On this Valentine's Day I've accumulated an assorted box of gratitude treats.
First, our view. We have a postcard view of Pikes Peak and the front range out one window and a beautiful view of the plains out of the other. Although my commute is a little longer than I would prefer, the drive in both directions is gorgeous (with the rising and setting sun at my back both ways)!
Second, walking. Because it's winter, I've been walking on my treadmill and glider, for which I am grateful. I'm actually grateful that I can walk at all after breaking my back several years back. Today was nice enough, though, that I was able to walk outside around my neighborhood. When I left I was cold, underdressed for the wind, and moving very slowly. I felt like I'd been running low on energy lately and I really didn't want to walk. But I dragged myself out at a ridiculously slow pace. But as I walked I warmed up, sped up, and felt good at the end.
Speaking of walking, near the end of my neighborhood route, there are two yards with dogs that hassle me when I walk by. I carry mace, but can usually use my best teacher voice and get them to leave me alone. Today near the end of my walk, one of the dogs was heading towards me and then came to a halt when another dog from a different yard came up and started barking at the first dog. Then I realized it was the German Shepard from the house with the kid who had wandered out into the street. The German Shepard barked the first dog to a retreat and then he turned and jogged back to his house without a glance in my direction. I know it sounds crazy, but I think the German Shepard remembered me and stood up for me. He's never once come out before and never barked at me, just the dog who was harassing me. I am going to believe that it was personal and be grateful for the amazing animal companions God has given us during our time on Earth.
That's what this gratitude mini-blog is about for me this Lenten season, gratitude for all of things I mention is actually gratitude for Him who gave it to me and died that I might enjoy it despite my sins and failure. I read an article from a pastor who was sort of shaming people who give up some token thing or behavior for Lent- saying it was personal vanity, but I usually give up something that I like so that when I want that thing, it brings to mind God, to whom I have made the sacrifice. I'm not trying to say the sacrifice itself is that important, just something that bring God to mind throughout the day so I can thank Him and foster the unimaginable relationship He has offered to me. So, I guess I'm even grateful for Lent itself.
Finally, I am grateful for men who take the time to help boys grow up to be healthy, productive men. We're had our nephew over to work on a project and then he was playing Minecraft. Everytime I tried to help, I offered advice from a stereotypical female perspective, and it fell on deaf ears. I thought the fact that he spent 20 minutes running around randomly chopping at things with a sword was dumb, and a waste, but my husband knew better. My husband helped him find his way and eventually he was building things I'd never seen. I know it's an unpopular opinion to have but children need guidance from both genders, even if it's a trusted aunt or uncle or family friend. I wasn't always comfortable reaching out to my parents, which I think is probably normal, so I'm glad for the males and the females in my formative years who helped guide me and understand what it means to be a women, a Christian, and athlete, a leader, and all of the other roles I tried on over the years.
Happy Valentine's Day!