Today is Thanksgiving Day. Richard and I are on our traditional Thanksgiving week vacation. We own a small time share in Orlando and it has become our custom to take the Thanksgiving week and enjoy a break away from all the chaos that leads up to the Holiday Season.
It’s a pretty standard time share condo: a lounge/dining area with a small compact half kitchen, a decent size bathroom with a shower in the tub which has some whirlpool jets, and a bedroom with a nice comfortable king-size bed and the prerequisite double closet and chest of drawers. There are two TV’s and a boom box and all the necessary accoutrements for cooking, cleaning, and ironing. The furnishings are nice with small touches of tasteful décor, but nothing extravagant.
However, there is one item of pure luxury as far as I am concerned. We have a large screened-in balcony that accommodates a table and four chairs and there’s still plenty of room to move around. This is my “lanai away from home” and where I spend the vast majority of whatever time we do not spend running out and about. Over the past few days I have sat out here and written about one hundred and forty Christmas cards, remembering friends far and near as I always do at this time of the year.
This is where I come first thing in the morning to have my quiet time with God and do my reflection readings and pray and meditate. This is my small sanctuary where I find safe haven where I can reaffirm or reclaim my inner peace and gratitude for all my blessings. I also bring my laptop out here to do my writing, as I am doing at this very moment. I feel like this is a special gift from God to me.
As I sit here on the lanai I look out over a small artificial lake with a fountain set in the middle. The lake is surrounded by other condo buildings but they are spaced out enough that we are not crowded. There is lush green grass everywhere dotted with flowering trees and shrubs, and pathways offer the opportunity to walk or jog everywhere.
Today is a glorious sparkling blue day – a Princess Di kind of day. The sun is shining brilliantly and shimmers on the water in the lake. There are a few white clouds softly smeared across the sky and the temperature is warm and inviting. I’m thinking about going for a walk and a swim. There is a balmy breeze blowing and the palm fronds wave lazily as it moves through. The smaller leaves on other trees are fluttering like myriads of green butterflies and everything seems to be in gentle motion. Along the banks of the lake a small blue heron is gracefully and stealthily stalking a prey that only he can see.
I sit here and feel the sun warming me to the very depths of my bones and I am so very grateful for all of this, that is so much more than my basic needs. I am grateful for food on my table and a roof over my head. I am grateful for fresh-smelling soap to wash myself with. I am grateful for a closetful of clothes (mainly purple!!) that I can chose from. I am grateful for a loving, kind, patient husband (he needs to be patient with this purple creature he has married!).
I am grateful for the whole of my life, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Yes, there are some bad and ugly parts to my life and yes, I am grateful for them too. They serve as humble reminders that I still have more work to do to improve. I am grateful that today I can recognize, admit and accept that I am not perfect and that there is room for growth. Amen!!!
My husband, Richard,is a geekie-techie kind of guy and this helps to create a good balance in our relationship because I’m more of the arty-crafty type who, as already mentioned in several of my postings, tends to fly by the seat of her pants. Even though my husband’s attachment to his computer and all things technological sometimes drives me a little crazy, I have to admit that I’m very blessed to have him in my life. After all, I have a resident expert computer-problem-fixer.
For about fifteen years now Richard has created and maintained a web site about techie things, mainly connected to Windows related stuff. In fact his web site domain name is WindowsObserver.com just in case any of you other techies want to check it out. Over the last few years he has developed a strong relationship with Microsoft and has been involved in their Beta testing, has written a few articles for them, and has been nominated a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional).
Because of this latter status, he was approached and asked to sit on a panel at a Customer Support conference to be held in Orlando, Florida this week. When we looked at our planners and saw that I would be attending my Audire program in Winter Park from Friday to Sunday, we decided to combine our trips so that we would not spend five days apart. Consequently I find myself in the lovely complex called The Villas of Grand Cypress (Golf Resort). The accommodations are absolutely lovely, surrounded as we are by golf greens and trees, although I’m a little disappointed that a resort of this caliber does not provide a small mini refrigerator in each suite (I carry supplements and fresh juiced produce that need to stay cold).
So this morning as I woke up and came to, I opened the drapes to be met by a stunning scene. Right outside my French doors is a small patio that over looks a retention pond, and swimming across the middle was a group of ducks. The far side of the pond is flanked by the rolling dunes of the golf greens. On the other sides of the pond I see lots of trees and plants through which I can make out other villas.
About fifteen yards from my end of the pond there is a small island, no bigger than twenty feet in diameter, on which there are five or six large trees, a couple of saplings, a few bushes and some small sego palms. The sky was a clear blue, not a cloud in sight, and squirrels were scampering across the porch and chasing each other up and down the trees immediately beyond the porch. When I opened the French doors, a flock of white egrets (I think they were egrets – white with long, skinny, curved yellow beaks), appeared out of nowhere and walked right onto the porch, obviously looking for a handout.
Although it was not warm-warm, it was warm enough to sit outside for my quiet time with God. It was so peaceful and so lovely that the first thought was of gratitude. I read my morning reflections and then just sat back and took in the beauty of God’s creation and suddenly felt so blessed. Today is Veteran’s Day, and I think of all those men and women in far-flung and dangerous war zones around the globe, separated from their families and everything familiar and comfortable. My gratitude levels soar as I compare where I am right now and where they are.
I continued to contemplate and meditate and watched a small blue heron approach my edge of the pond and swiftly dip his beak into the water, drawing it out a second later with a tiny wriggling fish which he quickly devoured. The air is clear and fresh with a hint of wood smoke, that unique smell that permeates everything during the Fall. Then suddenly I see a small movement on the island. There, perfectly camouflaged in the shadows, was a “Big Blue”. He stood perfectly still keeping a watchful eye on the water, waiting for the slightest movement which would indicate breakfast!!
As I took this all in, I was overcome with emotion. My throat filled up and I felt tears spill down my cheeks. I am so blessed, my life is so rich in many ways. I may not be rich in the conventional meaning of that word. I don’t have lots of money, nor do I have a luxury car or a boat or any of those high-ticket items. But I do have the money that I need, a car that is more than functional, the possibility of being in this place at this time. I have an amazing, loving husband, and so many good friends. God has filled my life with so many gifts and I am truly grateful.