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Lessons that I learned from my parents

When I was asked to do a weekly column for the Voice, I didn’t realize how much of it at the beginning would be centered around the lessons that I learned from my parents. I want to share today some things that my mom taught me about being grateful. Many reading this are accustomed to saying grace over their meal. This is the process where we give thanks to God for the food that is sitting before us. So many times, we will ask him to bless the hands that prepared it. If I ever sat down at the kitchen table with a plate of food in front of me and began to quickly eat without turning thanks, my mom would point to two pictures on the wall that she had placed there. Both pictures, one of an elderly woman, and another of an elderly man, had their hands clasped together and were praying over a meal. This was her way of reminding me to give thanks for what was before me. My mom would thank God for a breeze during the day, she was always thanking the Lord for the blessings over her life. This taught me to have an attitude of gratitude and to be thankful of the many blessings that I have. Many times we are looking for that elusive blessing in the future, while missing the blessings that are all around us, every day.  Mom‘s lesson has stuck with me all of these years. Oh yes, there are times that I gripe and complain about so many things, then I’m reminded of my sweet mama pointing at a picture on the wall to remind me to give thanks.
The Bible says, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”  The Bible is full of instruction for us to have a grateful heart and to consistently give thanks. It’s common courtesy to thank someone who has blessed you in your life. All of us can probably think of someone who, at a very needy time in our life, was a blessing to us. One writer said, “A person is truly blessed who never forgets what someone did for them, but quickly forgets what they have done for others.” Some people see the glass half empty while others see the glass half full. We need both in life-one will invent an airplane while the other invents the parachute. Having an attitude of gratitude is really a condition of our heart. Taking the time to stop and give thanks is one of the great lessons that I learned from my mom that has changed my focus many times.  In the words of the hymn, “Count Your Blessings,” ”When upon life’s billows you are tempted tossed, when you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.”

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