Saturday, May 19, 2012

Ten Things I'm Thankful for

 It's time for another (longer than usual) post of "Ten things I'm thankful for..."

Since the Easter season has been upon us, it's been my hope to keep all things related to this liturgical season out for a little longer than usual, mostly as reminders on the promises that salvation offers us; those yellow and purple hues of color in the flowers on my dining room buffet, the eggs which represent new life, and other deeply personal reflections. 

 I'm so very pleased to have been able to get a photo of this year's stunning Easter paschal candle displayed on the altar since the Easter vigil.  This is just a little something I like to do every year, mostly to include one when possible in the sequential order of photos in my family scrapbooking albums. Instead of using my iphone to "check in", this tells me "I'm checked in to the liturgical short timing of this season, and all the grace if offers to us". Kind of cheesy I know, it's just my own personal thing.

Some years, I've forgetten to get a photo until it's too late, however I do need to give myself credit as I was able to snap one on its way out to the back of the church last year, so I have two in a row to cheer about. 

Life is like that you know. We observe and instantly appreciate those small almost insignificant things, privately fall in love with them, for no particular reason really, they just tend to somehow draw our attention toward them. They're here one moment, and then they are gone, and if we can't pinpoint them in our memories, and remember them with full clarity for what or how they were to us in our daily lives, my remedy is to simply take a photo and preserve the moment.  

 No one else might chance the same photo opportunities, but when I view them afterward, I know, I remember, they're just happily all mine. Thank goodness for digital photography! I was going broke trying to do this on film cameras in the past. ;)

 Thus is the need to take time in our days to "smell the roses", and to "simplify the busyness" of life, mostly so we don't overlook those tiny details that truly are more important in the big scheme of life. There are traditions to consider, thoughtful reminders of important cherished moments, and so much more to remember. A few small details might include the ordinary to the extraordinary, especially when our senses are involved. To be thankful always.


Here are a few of those types of things in my life in recent always in no particular order at all, in fact out of order in some cases.

 - 1 - I'm thankful for BERRIES! All sorts of berries. One of my most favorite breakfasts in late spring and summertime includes enormous, most delicious blueberries first things in the morning. 

A solid runner up in the berry department are strawberries, and when I think of these red delightful yummies, I almost always think of the traditional shared waffles one of my daughters and I used to partake in, loaded with berries and whipping cream. But, the berries and cream had to be "on the side", just so we could ceremoniously dress the waffle our own way and not allow it to become mushy by already being on there when served.

Actually, to be honest, this particular day below, I never ate the waffle, just the berries, a bit of the custard, a bit of the whipping cream, just that there were so many berries offered "on the side" for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of devouring them. I brought the waffle home, and someone else ate it.

  - 2 - I'm thankful for cute little outfits for the feast of St. George,  remembering him for his famous fight with the dragon. This cute little green outfit below was worn by our sweet little grandbaby. How cute it was to play with all the little points on her hooded hat.

And just when the feasting was plentiful, a big surprise parcel arrived in the mail from a dear friend, who blessed this wee babe and her mommy in a very special way.  The exquisite rag quilt and matching diaper bag are just so very beautiful, truly lovely for both mommy and baby, and just perfect for some baby tummy time fun. I know my photos snapped on my iphone don't do this lovely quilt justice, so more are coming soon. 

How thoughtful of you my special friend, how loving the works of your hand have always been when constantly choosing to bless another. You are amazing!

 - 3 - I'm thankful for easy lunches that offer a bit of color, enough variety, some nutrition to write home about, and no one complains. That is the best part to be sure!

- 4 - I'm thankful for music in our home, especially after my husband was finally the lucky recipient of a new electric guitar, my gift to him, a long overdue gift to be sure.

Here's what my husband's announcement was;

"Just for the record, and after many samplings , I bought the FENDER special edition telecaster with the symore duncan humbucking pick-ups, mahogany body and neck... and the spalled maple finish. Very nice in my opinion... nice tones and sounds and nice action on the neck too."

(this is all Greek to me of course....)

There is one more thing of course that I would be remiss if I never mentioned it; An electric guitar requires use of an amplifier. Did I mention before how loud these were? No? Well let me say, not only can they carry quite the decibel range, but they also contain approximately 100 built in various instrumental accompaniment jam sessions for use with such a guitar. Returning home from an outing one day, I entered only to feel (and hear) my whole house pulsating with the beat of some hilariously crazy concert, yet I only found my husband all alone, happily fulfilled and sitting on a chair with his guitar in hand. 

