Today I’m ending my 57th year on earth and beginning my 58th. I thought it would be fun to see if I can list 29 BLESSINGS…one for every other year of my life. I actually have so many more than that…but this seemed like a challenging number…and I’m sharing my blessings with you as a gift to say thank you for your friendships…you’ll see that FRIENDSHIPS are high on my list of blessings! You’ll also see that my 29 are not “single” blessings…so there’s way more than 58 blessings listed here!
#1 God…my Savior…my Lord…my Everything
#2 My wonderful Dan…a husband…a friend…a gift from God
#3 My beautiful children…Andy, my hero…LeeAnne, my joy…Stephen, my blessing
#4 My grandchildren…Holden, Orlando, Roman, Shannon, Devlyn and Erienelis…they make life better than I deserve for it to be.
#5 My extended family: I’ve said goodbye on this side of heaven to Dad and Mom and I look forward to seeing them again someday. I want to believe that my brother will have made things right with God before they met and that I’ll see him again too. My “baby” brother, David, is a unique gift all on his own and I dearly love him. I’ve also been blessed with aunts and uncles and cousins galore! Special blessings Sharen and Robin because they are the kinds of cousin people write about…loving, caring, staying in touch, funny, sharing…they just make my life rich.
#6 Friends out the whazoo!!! If I tried to list all the friends I’ve been blessed to know, there just wouldn’t be enough room. Some of you are closer than others…but all of you have made my life better! Thank you for that.
#7 My church family (families). I don’t like to think I’m a “church-hopper” … but many moves (physically and spiritually) have placed me in several churches where God has given me brothers and sisters that I look forward to spending eternity with. At times, these church family members have been closer than blood family members…they’ve loved me unconditionally … they’ve held me accountable … they’ve prayed for me … they’ve forgiven me … they’ve restored me and built me up. Thank you for being who God intended you to be in my life.
#8 Music…music has played a special role in my life. For as far back as I can remember, I’ve sung every day (I can remember as a 4- or 5-year-old being told it’s time to stop singing and go to sleep). My piano has given me great comfort and joy.
#9 The Bible…I could not function without my instruction manual…and I’m grateful to God every day that He chooses to speak to me and help me live here on earth!
#10 Nature…every day I see God because He has made His Presence known through all that He created. I’m always amazed when people say they can’t “see” God…because I can’t “not see” God!!!
#11 Other children…they don’t even have to be my own for me to love and appreciate their purity…their innocence…their joy…their zest for life…their incredible curiosity…their unquenchable thirst for knowledge (as in the 478 times a day my granddaughter asks “Why?”)
#12 Words. Stop laughing! Words have been my friend since I could first utter them. I love that I can communicate…that I can put my thoughts and feelings into words. I know many who wish I used less of them (and I do too) … but I just love the way the feel on my tongue and in my mind…and I love sharing them. Sorry if you’re not as blessed by them as I am (embarrassed grin).
#13 Books…along with my love for words, I’ve long loved the many adventures I’ve enjoyed while reading for pleasure. I’ve also been thrilled with the knowledge I’ve gained. I’m grateful for everything that’s come to me through books!
#14 School…I don’t remember much about elementary school…but I do remember Jr. High, High School, 3 different colleges … and work with special people on my Master’s degree! Each gave me experiences that increased my knowledge AND wisdom! I’ll be forever grateful.
#15 Food…I know; I know…everyone can tell this is something I’m grateful for. My favorite is chicken…I’m not really grateful for Brussel Sprouts or really many green veges. But overall, enjoying food has been a pleasurable experience and a blessing.
#16 My home…I’ve lived in a lot of different houses in my lifetime, but no home has been filled with as much love as my “Little House on the Mountain”! By American standards, it’s nothing…but world standards, I’m rich and abundantly blessed!
#17 My vehicle…we went a whole year without a vehicle a few years ago…it can be done. What it taught me was that I should never take transportation for granted!!!
