Friday, July 17, 2009

Counting Blessings

With Tom out of town this entire week I have found myself griping. Not to the kids, but inside my mind. This needs to stop, so today I'm going to blog my blessings. No complaining allowed.

Before I begin the count, let me digress a bit and peek back at where I was earlier this week. We've decided to pursue becoming home owners here, and this past weekend we drove through various neighborhoods and stopped into a few open houses in order to get a sense of the variety in London.

Right after our Monday phone call from the broker giving us a green lift my usual manic self took over, trying to create comparison sheets for MLS listings. By Wednesday our realtor went with me to look at the inside of 5 different houses. That was time well spent, though many of my assumptions got blown out of the water and several concerns popped onto the radar. Not the least of which is the fact that a lender will not let us get into a home with less than 10% down. That changes the landscape a lot, considering we still have two daughters at a private Catholic university, plus their apartment, utilities, etc. to support. Not to be unpatriotic, but we an only hope the US dollar weakens enough for parity with the Canadian dollar. The exchange rate is steep!

This morning while I was walking with our son to his job, we started to talk about what type of house would be good for a new home. As we walked along, it occurred to us that we do not need to be in a rush. I didn't have to go through last year's task of getting our possessions, kids, and pets ready to move out of Peru, and having all the intricate web of details to have to fight our way through! We don't have an impending cat 5 hurricane breathing down our necks. It isn't like 7 months ago when we were frantically trying to find a new rental house, right after we had moved to London, before winter blew in. Our first rental had been a card house collapsing as each new "surprise" was revealed. In fact, life has been rather calm, and dull lately by comparison to our past 12 months.

So, as I walked back home, alone in my thoughts, it came to me that we are not in a bad place right now. If we do not get into a hurry, the right house will come along. Our landlord is nice, will let us out of the lease early if need be. She will likely let us just go month to month once our lease if up in December. This will give us time to really look, save money, and not jump too soon.

Tom will be in by midnight tonight, the best blessing right now. Here are a few more, in no particular order:
  1. Our weather has rained just enough to avoid having to drag long hoses around to water the lawn. It has also been just cool enough to make my daily walks pleasant.
  2. We get to breath relatively clean air here. Our neighborhood is quiet!
  3. Our house isn't huge, making it a snap to keep picked up. Our teens are great helpers, taking over tasks when asked, and sometimes surprising me with jobs done without having to be asked.
  4. I thoroughly enjoy chatting with all of our kids! They are interesting and interested people with good hearts.
  5. Tom has his dream job, keeping him on his toes, and letting him do what he is gifted to do. He is also racking up airmiles that enable us to fly our girls for visits, and me back to help make wedding plans.
  6. Our oldest daughter is getting married in 2 weeks! We'll get to visit with a lot of family and friends as we celebrate. Plus, our family will grow, and I need not be pregnant at 53! We are also looking forward to a nice, rather leisurely drive north on our way back to Canada from Texas.
  7. Our other two daughters are relocating to a different apartment, costing us less money for rent, and giving us some peace of mind with a bit of a less "interesting" neighborhood.
  8. My close, dear friends make the effort to stay in contact with me.
  9. We are able to live our faith without fear. We have a choice of Masses to attend, as well as parishes.
  10. We are meeting and becoming friends with many families who have similar values.
  11. It is nice to be able to just drive where I want without having to ask my chauffeur! We can walk and not feel threatened. Did I mention we breath clean air?
  12. Other than some poison ivy, we have little to fear in the outdoors here. No rats, sewer back-ups, iffy water supply, copperheads, fire ant mounds, killer bees, very few cockroaches, and so few mosquitoes that I am surprised when one does show up!
  13. We have a choice when and where we shop for food. I can trust that labels are accurate. We can recognize the products and still try food that is new to us. Milk, eggs and meat does not taste like fish!
  14. The local library system lets me browse shelves discovering treasures, or search online, reserve and have them delivered to our local branch, all for free!
So many of these things, until I experienced a lack of them, held little value. Some of these blessings are so common I forget to recognize them for what they are. All in all, the times I get grumpy and start to crab about living so far from family and close friends reveals how small I really am inside. My perspective gets readjusted each time I meet families who face challenges I can only imagine. I am certainly not asking for any crosses. These teensy little irksome things that my small mind gets sidetracked and focused on are just toothpick size by comparison.

My ancestors were immigrants leaving oppression for freedom, folks who crossed the Oregon trail on foot going days with fresh water, all lived through privations I can't begin to imagine. I hope I humbly learn by their examples, and be someone whom they would want to call their own.

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