So I wake up with a cool breeze coming through the window. Mike and I have bacon, eggs and waffles on the veranda overlooking the beautiful ocean. We go down to the pool, lay out in the sun, and get on one of those giant-sized “floaties”. Then after an hour or two, we walk the beach collecting shells. We have a quick bite to eat, take a nice nap and have a delicious shrimp dinner overlooking the moon and stars. And more of the same for 10 more glorious days….And did I mention our next trips are to Rome, Italy in the fall and then Hawaii in the Spring?
Mike and I have recently early retired and are financially free. We live oceanfront in Florida near our two grown daughters and other family. We volunteer with various organizations that are dear to our hearts.
…. and then…. BUZZZZZZZZZZZ – GOOODNESS – the alarm goes off …. And, Oh my – it was just a dream!!!!!!! But what a dream it was.
Looking at my “ordinary” life – it ain’t easy street… and often times I have thought “my 50’s are killing me”, but it ain’t all that bad either. I have been blessed beyond measure with a roof over my head and have the privilege of living close to the Florida shores. I have a wonderful family, my sister (my best friend) and her family live nearby and we are gainfully employed. Then I almost forgot we are fast approaching Thanksgiving and – hence – I am reminded of many things.
And the two words that keep playing over and over in my head like a broken record are “THANKS” and “GIVING” and I really never saw that before in the word “THANKSGIVING”.
But a reflection of Thanksgiving and what it means to me. Giving “thanks” for all the things in our lives – big and small and “giving” – that’s what it really should be, or at least that’s the way I think about it, anyway.
I love the Bible scripture, “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!” (Psalm 118:1, ESV)
It reminds me of the things I am thankful for:
- My husband who is hardworking and consistent. He helps by going grocery shopping, cooks on the weekend, and helping with other heavy chores. (I know, I know – you babes are thinking – if he takes out the garbage, too, keep him!!!!) Ha ha – actually I take out the garbage.
- My oldest daughter, Christine, who is giving, has a strong but fun personality, and she makes me laugh. And Christine checks in with me by phone every day on her way to work.
- My youngest, Caitlin, who is thoughtful and runs out to get me takeout dinner when I beg, picks me up a candy bar when I am desperate, and is sweet, kind and always great to have around.
- My big sister, Carol, who has been there for me through thick and thin with a positive attitude and a kind, encouraging word…. and especially before, during and after the loss of our dear parents.
- The sun – when it comes out and stays out – because I get cranky and irritable when it rains, rains, rains for days!
- Florida nights where the skies and clouds are beautiful.
- To live in a cozy home that is modest but comfortable for us.
- For weekends when I can catch my breath and have some “down” time to get revived and restored.
- My dear friends who make me laugh or hear me complain and listen anyway.
- Good health – that I am able to wake up every day and can get out of bed, walk and talk…. Many people can’t.
I wish, I wish, I WISH that I could be mindful of these simple things and be thankful more often than I am.
And then we have the word “give”. And there are so many ways to give.
I truly believe what the scripture says, “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure– pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” (Luke 6:30, NASB)
My Mom, Helen, “Grandma” as known by our kids, was the true definition of “giving”.
Mom gave to the poor. We could never throw anything out, and we always brought our hand-me-downs to the Good Will and the Vietnam Veterans. We would drop off food and other collectibles to the local Mission House, and Mom would donate regularly to the individuals in need, various charities and churches.
Grandma gave of her “time” unconditionally to my daughter Christine while she was in grade school. I was also blessed beyond measure that she babysat my baby, Caitlin, from birth when I went back to work. Grandma did all sorts of fun crafts with the girls, sewed, and dressing up our dog Pokey in all kinds of dangling jewelry and clothes! They would go to “duck alley” and feed the ducks, walk all through the neighborhood and play fun games outside. She fed all the neighborhood kids and always gave a helping hand to all the children.
Grandma came on many family vacations with us to Jekyll Island, Panama City, Ormond Beach, Disney, and many other places. Grandma helped pay for these trips where it would have been otherwise impossible for us to go. She rode the wild rides at Disney and amusement parks with the girls because I was too scared for some of the rides – but not her. Grandma would treat the kids when we went shopping or on special adventures.
My Mom was the epitome of “giving” and was such a role model for the children and all of us with giving of her time, her talents and her resources. I cannot think of anyone that models “giving” like Mom did.
I give THANKS indeed for life’s simple pleasures and I hope and pray I will remember more often not to take these wonderful blessings for granted. I am working on challenging myself to GIVE more, like my mom did, with a sincere and simple heart!
And … what about you?
When we turn on the TV Thanksgiving morning and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and afterwards sit down with our family and loved ones for turkey and stuffing, I hope we can really think with a thankful and giving heart how enriched our lives are! God Bless!
Happy Thanks + Giving … Happy Thanksgiving!