counting my blessings...

I am blessed.  I don't often stop to take time inventory of all the blessings I have.  I don't usually slow down enough to access the joy those blessings bring to me.

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind.  Like a tornado swirled through my world, stripping away so many things that were hiding and diminishing the joy, the blessings, the absolute beauty in it all.  I was struggling through a dark, dank ugliness.  I felt my heart couldn't find a way to brightness and joy again. There were many factors.  Many things were making me feel less than.

Many things have changed.  Some sad, some hurtful, some exciting, and many life affirming and blessings filled.

Despite all of the challenges and new beginnings, I have been blessed and re-energized by the last few days.

On Thursday morning, despite being exhausted from a far too short night I was heading south in my little Honda.  Buzzing down the beautiful hilly roads on my way to Potosi and Trout Lodge.  One of my favorite places.  I was leaving behind some serious second thoughts about going.  I hadn't planned to be heading south on that beautiful morning.  My plans were only a few days old.

I was concerned.  I had spent the early part of the week fully absorbed with our almost 10 year old "puppy". He'd suddenly stopped being a puppy.  He was favoring his back legs, one of which was damaged when he was very young, the other he'd been worrying.  His eyes were full of nasty green puss and he was very lethargic and refusing to eat.   As a walking garbage disposal that has more energy than most true puppies, this was incredibly disturbing.  I'd been giving him medicine twice a day, massaging topical medicine into his leg and hand feeding him meatballs just to insure he kept his strength up.  The mommy in me, well she was freaking out!  These are my babies!

I was also concerned that I was leaving my work family in a bit of chaos, and the responsibility gene in me was going NUTS!

Yet there I was driving south, trusting Hubs and my work family to handle things.  The morning haze was heavy in those valleys, the sun shining brightly confirmed for me that I was doing something I needed to be doing.

I'd been invited to Trout Lodge to participate in the Global Leadership Summit.  The ultimate leadership symposium for Christian leaders.  It was powerful, affirming, energizing, invigorating and bucket filling.  So many speakers focusing on all the different parts of being a strong, servant leader.  How to be the best at what you are called to do, while still being a humble human.  This is the second time I have attended.  I was looking at it through a different lens than I did last time.

That dark cloud that had been hovering over me has been rapidly burning away.  The brightness of the sky has been very easy to see.  Those two days it lifted entirely.  Clarity feels powerful!

Trout Lodge is an incredible place.  The leaders there are true servant leaders, the work they did was truly awe inspiring.  Flawlessly they hosted two days of a techinical, planned, fully orchestrated program without any hiccups.  Even dealing with a storm taking the satellite feed from the home location with a barely noticable pause.  I usually don't use names... but I have to shout out that fabulous team!  Nicolle's vision brought it to us and she was instrumental in leading the charge to host and care for all of the attendees.  She did this in such a graceful manner that you would truly have believed she'd been doing this for decades. Steve, Cindy and Denise were present at every turn, executing their roles and Deanna's unwaivering support was beyond evident. There were many more that served in supporting roles, cheerfully supporting the mission, lifting up a group of leaders needing to be lead for a minute or more! Insuring rooms, meals, housekeeping, entertainment, and so many other details were completed without our knowledge.

In the midst of getting my emotional bucket filled, there was time for several steamy walks along the lake.  At the end of the first day in the warmth of the setting sun with friends that I haven't had time to connect with in far too long.  And in the wee morning hours of Friday morning.  In the darkness under the stars, in peace and solitude. Time for reflection and beauty.  Hubs and I were in different cities, but we took our morning walk together.  I missed the meteor shower, I was simply too tired to enjoy it's beauty. But walking along the path watching the morning sun slowly peak over the surrounding hills.  It's the kind of beauty and joy my heart craves.  It was a good thing I had a speaker to see that morning, I might have walked until my legs could no longer support me.

I can't even say for sure which speaker inspired me the most.  Some I took pages worth of notes and ordered their books.  They are the kind of leaders I aspire to be!  Some, while their message was powerful and interesting, did not speak to my heart.  I listened and gathered tid-bits, but they were not what I needed at this point in my journey.

It was such an affirming two days, it truly felt that God knew what I was needing in this next part of my journey and put me in a place that I could hear what he needed me to hear.

As I was halfway through the last half of second day, I recieved a text message from my wonderful Hubby. It was a video.  Our "puppy" running through the house, bouncing and playing with his toys.  I had faith and did what I was being led to do, dispite what my human heart and emotions were begging me to do.

On my drive home I had the blessing to talk to one of my "b's" who had been through a very sad and tragic couple of days.  She always fills my heart with love and I needed to know that she was okay.  She is beyond important to me, and I cannot stand anything hurtful to touch her.

As I dashed home, literally, unsure of what needed to be done before Hubs and I hosted our two young friends that I met when I escorted the teen trip to Brazil.  I hadn't seen them in far too long and I was missing hearing about the joys in their lives.

Arriving home, I was stunned to see that Hubs had done all and more than what I was intending to accomplish.  My house looked fabulous, dinner was in the oven and all I had to do was prep the salad.  We walked our boys and waited for the kids to arrive. I guess I should stop calling them kids, they are definitely young adults now! Hours later after much lasagna, laughs and chatting as they left to head back to school and their lives and Hubs and I were climbing up the stairs with our boys to head to bed, I again felt overwhelmed in blessings.

I had awoken to a picture of my daughter and her family enjoying their lasagna that I had made for them before I left, I was heading to bed that night reflecting on the power of simple cooking to bring families and friends together.

Yesterday Hubs and I were guests at a co-workers wedding.  Dressed in finery that I had agonized over for weeks, I realized I was wearing a dress that has been in the back of my closet for literally years, say almost 15 years.  It ended up being perfect. Hubs in his suit was so incredibly handsome!  I was by far the proudest woman in that church! I'm sure of it!!  And listening them take their vows, I was reminded once again that God has always brought me the blessings I need when I need them. In his time.  When I was my lowest he brought me Hubs, and he reminds me daily what a blessing that was and still is!  I am very blessed.

Driving home, I couldn't help but steal a few looks at my sweet tired hubby.  He looked so dashing, but his dark clouds are still hanging around.  No tornado has whipped his away.  The tired look in his beautiful eyes hurt me.  He is the kindest, most generous and loving man.  For him to be hurt and used makes me sad.

In an attempt to help him sleep better and maybe relax a bit after we returned from the wedding we went to the mall for a walk and a bit of relaxation. How ironic is that?  We stumbled on a little Oriental Massage shop, tucked under the escalator in a back corner of the mall.  His first thought was that a foot massage could help my poor damaged right foot, my first thought was that a massage could relieve his stress.  We both ended up having an incredible hour of pampering and heading home for an early night.

He fell asleep almost instantly.  I was awake for hours, my brain couldn't rest, I was being snuggled and protected by both the boys and our kitty (translation - they were kindly sharing my half of the bed with me to avoid crowding daddy.  Mostly, I was listening to four gentle snores, and reflecting on how very blessed I am.

I have my faith, I have a family that brings me more love and joy than I can ever describe, I have untold friends that are always there for me even when I don't have the strength to be there for anyone else, I have the unwavering love of my boys, a home to come to and a career I love How much more can any one ask for?

I feel a great need to do good, to atone for these blessings by paying it forward.

Have you taken into account your blessings? Are you being a blessing to others?

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