I'm reminded of many, many blessings in my life. Both now and in my past, I've been surrounded with love, comfort and joy.
Of course, I've suffered loss, tribulations, hardship and grief. But those pale in comparison to all that which I've been blessed with.
And this season of Christmas seems like the perfect time to remind myself, and give thanks for, everything that I've been blessed with. Just look at that face! I wouldn't trade that mug for a million bucks! She brings me joy and is my constant companion, every day.
And Miss Ruby, a sweetheart and a comforter herself. I totally get why they say that dogs are "man's best friend". So true!
I'm so thankful for my dear husband. He works hard every single day, keeping our old vehicles running, improving our home and keeping everything inside and out, in good working order. He cleans our six horse's stalls every single day, and feeds them every morning before I get out of bed. I'm thankful for our evening chore time spent in the quiet solitude of our barn, fresh air, quality time in one of our favorite places. A stable may not have been fitting accommodations for our King and Savior's birth, but it certainly was dry and cozy and safe. Some of my most peaceful moments are in our barn.
I'm grateful to live in the small community in which we live. It's big enough to satisfy all our needs, but small enough to still have that sense of "small town America" and community that's missing in cities. We have lovely people who are our neighbors, and we help each other out when there's a need.
Our family is a blessing. This is Justin and his new girlfriend, Autumn.
Christmas dinner with the family. Paul, Carol, Rebecca and Lilli.
Good times. Good food.
We're thankful for our beautiful church, and for the wonderful family we have there. So many times I've entered this place with a troubled heart, or unsettled mind; only to leave with feelings of belonging, of being nurtured, loved and always blessed.
I live in a beautiful place, out in the country with fields, farmland, trees and livestock of all kinds all around us. We are blessed with beautiful sunrises and gorgeous sunsets, lovely cloud formations of all kinds. For all of this bounty from God, I am thankful. I have eyes and I can see. I am thankful for the peace and for the quietness of it all.
We have a home, we have warmth and we have food more than enough...for all these things and more, we are blessed.
And no list of blessings would be complete without these guys. In some cultures, one of the greatest attributes of wealth are horses. They are highly prized for their ability to work alongside mankind, for travel and for companionship. They are a constant source of joy and beauty. They have our admiration and we love them. And yes, we're also thankful that they give us the opportunity every day for "free aerobics". What can I say? We are blessed, and rich indeed.
So in closing, I wish for all of you a very Merry Christmas! May you find some quiet time to yourself, where you too may reflect on all the riches in your life, those intangibles that you have to be thankful for. For all too many, this season is nothing more than rush and hustle, buy and consume, hurry and spend, spend, spend. Those are not the things that will remain in your memory for years to come. Spend good, quality time with those people that you love, bury your noses in the deep, downy fur of your horse's neck, and breathe deep. Gaze up at the night sky and give thanks to God. Thanks for sending us His Son, so that all may live. Accept His gift and above all, rejoice. Rejoice and be thankful for all that you have been blessed with in this life.
And give your faithful, loving pups an extra belly scratch, perhaps a Christmas cookie or two - for me.