Monday, July 26, 2010

Count Your Blessings



A song from the 1950’s is one of my favorites: “Count your blessings, name them one by one - Count your blessings see what G-d has done”. That song helped me get through some tough times in my life by always focusing on the good. That song, in addition to three gratitude mentors, helped to shape my attitude of gratitude.


First, my grannie, Fannie Griner, comes to mind. Grannie reared 11 children on a farm during the Depression. Although poor by most standards, she always expressed a thankful heart, and shared what she had with others. One of my fondest memories as a child was visiting her. At night, I’d crawl into her big, old, creaky iron bed with the cloud-like feather mattress. As Grannie sank wearily down on her side of the bed, she’d breathe out a whispered, “Praise the L-rd.” She closed out every day that way, no matter how difficult that day had been.

Grannie also taught me to count my blessings. Each night, we’d make a list of all we were thankful for, and I’d drift off to sleep feeling so content. I think her influence helped me to always feel like I am rich, no matter what my bank account says.

Second, my father, John Wesley Griner, greatly influenced my attitude of gratitude.
Daddy taught me to be thankful for little things, like the shoes on my feet. He told me how shoes were the usual gift he and his ten brothers and sisters received for Christmas. Those shoes had to last all year, and if they pinched later on, they went barefooted. He grew up in the Depression, so having enough food to eat, clothes to wear, and a roof over his head were not taken for granted.

Daddy worked outside in road construction all of his life, but always thanked G-d, whether it was rainy or sunny, and never complained about it. One of Daddy’s favorite sayings was, “These are the best years of your life”. Funny, he told me that as a child, a teenager, and as a grown woman with children of my own. He was right in every instance. My father worked extremely hard his whole life, but when he passed away at 75, his last words were “I’ve had a good life.” I feel the same way, even though I’ve faced some daunting challenges along the way. Daddie’s counsel and example made it easier.

Carmita, in Jerusalem on the Mt of Olives


Third, my elderly Jamaican neighbor, Carmita Poulson, was perhaps my greatest influence in learning to be thankful. As a young woman, burdened with all kinds of problems, Carmita taught me to be thankful in prayer. Once a week, we’d get together to pray, and Carmita would start out praising the Lord and go on for 30 minutes, thanking G-d for everything under the sun. At first, I grew impatient, thinking my problems were more important than praising G-d. But, I learned from her example.

At 80, she was healthy and strong, loving and giving, and excited to be alive every day. I can still remember her radiant, smiling face and tearful voice as she said, “Thank you Lord, that I can see, and hear, and walk, and talk, and think, and that I have strength to work for You!” Carmita’s influence of gratitude lives on in me, as I now pray that same prayer every day myself.

As I grow older, I am more and more thankful for Grannie, Daddy, and Carmita as mentors, and for their lives that exemplified gratitude. I pray I will set the same example for those who know me.

Do you have gratitude mentors?  I'd love to hear about them.


Always be joyful. Pray regularly. In everything give thanks, for this is what G-d wants from you who are united with the Messiah Yeshua. (I Thessalonians 5:18)

I am linking up for Gratituesday - Hope you'll stop by the blog below
Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

7 comments:

  1. Yes, my grandmother always told me to count my blessings and to be content with what I have, and to always make the best of any situation. She taught me so much about life and love. Thank you for posting this today. I hope I can do the same for my future generations! Blessings, Kelly

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  2. Thanks for stopping by our blog & leading me here. This is a great post! I am a firm believer in finding the positive in any situation, sometimes it's a good outcome & sometimes it's a lesson I needed to learn. "God works all things together for good for those who love Him & are called according to His purpose." Thanks for the reminder to count our blessings, big & "small"!

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  3. Oh Gail,
    I grew up on that song!! I always sing it!
    I'm glad you love it too!!!
    HUGS,
    Cindy

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  4. I do not have anyone in particular other than the bibles word that led me to be grateful in all things. I remember when I had first gave my life to the lord one of the first things that I read about was gratitude. Things would come up good or bad and I would thank him... exspecially the bad. I would say it over and over until I really meant it! :-) And only then is it that I found peace in the worst of times. Thank you for this reminder.

    Also thank you for stopping by my blog today and leaving your kind words! As a newbie every comment is a gift. I hope that I never lose this feeling.

    Looking forward to joining in on all the fun with the bloggerette sorority~ Sherry F.

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  5. Wow, Gail, what a wonderful example all of these people were for you. I'm so glad you chose to share this with us on Spiritual Sundays. I must have sung that song at least a million times (well maybe not quite that many) but a lot.
    Blessings,
    Charlotte

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  6. I love singing this song. I hope that my grandchildren will have great memories like you have with your grandma. I'm so glad that you shared this here today.
    God Bless,
    Ginger

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  7. Love the memories! How blessed you were as a child to have such wonderful mentors.

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