Saturday, July 4, 2009


My husband took one look at this picture (taken today at Bellingham's Farmers' Market) and said, "Isn't there supposed to be a person in the picture?"

Well, today I am going to be the venerable Garden Sage. It's the Fourth of July, and my brother, on his Facebook status update, admonished me (and a few other friends and family) to count our blessings. So, in my normal fashion, the first thing I did was look up the definition:
blessing: a beneficial thing for which one is grateful; something that brings well-being : great intelligence can be a curse as well as a blessing | it's a blessing we're alive.
Oh, okay. That's not so easy to do, though. How do I count my blessings, the things for which I am grateful? Let me give it a try:

(1) My health and relative intelligence. I say relative, because there will always be people more or less intelligent than me, with more brain power and abilities, but I have enough to get by on, and it flavors all the rest. And the health part is presently adequate to play and walk and get my blood flowing.

(2) My family and friends. Sometimes I think we take this for granted. But when I think what my life would be like without my trusted partner, or my siblings and extended family, I shudder to imagine how bereft and lonely my life would be.

(3) Where I live. Every day I am reading about people in the southwest baking in the unremitting heat, and the people in the northeast drowning in the rain. And here I am in the Pacific Northwest, it's 75 degrees outside, sunny, and tonight I'm going to walk a half mile down to Bellingham Bay and watch the fireworks over the water. And our humble apartment might not make everyone happy, but it's more than enough for us.

(4) My eyesight. We take for granted that we can see to go places, see to read books, and see to blog on the internet. But recently, when I learned I have beginning age-related macular degeneration, it suddenly gave me a new appreciation for how much being able to see brings into my life.

(5) An adequate income. This has become a problem for so many people around the world today that I cannot help but be thankful for our two income streams: social security and the annuities accrued during my years at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. It's much less today than it was this time last year, but it is enough, and though we will never be wealthy, I give thanks for my husband's foresight every day. If it had been up to me, we would have much less to live on.

(6) Social networking websites. Facebook and Blogspot have become a very important part of my life, because I am connected to all my old friends, as well as my new ones. I am also fortunate to have more than a dozen family members who I can vicariously visit.

(7) Skydiving. This activity came into my life accidentally two decades ago, and through it I met my husband, became an instructor, and have numerous friends around the world who know what it means to "get your knees in the breeze." After more than 64 hours of accumulated freefall time, I can hardly imagine my life without it. As I am aging, I am skydiving less, but still skydiving.

I have two superstitions related to skydiving. On the way to the Drop Zone, I thank God for all my blessings, for my husband, for skydiving, and practice my emergency procedures. I also wear the same earrings I had on for the first jump more than 4,000 times ago, each time I go out to jump. I know they are not the things that keep me safe. In skydiving, you can do everything right and still die. But this is also true for anyone who walks out the door to go shopping.

And you, dear reader. You have become a very important part of my daily existence. I sit down at my computer these days, and the first thing I do is check to see if anyone has left me a message. You are my larger world, my wider connection to Life. I am so grateful to have found you.


  1. Djan that was a heartwarming blog. I am so pleased to meet you, thanks to Judy who lead me to your blog.

    And blessings for me are those things which I am enjoying right now and which I am willing to share to others. I consider myself to be so blessed for all the goodness in life that I have now, and what I do is give a portion of them to others, be it tangible or intangible.

    You're guts in skydiving is already a big blessing, because few people has the courage to try it. And I hope you'll be able to share the experience to those who are willing to learn. Like me LOL.

    At the end of the day, I go to sleep and waking up again in the morning, alive and kicking, is already a wonderful blessing to me.:)


  2. What a thoughtful post, DJan, and you are so right, we need to be grateful and appreciate all the people and the good things we have in our lives. I think that people who are not grateful are self-centered, narrow and a bit arrogant. It is so easy to blame others for our unhappiness and to blame it on the things we do not have. Radio personalities thrive on this – “it’s not your fault; it’s the fault of taxes, or the fault of the government, or the fault of Party X, etc.” They create resentment. Life is short and years go by very quickly, it is so much better to be thankful and happy. Even if one has no family nor friends, just the fact to breathe the air, smell a flower, hear the sound of a bird or a running steam are things to be grateful for.
    Here is a quote I like: "Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful." –The Buddha

  3. I would never jump out of a plane unless it was on fire! But good for you! I didn't know what 'knees in the breeze' meant. It is good to count our blessings and be reminded of how many we have!

  4. Hello it's me again, what I meant about the "10th photo in the folder".

    If you created albums or sets of your photos in your documents in your computer then you prolly have the first set or folder or album. That is where you can find the 10th photo.

    Now let's play tag weeeeeeeeee!

  5. Skydiving was a revelation for me, as well. It changed my life in so many ways. (Sounds like a religion, but you know what I mean...) Sailing has changed my life too, and so has my husband. It gives me something to blog about...

    Thanks for reminding me to count my blessings, of which you are one! May you be showered with more blessings for sharing yours with us.

  6. DJan,
    A wonderful post. This is a great reminder for all of us to take some time to count our blessings. Thank you for the nudge.
    Hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend.

  7. That is a good list. I echo most of those, but not the sky-diving. I think you left out the company of birds. I know how much they mean to you! I love my animals and I value my blogging friends. I have no brothers or sisters and my mum and dad are dead, so I guess I am an orphan. So, I envy you your many siblings and wonder what it is like to have such a big family?
    Blessings, Star


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