Lens of Gratitude


Well, here we are again. As I mentioned last week, we’ve just been trying to roll with it over here in Hoppenland. I've been talking about the joy and heartache we have been going through as a new life begins and another life is ending. You can read about it here to catch up.


The only thing that is the same is, God has been with us through it all - just as I knew he would be. Our precious Otto came home. Praise!!! He is at home with a lot of extra instructions. A lot of instructions. Medications and feedings have to be carefully timed. They don't have the luxury of letting him wake up on his own. He is awakened every 3 hours for all the things he needs; which after the whole process is done, leaves about 2 hours until it starts all over again. 


I am so impressed with how the new parents are handling it. They are a team and Otto has become their number one player. Otto rules! This will last until he has heart surgery, which is undetermined yet as to how soon that will be. So please, continue praying for this little family. It is greatly appreciated.  


As Otto came home, my grandma went to her new heavenly home. Bittersweet for us, but she was so ready. At the service, the pastor used the scriptures that were highlighted and written in her Bible as his message. It was so comforting as he shared with us some of her favorites. Psalm 23 and Psalm 46 to name a few. There were many times I would come into her room and her Bible would be on her lap. That was her chosen reading material.


The other thing she loved was cards. Christmas cards, birthday cards, just because cards, etc. She loved them all and would read through the same ones over and over again and talk about the people that sent them. Those notes and cards brought her so much joy! There is something to be said about snail mail, isn't there? It is rare now to get encouragement in the form of a handwritten card. I received a few last week that made my day. Thank you!


My aunt spoke at the service and gave a beautiful timeline of Grandma’s life. She shared how over the years, she moved to different homes as she aged. The biggest challenge in all of these moves was always downsizing. Not just for my grandma, but for all of those who were helping her move! Did I mention she was stubborn too?! As she spoke, I thought to myself of how much my grandma used to have and how as her health declined, she spent most of her day with her Bible and cards from others. God provided all she needed.


That brought me back to my own timeline I talked about a few weeks ago. It's made me think about what I want to accumulate and what I will be downsizing. Don’t get me wrong, Grandma missed a lot of her stuff. There just wasn’t any room for it in her tiny room. She was always asking us where her stuff was! In the end, she didn't need any of it.

What do I want to downsize? Stuff! I remember when we moved here 23 years ago from our farmhouse with one closet. I was sure I would never fill up the closets and cupboards here! Well, we did and it really bugs me. I have been barreling through closets and cupboards and purging whatever I am sure I don’t need. I’ll probably have to go through them again to purge what I kept in the “things I might need” category.


What do I want to accumulate? Relationships. Beautiful memories. A well worn Bible. They only take up space in my heart, not my closet.

This week, I finally started a project I have been wanting to tackle: digital photo albums. I have all these photos (like so many of us) on my computer that I want to organize. Trips, births, weddings, you name it - I have a picture of it. I decided to do a book for each year. I started with this year and am working my way backwards. Once I get started, I can’t stop! I love it! I decided to do this when I want something to do that I enjoy and can be creative in. When I would usually resort to scrolling through Instagram, I grab my computer and do a few pages. I'm going to need a bookshelf in my room in the nursing home someday. I will have a lot of albums to look at to pass the day, Lord willing!


Funerals always make me want to do more in life, live it better than I am. Why do I need the reminder of a loved one's death to live a better life? I guess we’re all human. When I work on this new project, I see life through an enhanced lens of gratitude. I am so thankful for all the blessings I see on each page. I’m going to do a page on Grandma this week. Otto’s place in the book is just a few before hers. Life begins, life ends. It's all in God's plan and it is a beautiful one.


May your heart be full.


Blessings on your weekend,

Sherry


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