Sorting and Appreciating Life's Most Precious Gifts

".... such golden gifts!"

 Ever since the holiday season officially ended a few weeks ago, I've found myself sorting (dare I say wrestling with?) those  tangled threads of earthly phenomenon that were so graciously gifted to me (us) this past season.  Please don't misunderstand. I am a life~long lover and appreciator of receiving gifts.  I am ever so grateful for them in all forms!  In fact, I pondered on this fact the other day as I happily removed the contents of a very raggedy billfold and placed them into a brand new, lovely, Michael Kors wallet (thank you Rosie!); and again, as I prepared a small area of our tiny garden to receive newly acquired additions of herbs (and a tiny Italian Pine tree that promises even more gifts of pine nuts... in approximately fifteen years, give or take).

As I was digging through the soil, I thought of something I'd read long ago: Anything of value multiplies when it's given.  I admit to testing this philosophy over the years and have found it to be surprisingly accurate.  Giving can create much happiness for the giver as well as the receiver.  

Whatever the gift, it is the emotion and thought of the giver that sets its true value.  When thinking back on important gifts I've received in my own life I find them to be too numerous to count.  Yet, there are a few that stand out from the rest.

My first great gift in life came from my mother.  Besides the obvious gift of life, of which she played a key role, my mother bestowed upon me an avid love of learning.  She tutored me in my first struggles with phonics and was a wise, gentle guide who unlocked the door of my young mind and allowed me access to that secret world of reading... and all the joys and benefits that grace those who wander through it.  My favorite books from childhood (many of them classics she once recommended) continue to be my friends and counselors.  I find it ironic that these books have offered me much needed advice during the years after my mother became too ill to guide or counsel me.  This gift continues to increase the quality of my life as well as enrich my soul.  

I suppose it's no surprise then that the second great gift of my life came much later, from my father.  My mother's illness (Multiple Sclerosis) had progressed to the point where she became unable to care for herself in any way.  Her doctors recommended that she be permanently admitted into a convalescent facility.  My father adamantly refused their strong suggestions and he was unwavering in his answer.  "If I were in that wheelchair she would be taking care of me...and doing a better job of it than I am."  He would quietly explain.  That was in 1976.  For thirty years (until October 2006 when she passed away) he cared for her at home and we visited often.  Although she could no longer speak she was vividly aware of our presence.  We know this by the way she greeted us. Her eyes sparkled... her arms feebly reached out to each of us for an embrace as her lips silently mouthed the words "I love you".   My father would look on and then tell us later  how much healthier she seemed when we were there.  Who could ignore the valuable gift found in his example of loyalty, love and unselfishness?

Now that it's a new year, like most of us, I've made a few resolutions.  Among them... at the top of my list... is the decision to make a conscious effort to maintain my focus on the many gifts I've been given... tangible as well as intangible.  No more focusing on what I don't have. Instead, I plan to put the art of appreciation into high gear and look for the good gifts that are present in all things and experiences.    

Wishing you and yours a blessed 2013 brimming with tangible and intangible gifts !

Sending love and good thoughts to all.

Tracey and Family


Lorrie said...

What a beautiful story of love between your parents. That's truly a gift to their children as well. Happy New Year, Tracey!

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

Ahh Tracey that made me tear up. It's so lovely to hear about people that are truly devoted to each other no matter what.

The "art of appreciation" - I too am trying to concentrate more on the blessing that I have. I bought a very nice gratitude journal that has some writing prompts in it. Like write down 3 things that went well today and why and it also has inspirational quotes interspersed throughout.

There are some things that I just can't change so I'm just going to try to focus on all the good things I have.



La Table De Nana said...

Your story about your so touching..
And may I say what a good dad I think you have..
Tracey..I have always read between the lines that you are so very grateful for everything~
The best to you this year~
My daughters ..are MK fans.:)

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

I agree was an amazing gift to us all as my kids grew up with this example of care love and loyalty...witnessing it as far back as they can remember. My Dad set high watermarks for us all. Now my children ask themselves, when dating seriously, 'would this person care for me like Papa did for Grandma?'
Tracey xox

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

Manuela, you phrased it just right "no matter what" is key!
Your gratitude journal with its prompts sounds right up my alley. Sometimes on those very braided days we all could use a prompt or two to put us on the right track!

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

Such kind word LTDN...thank you so much! Yes, I must admit we've been especially blessed to have such a good father.
I've learned over the years that what we focus on grows, I think knowing this makes it easier to appreciate things more!

Children of Eve said...

I read this post through blurry eyes, it is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing such personal moments with us, it makes me feel thankful and blessed to have a family of my own to share the rest of my life with.

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

Thank you Eve, for appreciating it. His example is too valuable to keep to myself/ourselves.
Tracey xox

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

Beautiful story about your mother and father! We need more stories of inspiration these days.

I hadn't planned a word for the year but one found me. It is THANKFUL and I've written about it for my next Mom Heart post (which will be published on the 18th).

God has been inspiring me to look at every good thing no matter how large or small as a gift from Him, for indeed it truly is no matter who gave it. :)

I consider YOU a gift!

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

Aww...thank you sooo much dear Brenda...I feel the same way about you! I am so looking forward to your post on Thankfulness on the 18th!!! I so enjoy your perspective and we do think similarly about so many always inspire.
P.S. Loved your recent book reviews, am especially interested in the HOMEMADE cookbook you mentioned...also so glad to hear you are feeling better!

Solange Honorato said...

Tracey, just like you, I also like giving people gifts.
Your history is beautiful, and your family is blessed!

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

Thank you so much for the good thoughts Solange!
Hope you are enjoying a happy new year!
Tracey xox

Storybook Woods said...

Beautifully said dear Tracey. I too have been thinking about how I am not conscious enough about all I am gifted with. I want to focus on what I have, not what I do not have and I have much. Like a friendship with you xox Clarice

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

Awww...I missed this one Clarice but needed to say how much I appreciate your friendship and sweet spirit!
Love, love, love,
Tracey. x0x

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