Reflections of Gratitude

    Sometimes sleep is elusive for me, tonight seems to be one of those times. As I began to pray before trying to sleep tonight, my mind was flooded with thoughts of gratitude for having been blessed through the years, reminders that there has also been many hard times and the gratitude that I have for a loving and sustaining heavenly Father who has always been by my side, who has held me together when times seemed beyond bearable. Why, I asked myself am I thinking such serious thoughts? One possible answer is that I have been thinking about my Mom, who would have been 75 years old today, well by now, yesterday. She graduated to heaven in 1996 and was followed seven years and twenty-three days later by my Dad.  As side note, their kitty survived them for an additional seven years and we had the pleasure of caring for her until she was over twenty-one years old.

   I have said that I believe I attended more funerals of relatives before I turned twenty than most people do in a lifetime and there have been many more in the years since. Being morbid is far from where these thoughts are going; my focus is on how blessed I am that so many of my extended family has touched my life. Those lives are responsible in many ways for my faith developing as a very young child and for my character (at least the good traits). I remember very clearly when I was about 5 going late at night to the hospital when my granddaddy passed away and sitting at my grandmother’s home as people came and went paying their last respects. I have fond memories of sitting on his lap and him giving me silver dollars from time to time. I also remember the strength and faith of my grandmother when within a year she also buried her mother, my great grandmother and even more in my older years when two of her three children preceded her in death. My dad’s mom had two older sisters and three half-brothers and a half-sister and all their children who were older than me but I still remember the times we spent together. On mom’s side I had a great aunt, and an aunt and uncle and lots of cousins.  So for an only child of an only child, I had lots of extended family and we saw each other at a minimum several times a year, others we visited with almost monthly and each one has touched my life in a special way.

     God has continued to bless me with two wonderful children who are all grown up and five beautiful and talented grandbabies! I so love watching them grow, seeing their unique personalities develop, listening to their sweet voices, and watching their parents as they guide them and love on them.

    We are so affected and blessed by the people God has allowed into our lives either by birth, by marriage, by careers, neighbors or by our places of worship.  It is so easy to get busy and lose touch in the fast paced world in which we live. May we never forget or take for granted the connections in our lives but celebrate and treasure them for they are a part of what makes us who we are and may we spend more time counting our blessings than we spend rehearsing our troubles!

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