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One Woman's View: Give thanks for your blessings

Contributing writer

Some of you may be reading this as you gather with family and/or friends to celebrate the holiday and give thanks for the blessings in your life.

At least, I hope you are observing the one day a year we set aside for thankfulness by counting your blessings, not dashing around the mall or putting up your Christmas tree.

One of my pet peeves about our culture is the tendency to ignore Thanksgiving and start in October to gear up for Christmas. However, you will be thankful to hear this is not really the subject of this month’s column.

When most of us count our blessings, we come up with nearly identical lists. Probably the favorite five are shelter, food, family, friends, and freedom. If you are a Christian, you also put Jesus and His plan of salvation on the list, preferably on the top. These truly are great blessings for which we should express thanks. However, I would like to encourage you to make an effort to think of the many less obvious blessings, some which may be unique to you.

My pastor puts a short list of praiseworthy blessings in each week’s bulletin. They come from a book, 10,000 Things to Praise God For. We might not be able to come up with 10,000, but I’ll bet we could come close if we set our minds to it.

I am tremendously thankful for books. In fact, I might put them in my top five, if I could figure out which of the favorites to displace. I cannot even express the joy I’ve received in my lifetime from reading. A corollary to this boon is the blessing of public libraries. Isn’t it wonderful that we, who have limited incomes with which to buy books, can walk in and borrow a stack at no charge? I’m also thankful for the parents I see taking their small children to the library and encouraging their love of reading.

I am thankful for my computer, even though I would sometimes like to “boot” it in a different sense than computer jargon intends. I am even thankful for the games I can play. Before I had a computer, I used to scorn those who spent hours playing computer games. Get a life! However, now I probably waste more time with these games than anyone.

I am thankful for my sense of smell and many aromas it affords me — baking bread, sheets dried on the line, freshly mowed alfalfa in the summer, and lilac blossoms in the spring.

I am thankful for the maples in autumn, which we have just enjoyed. Of course, the season had many other beautifies. Did you ever see more or prettier sunflowers than we enjoyed this fall? My “almost daughter” is named Autumn. I tell her I crack jokes with God at this time of year saying, “Thank you, God, for autumn — the season and the person.”

Perhaps this is closely related to the last paragraph, but I am thankful for color. Nature affords a panorama of vibrant colors year-round. Then there are the man-made manifestations of color in art, clothing, and house paint. There is a house on Ash Street painted pale orange with a darker orange trim. The first time I saw it, I was stunned, but I have learned to delight in it. I never drive by it without a leap of the heart and a heart-felt smile.

I am thankful for people (like the owners of the pumpkin-colored house) who dare to be different. Some conforming to cultural norms is necessary to avoid chaos, I suppose, but wouldn’t the world be dull if we all played “follow the leader” with our homes, our clothing, and our entertainment?

I am thankful for the excellent health care offered to us today. Yes, I wish it was less expensive, but today we are talking about blessings. I am now coping with the same heart condition which killed my mother. Most of the medications to help me cope were not even heard of in her day.

I am a fourth generation diabetic and with every generation, there have been improvements in treatment. My great-grandmother simply died in her mid-50s leaving a houseful of children. If you are into genealogy, you have undoubtedly noticed the high infant mortality rate of a few generations ago and many women who died in childbirth.

I am thankful for the laughter of children. Although I have no children or grandchildren of my own, I delight in contacts with the kids in my church and my neighborhood. No matter what some people my age may say about the faults of the younger generation, almost all children and teens I know are thoughtful, kind, and respectful. They also know how to wring joy from life and share it with us old cranks if we let them.

I am thankful for all of the interesting people I meet casually as I go about my daily routines — the women in my two book groups, the women in Marion County Democratic Women organization, the fans at basketball games, the charming woman I recently met at the courthouse when I went in for the dubious pleasure of paying my property tax and buying license plates for the car.

I could go on listing the blessings in my life forever, but what I really want to do is encourage you to make your own lists, which may be different from mine.

God bless you all at this Thanksgiving season.

Last modified Nov. 26, 2008

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