#18 My travel experience…I’ve visited 39 of the lower 48 states…lived in Canada for 3 years of my life…and visited South Africa TWICE in my lifetime. I know some people here who have never lived anywhere else. I can’t even imagine that. I’ve been blessed to see what I consider a big portion of “my land”…and I’m so grateful for this beautiful country.
#19 America…yep…I’m a died-in-the-wool, patriotic, country-loving kind of girl who knows that life could have had a totally different outcome had I been born anywhere else in the world. I don’t think America is the best country in the world…I don’t know what would make one country “greater” than another. But I know America has granted me the ability to worship without fear…to vote in a democratic society…to be part of a solution in a world full of problems…and I wouldn’t choose to live anywhere else. She may have her flaws…but they’re nothing compared to the blessing of being a part of this wonderful country!
#20 South Africa…while I love America, a big chunk of my heart resides in Durban, South Africa…in the memories of loving men and women of God who are changing the heart of a country in the only way a heart can be changed…by the Word of God being shared. I love the diversity of the people and the languages…the beauty of the India Ocean…the smiles…the incredible landscape…the animals we saw at Kruger Park…the people…the people…the people. Will always consider my interactions in South Africa a big blessing in my life!
#21 Community…living in a small community can be trying sometimes (gossip, backbiting, too many people knowing everyone else’s business) but this small community also gives a sense of security…love…concern…and joy! Sometimes the people of Salamanca are unaware of the true beauty of their community because they’ve lived here too long and take so much for granted…but this town is a wonderful town!
#22 Crafting…in my lifetime I’ve enjoyed cross-stitching…scrapbooking…card-making…homemade gift making…coloring …music making…book making…writing poetry…so many creative outlets!
#23 Teaching…teaching is a “gift” and I was blessed with two wonderful teachers who raised me and gifted me with a love for learning…and a love for sharing all that I’ve learned. I especially enjoy the “Ohhhhhh!!!” moments of teaching… when they “get it” and learning has taken place. I hope to continue teaching in one form or another till the day I die.
#24 Facebook … okay, you can stop groaning. But for this stay-at-home grandma, Facebook has allowed me to stay in touch with people from my past…with friends all over the world … with family. It’s given me new knowledge. It’s provided laughs…and lots of animal videos (grin)
#25 Four seasons … yes, I realize this counts as part of nature, but having lived in Louisiana for the greater portion of my life, where there are only two seasons (hot and hotter), it’s been a joy to have four distinct weather seasons in my life since moving to western New York.
#26 Talent – I’ve been blessed to know and work with many talented people in my life. I could not write a list of blessings and not especially include the friends of Enchante Cabaret who filled about a fourth of my lifetime with incredible talent…lots of laughter…a few tears…and wonderful memories.
#27 Speaking of memories … I know that people lose the ability to remember, and I pray that never happens to me because I so enjoy walking down memory lane and remembering all the blessings of my life.
#28 Adversity … I know this seems like a strange thing to be thankful for, but life has been full of adversity. Failures…divorce…miscarriage…sins…troubles…heartbreak...cancer…death!!! You name it…I’ve experienced it! But through every adversity I’ve grown into a stronger, more capable, more loving woman of God.
#29 GOD AGAIN … Everything in my life begins and ends with God. I love that I can love Him (since He loved me first)… I love that I can talk about Him. I love that I can testify to His goodness and greatness. I love that everything about Him is personal with me. I cannot thank Him enough for being the blessing in my life that gives and gives and gives and I can only pray that He knows how much I love Him!
So I’ll stop here with a half a lifetime of blessings because, technically, if I listed all the parts of each of these, there’d be way more than 58 blessings here. I just know that my birthdays ARE happy because I know who I’ve believed in and have been persuaded that He is able to take care of everything in my life. Thank You, Lord, for 58 years of Your faithfulness and greatness in my life. Amen!