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Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014

Thankful for all of the many blessings we have

Friday, December 7, 2012

It was a picturesque day on a mountain trail outside of Steamboat, Colo., last July when my son's friend, Kendra, posed a question to me: "Have you ever thought of what your life would be like if when you woke up each morning, the only things you had left were the ones you had thanked God for the day before?" My answer ("Wow! No...") was anything but profound -- partly because the high altitude had deflated my lungs and it was all I could do to even breathe, but more realistically because Kendra had hit a spiritual nerve. She then began explaining how much she took for granted -- "like the opportunity to hike up this mountain," she added. Of course, I knew that trek wouldn't be in my top 100 things to thank God for, but Kendra's question made me aware of how little I would have if a simple "thank you" were the criteria for my lifestyle.

The truth is, there are days that go by when I fail to thank God for any of the blessings I have received, even though I am painfully aware of how I deserve none of them.

This past month we celebrated Thanksgiving, a day set aside to remind us of how much we have. In my case, there were two such celebrations, the first on Thursday with relatives and friends, and the second on Friday when Faith Christian Academy held its reunion

When F.C.A., a one-room school based on individualized learning and grounded in Biblical principles, was created and organized in the early 80s, I had no idea that some of the most spiritual people I'd ever meet would be involved in that affiliation. It was there that our three sons attended school during their first few years of elementary education, and it was where my husband and I volunteered by working as monitors. Some families sacrificed much to keep that school running, for years setting aside personal ambitions and goals in order to bless those involved with it.

At our reunion, many of those F.C.A. families returned to Fort Scott, allowing me an opportunity to rekindle some of the friendships that developed during those formative years. The youngsters we taught are now grown and have their own families, and most continued their walk with the Lord, passing on the spiritual torch to their children. Judy Walters, the one whose dream to start F.C.A. came to fruition after much prayer and fasting, had prepared for this get- together by creating a movie clip incorporating pictures from those early years, encouraging us all to persist in teaching our children/grandchildren about the same love of Jesus that we shared some 25 years ago. It was a sweet time of fellowship, and I went home that day grateful for these friends and the impact they had on our family.

We have much to be thankful for, don't we? So I wonder why our default mode is to concentrate on our problems and concerns. This past week I read some much-needed advice: "Remember only the positives, and give the negatives to God." It was a powerful reminder that I should not need to rely on a reunion in order to "remember." I need to shorten my never-ending "request list" and lengthen my "gratitude" list so that daily I am cognizant of the many, many blessings I have ... including this one: that I serve a merciful God who doesn't keep track of my thank-yous.

And for that I am eternally grateful.

Patty LaRoche
Patty LaRoche: Face to Face