In Everything Give Thanks

October 21, 2014 | My Jottings

It’s a grey fall morning, the trees have given up over half their leaves, and the blustery winds are trying to help the birches and maples in our neighborhood let go of the rest. It’s a yearning time of year for me, is it for you? I love the fall and it invigorates and thrills me, but it also does something deep inside me that I can’t explain. The best I can come up with is that it feels like a deep, profound, yearning, beautiful ache.

It’s also a Gabriel’s Oboe kind of morning. Are you familiar with that song? You must listen if you haven’t, and even if you do know it, just give a little click right here, and this deep, profound, yearning, beautiful, aching song will play in the background in a different window, while you read on.

I was up when it was still “peach black” outside, as Vivienne used to say, and preheated the oven so I could bake some cinnamon orange rolls for our in-group coffee in Community Bible Study today. When I open my bedroom door and head down the hall toward the kitchen, Edith and Millie literally tap-dance all over the hardwood floors while they wait for me to feed them each morning before they go out. I wish I had a video to show you. Then they each get their electric fence collars snapped on, so they don’t leave our small yard when they go out to sniff where the deer have been during the night. And they each have to have their anti-bark collars buckled on, so they don’t do any Schnauzer shrieking and bother the neighbors. And it bothers me too, so now the Collar Ritual is automatic each time they need to go out. Such high-maintenance pooches, they are.

After having a great discussion about 1 Corinthians 5 in our CBS core group, I headed home to many things on my plate today. First, a cup of tea and a quick blog post before I head to appointments and tend to tasks with deadlines. I can hear the washing machine tumbling its big load of whites I just threw in (and turned the dial to “sanitize”) and I’m so thankful for washers and dryers. If I had to kneel over a tub and scrub our dirty clothes on a washboard like the men and women of old? Oh my, what a filthy bunch we’d be around here.

Michael has been on his new medication (Exelon) for a few weeks now, and if you prayed that it would help him, I thank you. It has helped him. The nursing staff folks tell me it hasn’t erased his evening confusion, pacing and wandering completely, but that it seems to have helped lower the agitation he was experiencing (I call it torment because that’s really what it was) each night. I have been going up to spend Wednesdays and Sundays with him and I can’t get there fast enough in the mornings. I miss him so much. Our home feels empty without him. I can also tell that his cognition seems a little better during the day, but there are some visits and phone calls where he’s just in a different world. Last week he told me he had been framing in a deck at the veterans home, which of course wasn’t true. He also told me about a pleasant visit he had with some old friends who came to see him, except I learned that they really hadn’t been there.

The best part of these last few weeks of Exelon has been Michael’s smiles. He has a smile like no other person I’ve ever known. Just to see him grin makes me giggle and experience a little blast of joy. Here’s a picture I took of him last week in his Schnauzer “Fear the Beard” tee-shirt.

IMG_1537He’s looking forward to meeting the newest member of our family, little Miriam, who will be one week old tomorrow. Carolyn brought her over for a visit yesterday and everything about baby Miri delighted me. Her little, quick and shallow infant breaths were amazing! Her tiny grimace that turned into a half-smile while she dreamed? Stunning! The way she smelled and the softness of her skin? Mind-blowing! I think the older I get the more I’m undone by things like babies and trees and water and sleep and words on a page and the smile of my husband. Such riches I can hardly contain.

I’m reading a book right now that I want to savor slowly so it doesn’t end. I can already tell that when I turn the last page and close the back cover I’ll be bereft, and nothing in the pile on my nightstand will look even remotely interesting. I’ve shared before on this blog what my five favorite books or series are, and Jan Karon’s Mitford books are on that list. Well, she has finally released a new Mitford book called Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good and it’s making me laugh and sob over and over again. Jan Karon is a genius. She somehow tucks the most life-changing truths and mysteries into such simple-seeming words (some say fluff), and they almost knock me over with their grace and power. I’m about two thirds done with this long book and it’s such a consolation. Have you read the Mitford series? If you haven’t, go get them! Read them in order, and be patient. Keep going. They will take you by surprise and perhaps accomplish something unforgettable in your life. Not that you need unforgettable things to be accomplished in your life…but I know I do.

Well, I will have to share about how I’ve been spending some of my sleepless hours in another post. It’s actually kind of exciting to me. I don’t like waking up at 1:54 a.m. and not being able to get back to sleep until 4:00, but I’m trying to make the most of it and I’d like to share about that sometime.

We have had our share of difficult things these past couple of weeks, aside from the things I always seem to write about. There’s one thing that nevertheless keeps flowing through my mind, and it’s this:

“…give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18 — ESV

Today I’m giving thanks for my perfect new granddaughter, for my beloved daughters, for our quirky little dogs, for a treasure trove of a book to read and the sight that makes reading possible, for hot water and clean clothes, for the desire to praise Him in the dark of night, for music that goes to deep places nothing else can reach, for falling leaves that assure us there’s beauty in death, for friends who love and pray and love and pray, and for my husband’s smile.

Are you giving thanks today? It would be a blessing to know what things are on your gratitude list…


  1. Kay in Cornwall says:

    On my gratitude list: knowing that God is in control, a cute little bichon frise who has stolen our hearts, visiting our two little grandsons every Saturday, relationships restored, our National Health Service (I am going to have my gall bladder removed on 12th November and I am also having my hip replaced on 22nd December. I know that I’ll be in hospital over Christmas, but at least Louisa will be home to help with walking the dog etc.), plenty of shelter, warmth, food & clothing, having a husband who loves me so much, so often feeling that ‘rush’ of love for my Alan,

    and …. having a wonderful friend like you Julie. By the way, I’m also reading the latest Mitford book. I adore the Mitford series and I was so thrilled when Jan Karon’s latest offering was delivered here last week.


  2. Just Julie says:

    I just loved reading your list, Kay. So beautiful. And I just finished the Mitford book and cannot believe it. So amazing, so inspiring! I’ll be anxious to read what you think when you’re done. I’ll be praying for your surgeries, dear friend. I thank God for you quite often… xoxoxo

  3. sue raimo says:

    Your well crafted words in this post have drawn me in like a comforting hug. Thanks for taking the time to put them together and share them.

  4. Just Julie says:

    And I thank you for stopping by to read, dear Sue. And for your always encouraging words and friendship. Such gifts… xoxo

  5. Ginny says:

    This week I have seen happiness come barreling through the front door for two of my dear friends, who are going through challenging times….
    THAT brings a rush of gratitude to me!
    Love ya, Jewel!

  6. Just Julie says:

    I love how the well-being of others means so much to you, Ginny. YOU are the Jewel… xoxo

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