A Grateful Heart

Words can be such a comfort and a blessing. They can change a day by being the pivotal moment, bringing light in the darkness, joy in the midst of sorrow, laughter in remembering.

Today a dear friend sent me a picture of her daily calendar. No message, just the photo. The January 15 entry:

The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed.

Proverbs 11:25

It moved me to tears. Tears of remembering, of gratitude, of joy.

Today was Mama’s birthday. Our ninth without her here. I didn’t want today to be about being sad about that. She would not like that one bit. When my friend sent me this message, she had no idea it was Mama’s birthday. Or that this verse describes my Mama so well. Mama blessed so many people during her life, and gratitude was her focus. Even after the love of her life passed on, she continued to find things to be grateful for. Every. Single. Day. The last gift she gave me was a gratitude journal. I was not in a place at the time to fully appreciate it, as I missed my Daddy, and just a few short months later, she was gone from this world as well.

But over the years, I remember and I think about how she found things–big and small–to be thankful for. To give thanks and praise for. She never ceased letting others and her Creator know how thankful she was–no gifts or blessings too small.

Time and timing are fascinating to me. And with the message today and another one I received earlier in the week, I was reminded of my Mama, on her birthday, and to be thankful. To my Mama for the blessing she was and continues to be in my life. And I’m thankful for those who have reminded me, without even realizing it, of how she lived her life.

In honor of Mama and Daddy’s anniversary in December (this would have been their 54th), I created a wish list for a young teacher who teaches children for whom books are not always readily available. So many of you reached out and sent gifts to her classroom, and it blessed my heart. Thank you all for taking time to lift up this young teacher, with thoughts, words, prayers, and gifts. For whichever way you blessed her and her students–I am grateful. And so is she. Miss M sent me this note and asked that I pass it along. (Amazon doesn’t always make it easy to thank senders on a wish list, and she didn’t want to miss anyone.)

Dear Friends: As I’ve watched box after box arrive with books and supplies for my classroom, I’m reminded once again of how God works through the hearts of His people. I arranged all of them on their little shelves for them to come back Wednesday, and the first thing they wanted to do was grab them and start flipping through the pages. I don’t know to adequately say thank you enough on behalf of all of them! You’ve blessed a young teacher’s heart. And what is normally a hectic time of coming back to school after Christmas was made a little easier and a little more fun. Thank you all for your generosity to us!

Ms. M and her Kindergarten Class

Gratitude. Mama would have loved Miss M…..and her sweet students.

Today I’m thankful for friends who send photos without really knowing why, for teachers who love and encourage and empower young children each and every day, and for people who send books and supplies for children they will likely never meet. On this day of remembering my Mama, I am thankful for the way she loved books, loved children, and loved sharing books with children. I remember how she so enjoyed giving gifts and how her presence was the greatest gift of all. In a world where things can seem so frightening and chaotic at times, the reminder of what Mama’s last gift to me–that gratitude journal– encourages me to focus on, brings me some comfort and peace.

“Find something, just one thing, anything, to be thankful for, Tara. We are so blessed,” she would say. “The Lord loves a grateful heart.”

Thank you, Mama. Love you. And thank you, friends.

Love to all.

If you would like to send a book or crayons and haven’t had a chance to yet, here is Miss M’s Wishlist . Thank you all again!