The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

November 20, 2012

Be grateful, and never take life for granted

By Peggy Goodrich, columnist
Enid News & Eagle

— Is it possible to express all the gratitude we feel? Think about it.

Last week, I wrote my article on giving thanks abundantly. This past week has been so unusual with miracles that I am again overloaded with gratitude.

Jim has another lead (pronounced “leed,” not like “get the lead out”) placed in his heart and his pacemaker replaced this week. The surgery went very well thanks to the skilled, caring surgeon and his talented crew. He was in the hospital only overnight, and is back home to rest and recuperate. He is doing very well.

While he was in the hospital, and before and after the surgery, we were surrounded with such a loving support group. Our phone rang constantly with concern and well-wishes and prayers. We were truly blessed. Friends brought food and goodies and lovely visits.

Our church family proved that they truly are a family. They surrounded us with love and prayers and care. They could not have been more attentive.

On the day we returned home, we had a very happy surprise. An old Marine buddy from World War II came to see Jim. As far as we know, there are only two survivors of the initial L Company, 3rd Battalion, Sixth Marines, who fought on Guadalcanal and Tarawa when Jim was in the second Division of the Marines. They were in boot camp together and were not only close friends, but brothers.

This wonderful friend and buddy is a Methodist Minister in Louisiana. On Veterans Day, he told his small congregation about Jim and their experiences and some of the stories they shared. Some accounts are funny and some tragic, but all interesting. His lovely congregation took up an offering to send him and his wife, Ruth, to see us. For all we know, this could be their very last visit.

Ruth and I had heard these many stories time and time again, but we never get tired of hearing them. Wednesday evening and all day Thursday were no different. They talked all day and into the night. They talked while they ate breakfast. They talked through naptime and into the dinner hour and way past bedtime. But they never ran out of anything to say. They talked about the patrols they went on when several of their small group were killed, but they were spared. Both agreed that they really should have been killed ... but they were the lucky ones.

Ira and Ruth had planned to get an early start to return home on Friday morning, but came by for one quick cup of coffee and one more goodbye hug before they got on the road. Well, that brief visit lasted until almost noon. The time went so fast. They had so much to talk about and so many memories to go over one more time. It was like they just couldn’t say goodbye.

A few moments of meditation and thought will reveal to us our utter dependence on God and man for every satisfaction and survival in life. We are dependent on others for the civilization we enjoy along with the comforts, conveniences and joys of life. We are beholden to others for our food, our clothes, our homes, and our very lives. Before we have been up an hour in the morning, hundreds of people have served us in some way. Can we really think of one single thing that we possess and enjoy for which we are not indebted to someone and to our God?

I am grateful for life in this wonderful world. I am grateful for health, for Jim and my brother Bill, and the way he is beating cancer of the mouth. I am grateful for nights of quiet rest. I am grateful for the beauty and glory of the seasons and for the bounty of harvests. I am grateful for our home, our friends, and for all the caring people of this wonderful world. I am grateful for little children for the joy they bring to us and for the lessons they teach us about perseverance and play.

I am grateful to live in a country where we can worship as we please and express our feelings and opinions without fear. I am grateful for patriotism and the many who lived and died so we can enjoy the freedoms in our United States of America.

When I start thinking about all the things I am so thankful for, it borders on preaching a sermon, but I think we cannot say “thank you” enough. I am glad I and those around me have positive attitudes and show appreciation and love all the time ... not just on Thanksgiving Day.

From a little magazine, Mother clipped this poem and used it for a bookmark;

“I thank Thee, Lord, for calm majestic hills

“For broad and fertile plains, for shading trees

“For sunny slope, for cool sequestered rills

“For rain and dew and sweet refreshing breeze.

“I thank Thee, Lord, for summer’s golden hours

“For glowing autumn, rich with bounteous yield

“For tender spring, with birds and fragrant flowers

“For winter’s virgin cloak on wood and field.

“I thank Thee, Lord, for fellowship and friends

“For life and love, for knowledge of Thy Word

“For every blessing that Thy mercy sends

“I thank Thee, Lord. Amen.”

I would hope that within all of us, there is an awakening of thankfulness, knowing that a stream cannot rise above its source so we cannot rise above the quality of our gratitude. May we who blindly enjoy the necessities and comforts of life be quickened to a sense of our dependence upon our Heavenly Father and our fellow men. May we never forget to say thank you and show our gratitude.

May we never take life for granted.

The recipe I am sharing with you today was requested by a reader. On Valentine’s Day, I make it with cherry pie filling, but for Thanksgiving and Christmas, I use a can of whole cranberry sauce. You can use whatever you wish, even apricot pie filling. Usually, I throw in a handful of small marshmallows.

Holiday Salad

14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1 tablespoon lemon juice

8-ounce can crushed pineapple (drained)

20-ounce can cherry pie filling or whole cranberry sauce or whatever (see above)

9-ounce frozen whipped topping, defrosted

1⁄2 cup nuts

In a large bowl, combine the condensed milk and lemon juice. Stir well. Add pineapple and pie filling. Mix well. Fold in whipped topping and nuts. Cover and chill until serving time.

Send your comments to: Peggy Goodrich, Food For Thought, P.O. Box 1192, Enid, OK 73702.