"The only way to pray unceasingly is to do it with your eyes open."
I climb the stairs to change the bed linens
with aching back from a previous day spent weeding.
I gather the sheets from the linen closet,
sweetly scented from an afternoon on the clothesline,
and look out over the back yard.
Grass needing to be mowed,
shrubs filling out with more bright, green leaves every day.
Peonies with large flower buds ready to bloom.
Lilacs spreading sweet scent.
Lady Slippers dancing in the breeze.
Cloud shadows race across the yard dotted with the season's first dandelions.
More weeding will be needed.
Grateful for this big, old farmhouse surrounded by green grass, flowers, and fruit bearing trees.
The sheet floats above the stripped bed before gently landing on the puffy mattress cover.
I walk around the bed to straighten it,
my bare feet making the old, wood floor creak
as the fan hums overhead.
I hear Maizie clambering up the stairs.
She jumps on the bed wanting to play.
I bend to kiss her soft head, she licks my nose,
and I scoop her off the bed.
Grateful for this evening when the husband and I will snuggle in a large, clean bed with linens smelling of the outdoors.
I gather up the clothes from the hamper for washing.
Lifting the heavy laundry basket onto my hip,
I descend the stairs.
Grateful for strong, sturdy legs and a body -
though aging and a bit saggy in spots -
rises to the demands I place on it.
The husband comes in the door asking me to come look at something he's found.
Jacket and sneakers on,
I settle on the golf cart seat next to him.
We ride across our property and into the woods beyond.
Dogwood sprinkling white.
Red bud trees splashing pink.
Birds calling out to one another.
Twigs and sticks strewn across the path
snap beneath the tires.
Morell mushrooms spotted and tucked in a bag.
We turn into the neighbor's field.
Gray clouds hover over a huge meadow of purple clover and yellow wild mustard
reminding me of the western prairies.
The wind blows, making the grasses bend.
Grateful for the beautiful wide, open spaces that surround our farmhouse, and time spent with the husband.
He takes me to a pile of....discarded trash?
Tells me that I'm going to like what he found.
He pulls out a tall, old reading lamp.
Rust has claimed a lot of it,
but the scrolled metalwork on it is incredible.
I can envision it refurbished to it's once known beauty,
and place it in the cart next to me.
We bring it home.
Grateful for a husband who sees beauty in a rusty lamp.
In the living room, I sit to check my emails
and gaze around the room.
White painted furniture, a pile of grain sacks, a coveted French candelabra,
and purple hydrangeas spilling out of a large, white soup tureen.
Gray shutters, an iron cross, a lettered pillow, and rustic baskets.
Clock ticking on the fireplace mantel.
Grateful for the joy found in simple decorating.
I pull the laundry from the washer,
eyes wander around the basement.
Heart cringes and sighs.
Such a mess.
So much work to do down here.
So many things to start on and complete.
A rainy day chore.
Grateful for the safety of a basement during the stormy spring season.
Dark cloud gather outside the windows.
Trees, green against deepening darkness,
Maizie snores on the sofa beside me,
curled up and toes tucked under.
I hear the husband tinkering outside in his shop.
The mantel clock ticks away the quiet minutes.
The computer keys click beneath my fingers.
A fistful of fragrant lilacs
picked by the husband...
just for me.
An afternoon of complete gratefulness
for a blessed life
in this old farmhouse.
"The greatest thing is to give thanks for everything.
Whoever has learned this knows what it means to fully live."
[ Grateful Blessings ]
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