Counting on a New Year’s Evening


On the first night of this year, for some reason, I started counting:  counting how many

days until my fifty-seventh birthday (10 days),

counting how many excruciating hours it takes to get from Sneads Ferry to Nashville, Tennessee ( 12 hours if you allow yourself five pee stops),

counting how many miles are on my 2006 Expedition ( 120,000),

counting how much beloved change is in my change jar ( $62.38),

counting how many days until Isaaca’s (my youngest daughter’s) due date ( 152 days, I think),

counting how many birthday presents I’ll need to send for my children and their significant others this year ( 11(!) and that could change to 12 at any given moment),

counting how many days I have to renew my North Carolina’s driver’s license, ( 30 days…Ugh…I have to work on that next week),

counting how many pounds I’ve gained in the last three years and two months I’ve lived here in North Carolina (I hate to admit this but maybe…15?  Please don’t tell anyone),

counting how many months it will take to lose those pounds ( 2 or 3 if I don’t eat bread and starches and hardly anything else),

counting how many days until the beginning of the 2014 Season of “Downton Abby”( 4 days, Yay, Yay, Yay)!!!

counting how much it will cost to” shabby chic” paint a dresser I bought myself for Christmas ( $40 if I use the Annie Sloan Chalk paint I’d like to try),

counting how many hours it will take to get from my parent’s house in Tarboro to my house in Sneads Ferry, NC tomorrow if we leave bright and early ( 2 hours and 30 minutes),

counting all the blessing I’m dragging in from 2013 into this new year…( I lost count at 786 blessings and I’m really getting sleepy),

counting…I keep counting blessings…good night.

Here’s your song…



My Favorite Word!

I love the word, “blessing.”  It’s my current favorite word and has been for some time now.  I love to think of it and see it in my mind’s eye, and then say it out loud, slowly.  Ble…ssing.  Ble…ssing. I love how it feels in my mouth. It’s pleasant.  It sits on the middle of my tongue and then softly slides up to the back of my teeth, gently forcing its way through my lips and into the space directly in front of my face.  There it curves up into a smile and makes its way throughout the room.  Like a curling tendril of smoke it caresses the faces of those in the room with me.  I watch their faces change, ever so slightly as the “blessing” turns up the corners of their mouths, smoothes away a few worry lines and relaxes a few tight-set jaws.  I hear a faint sigh of contentment escape troubled souls as “blessing” makes room for its self amid the cares of the day.  It doesn’t have to fight for attention.  It is what it is.  It’s spiritual.  It’s ethereal. It is a force of energy, like “good will hunting” for a target, alive with a mission to remind us of who we are, what we are, where we came from and where we’re going.

I’ve always known the word, “blessing.”   It was something we asked at the dinner table.  It was a word that meant we had things money couldn’t buy and things money could buy.  The word “blessing” was a great equalizer.  If you were rich, you were blessed.  If you were poor, you counted your blessings and were rich for having a great number of them. Blessings were like a money currency.  We put them in our banks and built up large accounts. Everyone could be rich!  “Count your many blessings, name them one by one…”

We counted blessings instead of sheep.  Somehow in a sleepy child’s mind, stating your blessings became a prayer of some sort, always followed by a feeling of thankfulness.  You were always thankful for your blessings! How wonderful to fall asleep in a state of thankfulness rather than fear and dread. Counting your blessings like money.  How comforting!

A few summers ago Bill and I were at the kid’s house in Nashville.  It was the Fourth of July and we had cooked out on the grill and prepared a feast.  We had all eaten and were sitting around talking and hadn’t started cleaning yet.  Dirty plates were still on the dining room table and the kitchen was wrecked from all of the cooking.  Trash was overflowing the garbage cans…We were just getting up to clear the table when we heard a knock at the door.  It was their landlord (a word which I don’t care for at all because it makes me feel insecure automatically) Rogan, and a friend of his, Wren.  Rogan lived down the street from the children and had a great relationship with them.  They often helped him entertain at parties and in return he was a friend and very kind to them.  That night it seemed that Rogan was stopping by to check on the new ceiling in the kitchen. It had fallen in during the flood rains that had devastated Nashville a few months before and he had sent workers over to fix it.

I was so embarrassed.  The house was a mess!  When the landlord stops by, you always want to impress him with a clean house.  This was horrible!  What would he think?  The kids weren’t fazed a bit.  To them, he was just Rogan, their friend.  I tried to relax, but had a hard time doing it.   He looked around the kitchen, surveying the work, while I just cringed.  He never said a word about the mess.  We went into the living room and he didn’t leave.  He and Wren sat down and acted like we were the best of friends.  I was so uncomfortable with the messy house that my pride wanted to speak out about it.  I wanted him and his friend to know that the house usually was clean and that if we would have known he was coming to pay us a visit, we would have cleaned up.

At that point, a miracle happened.  Wren looked around and said, “Boy. I bet Thanksgivings at your house must be something else!”  (I supposed she was thinking that a Thanksgiving mess would be even bigger.)  Then Stacey said, “O my God!  Thanksgiving’s crazy at our house.   Everybody’s there and all the girls are in the kitchen cooking while the guys are in the other room watching the parades on TV.  Then right before we eat, we all stand in a circle and hold hands and tell one thing we are thankful for, which by the way, can get kind of mushy.   Then we ask the blessing.” No sooner had Stacey said those words, when Wren exuberantly shouted out, “I LOVE the Blessing.”  All of a sudden, my focus was turned away from the messy dishes on the table and my shame of the landlord catching us in such a state.  The word “Blessing” was released in the room. She said it excitedly as a child speaking the words, “I love Christmas morning,” or finding his long lost stuffed animal…”I love my Teddy Bear.” The word carried power and knocked me off my “I’m normally Miss Perfect” high horse.

The “Blessing” made its way through the room, curling my tight lips into a smile.  I knew exactly what she meant.  I loved the blessing too.  I always had.  We taught our children to love it, to embrace it.  Her speaking about it like that changed the atmosphere in the room, reminding me that the word “blessing “ always brings on the word “thanksgiving.”  All of a sudden, I was thankful for a huge, messy family with plenty of food to eat.  I was thankful that we all understood the importance of recognizing our blessings and thanking God for them.

Later, when I got to North Carolina, I told people about Wren and her love for the “blessing.”   Every time we would get together with friends, we would joke and say, “I lOVE the blessing!”  Then we would commence to say a heartfelt blessing that radiated from our hearts and set the mood for the rest of the meal and evening.  The blessing became alive and real to us.

I LOVE the blessing!  I love to say it, to ask it and to invoke it upon myself and others.  I love it as a noun, a verb and an adjective.  I love how it makes me feel:  how it makes me look outside of myself and remember to be unselfish, humble and grateful. It’s one of the most powerful words in the English language.

Did I tell you that I love Thanksgiving too? Say it with me!  Thanks… Giving.  It’s made from two lovely words that are the result of counting your blessings.  No wonder I love it so!  Wren must love it too.  If you love the blessing, you naturally love Thanksgiving.  It’s my favorite holiday, hands down!  It’s the only holiday that you get all the fun of feasting and fellowship that Christmas brings, without having to spend money on buying gifts.  Plus, you get to recount your blessings to others and hear about their blessings.  What could be more fun than that?  Enjoy your Thanksgiving and spread some “Blessing” around.  Then, see how it can affect your world and those around you.  Come on…say it with me slowly…Ble…ssing.  Unleash the power!

Happy Thanksgiving!  Blessings!

%d bloggers like this: