March 23, 2018
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Count your blessings and give thanks

By Brenda J. Norris, Special to the BDN

The Bible tells us we should “abound in thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:7), so here are 56 things for which I’m thankful; one for each year of my life, in no particular order (except for the first).

1. My Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, without whom I am nothing.

2. Mom and Dad, without whom I wouldn’t be.

3. My brothers, for helping me become the well-rounded girl I am.

4. My sister — my best friend; the only one on the planet who really understands the way I think, and doesn’t hold it against me.

5. My extended Hupp-Beal aunts, uncles, cousins, seconds, thirds, etc. What a family!

6. My son’s safe return through the valley of the shadow of post-traumatic stress disorder after his tour of duty in Ramadi, Iraq.

7. My daughter-in-law for standing by her man through said valley.

8. My nearly 3-year-old grandson, for showing me that walking through mud puddles doesn’t ruin shoes or cause one’s toes to fall off, but rather makes a nice “quishy” sound when taking giant steps.

9. My 5-month-old granddaughter, for planting her feet firmly in the upright position, refusing to be born head-first, thus saving her life when the C-section revealed the umbilical cord wrapped four times around her neck.

10. My daughter for spreading joy and sunshine wherever she goes, and who’ll be adding a grandson to the family roster in January.

11. My son-in-law for serving and protecting in Vermont.

12. My choir — they put the “joy” in joyful!

13. My church family; I’ve been here only four years, yet it feels like forever (in a good way!).

14. Carolyn, Cindy, Judy — the girls’ group. Way better than any 1950s girl band; thanks for letting me sing with you!

15. This column; what an opportunity!

16. The Bangor Daily News, for providing this huge chance to spread the Good News from a secular paper.

17. The wonderful people who’ve written to express their support for the column.

18. My precious piece of God’s own Earth. It’s paradise.

19. The house that love built and is still building.

20. The ocean in my backyard.

21. The lighthouse that goes with it.

22. Air to breathe and lungs that work.

23. The anonymous gift I received in the mail. God bless you!

24. My summer duet partner who lets me yap my way through our practice sessions. Miss you, Helen.

25. Music; it’s definitely a gift.

26. Words, may they always be encouraging and sweet, lest I have to eat them.

27. The Orange River Jazz Band for letting me play with them. You guys are the best!

28. The Internet, which makes for easier writing submissions (and, unfortunately, faster rejections).

29. The family farm (haven’t bought it yet, but I’m working on it).

30. Healthy animals (even though the chickens are on strike and haven’t laid an egg in months.)

31. The magnificent stars. “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained …” (Psalm 8:3) I’m overwhelmed.

32. Those who are praying for my family at any given moment.

33. Electricity and running water.

34. My extraordinary neighborhood.

35. My amazing neighbors, who’ve helped so much.

36. My friends, both old and new, all priceless treasures.

37. Our troops, for their sacrifice.

38. The police and firefighters who protect and serve.

39. People who fix cars, trucks, tractors, etc.

40. The variety and surplus of food available at the grocery store.

41. Green grass and fresh water.

42. God’s coloring book of fall foliage.

43. Christmas, the greatest gift of all time.

44. Insulation — yay, pink!

45. My sewing machine; still working after 30-plus years. (They don’t build them like that anymore.)

46. My country; may it always be free.

47. Wood stoves and firewood.

48. My computer and desk (I can finally see the surface!).

49. My Bible — guide for life.

50. Nurses and doctors who help keep us on an even keel.

51. Our friendly, extremely helpful, hardware store; you’re remarkable.

52. Ice and snow, sunshine and rain.

53. The kids’ club, vacation Bible school, Sunday school and the Women’s Club.

54. My friends in the nursing and boarding homes; you’re an inspiration.

55. The precise order of the universe; the regularity of the tides.

56. Time, because it’s so very precious.

In writing about Jesus, John said in Chapter 21, Verse 25, “And there are also many things … which, if they should be written singly, I suppose the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” I feel the same about my blessings; I’ve only just scratched the surface.

In the past if I was mowing the lawn, I wanted to be sewing. If I was writing, I wanted to be gardening. Now I’ve learned to live in the moment. God’s got the future covered; all He asks of me is to do my part in the here and now, which is, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Try it; the more you count, the more you find.

Brenda J. Norris is assistant Sunday school leader and choir director at the West Lubec Methodist Church. She may be reached at Voices is a weekly commentary by Maine people who explore issues affecting spirituality and religious life.

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