Sunday, November 19, 2023

A Collection of Blessings

a snowy November 2016

As we think about the topic of thanks and gratitude, FaceBook popped up this snapshot I took at my home in Castle Rock, Colorado several years ago. You see the deep snow building up on the deck furniture. 

Ahhh, Colorado. So beautiful and yet SOMEBODY has to shovel that beautiful white stuff. While the lack of snow at my current home in Florida is not at the very top of my list of thanks, it's not far down the column. The season of my life where I enjoyed snow is over.

a dark rainy afternoon spent on the lanai

It's been rainy and cool here this past week. We were scheduled to get a new roof on Wednesday, but the weather forecasts turned out to be abundantly true, so Gary postponed the project. Hopefully the re-scheduled date for next month will be sunny and dry.

a country rustic-style table runner
from my needlework years

We've had a lot of wind this week, too, which has been a challenge with our bike riding. I came home two days in a row with my shoulders feeling like they were pulled up to my ears -- the muscle strain from riding against the wind was strong.

easy Sudoku

Since I no longer cross stitch, quilt, or embroider these days, I wanted something to do in my recliner besides read, watch TV and eat -- something to challenge to my brain and keep my hands busy. Crossword puzzles bug me when the descriptions are so cryptic.

I watched a Youtube video that explains how to do Sudoku. To my surprise, I find this puzzle a lot of fun. If you are interested, click on this link:


Another project that's kept me busy of late is assembling an album of pictures from our first year together. A good friend gave us an album as a wedding gift but I'm only now getting it together. I've done albums before with the stickers, colored papers, fancy pens and related froo-froo, but that was years ago and I was burned out by the time the last one was completed.

But my story with Gary is akin to a Hallmark movie, so I want to record the highlights. A mountain of snapshots have been reduced to the first twelve months. Now I'm writing descriptions journal-style (not unlike blogging, actually) to slip between the pages of photos. Gary is my editor and proofreader, just as he is for my blog posts.

Hibiscus behind the lanai

This is my seventh holiday season in Florida since leaving Colorado. Every year I comment on my blog about my fascination with flowering bushes and trees at a time of year when much of the country is shoveling snow.

one of the three Mexican Petunia bushes in our yard

The flowers (for me, anyway) make up for the lack of white glittering frost, creating a new definition for holiday decor.

we have white and salmon-colored Azalea bushes

The milky white Azaleas are so pure, tropical-looking. 

red Camelia

I've lost count how many red Camelia bushes Gary has in the front and back yards. They look like roses.

Wood Storks and a pink Spoonbill
beside one of our many lakes

In addition to the many flowers growing here in Florida in November, more birds have arrived, presumably en route to warmer climates, or maybe this is their destination. 

I took this snapshot (above) today during our after-lunch bike ride. Sadly, if you look close you will see a large bird laying on its side, presumably near death. I read that birds have sympathy for their fallen members, so this may be a wake of sorts. 

our tropical back yard

And more on the subject of birds, the "snowbirds" (or "winter visitors" as some call them), are coming back to occupy their homes in our neighborhood. (I'm referring to humans) It's something like college kids coming back to town in time for the traditional school year. I like it better when our neighbors are here, more smiling faces and people to visit. This is the ebb and flow of living in a retirement community in a sub tropical climate.

sidewalk chalk gratitude

One of our neighbors has a method of showing her thanks with sidewalk chalk. This composition of gratitude on the apron of her driveway was one of many cheery messages that put a smile on my face until the rain scrubbed it all off.

autumn decor in our amenities center

In addition to these blessings I've shared, we've got family, church, a pantry full of groceries, closets of clothes, transportation, and a wonderful love for each other. 

chocolate chip cookie dough

I thank the Lord for not only a wonderful husband who came into my life to minister to my broken heart but that I've been able to fill his empty places as well. (smile) Among other things, he likes the cookies, corn bread, biscuits and coffee cakes I bake for him since that is one kitchen skill he does not have.

thankful to be able to ride our bikes 
several miles nearly every day

At our age, we don't take for granted the ability to fend for ourselves. Living in a retirement community is a frequent reminder of how quickly our coping skills can be taken away with accidents, illness, and even death.

In the years since my first husband passed, I thank the Lord for teaching me new skills, giving me confidence in matters that were suddenly thrust upon me with his death. Family and friends were of immeasurable help and with time, I have been able to take on many things once unfamiliar to me. I have been very surprised that this 'old dog could learn new tricks,' so to speak.

art by Mary Engelbreit

One blessing I don't think I've shared yet is that Gary's great-grandchild #3 is "on her way." Yes, a girl this time, to play with her twin boy cousins born a year ago.

from FaceBook

We have plans this week to be with dear people and to do something special (just the two of us). 

I wish for all of my readers a most enjoyable Thanksgiving Day with those you love dearly and the foods that delight you the most!

Until next time, grace and peace.



  1. In our Sunday School lesson today it talked about the importance of looking back and seeing how God took care of us in hard times, and looking at our lives and seeing how much we have to be thankful for. You did that so well here!
    I am not a fan of snow, and find I like it less, the older I get. But I don't know that I'm tough enough to deal with a Florida Summer. :)
    I used to scrapbook with stickers and papers too. Now I do online scrapbooks. I make one for each of my granddaughters with things from their lives during the year. It's easy to start and stop without having to get things out and I find I really like it!

  2. You certainly have enjoyed many blessings in your life, Barbara, and I love that you are so grateful for each one of them. May your Thanksgiving be a marvelous day!

  3. And, here's wishing you and Gary a wonderful Thanksgiving week. Ours will be a simple one with our son and his family. Our Oklahoma won't be here until Christmas. Blessings!

  4. Now you already know I will take those flowers and bird watching AND bike riding weather over snow anytime. I will just visit snow and leave it there:)
    It has been a rainy week, but we needed it so I tried not to complain - well not too much anyway. I actually think our Thanksgiving might have a little more cool to it than usual. I love your lanai. I have always wanted a screened porch or Florida room as I grew up calling them. I would stay out there all the time. Your little runner is so cute. Have fun using your creative juices on the scrapbook and yes, to being grateful for every good thing.

  5. Happy Thanksgiving to the two of you! I know you'll make is special. I'm sure happy to see that bright sunshine...taking a hike in a bit! I cooked yesterday! Hugs, Diane


Proceeding to Father's Day

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