Thankful, Grateful, Blessed

I must confess, this past weekend was filled with dozens of blessings and when one is truly aware of how many little gifts God sends to us, it’s actually pretty easy to be grateful.  Having any trouble with feeling grateful?  Might I suggest a great book that helped me to be more mindful of my blessings – The Gratitude Diaries by Janice Kaplan – is an inspiring memoir in which the author spends a year infusing gratitude into all aspects of her life which results in her being a much happier person. Based on scientific research and her own life experiences, this book has really made an impact on me.

One of the highlights of my weekend was an intimate little party that was an early birthday celebration.  Throughout the years my birthday was always lumped in with Thanksgiving, as all you November babies can relate to, so this was a real treat to have my children and grandchildren close to me on a day other than the holiday, as we shared a delicious meal, played fun games, ate cake, and opened presents.  I’m looking forward to reading an amazing biography of Father Nelson Baker and using my new message board to decorate my home.

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When everyone first arrived, we took the opportunity to capture our family portrait for this year’s Christmas card.  Trying to get a group of ten adults and children all looking at the camera and smiling at the same time is quite a challenge, so if you are a recipient this year of a Christmas card with a group picture, please appreciate the effort taken for your enjoyment.  Consider it your first homework assignment in being more grateful.

Another joy I experienced was taking my two nieces to see one of my favorite musicals, The Man of La Mancha.  It was a real treat to see them watching it for the first time and watching their reactions.  Of course I had to stifle the urge to sing along with EVERY song, but I think we found a couple of new fans.

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We enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Carrabba’s after the show, and when I went to pay the bill, my wallet was missing from my purse.  The delicious meal I had just enjoyed was creeping back up into my throat at the thought of not only losing my wallet but panicking at how to pay the dinner bill.  I sent one dear niece to the car to look around while the other sweetie and I prayed a Hail Mary asking Our Blessed Mother to help us with this tense situation, and sure enough my niece returned with the wallet in hand, much to my instant relief.  In addition to the musical and dinner, I had the most wonderful time talking to the girls about everything.  It was so sweet to see them on the verge of adulthood and discussing big decisions in their lives and wondering about the future.  I wanted to tell them not to worry too much and to trust their instincts more, but it is looking like they are on their way to being bright lights in this sometimes too dark world.  I am looking forward to seeing how they are going to be using the wonderful talents that God gave to them to be a blessing to others.

One last thing before I say goodbye.  I had the good fortune to sit with my four-year old granddaughter at Mass this weekend.  I was absolutely blown away by the ability she had to respond to nearly all the mass parts (whether sung, said, or prayed).  The fact that she was able to recite the “Gloria” from memory when I still mess up those changes from the last Mass revision was incredible.  And hearing her sweet voice singing on key to the “Holy, Holy, Holy” was just the most angelic taste of heaven.  She tried so hard to keep up with the pace of the “Our Father” and I was a proud grandma when she did.  Add to that the Gospel reading being about ‘entering into the joy’ and you can easily say that this weekend was filled with many unexpected joys that I was so blessed to enter into.  I am so grateful. And thankful.  And blessed.

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