With a Grateful Heart

Today, I reach the end of my ‘Thirty Days of Thankfulness‘ series, but by no means have I reached the end of my blessings.  I barely scratched the surface of all the people, places and things I’m grateful for.  Each morning when I wake up, I’m thankful for my life, my family, my friends, … the list is never ending.

I had grand ideas to post an appeal for world peace in this final entry, beseeching each of us to ‘Just Love’ each other.  And I don’t mean the people who are easy to love, like your family, your spouse, your kids, your friends.  I mean the people who make you boiling mad, who make you foam at the mouth, the stranger (or country or ethnicity or religion or political party … you fill in the blank) that you verbally abuse or berate via status updates.  It’s not enough to wait for them to change or extend the olive branch.  It must start with us.  It must start with you and it must start with me first.

As much as I detest admitting it, the Beatles (and John Lennon in particular) got something right with ‘All You Need is Love.’  Jesus, though, is a hard act to follow:

He said, “That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence – and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.”

Luke 10:27 (The Message)

To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst.

Luke 6:27 (The Message)

I never said it would be easy (and neither did He).  I can do my small bit to bring about peace and hope in my small corner of the world.

And as we approach the season where we celebrate the Greatest Gift ever given to such unworthy recipients, I would like to share two final quotes.  The first I consider my ‘life verse’ and refer to it frequently when I need a reminder of where to keep my thoughts and the second is an excerpt from the lyrics of a contemporary Christian hymn that often plays as a soundtrack of thanksgiving for my mindscape.

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.

Philippians 4:8 (The Message)

Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks unto the Holy One
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son

And now let the weak say, “I am strong”
Let the poor say, “I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us”

Give thanks.

Give Thanks by Don Moen

* * *

And I wish to thank all of you who stayed with me through this month of blogging.  I assure you I will now return to my regularly scheduled programming, meaning the occasional book or movie review with an occasional odd tidbit tossed in for some added vim and vigor.  I sincerely appreciate that you took the time from your busy lives to peruse my musings.  I pray each and every one of you has a wonderful life and spreads good cheer to all you meet.

Oh, one final suggestion.  I thought I’d share our family tradition (since the mid 90s) of re-watching the Muppet Christmas Carol each year around Christmas time. How can you go wrong with Dicken‘s classic Christmas story, A Christmas Carol, and Muppets?  The music isn’t half bad (I even bought the songbook) and the narrators are always good for a few laughs.  Once Derek, Royna and Rachelle arrive (two before and one after Christmas), we’ll sit down one evening and re-live the ‘good old days’ with Scrooge and Bob Cratchit.

So I’ll close with the lyrics to my favorite Muppet Christmas Carol song, written by Paul Williams, called ‘A Thankful Heart‘:

With a thankful heart, with an endless joy
With a growing family, every girl and boy
Will be nephew and niece to me (Nephew and niece to me)
Will bring love, hope and peace to me (Love, hope and peace to me)
Yes and every night will end, and every day will start
With a grateful prayer and a thankful heart

With an open smile and with open doors
I will bid you welcome, what is mine is yours
With a glass raised to toast your health (With a glass raised to toast your health)
And a promise to share the wealth (Promise to share the wealth)
I will sail a friendly course, file a friendly chart
On A sea of love and a thankful heart

Life is like a journey, who knows when it ends?
Yes and if you need to know the measure of a man
You simply count his friends
Stop and look around you, the glory that you see
Is born again each day, don’t let is slip away
How precious life can be

With a thankful heart that is wide awake
I do make this promise, every breath I take
Will be used now to sing your praise (Used now to sing your praise)
And to beg you to share my days (Beg you to share my days)
With a loving guarantee that even if we part
I will hold you close in a thankful heart

I will hold you close in a thankful heart

Silver Valentines

My husband’s Valentine’s card to me (courtesy of Hallmark) brought tears to my eyes and warmth to my heart.  The printed saying touched me,  but his handwritten note sent me soaring:

Maybe someday I’ll find the perfect words to tell ou how much you mean to me … I know I’d like to spend forever trying

I mean this from the bottom of my heart.  I would love to spend another twenty-five years with you.

Love, Terry

My card pales in comparison, talking about being empty nesters and finally reaching the ‘someday’ dreams we’d had on hold for so long.  And the scarf I’m crocheting is but half finished.

I did at least have my hair done, bought a couple new shirts and a new pair of pumps for our date Saturday night.  Even though the wait at Red Lobster on Barry Road approached an hour, we had a wonderful dining experience, trying a couple of flavorful appetizers (the bruschetta was outstanding as well as the pan-seared crab cakes).  We split the Admiral’s Feast because we each like half of the offerings (Terry loves clams and shrimp, and I love scallops and flounder).  For dessert, I got the decadent Chocolate Wave (a four-layer chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream) and Terry took home a strawberry cheesecake.

Speaking of cheesecake, I made my first one today.  Not being a fan of cheese (just ask anyone in my family … I despise cheese), but knowing that Terry loves that particular dessert, I bought a no-bake cherry cheesecake mix to attempt.  Three easy steps later, and several hours in the refrigerator, I hope the cheesecake is delicious for him.

I took a few more sunrise photos this weekend, but I’m still disappointed in my efforts.  I’ve done some search, found a few good blog postings about digital photography with some great tips on dealing with the unique challenges of the digital medium.  I hope next weekend’s efforts will bear better fruit.  Here’s one of the better shots from this morning’s sunrise:

Sunday Sunrise with Contrails
Sunday Sunrise with Contrails

And so ends one of our 25th Valentines weekends.  Since I met Terry in 1983, and we got back together in 1985, there is no ‘hard and fast’ 25th for Valentine’s Day.  There is, however, a rock solid date for our 25th wedding anniversary, which occurs in less than three months, on May Day, Sunday May 1st, 2011.  We are still deciding where to go for that auspicious occasion.  We visited the Peppercorn Duck Club on our 15th and the Savoy Grill (if I remember correctly) on our 20th.   Last year we enjoyed Avalon in Weston, and would like to return there as well.  I thought of returning to the Peppercorn, but we still have time to decide.  Anyone have any other suggestions?