One of the reasons I decided to get back to blogging this fall was that it helps me acknowledge all the blessings God has granted me. A while back I realized I was letting myself slip into some patterns of negative thoughts, negative talk, and negative reactions. God deserves better than my grumbling! So does my family.
I sometimes fret over the idea of my posts coming across as me bragging about the good things in my life. Quite the opposite! You remember the old song “Count Your Blessings”? That’s what this is–a weekly journaling of how God blesses and works in our home through daily living, loved ones who visit, and even the battles we fight. I’m counting, documenting, and naming these blessings one by one.
The month of November customarily seems to bring our minds and hearts to a practice of thankfulness. We make thankful trees with our kids, study devotionals about gratefulness, and read through the Psalms of Thanksgiving. This year I signed up for the Revive Our Hearts Daily Gratitude Challenge, and am also reading Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth’s Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy.
Something eye-opening that Nancy points out is that even non-believers acknowledge the healthy benefits of gratitude. But what sets Christians apart in this discipline is that we know WHOM to be grateful to for our blessings. The “YOU” in the phrase “thank you” implies there is someone we are thanking. Sure, there are little things we thank people for all day long. “Thank you for helping me with that.”, “Thank you for your kind words.”, “Thank you for holding that door for me.”
But WHO is ultimately responsible for all the orchestrated blessings in our daily life? Who created us and this world in the first place?! GOD, our Father!
So, I’m going to continue counting my blessings here at the house so that I recognize, and encourage others to recognize, all there is to be thankful for, even in the midst of busy schedules and daily challenges. If we don’t look for it, we might miss it!
Today I’m naming a new blessing. I want to share a very happy turn of events God arranged this fall.
Joel’s grandmother, our Nonie, lives in as assited living home not too far from us. We love going to visit Nonie, and the other residents and staff are always a delight as well! But God had a sweet little surprise waiting for us that we didn’t even see coming.
There was a vacancy across the hall from Nonie and we had been praying God would bring her a good neighbor. Well, it turns out that the grandmother of one of my very dear friends moved into that room! (I took the photo above to show how close their rooms are to each other.)
My friend and I decided, since we each go visit our grandmothers on a regular basis, that it would be fun to plan some visits at the same time, with our girls (who are friends too!). These precious ladies have already struck up a friendship and, as you can see, keep each other laughing. While I was snapping these photos, they were joking to our girls about how every night, once the staff has gone to bed, they sneak out that exit behind them and go paint the town! How cute! And the joy on thier faces is so beautiful.
We arranged ahead of time to have our girls play piano for the residents, and my friend brought a delicious caramel chocolate cake for the ladies to snack on during the girls’ performance.
My mother took me to many nurisng homes and assisted living homes while I was growing up, so I’ve always felt quite comfortable in those environments. From the time my girls were very young, I wanted them to also be at ease with the elderly, so I sought opportunites to visit and play music at these facilities.
Why music? Well, first of all, the residents love music! And second, the elderly are a very forgiving audience! They will applaud anything that a child does for them and beg for more. Besides the most important matter of blessing the elderly, an added benefit is the kids get good practice in performing. There can be some talking, singing, coughing, and oh, that piano key that just wants to stick–all things that can rattle a young performer–and they learn to keep going, smooth over the rough spots, and finish with their composer and nerves in tact.
The girls did a beautiful job with their pieces. And WOW, they even got to play on a baby grand!! No sticking keys on this beauty! Not a bad gig!
Pictured above is just half the room, so there were more friends on the opposite wall who came to listen. They were soooo sweet and just thanked the girls over and over. It was a joy to talk with them.
Madeline has performed on many occasions, but doesn’t’ love the spotlight. She asked if she could sit this one out and just bake cookies to hand out for her part of the visit. She prepared the cutest fall cookies, with icing and sprinkles, in shapes of pumpkins, leaves, and acorns. We packaged them individually for the ladies to take back to their rooms for a later treat.
Thanks for stopping by today. I hope you’ll be encouraged to count your blessings today and everyday!