in the last eight years. (Yeah, that’s a lot!) We have been in this home for more than two years now. I have the kitchen. And I have the food to prepare for meals. I cannot imagine the numbers of people who go without meals daily to the point of starvation. So, I am thankful for the pile of dirty dishes that accumulates in the sink.
4. Blue skies and sunshine, even though I am more of an inside person, I treasure the moments I can look outside and see the sky and the sunshine. The grass looks greener; the pond is more reflective. This must be the way heaven looks in part.
5. The gift of music—I know I’ve listed this as part of my thankfulness before. I am a musician, and I gave up music for many years, except to listen to it. I let my children be the music makers in my home. But now, I am returning to it. I take piano lessons again from a wonderful teacher; I challenge myself with pieces I’ve never played before, pushing my technique and my abilities. And when I play beautiful music, I feel God’s peace. (I just hope His ears do not feel assaulted!)
6. Solitude: I have been given this idea a great deal of thought recently. I am an introvert, and periods of solitude are important to me. I am thankful that I have the choice to be able to have that time, whether I am sitting my corner of the couch with that good book, my knitting or crocheting, or my pen and journal. I am thankful that when I need company and intimacy with other people, I can seek it. For me, solitude strengthens me and renews me. it quiets me and those squirrels running rampant in the brain. I can do as we are commanded, “Be still, and know that I am God.”
7. Motherhood—Raising children is frustrating; sometimes, it is just plain aggravating and maddening. Many days, I have wanted nothing more than to run away and hide from the demands of the children. Yet, I wouldn’t trade those days for anything. I told another mother, who is raising her second child (she has a much older child—one that’s almost twenty years old, I think), that although our children grow out of certain needs from us, their need for us as mothers is endless, and sometimes endlessly frustrating! But I look at my two grown sons, and I am proud of the men that they have become. I see the influence I have had on them: both of them are musicians; both are kind and loving (most of the time anyway). And both are independent and strong, each in his own way.
My challenge to you is to continue to count your blessings one by one, as the old hymn directs us. It does help pull you out of the doldrums.