Bounty of Blessings

 

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My sideboard arrangement

Looking out into the world, we might find it challenging to find much to be thankful for. Politics and social upheaval in our country are overwhelmingly chaotic at best and downright frightening at worst.

We seem to have forgotten we are supposed to be the shining example to the world of how a society can treat its members with respect, dignity, and equality and thrive in all we do.  I’m not naive enough to think that we have achieved the goals to form that more perfect union, but I am hopeful enough that we as a nation are still striving for those ideals.

Forty-nine years on this earth has shown me that upheaval is necessary to create the growth and improvement towards those goals, it’s just painful to witness and live through.

So instead of looking out into the world and the nation, perhaps this year to reflect on what we have to be thankful for we should look closer to home. I find numerous blessings in my lowcountry community, my family and my circle of friends.

I am always amazed by the giving nature of my fellow lowcountry citizens. Whether it is a crisis here at home or half a world away, people in this community respond in droves. I like to believe that is true of the majority of Americans, it is the American way to have compassion for others.

My family is rather small and I had the opportunity this summer to re-connect with a cousin and I am so thankful we had that time together. I am blessed that my parent’s and so far the majority of the family members are still well and living full lives.

At this point in life, so many of my friends I would call family. If I need a sounding board or encouragement, I have been blessed with many to turn to and I only hope that I have been the same source for them. Friends truly are family we choose.

So as we celebrate Thanksgiving this week I will focus on all that is right and good in my world, personal and beyond. I challenge you to do the same. Leave the politics and the social issues for another time. Over this year’s table let’s bow our heads and give thanks for the blessings each and every one of us have a bounty of to call our own.

 

In Abundance

 

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Confederate roses in my backyard

It is early November and one one of the pleasures of living in the South Carolina Lowcountry is enjoying the continuing parade of bloomers, while many parts of the country have their plant life fading to brown and bare.

I worried about several of my plants during Hurricane Matthew. My magnolia, river birch and my redbud trees and also my camellias and these beauties. My attachment to the confederate rose bushes is two-fold. First I love that they bloom in late October into November. Second, they were rooted and given to me by a neighbor, which makes them way more precious than any plant I have ever purchased. Luckily none of my plants suffered any significant damage. The confederate roses were bent, some of the branches touching the ground, but the bushes were laden with buds, delivering a bumper crop of blooms.

This abundance speaks to me. It tells me that even when storms rage, there is resilience. It tells me there is hope and beauty among the challenges. The romantic in me even sees it as a metaphor for my writing career, it is growing and blossoming with vigor. Every time I catch sight of the pink roses from my back windows I can’t help but smile.

We stress every day about weather, politics, geopolitical conflicts, the economy, the loss of courtesy, respect, and compassion that seems to be happening among different groups of people. Much of this comes from fear of differences and belief that somehow there is a scarcity of resources. But the truth is the majority of us have more than we need and if humanity could ever learn to share its resources then all would live in abundance. I know that is an ideal vision for the world, but I hope that is what humanity will reach as reality someday.

It will be Thanksgiving in a few weeks, a wonderful time to reflect on all the blessings we have. I just found my reminder to be thankful every day for the abundance in my life a few weeks early.