Several years ago I visited my youngest daughter in Minneapolis. While she was at work, I spent time with her cat, Buddie, in a house much like my own: books, music, movies...all the things I enjoy. And since I was treating my time there as vacation, I dived in.
One book impressed me so much that I had to buy it for myself. Attitudes of Gratitude, by M. J. Ryan. I came home with a vow to spend some time every day expressing my gratitude--not necessarily to other people, just being grateful for the blessings and abundance of my life.
Now, before I get caught up in the hurley-burley of Christmas preparations, I want to take time to name some of the blessings of my life in the year 2013.
One that came to me in January was the fiber arts group at my church. We didn't have such a group when I joined the church in 2012, but apparently I started one by knitting a prayer shawl for one of the women who, I discovered, is waiting for a lung transplant. One of the church's leaders saw the shawl and said, "Oh, we used to make things like that! We could do that again." And so--we did. Our group meets once a week on Friday for about two hours to knit, crochet, or sew--depends on what the needs are at any given time.
This is one of our first projects, a prayer shawl for the church secretary who had surgery and was off work three weeks. Each of the members knitted several rows. It was a very colorful item!
Next we began on knitted hats and scarves, added crocheted baby afghans, and then we were blessed with an outreach program that included making items for the severe and profoundly handicapped pupils at an elementary school near us. One request was for lap quilts made from textured fabrics--these are used to develop tactile recognition by the pupils.
The quilt in the photo includes corduroy, velveteen, knit, and other textured fabrics. The quilts were backed with flannel to help them stay on the pupils' laps.
Over the months, our giant plastic storage tote gained weight. By mid-November we had over three dozen items to donate. Some went to the church's food bank for the clients who have children; some went to other charities supported by the congregation; and the baby afghans went to Project Linus.
Now we have an empty project tote--and several smaller totes full of yarn. We've bought almost none of the materials we use; all colors, types, and weights have been donated. We are deeply grateful for this abundance.
This Thanksgiving Day I am grateful for so many people: my family, friends, neighbors; church members who willingly give their time and talents to help others, especially folks in need. I give thanks for the gift of music, for books and movies. And there are so many people who contribute to quality of life: doctors and nurses; other medical personnel; teachers in all places; instructors who aid their students, especially seniors, by providing classes in yoga, tai chi, and other types of therapies; writers who share their stories and poems; quilters and sewists who keep us warm and covered. The list is endless, isn't it?
Before you sit down to a big dinner, why not make a list of your own gratitudes? It doesn't have to take long. Challenge yourself to list ten things you're thankful for. You may be surprised--ten might expand into twenty.