Thanksgiving 2017

This morning the alarm on my phone came to life at its normal 6AM.  My first thought was “oh no, I could have slept in.”  My second thought was “it’s Thanksgiving….. I am thankful!”

As I lay in bed a million thoughts began to flow through my head, thoughts of Thanksgiving and gratitude.

Today as I gather with my family, I am truly thankful.

First and foremost, I am thankful that the Lord let my eyes open with that alarm, that I am given another day on this earth.

I am thankful for the 11 lbs of fur resting on my hip, for the almost 10 years that she has been in my life and that every day of those 10 years she still runs to me when I walk in the door, tail wagging and happy to see me.

I am thankful for the creaks and cracks of age in my bones when my feet hit the floor.  A sign of a life well lived and appreciated.

I am thankful that as I grow older I have an appreciation for blessings large and small.

I am thankful for a tight-knit family.  A family that is boisterous, doesn’t take life too seriously, but forms the backbone of my existence and comes together in good times and bad to support and love one another.

I am thankful for a community that supports our elderly and our next generations.

I am thankful to live in a community that understands the importance of standing for the National Anthem, a community where cars pull to the side of the road when a funeral passes and “how’s your mama” is as common a phrase as “may I help you?”

I am thankful for my little cabin in the woods that gives me refuge from the world.  A place where I can diddle and doddle around, make my own, and I am especially thankful for my screened in back porch, where I can watch sunsets through the trees or just sit and enjoy the peace of life.

I am thankful for my brother and sister-in-law.  I am thankful that they allow me the privilege of “parenting” their children and being a secondary grandparent to their beloved Hadley.

I am thankful for my niece and nephew.  I am thankful that they come to me just to talk or for advice and I am thankful that they return the favor when I go to them for the same.

I am OH SO THANKFUL for a two-year old that swells my heart just by running into a room.  I am thankful for her smile, her huge hugs and those sloppy kisses planted firmly on my lips. I am thankful when she tells me she loves me and I am thankful that she has wrapped me so tightly around her little finger.

I am thankful that my niece has a guy in her life who loves her daughter as his own.

I am thankful for my store, for the customers we have and for the opportunities it allows us to be a part of our community.

I am thankful for my team who works so hard to provide quality service and product for our customers and I am thankful that they all have “sick” personalities that enjoy a good joke, can rib me as hard as I rib them and make my days brighter just by being around.

I am thankful for long time friends, from various parts of the world, that I can pick up where we left off the last time we spoke.

I am thankful for my cousin that I haven’t seen in 30 years, who I “speak” with on a daily basis, a cousin who enjoys a  well placed emoji or GIF as much as I do.

I am thankful for the generation of family members who were raised with me, who have grown with me and who now share friendship and family connections and stories.

I am especially thankful for my cousin who is as much of a brother to Sam and I as anyone could be.  I am thankful that he is in our lives and we are able to do life together.

I am thankful for friends who on the surface don’t make sense, but are part of my life and just stop by the store or text to see what’s going on.

I am thankful that I have been able to reconnect with old friends and make new ones since moving back to God’s Country.

I am thankful for those who understand and honor the phrase “judgement has no place here.”

I am thankful to live in a country that doesn’t always honor our fore-fathers, but when it means the most comes together for the greater good.

I am thankful to have the opportunity to gather together with family and friends, I am thankful to be able to do life with these people and I am thankful for the blessings I encounter every day.

I am thankful for more than I could ever express on the screen of this laptop.

I am thankful….. and I am blessed!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, may your blessings be bountiful!

 

Life’s Playlist….. Simple Gifts from Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring

As we enter the week of Thanksgiving, I always think of this section of Aaron Copland’s masterpiece “Appalachian Spring” the section of this symphony is one of the most beautiful I have ever heard.

As the music builds towards it greatest crescendo, I “feel” the joys of Thanksgiving, the simple pleasures and the simple gifts.

One of my favorite Thanksgiving melodies is this beautiful suite from the larger symphonic piece….. Appalachian Spring.

 

Life’s Playlist…. The Last Song by Elton John

On this date in 1991, Magic Johnson announced his retirement from the Los Angeles Lakers due to his contracting the HIV Virus.

The HIV Virus which is a precursor to AIDS has taken too many of my friends.  I give thanks every day that I am healthy and that the virus never touched me in a personal way.

I have seen the horrors the virus takes on a life and during the 80’s and 90’s too many people suffered.  Thankfully for those affected today, the HIV Virus is no longer a death sentence but a disease that can be managed.

Magic Johnson is a testament to living with the virus and what medications do.

I remember my friends, those gone too soon.

 

The Colors of Blessings

As the display of Fall color bursts upon the mountains and valleys of God’s Country it is always a sight to behold.

As I wrote in my October column in “Georgia Mountain Laurel” magazine I didn’t really appreciate the beauty of the season until I had moved away and become an adult.

For much of my life, the leaves changing color was just something that happened.  However as I have grown older, the changing colors represent more of a feeling, a feeling of blessing, reflection and joy.

This year, the weather leading up to peak season has been iffy.  We have had warm weather, cold snaps and everything in between, it seemed like the colors of Fall may skip us this year….. but oh, what a surprise the landscape had in store.

Earlier this week it happened, as if overnight, the leaves all changed and what a magnificent change it is.

Today the weather is damp with fog and mist making the colors explode on the landscape, the oranges, yellows and reds glisten in the moisture like a Monet or Picasso.

As I drove home from Church this morning, I stopped my car and just looked.  I soaked in those colors and let the beauty of the scenery in front of me wash over my soul.

It occurs to me that the colors of leaf season are a perfect prelude to Thanksgiving and Christmas.  A time to be thankful for the blessings in our lives and remembrances of those who paved the pathways that we now walk.

Those colors, like the blessings we all enjoy, explode in goodness and are tucked away in our memories through the seasons of life.  At times of darkness we can draw upon those memories to keep us moving forward and to rejoice in the blessings of life.

Like the seasons of our life, the season and colors of Fall renew the spirit and provide a joyous point leading up to celebrations yet to come.

I appreciate the colors of this season and the promise of what is to come.  During dark days it is good to know the colors will return and provide hope for our next blessings that lie ahead.

 

** Thanks to Kevin Croom for the Photo Reminder.  KCCPIX

Life’s Playlist….. Out Here On My Own by Irene Cara

The words of this song are perfection.