During the month of November, I've tried to select one thing each day and give thanks for it. The last two posts have shared some of those. This is my third "Thankfulness" post.
I am thankful for things my daddy taught me. Again, I could spend a year telling you why I am thankful for my daddy, but I’ll just focus on a few things I learned from him. His love, work ethic, and sense of fairness have been a guiding beacon for my life. He has always looked out for folks who were less fortunate than we were. I remember him making “care packages” to send to a young man who was in training school and couldn’t be with his family at Christmas. He taught me how to use a hammer, drill, power saw, screwdriver, and paintbrush. I learned exactly where to put 5 water jars around every brooder in the chicken house (Becky, stop laughing!) and how to check to make sure they were level so they wouldn’t leak all the water out. I learned that I’d better not come out in a skirt that was too short if I intended on leaving the house (circa 1972, haha). He has always given me advice that was rock-solid; at times of great heartache he emphasized to me that I should turn the page and move on, not dwell on the past or its hurts. He showed me what devotion was when he retired from raising chickens the minute my mom was diagnosed with cancer so he could take care of her. He taught me to write my ABC’s before I started school. He told me about the pyramids in Egypt, using the picture on a pack of Camel cigarettes – but stopped smoking in the early 1960’s. He tried to teach me how to stand on my head – he can do it, but I never quite got the hang of that. But he definitely taught me to stand on my own two feet and be independent. The values he shared with me and my sister are priceless. I’ve barely scratched the surface, but yes, today I am thankful for things my daddy taught me.
I am thankful for solitude. I like my “alone” time because it gives me time to think and focus on where I am and what I am doing. Sometimes I play music, sometimes I just keep silence – either way I like to let my thoughts ramble. Sometimes those thoughts make it down on paper. I usually have plenty of “projects” lined up to keep me busy. I like being productive, even on my solitary days. I could probably become a hermit, so long as Amazon would keep delivering books and supplies for my projects! Yes, today I am thankful for solitude.
I am thankful for gifts from my husband. Again, I could spend a year telling you why I am thankful for my husband, but today I will just focus on just a few of the gifts he has given me. I am not talking about material things, I am talking about some of the intangible gifts he has shared with me. His optimism keeps us both looking up, even when life gets difficult. He is good to my parents and my children. He’s one of the most generous people I have ever known. He makes sure the cars are always in good repair and washes the windows whenever we fill up with gas. He makes me laugh, nearly every single day he says or does something that cracks me up! He enjoys visiting to new places, so I’ve been able to travel and make new friends along the way. He encourages me in my writing and with the crafts that I attempt to make. He is a wonderful cook and enjoys preparing my favorite foods and trying new dishes. My kitchen catastrophes are legendary (ask my children), so when he offered to do all the cooking I jumped at that gift! (Hmmm…. I may have proposed to HIM when he said he’d do all the cooking!) Yes, today I am thankful for gifts from my husband.
I am thankful for my hands. I can hold another hand, ruffle someone’s hair, or give a pat on the back. I can caress a child’s face, wipe away tears, or clap for joy with my hands. My hands make music with the piano keys; they make artwork with a needle, thread, and fabric. Preserving memories is easy when my hands find a pen or computer keyboard. I open doors and windows with my hands. If I didn’t have hands, my rings would be out of a job! Yes, today I am thankful for my hands.
I am thankful for the pets who adopted me. Currently, I am cared for by Scarlett, a gracious Black Lab who decided it was ok to share David with me. My snowshoe Siamese bodyguard, Mr. Zeepers, sleeps on my feet every night. Another snowshoe Siamese is Jazz, also known as KittyKitty. She trained us all quite nicely to open the door for her to go in or out. She is quite the huntress and brings us “presents”– some of which are still alive and kicking! Mia2, a long-haired Balinese, was reclusive when we first brought her home but eventually came out of her shell. All of our furbabies are “rescues” – we either found them or adopted them from shelters, and they have rescued us in return by offering unconditional love. I remember with fondness other sweet pets who are now waiting at the Rainbow Bridge. Bandit, a Siamese, loved my family for 17 years. Mia1 --my white long-haired beauty -- was a music critic. Sadie Grace – my “granddog” who actually belonged to my daughter, but stayed with me when I was alone in an apartment. Sadie was ALWAYS happy to see me when I came home from work. And then there was Sammy the Wonderdawg – so named because I wondered just what that Beagle would drag into the yard next. He brought me a deer (one bone at a time), and an assortment of shoes that I am sure belonged to my neighbors. (Sorry, Stan & Wendy!) Even though I often realize that I am accessorized by fur (and I don’t mean mink!), the company and love they provide is priceless. Yes, today I am thankful for the pets who adopted me.
