Blackbirds perch along the roofline of this vine covered barn. From there they see the landscape from a different perspective than I do. They see the cattails and tractors, but from their position, they see the locations of things with better understanding and clarity, while I rely on my very limited depth perception.
It was a beautiful morning when I awoke on Saturday, and I lay in bed admiring the sunshine that filtered through the curtains. The sun was still low in the sky.
I was filled with contentment after a great evening the night before with my daughter, who was visiting from the west coast. Dinner at our local favorite restaurant, followed by a movie, and then coffee shop conversation. So many miles melt away. Being together allows us to do simple tasks, and have conversations about both the mundane and meaningful.
The west coast is so very far away. You can't even see it from here! At least not clearly! Time with my family is the best. It is where I feel most myself, most at ease, and where I can explore ideas and gain so much from their learning, too. We are grateful that she made the effort to come back to Michigan to visit her sister and family. We know she has work and commitments far away. But being together is wonderful.
And if I position myself from a good vantage point, just the right vantage point, I can see we are not so far apart. Indeed.
I slept in this morning to catch up a little after working a long stretch of days. I feel so much better with the extra sleep!!
The sun is shining and the temperature warming up this morning, my birthday. A gift for certain! How blessed I am!
Here is my 2013 Litany:
Today, I am grateful for so many gifts.
I am grateful for life, for my parents and family and all the instruction I received from them as I grew up, and for the earliest sense of identity and belonging they gave me.
I am grateful for the influence of the Catholic Church in my early years, for the sacraments of Batpism, Penance and Communion, all before I was 7 years old, and Confirmation a few years later! I loved that I could slip away on my bike and go to our church during the summer to sit quietly by myself in that holy place and pray.
I am grateful for the friends I had in elementary school and for the acceptance I experienced in their company. I am grateful for having a "best" friend in those early years, and for shared secrets and adventures, and a neighborhood "gang" with whom we explored the world! Our "gang's"adventures rivaled any of those in The Little Rascals! (Younger people may need to look up the reference.)
I am grateful for the move our family made to another town, even though it was painful at the time, and for the new friends I made in middle school and high school-- friends that are dear to me now.
I'm grateful for Young Life, and the encouragement I received to read scripture and to pray together with my peers. I am grateful for the awkwardness I felt in high school, which reminds me how awkward we often still feel as adults, and helps me find empathy. I'm grateful for my high school teachers. And I'm grateful for the difficulties and confusion I experienced during those years, for they brought lessons and insights that are with me still.
I'm grateful that my fellow classmates were spared going to the Vietnam War, although the young men had draft numbers, and some were nearly called. I'm grateful that the Vietnam War taught us to honor our young military people who continue to make sacrifices for our country because they are asked to do so, and not because they understand all the political and national interests that motivate our leaders.
I'm grateful for the gift of becoming a mother, three times! I'm grateful for the chance to learn that I could love someone else so deeply that my own life would seem unimportant in comparison I am grateful for the chance I had to hold young babies in my arms for hours, and to reassure them over and over again that they were loved no matter what, and then, over years, to confirm that no matter what our circumstances, we would always be for one another. I am grateful that I could teach my children, and thereby teach myself, what is important in life. And I am grateful to have lived to see my children's children. So grateful.
I am grateful for the humility I have learned through my mistakes and the consequences we must accept for our actions.
I am grateful for the love of my husband and his blindness to my faults.
I am grateful for my good health, not something to be taken for granted.
I am grateful for meaningful work and for having everything I need.
I am grateful that we live in a country that values independence and freedom, and that so many of my fellow citizens are trying to work together to preserve the lives and God-given rights of all persons, regardless of age, race, or religion, and to ensure that our homeland is secure from lawless acts no matter how great or small.
I am grateful for the years I have lived and the ones I may have left to live. I am grateful to you, and all that makes you who you are.
I feel so blessed, like a tree, planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in due season.
As you can see, I already have all the gifts I could ever need or want. Today, I am simply grateful.
I'm a wife, a mother of grown children, and work full time as a nurse practitioner with cancer patients. My work is gratifying often, and difficult and sad sometimes, too.
I'm average and extraordinary, just as you are. I've experienced profound failures, significant disappointments, had a few successes, and been the recipient of a lot of mercy. I try to keep perspective on what's important in life, and not get too upset about the rest.
My Catholic faith is important to me, and while I'm no theologian, it's my intention that my faith inform my outlook and values, and inspire personal virtue. I love that God desires to reveal himself to us. I love the small hints, the little bread crumbs, the multiple clues, and the pieces of the puzzle that dot the created world and point to the hand of the Creator. I love that He uses beauty, art, science, all his creatures and the invisible realm of our heart and emotions to communicate His goodness to us. And I love that the fullness of his love can be seen in the sacrifice of his son, Jesus, which makes me free.