O Lord, thank You for giving me three generations of special guys. Not sure why You granted them legs twice as long as mine or 100 times my energy. Nevertheless, OMG, thank You that we can hike and love Your creation together!
O Lord, this past year, I’ve been thankful for the oddest things. For toilet paper. For Zoom (in 2019, I’d never heard of that). Even for being old so I can have shots. OMG, maybe You’re trying to teach us new lessons about gratitude?
Anyone here like Christmas better than Thanksgiving?
With God’s incredible gift of His Son, family celebrations, music, decorations and food, it doesn’t get any better than that.
But families also express gratitude for each other at Thanksgiving, for freedom, health and — last, but not least — hope through Christ. Along with the food, it doesn’t get any better than that.
I’m forced to enjoy a draw, nixing healthy eating until a January Judgment Day.
I also want to express gratitude for little blessings — even weird ones — that seldom receive a nod or notice:
Fuzzy bathroom rugs. These don’t rank up there with world peace or an Indianapolis Colts victory, but on chilly mornings, they mean everything to wet, freezing toes.
Combines blocking the road. Already late, I forget these are a blessing. Other drivers’ gestures indicate they forget, too. But these bulky, balky monsters and hardworking farmers ensure food on our tables.
Bananas. With this nutritious, easy-open, eco-friendly fruit — no refrigeration necessary — our children thrived. True, bananas’ squishability, the babies’ sticky reaches and my long hair proved problematic. Still, they blessed lunch boxes and trips. When emergencies interrupted my skinny physician husband’s meals, I sent bananas with him to eat on the way.
Today, neither of us worry about weight loss. Still, we’re glad bananas will be around for our future, with or without teeth.
The color purple. What would we do without purple violets and irises, plums and eggplants? Without royal velvets and wild purple storm clouds — and essentials like Grape Slushies and Super Bubble Gum?
My 2010 car. New models map routes, parallel park and warm butts. Some drivers, though, given a Starship Enterprise dashboard, threaten the universe. Even driving my old Ford, I’ve occasionally popped the hood when I meant to open the trunk. If I tried to warm my posterior while driving 70 miles per hour, I’d hit the parallel parking mechanism.
I’m thankful for my simple, old car. You should be, too.
Ranch dressing, available only since the 1980s. How did we as a civilization survive without it?
Free parking lots. Metropolitan drivers spend hundreds to park in scary garages. I revel in nearly unlimited free parking, saving my neck, my bucks and my sanity.
Bankers without firearms. I’ve entered Honduran banks where guards accessorized with ammunition belts and machine guns. I’m thankful my bankers are armed only with smiles.
Gardeners who plant prairie grass. They validate those of us who grow it unintentionally.
Finally, I’m thankful I never played the turkey in a school production.
Still debating whether you like Thanksgiving or Christmas most? It’s a draw, right?
A draw for the turkey, too.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Can you list weird things for which you’re thankful?
O Lord, when I was a kid, gratitude didn’t come easy. Mom would prompt, “What do you say?” and I’d mutter the “Thank you” that got grown-ups off my back. In 2020, it doesn’t come easy, either. Still, OMG, thank You. Thank You. Thank You!
O Lord, I love Christmas, with its sparkly red and green. But OMG, can’t we enjoy orange a little longer?
O Lord, it’s a tough world right now. But OMG, thank You for a new purple hat and other silly blessings that give us grins!
OMG, I’m thankful I can have a dental appointment today. Really. Honest …
Each year, taking our first tandem bike ride, Hubby and I huff, puff and yell at each other to keep pedaling — and that’s just getting out of the driveway.
In spring 2019, however, we had put on major pounds. Dogs that normally pursued our bicycle built for two didn’t bother. Their snores said, “I’d get more challenge out of chasing a parked car.”
Spring 2020, we decided, would be different. Or did Hubby decide? Whatever — I admit all those stay-sane-during-quarantine walks made us fit and ready to ride.
Hubby services and washes the bikes. Buys new helmets. Fires up his cyclocomputer that records mileage, speed, and number of bugs encountered and swallowed.
Despite lighter traffic than usual, we face certain risks. The above-mentioned dogs might supplement their diets with an ankle or two. Some drivers believe bikes are imaginary. Occasionally, a crazed farmer tries to flatten us with his field planter. Maybe his girlfriend named Daisy dumped him, and he’s hated bicycles built for two ever since.
