Last week, I got an email from a friend that emails me on a pretty regular basis. But I’ve noticed that lately, I dread reading her emails because in every one, she is complaining and being negative. On impulse, I emailed her back and asked her to stop complaining and to start counting her blessings. I thought she’d be offended, but she wasn’t. That challenged me to count my blessings, too. So, today, instead of my normal, highly emotional, heavy-duty, deep-truth-telling fare, I’m going to share with you the blessings that I’ve counted in my life this week.
1. My Brother, Christopher. When Chris and I decided that he could come live with me, we discussed that I needed help around the house this summer–especially with my working long hours and being gone so much. I was a little skeptical that he would keep up with his end of the bargain, but I have to give credit where credit is due. He has gone above and beyond what I could have expected. He shops. He cooks. He cleans. He works in the yard. He kills the spiders (except the one writing spider under the edge of the deck that he appears to be keeping as a pet).
2. My Brother’s Girlfriend, Ashley. I’ve known Ashley for a few years, but I didn’t know her well until she started dating my brother. She could’ve just dated my brother and been polite to me, but instead, she’s made me feel like a treasured friend. Her quiet strength and her ready smile make our days brighter and our lives better! (Happy Birthday, Ashley!)
3. My Church, Whitley Church. In late February, when I took my “hiatus” from ministry at my church, I really thought that I was going to be quickly and easily forgotten. “Out of sight, out of mind.” But it hasn’t been that way at all. As many Sundays as I’ve missed, every Sunday that I am there, they hover around me like I’m the beloved prodigal that’s come home. And I’ve recently been informed that I will be stepping back into ministry in two weeks… They’re ready for my hiatus to be over. I’m touched. I’m amazed. And I’m loved.
4. American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). I’ve always been a writer, but I hesitated to make too much of it because it seemed like some great overwhelming goal that I couldn’t possibly attain. I got a degree in English, but that didn’t qualify me to write. Life experience qualified me to write, but then I didn’t have the skills to back it up–even with a degree. I kept looking at my desire to write and backing away from it. Then, I got introduced to ACFW. I stepped out on a limb to join and they just sucked me in and made me belong. They’re my teachers, my friends, and my cheerleaders. I’m still a long way from the goal, but at least I have traveling partners for the road!
5. My Friends. Okay, it’s VERY dangerous to name names here, because I can’t list all of my friends here… But there are a select group that keep me sane on a regular basis. Nicole & Gina – the iron that sharpens my iron on a daily basis. Joell – the one who has known me the longest and loves me anyway… I love our Friday chats! Eliza & Rick – the ones that know me BEST and love me anyway… (Rick, we’re overdue for dinner and a talk!) Barbara – your faithfulness and sense of humor are priceless! Kimberli – God knew that I needed a good Penny! (Kidding!) But I’m glad that God put us together anyway! And David – when I came to you frantic that I had to start a website & blog but that I didn’t know what to do, you stepped in and took over. You took your time, your money, and your talent and you made it happen. You’re an instrument of God’s work, my friend. I won’t forget it and God won’t forget it either!
6. My dog, Sadie. My 60-pound lap dog is my faithful friend. If I’m reading in my chair, she’s curled up on my footstool. If I’m writing at my desk, she’s stretched out on the rug by my feet. If I’m sleeping, she’s snoring on the floor next to the bed. She’s my first audience for everything I write (I read it all aloud to her to check my grammar and flow) and she loves it all– she hasn’t walked out on me yet.
7. Y’all. I know that y’all don’t have to come read my blog, but you choose to. In the beginning, I worried that I must not be doing very well at this blogging thing because I wasn’t getting many comments, but then, I started hearing from you on my Facebook and Myspace and Twitter. And you would talk to me about the things I’d written while we were standing in the foyer at church or on the phone. My door and my ear are always open to you. Thanks for coming by. I hope you’ve been blessed here.