Gratitude – The Key to Living a Joyful Midlife

Psalm 136:26

Give thanks to the God of heaven,For His lovingkindness (graciousness, mercy, compassion) endures forever.

November – The season of Thanksgiving and counting our blessings. Do you remember Thanksgiving when you were a little one in school? The little turkeys you traced with the outline of your hands, the pilgrim hats and feasts at school…and then writing down what we were thankful for? Maybe we should take ourselves back to that simpler time. And just be thankful.

I’ve lived 55 years on this earth, and I realize the emotional importance of having a grateful heart. I believe by focusing on what you have, you won’t focus on what you don’t, and that’s profoundly important to living a joyful life.

I’m thankful for:

My trivial first world blessings: hot coffee in the morning, Dr. Pepper, chocolate and wine. I love my crossover SUV, though I have serious trouble parking it. I’m thankful for our pretty house with our new little cocktail pool. I am thankful for my washer and dryer, though I hate doing laundry, and sometimes re-tumble loads in the dryer for days. Literally days. I’m thankful for the connections I’ve made on Facebook, even though social media drives me crazy these days. I guess that one is a mixed blessing? I’m really grateful for Amazon Prime and Target.

My serious blessings:

I’m thankful that I had so many wonderful years with my parents, who I miss every single day. I’m thankful for the legacy of family folklore, recipes, memories, and traditions. I’m thankful I had the blessing to be with them to comfort and help them during their last days, and that I was present when Daddy took his last breath. Though difficult, those were the most spiritual experiences I’ve ever had. I felt the comforting presence of God during those days, and that presence has comforted me in the days since.

I’m so thankful for my friends, both in my private life and in my work life. Friends I made while raising our children, bonding over PTA meetings and festivals and football games and volleyball games, and later over graduations, and wedding showers and baby showers, and still later over girls’ trips and lunches and parties and long, long phone conversations. And still later over the loss of parents and loved ones. I’ve been so blessed with work friends who make the day pass quickly, who laugh at my goofy jokes, who support me and make fun of my horrible parking when we go to lunch. They bless me every day with their smarts, their professionalism, their encouragement and their joyful servant attitudes. They are the best!

I’m so thankful for my children, and for the privilege of being their mom. It was a quick, crazy ride raising them, and a journey that went by much too quickly. And now, I’m grateful for how our relationship has evolved, as they begin their families and become parents themselves. It is a HUGE blessing to watch them as they mirror how they were raised, and to know that the love and lessons we shared with them as they were growing were not lost on them.

I’m thankful that I’m an Oma! Grandkids are the most amazing blessing in the world. Who knew? Why didn’t anybody tell me how awesome it is? Wow! I love being and Oma. You notice things when you’re a grandparent that you just didn’t notice when you were busy raising your own children. After every visit, the hubs and I repeat the funny things our grandson said and did, we yearn for photos on our photostream, and live for Facetime. Ooh! Let’s add those things to the first world list! Facetime is a HUGE blessing for grandparents!

And finally, I am so, so very thankful to be married to my husband of 35 years. We’ve had quite the ride. And here we are, rocking the empty nest. He rubs my feet and massages my back when I’m tired and stressed, he makes me laugh when I’m down in the dumps, he cooks a mean brisket on the smoker, and pours me healthy glasses of wine after our long days at work. He gets me. I get him. We work. And I’m grateful. And thankful. And blessed.

This Thanksgiving, count your blessings. One by one. And give praise to the One who loves you more than you will ever know.

Happy Thanksgiving y’all!


Psalm 28:7

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults,
and with my song I give thanks to him.


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