Heart Choices: The Habit of Counting Everyday Blessings -->

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The Habit of Counting Everyday Blessings

Counting everyday blessings has finally become a part of my life.

When I first began to participate in Multitudes on Mondays with Ann of A Holy Experience, I had to intentionally make the choice to focus my attention on searching for everyday  blessings.

I wasn't in the habit of giving thanks for those seemingly ordinary occurrences in life.  But the habit is taking root and for that ...I am thankful!
The weather in the Phoenix area this time of year is beautiful.  The temperature ranges from nights in the low 40's with daytime highs in the 60's.  I'm originally from New York so I grew up with snow and cold winters.  I love to bring out my sweaters but I also get to experience flowers and sun and mountains.

Greg and I had a quiet Christmas this year but much time to spend together.  After all, I'm on a two week break from work.  That's the beauty of working in a school.  When I worked as a nurse, I worked many holidays over the years.

I'm so grateful to my friend Terri for an annual invitation to the Phoenician Holiday Tea.  This tradition began about 14 years ago when Terri's mom was a patient in the cardiology practice where I worked. The three of us went each year at Christmas.  However, Terri's mom died but we've continued the tradition now including her cousin Janet. As we sip tea, we often reminisce about all three of our mothers in heaven.
I wrote about my family's Norwegian American Christmas traditions here.  I was delighted to learn that my niece Katie is interested in continuing many of these traditions.  She lives in Brooklyn, New York as she works as a colorist in a hair salon in Manhattan.  She was home visiting her parents in Florida for Christmas.  I received a call from her mom asking for the family recipe.  So we had the smell of cardamom in Arizona and in Florida!
My dad is in his 80's and is currently living with my sister and her husband.  He's had numerous health issues with his heart over the years but we're so thankful he's doing well now.  He used to love to paint using oils.  But it's been some time since he picked up his paintbrush.  He recently asked me to send him a picture I had taken of The Lone Cypress along 17 Mile Drive in Carmel, California.  He thought it would inspire him to begin painting again.

I was happy to do so but instead I entered a giveaway on Jennifer's Studio JRU blog.  She was offering a 16" x 20" rolled canvas print from UPrinting.com.  I could use the photo I had taken of The Lone Cypress and possibly win a canvas print of it to send to my dad for Christmas.  So I entered and ...I won!
My brother took a photo of my Dad with his gift as I wanted to see what the finished product looked like.  It was beautiful and I hope it will inspire my dad to begin painting again.

#277 Beautiful weather in Phoenix
#278 Two weeks of vacation from work
#279 Wonderful friends who share fun experiences 
#280 Norwegian traditions that are being continued in the Sumstad future generations
#281 The smell of cardamom in the house
#282 A beautiful Christmas church service 
#283 Singing Christmas carols together
#284 Helping a friend begin blogging
#285 Receiving a box of Norwegian treasures from my Aunt Ruth
#286 Seeing the face of my dad smiling despite the miles that separate us
#287 Praise that Greg's mom is getting stronger everyday after several health issues this past year
#288 The fun of reconnecting with friends and family on Facebook
#289 The joy of watching a family friendly movie called "Dolphin Tale" on my new Kindle Fire
#290 The gift of Jesus
#291 Peace with God through Jesus
#292 Joy despite ongoing challenges in life

Will you begin to make the daily choice to be on the lookout for those everyday blessings?  It will change your perspective on life.

Blessings and love,

Debbie Petras
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  1. singing carols! my favorite and I was able to continue that tradition this year, even in Uganda. so grateful. blessings on your new year!

  2. Love that picture of your Dad, he looks thrilled. I've been so thankful that my Dad was able to enjoy Christmas this year.

    I love the idea of everyday blessings and am afraid I would be one that sometimes overlooks those. I'm going to make a more concerted effort this new year to do just that. Thanks for this post! You always bless my heart!

  3. Beautiful list, and I LOVED hearing about your Christmas! I think a quiet Christmas is just about the best kind. :) Blessings to you!

  4. Dear Debbie, Loved this post and I agree that when you begin to give thanks for even the smallest things, it becomes a wonderful habit. May you continue to walk in blessings each day.
    Hugs, Noreen

  5. love you and your thankful heart!

    xoxo Merry Christmas!

  6. love you and your thankful heart!

    xoxo Merry Christmas!

  7. Oh temps from 40s to 60s sound great! Thanks for sharing your list this week. Blessings!

  8. I'm glad I started doing the 1000 gifts count too. It does make a difference. I count you as a blessing all year round, Debbie!
    Love you,

  9. Hi Debbie, I'm counting you in as part of my blessings... for you are one blog friend who really has a special place in my heart. I've not been able to visit many of my fave blogs these past months,including yours... nevertheless nothing changes in my heart about you.

    I've been to the 17 Mile Drive in Carmel, and I have a photo of the lone cypress in my photo album... yes it is a beautiful scene. So glad you won the canvas print, and your dad will surely be inspired to paint again. It will give him a purpose to keep him healthy and alive! In our Bible study group we are studying Daniel and what excites us is the reality that Jesus is coming back sooner than we think... in this generation! So who knows... many of us who are alive today may never experience death!

    Christmas and year end blessings to you dear friend.


  10. I love going and having tea. I would love to partake of some of your Norwegian goodness. #278, yippee! I am off work until a week from tomorrow. #284, doesn't it give you so much gratification to help others with their writing? #287, so thankful Greg's mom is getting stronger. #289, Oh I haven't seen that movie yet. Maybe when the kiddos are asleep I will hog my Kindle to myself and watch!

  11. I love hearing about your traditions Debbie! Love, love, love it! Traditions are such a wonderful blessing. And I have to say... your dad is so handsome! :) I love seeing a photo of him and that beautiful canvas. It really looks wonderful. What a stunning view that is. I know it will inspire him!!

  12. Love every post your write....I am going to get back to counting my blessings and putting them down.....hate getting distracted

    Happy New Year!

  13. Dear Debbie,
    It's already 3 hours into New Year's eve in Norway.
    I want to thank you for the inspiration you've been to me through the years, and particularly since you started counting blessings. You open my eyes and make me see the wonders of the Lord over and over again.
    I've often felt I've been walking on bended knees this year.
    My purpose for the next year is writing about all the marvellous ways God has been helping me and my family out, over and over again.

    God never promised us a life without trials, but over and over again he has promised to be with us every step of the way.
    Till this day he hasn't broken his promises. Even if I have been unfaithful and faltered, he has never let me go or forsaken me.
    Grace over grace.

    I'm so impressed by your photographies.
    I do hope you get time to work more with your artistic gifts. I "see" a book about children from a child's point of view. You have the rare gift of empathy as well as communicating with both adult and children through text and pictures.
    Your works are coloured with love.

    Happy and blessed New Year to you and Greg
    from Felisol


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