* Yesterday my daughter and I attended a cooking class at our church. I tasted pomegranate molasses for the first time. I didn't even know such a thing existed. It is exquisite. I cannot wait to get a bottle for myself and experiment with it.
* Last week, my friend's son broke his arm while playing hockey. I am sorry he got hurt, but I am grateful that there were many good and available doctors to help him when he was in need.
* My son, a friend of his, and I spent last weekend in Raleigh, NC, at a tennis tournament. Two of the four days we were there were completely rained out. I am grateful that we safely navigated rainy highways, found restaurants open late in the evening, laughed at silly antics by other players and their parents, watched ESPN together, and that they played a little tennis as well.
* A dear and distant friend sent me a beautiful card in the mail and a button, a button that we both have now. Every time I look at it, every time I sip my morning coffee, I will think of her across the miles between us and smile.
* Today I was supposed to meet a friend for coffee at 10 am at a coffee shop 20 minutes from home. At 9:57, I stood in front of my calendar in the kitchen and looked at the little box for today - and there wa her name. I slapped myself in the forehead and said, "Oh, shit." I didn't have her cell phone number handy, so I found the phone number of the coffee shop in the phone book (yes, I still have a phone book), called, apologized, and we decided to meet at a different coffee shop near her next appointment. I am enormously grateful for her merciful forgiveness of my screw up. I am grateful that I am learning to apologize, not make excuses, and ask how I can make amends for my wrongdoing.
* The Duke Power Company sent an offer to send a representative to our home to do an energy audit. Where are we wasting energy? What can we change in order to use less electricity, less gas, less water, and otherwise make our home more energy efficient? He went up into the attic, down into the crawl space, checked our windows and doors, looked up the chimney, and inspected at our water heater. Who knew so much dust could get caught under the refrigerator in ten years? Who knew that leaving the pilot light lit in a fireplace that we never use was a foolish and wasteful thing to do?
He left us with a roll of foam insulation to seal under doors, a few of those fancy spiral light bulbs, a low flow shower head, and two sink aerators, one of which he installed on the kitchen sink. All for free! Thank you to the kind and patient Duke Power man who answered at least 50 questions I posed during the 90 minutes you spent here. Thank you, Duke Power, for this service you offer.
* Steve bought me a new car! We still have the faithful minivan - which, in a moment of deep boredom in the rain this past weekend, Daniel and his friend, Sam, named Fran. Fran the Van is still in our family, but she has been passed on to Kristiana, who is now a licensed driver. Someday soon, I will post photos of the new Indigo blue Hyundai Sonata living in our garage. Who knew that you could get into a car and start the engine without a key?
* What else am I grateful for today?
- a powerful vacuum cleaner, dust rags, and an automatic dishwasher
- red seedless grapes - which were on sale for 99 cents a pound last week
- my children's willingness to laugh at my silly stories and tell me their own tales
- rain, soaking rain
- the convenience of a large-capacity washing machine after my dog peed on a comforter on the futon
- the colors of the sky tonight while we ate dinner, pink, white, blue, gorgeous
- old friends, new friends, the honor and joy of friends
- being texted, called, emailed and asked to pray for someone in crisis, someone in need, someone traveling, someone weeping, someone in need of love, support, encouragement.
Tonight, I am grateful to be alive, to be alert, to be here.
I am grateful for health, for strength, for the ability to get out of bed and get dressed. For the opportunity to homeschool my son. For the ability to drive to the supermarket, push a shopping cart, select foods, and come home to store, cook, and enjoy it all. There are many people who don't have a car, a market, money, or the physical ability to do any of this.
Every day, every hour, I am reminded of how blessed I am.
It is easy to take life's blessings for granted;
but I am determined to see them,
to name them,
to bask in them,
and to always, always, always give thanks.
And not only on Thursday.
PS. Sarah Bessey wrote about it before I did - and wrote it so well right here. But the truth is that the people, memories, situations, and things I am most grateful for, the stories, the lessons, the moments that mean the most to me are far too personal to list here. This list is the tip top of the iceburg list of great and small things that bring tears to my eyes and goose bumps to my skin when I consider the wonder of them.