Blessings all around — if you just look
by Juanita Hughes
Columnist
November 21, 2012 12:00 AM | 232 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Juanita Hughes
Juanita Hughes
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How do you compile a “cornucopia” list without sounding conceited?

If we aren’t careful when we start listing blessings, it will come out sounding like “Look at me, I’ve got it all!” But it behooves all of us to make such a list, not necessarily for publication, but to self-examine our lives, to think about those special blessings of an abundant life that we take for granted.

As we do that we should acknowledge that true gratitude will always manifest itself in habitual generosity and in the conscious act of taking care of the gifts of the Creation. If we are truly grateful, whether we say so or not, we will be generous and protective.

As I have finally admitted to being a not-so-little old lady, I’m amazed at the blessings related to the health of our bodies.

They weren’t created to last through eternity, but considering how many bones and muscles and veins and arteries and numberless body parts we have — that work! — we should certainly be thankful for those that work while trying to take better care of those that don’t.

And then there is the blessing of time. I had a friend once who would not take the excuse “I just didn’t have time” when deadlines were missed or chores left undone.

She was correct in saying that we all have the same amount of time. I don’t like to say that I waste time; rather, I just don’t use it wisely. But each minute is a gift, a valuable blessing.

How can we ever list all our friends and acquaintances, our neighbors and kin, our civic and church families, that bring purpose and meaning to our lives?

Any such list would have to include all those blessings inherent in our surroundings. We surely live, if not in Eden, pretty nearby.

I’ll take Woodstock Ga., over any other small city in the United States or anywhere else on Earth.

The unique small-town flavor that defined the town we once knew has not disappeared. It’s still here, absorbed by the influx of thousands of newcomers, but still evident in the day-to-day activities, and especially in the relationships we share with those folks we know … and don’t know.

My favorite saying about friends is: “Make new friends, keep the old. One is silver, the other, gold.”

All these “new” friends remind me of the Prayer of Jabez. His simple requests were granted. He asked God to bless him, to be with him, to keep him from evil so as not to cause pain, and to enlarge his territory.

Well, our territory has been enlarged in more ways than one, making the possibility of blessings even greater.

Much of what our town is today is due to the efforts of Billy Peppers, and I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to stress how thankful we are to Billy for his dedication and his willingness to go the extra mile in showcasing the town.

He has been “on the job” for seven years, and it has been my privilege to work with him all of that time.

He is young enough to be my grandson, but I have learned more from him than I realize. We will miss him.

I suppose it is human nature to focus on our troubles instead of our blessings. We may say that we’ve been handed lemons, in some cases, but we must admit that sometimes we actually planted the lemon seeds and nourished the plants to produce our own lemons.

In those cases, making lemonade might be a little more difficult.

The blessings we take for granted can turn into a curse when used unwisely or when unappreciated. We are not promised a life free from trouble, but with every situation there is opportunity for service. And with every deed of service comes yet another blessing.

Each Thanksgiving season brings a new blessing, something to look forward to, a new friend or family member, or a new project.

This year as our family gathers, we’ll give special thanks for the news of another great-grandchild due in June 2013, and very special thanks for the greatest grandmother we know, Linda Scott.

We’ll give thanks for a year blessed with two high school graduations and some entries into college, and for new employment opportunities in our family circle. A couple of households have new puppies or kittens, as much a part of those families as a four-legged friend can be.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

And in your own list of blessings, don’t forget to express gratitude for the Cherokee Tribune. “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of … the press.”

Juanita Hughes is Woodstock’s official historian and former director of the Woodstock Public Library.
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