November 14, 2012, my 72nd birthday.
I have made it my custom for years now to give myself birthday gifts which no one else can give me. I cherish the hugs and surprises from my husband and children, love every phone call and email, and smile all over with my granddaughters’ “Happy Birthday, Granmary!” But no matter how else I spend my time having a happy day, I give myself music – this is the time when I begin playing my favorite Christmas albums, beginning with James Galway’s Christmas Carol and going on to thrill to an English Handbell Choir, Renaissance pieces by the Tallis Scholars, Handel’s Messiah, and John Denver’s Muppet Christmas, which was the one my little boys loved to listen to when they decorated the Christmas tree. It still makes them laugh and we still play it when the tree is staggering to stand up and be dressed. but I also play Paul Hillyer’s Home to Thanksgiving. And in the last couple of years I have added a gift to myself. I write a list to go along with Hillyer’s music. This is a list of sacred ordinary things from throughout my year and is a way for me to move toward the celebration of Thanksgiving in our family, which also is the springboard for Advent. Since I keep a gratitude journal where I record 5 things I am grateful for each morning, I simply make my birthday list from that journal, choosing 2 or 3 entries for each month in the past year. Just remembering and writing these things is a reminder of hope and joy. What a gift!
In my 72nd year, these are things for which I give thanks:
greens from our garden on the table with peas and cornbread
time to curl up with a book
walking around the lake on a clear, cold day
pain management for Joe
silent room, dark except for Christmas tree lights
Christ, who came, is come, and will come
warming my aching fingers on my coffee cup
my son taking down the Christmas tree and making our dinner
safety during a storm
winter sunshine after the winds
puttering and pruning in the garden
rainbows on the floor from the prism in leaded glass at our front door
the buttery taste of winter squash
memories of babies and boys
my husband’s gentle spirit
morning quiet time
13 bean soup
settling, being settled
deep colors of roses blooming in January
mockingbird singing on top of our rose arbor
“hope is that thing with feathers that perches on the soul and sings….”
a perfectly timed call from a dear friend
hoping in, not for
the poetry of Luci Shaw
my nursing education and experience
books on hold at the library
planting Cherokee Purple heirloom tomato seeds
quiet – no rushing to fill with noise
still – no rushing to “do”
Happy Birthday. I wish we were neighbors so I could come sit in your garden and visit with you.
My birthday is the end of the month (my 70th) and I am giving myself a gift others wouldn’t think of giving me. I’m taking my loved ones dancing. They all take life so seriously and I think, as the oldest one of the group, it is my task to show them some fun.
Katherine in Fort Wayne
Thank you, Katherine. I love your idea for a dancing gift. You will have a wonderful time laughing together, and I like that. How I would love to sit and visit with you in the garden. We have not yet had a frost and I am planting a few snapdragons today.
Mary Ann http://www.stonesandfeathers.wordpress.com
What a beautiful and cozy list! Happy Birthday!
Blessings ~ Wendy
Thank you, Wendy. I gather your blessings and hold them close. Mary Ann
http://www.stonesandfeathers.wordpress.com http://www.mappingsforthismorning.blogspot.com http://www.kitchenkeepers.wordpress.com