I am thankful for my children and grandchildren. My three kids are all grown up now. I think of “red letter” moments like graduations and remember that I was so proud of them it was all I could do to keep from bursting into tears. I remember fun moments, like when we’d make chocolate chip cookies together, or trips to the beach. I remember when my daughters and son were born and how precious the time was when I could hold them in my arms. I remember the years I spent as a “Show Choir Mom,” practicing for church Christmas programs, 4-H competitions, homework projects. As all families do, we’ve had our “ups and downs,” but the ups have always outlasted the downs. I have two fine sons-in-law who bring extra blessings to our family. And yes, grandchildren is plural because yesterday Corbin John Sikes entered the world! He joins Carter Lee Braswell in giving this grandma even more to be thankful for. Yes, today I am thankful for my children and grandchildren.
I am thankful for laughter. From soft chuckles to belly laughs, laughter shared between friends can make the heart grow lighter. And at times, laughter through tears can ease the spirit. It is impossible to feel down when you hear “silly giggles” coming from a child. As Charlie Chaplain said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” Yes, today I am thankful for laughter.
I am thankful for my sister. We share two wonderful parents and many happy memories together. If there is one person on this earth that I can trust implicitly, it is Becky. She’s got a quick smile, a gentle spirit, and a calm demeanor. I tease her that she got “all the math genes” in our family because she’s a whiz at numbers while I struggle to add two and two! She’s a great listener and confidante, and you should hear her SING! J She is our family’s “encyclopedia” because she can remember people’s names and birthdates and other information that I have to write down somewhere (and of course then I lose the paper so I have to call her again!). I admire her greatly, and yes, today I am thankful for my sister!
I am thankful for the birds. I have a front-row seat to watch many different kinds of birds; the type of birds that visit us varies with the seasons. Just yesterday I watched a red-pileated woodpecker pounding away on a nearby tree. Cormorants come into the cove, like a band of marauders, looking for yummy fish. They dive below the water, then come up splashing with their catch. But watch out! Here comes a thieving seagull, ready to snatch it away! Bluebirds, bluejays and red-wing blackbirds add flashes of color. I hear hoot-owls and bob-white quail in the evenings. Canadian geese fly overhead in great V-formations. Great white egrets and blue herons patrol the shorelines. I marvel at the jewel-like colors of the hummingbirds that hover around the feeders in the summer. And the sight of a bald eagle soaring freely overhead never ceases to amaze me. Such beauty, right outside my windows! Yes, today I am thankful for birds.
I am thankful for simple pleasures. A child giggling with delight. Random acts of kindness, both given and received. Chocolate chip cookies, warm out of the oven, with a glass of cold milk. Enough snow to make a snow angel. Black and white photographs of family members, taken before I was born. Accomplishing something on my bucket list. Young love. Older love. Recognizing a friend in a crowd of strangers. Smiles. Hugs. Greek yogurt with blueberries. Listening to the leaves crunch beneath your feet on an autumn day. Forgiveness. A cool sea breeze on a hot day when you’re sitting in the sand looking at the ocean. Finding shapes in the fluffy white clouds. Purring kittens, wriggling puppies. A crackling fire on a cold night. Peanut butter. A favorite old song on the radio. The wind in my hair as I drive down the highway with the convertible top down. Angels masquerading in human form walking around among us. So many gifts we have all around us, if we just open our eyes, ears, hearts, and minds to receive them! Yes, today I am thankful for simple pleasures -- and for so much more!