This past year has forced me to stop and ponder the need to slow down and enjoy family and friends. I can easily find myself very busy, and I tend to push aside the important things in my life. I do this unconsciously as I go through the motions of life.
I was afforded several blessings through Isabel's incident. One of them was spending one on one time with my dad. My dad had travelled back to Iowa from Texas and asked that I go with him to visit family in our hometown, Waterloo. I initially said no, I have to work. However, I believe that God places things heavy on my heart to get me to go where His will is for my life. Needless to say, I woke up the next morning and told my dad that I would like to join him on his travels for the day, if the invite were still there. Just my dad and I, and off we go.
It had been years since I spent any time alone with my dad. This trip allowed us time to enjoy each other's company and to catch up on life. I miss my dad greatly, and to have this special time was very meaningful to me. I almost missed this opportunity because I almost thought work was more important.
We arrived in Waterloo at my Aunt Janice's home where we stopped for a bit while my dad and her caught up. It was getting close to lunch, and Janice had made surprise plans with my great aunt Grace to have her birthday lunch. The surprise being my dad and I attending this lunch. We jumped into Janice's vehicle and off we were to pick up Grace. We arrived at Grace's assisted living apartment. Grace is legally blind, but can see outlines of people. Janice walked in and said she had visitors. I spoke to her and gave her a clue as to who I was, and my dad spoke. Yep, she was surprised and elated! I hadn't seen Grace since my grandmother passed away three years ago.
We told her that we had arrived to celebrate her birthday with her. She loves Culver's which is not that far from her home, so off we went. I sat in the booth basking in the sun as I listened ever so carefully to the words Grace spoke. She reminded me so much of my grandmother. Since the day my grandma passed away I have been grieving the loss. The opportunity to spend the afternoon with her sister was exactly what my heart needed to heal. The joy of spending time with Grace, Janice and my dad was so much that I started to cry right there in Culver's. These tears were of joy and sadness. Joy that I didn't go to work and miss this opportunity. Joy that Grace were still alive for me to sit in her presence and allow God to heal my heart that was grieving immensely as the anniversary of my grandmother's passing was ever so near. Sad that my family is scattered and these types of gatherings don't happen more frequently. I didn't focus too long on the sad as I knew that I was right where I was suppose to be, and that God wouldn't want me to waste any effort on the "what if's" in life, but rather enjoy the moment I was in. I was truly in awe of how God had worked in my life for this moment to happen.
We later visited the location where a bench was placed in memory of my grandma and grandpa. I didn't know this existed, and it was a beautiful day to sit and enjoy memories of grandma and grandpa. My grandpa loved to fish, and there was a red bobber laying next to a lilly pad right in front of the bench where I was sitting. This day is a memory that I will cherish for the rest of my life! A true blessing! And to think, I almost went to work!
In my quest to slow down, I try to focus on all of the blessings around me. These blessings may come in the form of a person, hummingbird, sunset, rainbow, rain, kind word, hug, card or flowers. My list can go on, but it is the act of focusing on where I am at for that moment, and making a gratitude list.
I challenge you to make a gratitude list. If you are struggling with finding something to be grateful for do as I did years ago and start with the alphabet. A was for Austin, B was for Breanna, C was for Clarissa, D was for Ding Dongs (No, not people. The hostess treat kind), E was for Elephant ears (the kind found at the Iowa State Fair), etc. As you can see I've always been incredibly grateful for my children and food. My list has evolved immensely over the years as my relationship with God has grown. I encourage you to make a list that you can reflect upon in later years. Go ahead, just open your heart and mind, and start writing.
I'm off to prepare for Isabel's celebration. I wish you a beautiful day full of God's wonder and amazement!