28 March 2023


March isn't too early to focus on Thanksgiving or thanksgiving or giving thanks, right?

One of the podcasts I listen to every week reminded me recently that we shouldn't pray just when we need help, but also when we are thankful, which, I know but don't always remember, should be often.

I remember when I first moved to Colorado. I went from the middle of a small desert town to the border of a mountain national park overnight. All of a sudden, I was getting GREAT wildlife photos every single day.

I remember thanking God immediately the first time I got a photo of a mule deer with velvety antlers. I'd never seen any animal with velvet, and boy, was I addicted. I remember praying again as I printed the photos, then again when the best photo appeared on the front page of the newspaper I'd just begun working for. I remember thanking God when I got my first raise just a couple of weeks later because my photography was exceeding all expectations.

Now, it seems I don't get many photos anymore. Just my crocheted snowflakes. I feel like I haven't been out taking pictures the way I like to shoot for a year. I remember the days when I could fire off 600 shots in no time, such as when we visited The Wave.

I guess feel guilty because I haven't been thanking God recently for great photos. I think I've been grateful. I just haven't been focusing on gratitude.

On St. Patrick's Day, I got up and began working almost right away because work has been so busy. I had a live cam running in the background so I could hear the sandhill cranes, which are beginning to migrate north now, because I so love to listen to them. I remembered the times when Lizard and I would drive to Monte Vista in southern Colorado for the annual crane festival in March, and I almost cried because I don't think we will get to do that anymore. I looked over at my personal laptop screen and saw the sun rising over the Platte River where the cranes were gathered. I wondered if we might have a sunrise in our own backyard. It had been so long since I'd even looked out my bedroom window at sunrise!

A glance out the bedroom window blew me away. I threw on my shoes without tying the laces and grabbed my camera, then ran out to the fence as fast as I could to try to get a photo through the chain links before the miracle faded. It lasted but a few seconds. I thanked God over and over again for allowing me to see this sun pillar!

Later that day, Lizard and I were watching out the living room window, wondering if we might get more snow, when suddenly a pair of redtail hawks danced into view, swooping down low, then spiraling back up into the clouds before diving back down at breakneck speed. I've seen courtship rituals on wildlife documentaries, and we got to watch a couple of eagles from a distance (with a good telephoto lens) at Barr Lake doing their mating dance many years ago, but this was the first time either of us had been able to observe such a spectacle so close, so well lit and so spellbinding. I actually forgot to get my camera. We just watched and marveled. And thanked God for letting us watch!

The next day, work was so very busy again, but I didn't have to make my weekly trip into the office because it was snowing. I got only ten minutes that day to shoot snowflakes on my porch. I didn't get 600 shots. But I did get a few, and oh, are they beauties! I thanked God for the snow. I thanked Him for the ten minutes. I thanked Him for my camera. And I thanked Him for snowflakes each and every frame as I processed the photos later that week. (I still have about 30 more photos to process!)

I do constantly thank my Heavenly Father for allowing me to work from home so I can care for Lizard. Not a day goes by that I am not grateful for this blessing. Yet, I don't always have the best attitude.

There is some jealousy within the office because I don't have to go in three days a week like most other employees must do now. I've been known to tearfully fire off defensive statements such as, "I'd cheerfully come in 12 hours a day, seven days a week, if I could have my husband back the way he was."

A couple of weeks ago, I was on the phone with one of our IT people in another state because my work laptop was misbehaving. The specialist working with me wanted to know when I'd be in the office again so they could see if the same problem was occuring there, or if it was just at my home. I explained I would be in for three hours the next week, which resulted in yet another, "Oh, you are so lucky!"

I do not consider Parkinson's lucky at all. I do not consider being forced to learn to be a 24/7 nurse and being forced to come up with realistic solutions to problems like sleepwalking and inability to use modern technology, and creative measures to prevent accidental overdoses and accidental skipped doses without diminishing dignity as lucky. After a few more good, hard cries, I realized this is another area where I need to change my attitude. I need to share the gratitude I feel rather than the bitterness. The remorse. The grief.

So now, I have this whole new me I'm anxious to present next time I have the opportunity. Next time anyone says I'm lucky because I get to stay home, I can tell them with tears of joy, "There is no luck at all. It's a blessing. My husband and I had more adventures together in 14 short years than many people experience in a lifetime. I am SO grateful I'm able to be the one who gets to take care of him now. I'm so thankful I am deveoping skills and personality traits I never imagined might exist. I'm so happy my husband is able to live at home, even though so much of what he was and who he was is being taken from him every day. I am so very blessed."

1 comment :

  1. Hugs and more hugs to you, dear friend. And to Lizard.


Dusty words lying under carpets,
seldom heard, well must you keep your secrets
locked inside, hidden deep from view?
You can talk to me... (Stevie Nicks)

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