It’s a Wonderful Life

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….”

Sabbath heart

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”