Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Eight Things I'm Grateful For

Nope, it's not Thanksful Thursday, but nor should gratitude be limited to one day a week.
Besides, I've missed a couple of Thursdays, so I'm going for it today.

1. Yesterday, I went to a local YWCA with some women from church. We ate dinner with fifteen "women in transition" and then made greeting cards with them. Each of the women from church brought along two ingredients to add to a colorful, healthful salad bar, sweet tea, or brownies. When dinner was over, we made cards that we can give to friends and family. The best part of the evening was the time we spent in conversation with these brave, hard-working women who have been blessed enough to find their way to that safe place where they can live for eighteen months before transitioning into their own living spaces. I met a woman there who is hoping to obtain her high school diploma - at 50 years of age. She currently is on an eighth grade reading level. And she was as proud as someone working towards their Master's degree. She is also moving into her own apartment next week. She said she's scared, but she's ready. Needless to say, I had tears in my eyes as she told me her story. She will remain in my thoughts and prayers for the foreseeable future. I am enormously grateful for the opportunity to spend time with those beautiful, frightened, strong women. I am hoping to go back there sometime soon in order to lead them in a journaling workshop.

2. My son complains a lot about my cooking - or rather my lack thereof. It's true; I don't like to cook. But his pleas and complaints have motivated and inspired me to try new recipes. On Sunday, I put chicken, soy sauce, barbecue sauce, honey, onion, and garlic into the crockpot. I let it gently boil for six hours and then put it on top of rice and next to a large salad. My son was impressed - so were his parents. Delicious. I'm grateful for the ease of finding easy and quick recipes online. I am grateful for the crockpot that was given to me more than ten years ago. I am grateful for electricity. And I am grateful for how great the house smelled while our dinner simmered on the counter.

3. I'm repeatedly and profoundly grateful for the bounty, the convenience, and the financial feasibility of going to the supermarket. I am grateful for the farmers, the butchers, the drivers, the stock people, the cashiers - every time I walk into Trader Joe's or Harris Teeter, I am amazed at how seamless the process of shopping is. I do not take it for granted. Ever.

4. I am grateful for appliances and electronics of all kinds - this computer, my cell phone, television, the washing machine and dryer, the iron, the dvd player-videotape combo in our bedroom, lamps, ceiling fans, dehumidifiers, water heaters, clock radios, exterior hard drives, calculators, digital cameras, vacuum cleaners, carpet cleaners, refrigerators, dishwashers, microwave ovens, toasters, blenders, juicers, the NutriBullet, coffee makers, DirecTv control boxes, light switches, electric sockets, the aforementioned crockpot, and my sewing machine. I don't understand how any of it works, but I cannot imagine my life without these things.

5. Speaking of my sewing machine, I am grateful for the discovery of my latest creative obsession - sewing. Thanks to the ease and wonder of Youtube, I have watched hours of do-it-yourself videos teaching how to make skirts and dresses. I have checked books out of the library. I have gone to JoAnn's and Hancock fabric stores and bought all kinds of fabric, elastic, and other goodies. I have converted three Good Will- purchased dresses into maxi skirts. I bought two pairs of jeans at the Salvation Army store ofr $8 total - and converted them into a denim skirt. I have created a tee shirt maxi dress, a strapless maxi dress, 3 pencil skirts and a maxi skirt from scratch, and I converted a scarf I got for my birthday into a poncho. I've got a few more items planned - and then I'm gonna stop for a while. I certainly don't "need" any new clothes, but it has been a lot of fun doing all of this. I've always wanted to learn to sew - and finally I am teaching myself. I am so grateful for the dozens of styles and colors of fabric to choose from. I'm grateful for the thousands of videos teaching novices like me how to create clothing we can wear and be proud of. My favorite teacher is the beautiful, funny, talented, gifted Mimi G. It is hard to believe that she has four children, one of whom is 20 years old.

6. At 7:00 this morning, I went to my chiropractor's office to have my blood drawn for yet another panel of tests. I am grateful that he is still involved in my treatment, in my long-term care. I am grateful for the office staff who got there even earlier than I did. I am grateful for the nurse who drew my blood. Her name tag identified her as a nurse in a pediatrician's office, so she doesn't even work at Dr. Arnone's office, but she goes there to help people like me. I am grateful for the people who work in the lab and do the testing. I am grateful for the people who transport the blood, saliva, and all the other fluids and tissue samples that are tested. I am grateful that so many people are willing and able to work as doctors and nurses, physician's assistants and physical therapists, dentists and technicians of all kinds.

7. I am grateful for all the exercise equipment I have collected over the years - hand weights, an exercise ball, a rebounder, elastic bands, and an extensive collection of workout dvds and videotapes. Plus there are countless workouts available online, workouts that require no equipment but the weight and flexibility of my own body. I am enormously grateful for the desire and strength to exercise on a regular basis. Building strength and endurance are two of my favorite things to do, especially now that I am on this side of all that I went through last year. Breaking a good sweat, doing a challenging yoga workout, and spending some time bouncing up and down on the rebounder all make me very happy. And grateful to be alive and well.

8. Last and most of all, I am grateful to be alive.
It's that simple. Grateful to be still upright and breathing on this planet we call earth.
I am grateful to be married. To be a mother.
I am grateful to be a friend and confidante of so many beloved people.
I am grateful to be a sister and a daughter, a cousin and an aunt.
I am grateful to be able to teach and type and text.
I am grateful to be able to cook and clean, dust and sweep.
I am grateful to be able to drive and walk the dog and wash dishes and read.
I am grateful to be able to go to the supermarket and carry my own groceries.
I am grateful to see, hear, touch, taste, and smell.
I am grateful to be able to speak, understand, and write in more than one language.
I am grateful for the ability to comprehend what is happening around me and within me well enough to be grateful for the many blessings I have experienced in this life.
Grateful, grateful, grateful, grateful.
Thanks be to God.

Addendum - I am grateful for Glennon's truth-telling: We have been forgiven and set free and no one can take that away. No one. I am enormously grateful for her reminder in this blog post and video.

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