Still, Hubby and I take to the road.
As we pedal out of town, Hubby supplies most of the power. He also steers, changes gears, brakes, and does maintenance.
Me? As we approach stop signs, I proudly exhibit an innovation: hand signals. Correct, most of the time.
Impressed? Hey, I fill water bottles, too.
Zooming along Hoosier country roads, we spot landscape changes. A new house has sprouted. Young trees have grown. On the familiar route, I notice one homeowner’s switch from planting red geraniums to peach-colored.
“It’s great to be on the bike again,” I yell.
Hubby nods, mostly to keep bug-swallowing statistics low.
After several miles, though, a repressed truth returns full force: we are fit, but that does not mean the bicycle seats fit. A month will pass before our um, muscles, adjust — or total numbness sets in.
Plus, seduced by sunshine on this “perfect bicycling day,” we had ignored the wind’s powerful gusts. With the west wind behind us, we might eat lunch in Pittsburgh.
Then we turned.
Now, with the crosswind, our bike almost flew to Pittsburgh.
Still, even the last gasping miles of our return couldn’t detract from the green rivers’ flowing loveliness. From intoxicating apple blossom and honeysuckle fragrances. From glorious redbuds, as if God had tossed His favorite bouquets to us.
Yes, this first ride is different, and not just because we’re in good physical shape.
In spring 2020, we’re learning to live in the moment. Beauty bursts our hearts with gratitude. We’re extra thankful for health and strength to ride.
More than ever before, we are fit to enjoy it.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Have you spent more time outside during quarantine?
Recently, I discovered my thumb.
Well, I always was a late bloomer.
Seriously, I learned afresh this odd appendage accomplishes far more than catching rides.
My breakthrough resulted from a nutritious lifestyle. While slicing veggies, I sliced the tip of my right thumb.
I hate the sight of blood — especially mine — so I won’t describe the gory scene. Once the bleeding finally stopped, I sought bandages. Ours were antiques. Though left-handed, I couldn’t open the packaging, let alone apply the BAND-AID®.
Hubby to the rescue. However, the old BAND-AIDs® wrinkled, crinkled, then stuck only to his thumbs.
“When did you buy these? During the Depression?”
“Why should I buy BAND-AIDs®, anyway?” I retorted. “Aren’t you the doctor around here?”
Hubby tossed the latest attempt into the trash and turned back to his computer. “Actually … I’ve retired.”
Hmm. I could a) press this paper towel on my thumb for a week; b) go to the ER; or c) be nice. Though distasteful, the last option appeared simpler. And cheaper.
A few “pretty pleases” later, he had sealed a BAND-AID® over my thumb.
Now, I could return to my regularly scheduled program.
Nope. My thumb yelled in pain when I typed.
I couldn’t turn a key without blood. My wimpy fingers pressed the remote in vain. Couldn’t open a medication bottle. All because of a cut on my thumb.
I soon was to discover more tasks it had performed for years without complaint. Joining socks. Turning pages. Tying shoes.
I tried to persuade my index and middle fingers to work together to zip my coat.
Why, when I was left-handed, did this mess with my life?
I discussed the issue with Left Hand, soliciting more help until Right Hand healed.
Lefty, however, turned thumbs-down: “I’m good for writing. For feeding you. For six decades, I’ve covered the important stuff. If you think I’ll unscrew saltshakers and insert earrings, too, you’re nuts.”
So the week continued, with cooking, showering and playing euchre more complicated than advanced robotics.
Lefty, Righty, and I tried not to vent our aggravations on Hubby, who extended a frequent helping hand.
My thumb is mending. Recently, I inserted earrings without stabbing my ears. Or jugular.
Soon, I will return to life as usual.
Disabled veterans, minus more than a thumb, will not. Neither will my friend with multiple sclerosis and her husband. With a faith in Christ that staggers me, they daily invent new ways to cope.
I discovered my thumb this week. Overall, did the experience reap dividends?
I think so. Gratitude is priceless.
Though Righty took the hit, she agrees.
And even Lefty gives it a thumbs-up.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Have you rediscovered a reason to be thankful?
Oh, Lord, thank You for the energy and focus to finish book number 24. Couldn’t go out to celebrate, though. What to do? Instead, Steve and I watched the Cubs’ 2016 World Series victory and snarfed take-out sundaes from Ivanhoe’s. OMG, thank You that despite the current crisis, we have a gazillion reasons to celebrate!