Oranges are Awesome!

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Oranges are Awesome!.

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Oranges are Awesome!

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“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” ~ Paul, the Apostle (1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV)

I love oranges.

Cool, Refreshing, Yummy

Cool, Refreshing, Yummy

I know, I know…that’s so random.  Sorry, but I do that from time-to-time.  Yet, I have to express how much I love oranges because I just finished an especially juicy one.

Actually I’m a little sad because the orange goodness is over for now.  Sure, I could just as easily go back to the fridge to get another one, but that would be an over indulgence for me at this point. Why?  Because in this moment, I am savoring the cool, refreshing, sweetness of the experience and the taste; in this moment, I am thankful.  They are a sweet gift from God for He satisfies my mouth with good things (Psalm 10:5 KJV). So, yes, I’m cheerfully thankful for oranges today!

Big deal, right?! For me, it is.

When I was a little kid, I always loved oranges.  My mom was pleased that I liked fruit; besides, it was good for me.  Sometimes, we’d even have a whole bag full of oranges, if they were on sale at the grocery store, which was a special treat. We always had more fruit during the holidays because people would give us gift baskets (do people even still do that?) with little samples of different kinds of meats and cheeses. She never had to worry that the fruit would go bad because she knew I’d eat it.

You see, I like apples and other fruit as well, but I just like oranges best of all. Other fruits are if-fy to me, especially berries.  I mean, oranges always taste like oranges to me, and I seldom run across a bad one.  Strawberries, blueberries, etc. are sometimes sweet but more often tart. It’s like some kind of a weird Fruit Russian Roulette – you never know what you’re getting. If I bite into a piece of fruit that looks delicious and is supposed to be sweet and yummy, I don’t want to have my taste buds insulted or assaulted by sour…Yikes! just saying.  So the point is well made, I love oranges!

Then one fateful summer day, I went to the refrigerator and ate an orange.  Hmmm, it was so juicy and yummy!  It was so good, I got another.  Oh, my goodness!  I love my oranges cold on a hot summer day.  Before I knew it, I’d eaten the whole bag of oranges!  Well, as if that wasn’t bad enough, I had an immediate allergic reaction!  You see, I had food sensitivities and severe allergy issues back in the late 60s and early 70s when not many other children did, so my mom was often challenged to know what to do for me.  Since I broke out in itchy hives all over my body and swelled up, off to the emergency room we went.  I don’t remember her being mad at me.  Maybe she felt like the painful itchy hives was punishment enough.  At any rate, the doctor prescribed a sulfur solution to counteract the acidity of the oranges in my system.  I never forgot his warning not to overindulge in any citrus fruits again.  After my treatment, I could still have them, but just not too many.  Just the very thought of having to drink that horrible, nasty sulfur solution again was enough deterrent to keep me in line.  Well that experience surely taught me a lesson about moderation, at least when it comes to citrus fruits.

So today, I thoroughly enjoyed my orange gratefully.

Now I told my silly little orange story to make this point: every day in some small way, each one of us can find something to be thankful for.  If you are sad, depressed, frustrated, angry, and disillusioned that nothing ever turns out like you think it’s supposed to, you are not alone in that. I get it.  Can’t begin to express how difficult it is to reign in my negative thoughts and feelings and not let them pull me back down into the dark pit.  Now am I saying that this approach is a cure-all that’s going to solve the entire world’s problems or heal you from all your emotional scars?  No, of course not! There are really serious issues in the world, and in our personal lives we have to deal with daily. Yet, I’ve discovered that if I can find just one small thing to be thankful for, normally, I will begin to see or remember others.  What I am suggesting is that thankfulness keeps hope alive and transforms our perspectives.

A heart attitude of gratitude doesn’t happen overnight.  If you’re seeking more thankfulness in your reality, start with the little things and build from there. I had to start somewhere, so do you.

CHALLENGE:

For the next 30 Days, look for and find at least one person or thing to be thankful for and write it down.  That’s it.

You’ll find that you start to notice more and more to be thankful for each day.  I’m only asking you to record one, so that in a month from now, you will have a list of at least ‘30 Things to be Thankful For’ that are unique to your own life experience.

Let me know how it’s going for you along the way, okay?

Thankful for You!

Antoinette

Why Thankful Living?

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“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” ~ Paul, the Apostle (1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV)

THANKFULNESS

As I approach the big 5-0 in less than six months and reflect upon my life’s journey, I find that I am more thankful than ever before.  One of the most valuable lessons I have learned (and still learning) is not taking people or things for granted.

This point has been driven home in my heart more than ever by the death of my mom, not quite a year ago.  With her passing came the distinct awareness that my life would never be the same again.  Of course, becoming an empty-nester within this same year also has prompted me to appreciate relationships in ways I never did before.  I am adjusting to my “new normal” which is simultaneously terrifying and thrilling.

For many years, it seemed that nothing ever changed; that everything would always be the same.  Day after day passed with a type of ho-hum boredom to it, just chugging along: get up, get dressed, school, work, home, dinner, undress, bathe, bed.  Of course, there was church and school-related extracurricular activities, birthdays, holidays and special occasions, etc.

Then suddenly, EVERYTHING changed.  So much so that I felt like I was waking up from a dream.  I didn’t recognize myself, my surroundings or the people in my life anymore.  At this stage in the process, I decided to be thankful instead of freaked out.  I learned a couple of decades ago that I can choose joy over despair.  So like my friend, Nancy McNamara, when I’m asked how I’m doing, I answer simply, “I’m thankful.”

NEW BEGINNING

After the many dark circumstances I have survived, I am thankful to still be alive.  Everyday now I look for the goodness of God.  If the pain is too overwhelming or the exhaustion so blinding that I cannot see, I have a list that I started several years ago that I refer to as a reminder of how truly blessed I am.  Even in the midst of heartache and hardships and a crazy world, I still have so much to be thankful for every single day.

HOPE

Thankfulness keeps hope alive.

I am hopeful.  No, not in the government nor my fellowman for I understand they are as I am.  My hope is firmly in God.

I am not perfect at it by any means, but it’s worth the effort.  I’m not talking about denial, pretension, Polly-Anna naivete, Utopian escapism, foo-foo optimism or burying my head in the sand.  I am deliberate in my decision not to be swallowed whole by depression and sorrow – been there, done that already.  No, thanks.  So, I acknowledge my emotions (feel my feelings) then I look up and look for the goodness of God for I know He’s always there, and His goodness is near.  If I seek it out, I will find it.  If I find it, I find Him.

So I write, draw and paint.  I am learning more and more how to use my unique voice to share my view of the world, my heart and to advocate for those whose plight I can relate. I serve as I am able, and I share what I am thankful for.

LOVE

I love who’s left of my family and enjoy friends who are gifts of God to me. I admit I’m not always the good friend that I long to be, but I am thankful for each one.  I’m a “work in progress” still learning to love as Jesus loved, so please, PLEASE “pardon my mess.” I believe I’m headed in the right direction as thankfulness always causes my heart to turn toward the Giver of Life every time I remember to say, “Thank You.”

If you like my blog, let me know.

Thanks!

Antoinette