Our younger two broke out in giggles at their guitar dad. It's sure been a while, wasn't sure I'd be a fan of the noise part, but it's fun to see a passionate revival of father and three guitar playing sons talking about the accompaniment of even more instruments in our home. Stay tuned... 

(I asked him to pose for me at the store...)

- 5 - I'm thankful for little signs that make me smile, that are hints or tips on how to view life in general. After giving our younger daughter a little talk about how acronyms like LOL shouldn't be used in the context of a live conversation, trying to coach her on proper language skills, along comes a restaurant with a strange name. So, you see, life's like that. It's sometimes a complete waste of energy to dwell on these types of small things, isn't it, though I still say, we really shouldn't use online language IRL (in real life, grinning). After all, when one remembers what this stands for "Laugh out loud", or whatever you choose to use to abbreviate for yourself, laughing is a most definitely a very good thing. :)

- 6 - I'm thankful for the light coming up through the end opening of the schooling tunnel before summer breaks the daily grind up for a time. I'm actually enjoying the sense of peace these days with fine tuned school syllabus weekly schedules, and books becoming complete as each week passes. We're really on target for the most part, and everyone is properly completing and checking off their assignments. 

I'm thinking though of not breaking for the full summer just as I always manage to do, because it's just happening when prime math functions and topics have finally been mastered after placing our son in a great math course offered by a university math professor mom who also homeschools her children. Wow, she's just wonderful! She covers only one math topic per week for at total of ten weeks, ensuring they understand each concept and challenges the teens to follow up at home using "Khan Academy" resource links she provides. She makes it sound so easy, they love it all, and they all love her!

- 7 - I'm thankful for prayerful silent moments, when I'm able to lay it all out there in my conversations with God, be it here in the quiet solitude of a church pew before the rush of a congregation attendance, or on the trails of my forest pathways. There's been so much to chat about these days, so much. 

When the news came, that of my mother in law's passing, we knew everything must fall by the way side, and travel to the westcoast was necessary. There were so many small details where no one knew what to do about them, scrambling became a normal way of life for a few days until all was completed. 

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
And let perpetual light shine upon them.

May the souls of the faithful departed,
Through the mercy of God,
Rest in peace.


I can only urge every family, young or old, to begin a file folder titled "Estate Planning", and begin gathering documents, ideas and necessities for the "some day" those which will be required during your final moments in life, or after you've passed. And, just because I personally feel this is a huge topic of importance, I'll write a separate post on the topic very soon, including details on what to include in your file folder.

- 8 - I'm thankful for airport reunions when sudden travel occurs after being summoned west for urgent last visits with a family member who is seriously unwell. It's bittersweet to reunite under such circumstances, and always tough to return to normal life when all feels so very helpless from living life at such a distance away. The photo below, believe it or not, was our Easter Sunday afternoon family reunion, but how happy were we to have safe and uneventful travel behind.

- 9 - I'm thankful for healthy imaginations, and child-likeness at any age. This is one of my favorite books these days as we prepare to build surprise fairy houses around our forest trails, little shelters for little visitors, and wonderful scouring from the forest floor to build them with. Who says this is something for children? I'm just a big kid then, right? 

- 10 - I'm thankful for the discovery of Sea Cadets this year and having a son who has realized his love of being on the water. It's been extremely interesting thus far, he's liking the discipline and personal best goals he's set for himself. 

 Whether obtaining his Sailing level 1 ticket, attending a drill marching team, rising to the honor of being awarded the guard drill position no one has obtained in the past four years during his first year of attendance, or being part of the marksmanship team, it's been a busy activity on our calendars to be sure. 

 Recently he attended a mandatory fitness bootcamp weekend, and survived the unexpected drop in frigid temperatures while sleeping in army tents. It was quite the experience to be boiling hot by day, and freezing cold by nightfall, but he survived and slept almost three days straight afterward from a happy fatigue from so many fun and successful accomplishments of those Canadian fitness challenges. And for this, he earned a new badge mom will have to sew on his uniform.

 There's been much in the way of volunteer work, participating in parades and training days, learning all the rope knots one could ever imagine, and learning how important it is to shine his boots and iron his various uniforms. In just two short weeks, up ahead is the mandatory weekly sailing classes for even more experience on the water's edge when having to sail in his own boat. 

I have just one thing to say about all of this - he's loving it....  

And so my family and friends, here you go with another very l-o-n-g installment of just a few of the possible hundreds of thankful things for me at this time. 

Have you been making a list of your own, snapping photos of little details in your life when your eye catches them, or committing them to memory at the very least? If not, begin today. And do share with me. I'd love to hear from you. 

~ Renee