Counting blessings, a family legacy

blogscan0004Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays of the year and it is right around the corner of next week.

My family and I have so much for which to be thankful.

As often happens when I think about the blessings I’ve been given, I immerse myself in the waves of nostalgia for memories that envelope my heart in gentle, caressing folds of love.

In the last years of my maternal grandparents’ lives, they resided with my parents and me.  Both Grandpa and Grandma died, within six months of each other, the year I turned nine.  So my childhood memories of them are brief but certain aspects of our life together remain vividly ensconced in my mind.

One of those cherished vignettes is sitting side by side with my grandmother in her favorite rocking chair singing hymns as we rocked in time.   Grandma may not have realized it,  but she instilled God’s Word in my heart with those “hymn sings” we shared.  She also taught me valuable life lessons through the words of those songs, one of which was to be thankful for my blessings.

I distinctly remember those song lyrics and one particular hymn has been swirling around my mind all week.  Today, this Sunday, in my book of Opportunity, Chapter 11, Page 20, we sang this old hymn, Count Your Blessings, in worship at our country church.

My husband and I worshiped God today in the sanctuary of this church  – where we were married and where middle daughter will marry her true love in a few months; where both of my parents grew up as members; where all four of my grandparents belonged; where my great-great grandparents were two of eight founding members back in 1820 – this church which was built upon ground donated by those great-great grandparents.

As I sang this well-loved tune, I thought about the legacy of my family heritage in this church.  In my mind’s eye, I envisioned my ancestors who worshiped God in that very spot all those long years ago.

But mostly as I heard those familiar musical notes, I could picture my elderly grandmother and my little childhood self in our living room at home, rocking in that special chair, and praising God as two voices – one worn, weathered, and cracked and one young, high-pitched, and tender –  sang:

When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,

When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,

Count your many blessings, name them one by one,

And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

    Refrain:

    Count your blessings, name them one by one,

    Count your blessings, see what God hath done!

    Count your blessings, name them one by one,

    Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.

So I am counting my many blessings and naming them one by one.  Even though this year had its challenges, I’m thankful.   One of my blessings is being the wife of my true love and mother of three amazing adults who come back to the empty nest from time to time for visits.

This past fall, our oldest daughter moved back to our nearby city from a state down south and it’s so good to know she’s within easy driving distance again.   Recently, she told me this: “I love being 10 minutes from one of my best friends, 35 minutes from my mom and dad and 10 feet from my sister!”  (They share an apartment in the city.)

Sounds like she’s very grateful and counting her blessings as well.  I’m hopeful that counting our blessings will always be an essential element in our family legacy.

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

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4 responses

  1. Count Your Blessings was always one of my VERY favorite hymns! I loved to play that on the piano.
    Enjoyed your post so much – love reading about your family connections with your church. You must be ecstatic that your daughter lives so near again!

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  2. What a lovely church and a precious feeling to know your ancestors worshiped in that same lovely place. My maternal grandmother played the organ for her church. She learned piano first and self-taught the organ. She used to send us reel-to-reel tapes of her playing many hymns. We played them at Christmas time as we decorated alternating with Bing Crosby. My husband prepares for our annual Christmas concert at our church and I can’t wait for the magic to begin on Dec. 4. Love this post and all you share, the evidence of things seen and unseen that anchor you.

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    • I love hearing my friend’s family legacies too! Such tender, sweet memories you must have of listening to your grandmother’s organ recordings while Christmas decorating. That is just so heartwarming, Georgette! Christmas music is magical and moving. My husband is going to be the narrator for our choir’s Christmas Cantata this year so it looks like both our hubbies will be ‘on stage.’ Thank you for always leaving me the dearest comments. I’m blessed that you totally “get” me and yes, those things that anchor me too. ♥

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