Every year, shortly before Thanksgiving, I like to write a column on all the things I’m grateful to have in my life. It’s good to dwell on these things rather than the ills, the evils and the hatefulness of this world. It’s good to open my eyes and see the good and lovely things all around me.

I often quote Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things.” And we have I Thessalonians 5: 16-18: “Be joyful always, pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

This is all easier said than done, isn’t it? But I will do it anyway.

My family has lost three of our loved ones since January. They are greatly missed, but I can give thanks for their healing and thanks for the precious memories we have of them. I can dwell on the good times we had together throughout the years before their transition from this life to eternity, and perhaps I can find a way to bless someone else in their names.

I am thankful for all the wonderful organizations that help people in need. One that is dearest to my heart is the Empty Pantry Fund, which this year will provide food basket to 1,450 families at Christmas. It’s a big task, one that requires big hearts from all the volunteers. I am thankful to have met Paul Bales, the man who chaired this organization for more than five decades and became a dear friend. Paul passed away in early September, but the legacy of service he leaves behind will be blessing others for years to come.

I have older sisters who still take care of me as their “baby sister.” My hair may be gray and I may be eligible for senior discounts, but that doesn’t deter them. Not a day goes by that I don’t give thanks for their love and support.

I have a son, a daughter-in-law, a daughter and a son-in-law who are wonderful, giving adults in too many ways to enumerate. They drive me nuts sometimes, but I strive to return the favor!

I have been blessed with beautiful grandchildren, three by blood, several by the ties of love alone, two others of the furry, four-legged variety. They are healthy, full of life and zest, bringing laughter to us all.

I have good friends, some of them met when we were little kids in first grade, nearly six decades ago; classmates from Everett High School, class of 1973, with whom I’ve reconnected over the past 10 years and formed even stronger bonds; church friends, coworkers, people I’ve met in the course of doing my job. Each one adds a special color and texture to my life. How blessed I am to know each one.

This time last year, I was concerned about having reliable transportation that actually had heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. The time was right, and God provided exactly what I needed through a dear friend who happened to have a car for sale. When he found out I needed one, he gave me a call and everything fell into place. Every time I slip into the driver’s seat, I give thanks for him and thanks to God for working out all the details.

I have a job I enjoy doing, but sometimes, like Dorothy Parker: “I hate writing. I love having written.” How true!

You know the greatest blessing of all. Life can change in the blink of an eye, but only one thing stays constant: the love of a Savior who was born, died, rose again and cares for us with an infinite love our finite minds cannot fathom.

Oh, yes, I am so very blessed, every single day.

Contact Linda Braden Albert with story ideas at LindasInkyfingers@com

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