One thing I’m grateful for in this season is my cross country team. I’m grateful for the community of people that have grown to becoming my best friends. They make me laugh everyday and are just great people to run and hang out with. COVID has definitely shaken up a lot of plans, but God has blessed me with a bunch of amazing friends, and for that I’m grateful 🙂
When I think of gratitude and what I am grateful for, the obvious things rise to the surface as I am sure they do with others—God, family, health, FPC-Franklin, friends, job, hobbies, living in the greatest country in the world, just to name a few. However, during the past seven months I have grown to be more appreciative and grateful for the opportunity that God gives others and me to experience life with our own five senses the wonders of the world and God’s hand in these earthly creations. Sunsets, beautiful blue oceans, mountain ranges, crystal clear rivers, cascading waterfalls, flowers, animals, gardens, different seasons—both in life and each calendar year—and the changes that come with each. Gratitude wakes us up to the beauty and magic of everyday life. What really brings me happiness and makes me smile is that all those wonders mentioned above will not even compare to what is to come in God’s heavenly kingdom. What a sight and feeling that will be! I am so grateful that God is my life and that I have a personal relationship with him. I am truly blessed. God is great!
With Fall in full swing, I am thankful for my nose. With my nose, I am able to enjoy all of the wonderful scents of the season. From pumpkin-spice beverages to tasty treats that have been baked with apple and cinnamon and drizzled with maple glaze. Or the smell of a warm fire on a cool, crisp evening as friends huddle around sharing stories and toasting s’mores. The aroma of Fall brings a smile to my face and the loosening of my belt. And the smell of family as we gather on Thanksgiving. Grandma’s perfume she has worn since before you were born, your uncle’s cigar, or the smell of your newest grandchild, covered in baby powder and lotion. Nothing evokes memories and emotions like our sense of smell. These fragrances remind me of how blessed my life has been and continues to be, even as we endure these days of having to breathe and smell through a mask. So, with a grateful heart, I thank God for my big Italian nose, and for all of the blessings he has given me.
Autumn tickles all of our senses. Stunning colors set against cool crisp blue skies decorate the landscape as slowly drifting leaves settle under our feet crunching with each step we take. Birds’ songs fill our ears with joyful twittering. Cheers ring out at social distance football game viewings. Wood burning in bonfires scents the air. Crisp savory apples and pumpkin spiced everything tempt our taste buds in highly anticipated tasty seasonal treats. Chilly air produces rosy cheeks and is kept at bay with favorite warm snuggly sweaters and sweat shirts. All of these sensory stimulations remind us to be grateful for, to savor, and to be present in each beautiful fall moment and acknowledging all the blessing presented to us every day.
During this time of isolation we have found we are most grateful for time for the “little things.” Jack and I have enjoyed spending time on the porch, reading, enjoying the songs from the birds, listening to the rain, and especially porch lunches, after-dinner ice creams, and birthday celebrations with our family.
Our porch gives us time to wave to neighbors as they pass by or stop in for a brief visit. Many a telephone call to catch up with church friends or FaceTime with our out-of-state relatives fill our days. We are also grateful for the Sunday church service online although that is not on our porch.
So while we let God take charge of the Big Things we cannot control, we will continue to count our blessings and appreciate the “little things.”
I am glad I joined the Student Leadership Team at FPC. I won’t lie, my mother made me do it. Well maybe not made me, but strongly encouraged me to join. Being on the SLT, I have attended more church events and made closer connections with people in the youth group. I am thankful to be a part of a church that values my opinion. I am thankful for the opportunities the church has created for each of us to make connections even when we can’t meet in person.
Thomas Paine said “these are the times that try men’s souls.” I wish he had just said “our souls” to include all people, but that was a different time. Nonetheless, it was a trying time then and it is a trying time now. We are a social people. Our lives have been centered around helping our neighbors, sharing, celebrating, and grieving together, hoping and praying together, and most importantly loving our neighbor as ourselves.
In these times of divided politics, religion, and social groups, we find our mettle tested by Covid-19 where we are isolated and often in need of sharing with others. We can’t worship together, celebrate weddings together, or even bury our dead together. So, we have two options: Give up, become bitter, and lose faith in all things that are sacred to us; or, we can be grateful for our blessings, our friendships, our comfort of home and hearth, and the creative ways churches, sports, and entertainment reach out to fill our days with inspiration and joy.
Let us be grateful for the many workers in all walks of life who risk their health and well-being to see that we have medical attention, food on the table, and the countless kindnesses of others as they reach out to us and express concern for our well-being. Let us pray for those whose lives are not so blessed and find ways to reach out rather than focus on ourselves.
I have always been grateful for my children. However, during this chaotic time of COVID I realize just how extremely grateful I am for Hunter, Tory, and Julie. It has been over a month since I have seen Tory and Julie. Julie is busy with school at Belmont and Tory has been working as a truck driver. I’ve briefly seen Hunter, but because of quarantining (two of my children have had COVID), we haven’t been able to spend much time together. I miss them terribly and would give anything just to see them and spend time with them whenever I want. These last several months have been a reminder to me to be grateful for every minute I spend with them and never take our time together for granted.