Granny Squares and Gratefulness

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I was feeling unraveled this morning.

I found my husband's usual teasing banter a bit annoying, but I tried to be civil, even friendly. But I was trying to think. Deeply. Having to respond to his inane questions was preventing that. (I really do love my husband.)

I had two things on my mind: my pastor's message yesterday and a book I was reading.

Both had to do with my relationship with God. I think. (Or I would if I could.)

My pastor included in his message on gratitude a YouTube video from Soul Pancake, titled "The Science of Happiness." It made me want to do his other message points, which include the 30 Day Challenge. You thought NaBloPoMo was it? Me, too. Apparently, November is THE month for 30-day challenges, including blogging, writing novels (I'm not), and not shaving (I was tempted). It is also the month to challenge yourself to express gratefulness -- which makes sense as we do celebrate Thanksgiving at the end (and, as science purports, giving thanks makes you happier.) Because he was preaching this on November 24, when the 30 days of the month were nearly spent, he suggested beginning today and going through Christmas, which is 30 days.

The book I am reading is simply titled Chair Time, by Dan Southerland. In it, he tells of a different way to pray -- in a mere 35 pages. (Although as I'm reading it on my Kindle, I can't really tell that.) It is short, sweet, and profoundly to the point. The even shorter than 35 pages story is that you sit in a chair and listen to God. He talks. To us. If we listen. But in the book, Dan shares how he began his chair time with a 30 day challenge.

So I thought I would attempt both challenges beginning today. If both my pastor and Mr. Southerland are right, I was going to have one merry Christmas season!

But as I left for the health club this morning, allowing myself some time to think in the silent car, instead being thankful and considering chair time, I was mentally going through my list of things to do -- and, for some reason, my list of things I do wrong. Instead of feeling inspired, I was feeling a bit stressed, a bit overwhelmed, a bit of a failure, and a bit irritated.

Then I got to the health club and had to park in the far reaches of the parking lot.

Shouldn't these people be on vacation or something? What's with the New Year's resolution crowd the week of Thanksgiving?

I managed to find a locker in the woman's locker room, anyway, and headed to the step aerobics class. It was like old home week. Fun. Except that 25 minutes into it, I realized I was done. My energy was expended. I tried another 10 minutes, and then hit the locker room. I was definitely feeling less than inspired.

As I unlocked my locker, my friend Connie walked in and said, "I have your blanket."


Already? I had just given her this family heirloom of unraveling knitted granny squares the latter part of last week.

She carefully got it out of the bag, gently unfolded it, and then, as we spread it out between the two of us, challenged me to find the squares that had been unraveling. I couldn't.

She had matched the ancient wool colors perfectly, mended them to perfection, and fixed squares that were beginning to unravel. It was like new.

And she wouldn't take a cent for her labor.

I felt grateful -- and happier than I had all morning. And I'm pretty sure I heard God say, "See how much I love you?" in that moment.

I knew immediately what I would post for my first day of the 30 Day Thankfulness Challenge: I am thankful for my friend Connie, her talent for knitting, and her recognition of the sentimental value in a hand-made blanket.

And I knew what blanket I would snuggle into as I had my first chair time.

It's a good day to be grateful.


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