Special to 0-A News
for Sunday, Nov. 21, 1999
from Walter Albritton

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to count your blessings

There are many old gospel songs rambling around in my brain but none more lovely than "Count your many blessings." At Thanksgiving time no song says better what we should all be doing.

This old favorite says: "Count your many blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done." How true that is.

In spite of our illnesses, disappointments, and heartaches, we are all blessed far beyond our deserving. So as you prepare to celebrate another day of thanksgiving, do yourself a favor and make a list of your blessings.

See if you donít agree with me that some of our greatest blessings are the simple things that make life good. As you read over my list, make one of your own and share it with your family and friends next Thursday. Perhaps, like me, you wonít have to look far to see some of your finest blessings.

Outside my window when I am using my computer I am sometimes visited by a beautiful red bird that sits for a few minutes on the azalea bush. He rests for a minute, as though to say hello, then flits off on his daily routine. I would not want to cage him, but for a few moments he is mine to enjoy. Iíve named him Pete, after a good friend named Pete who is also a blessing.

My surroundings are a constant blessing. In our home my office or study is called "the Happy Room." We bought this home from Don and Gale Shaddix who had decorated this bedroom for their little boy, Alan. The wallpaper is bright and cheerful, with hundreds of colorful balloons that are being released by dozens of "Teddy Bears." I find it hard (though not impossible!) to be grouchy and unpleasant in "the Happy Room."

Outside "the Happy Room" window, in our front yard, are several dogwood trees. I did not plant them, but because someone else did, I can enjoy them. Dogwood trees are handsome in two seasons -- the spring with their gorgeous blossoms and in the fall with their bright red berries. Whoever first began encouraging Opelika residents to plant and maintain Dogwood trees has surely been a blessing to us all.

Sometimes when I am working at home on Fridays I can witness another marvelous blessing. That is the big garbage truck that comes by faithfully to empty our garbage cans. These "sanitation engineers" are a wonderful blessing to our community. We do well to salute them and thank them for the important service they render to us all. This is one blessing we could not do without!

My neighbors are a blessing for we are surrounded by great neighbors. It is no small thing to have neighbors who know your name and care deeply about you. That is one of the inestimable values of having friends and being friends. My neighbors are a blessing I gladly count.

Two other friends in our neighborhood are a couple of big cats who patrol our back yard. The cats do not belong to us, but like Pete the red bird, I claim them as our own when they stroll through the yard. What they eat I do not know, but since living here we have never seen a rat or any mice. So I have an idea we owe that blessing to the cats who, though never together, seem to enjoy our yard.

Thanksgiving for many of us will include a good meal on Thursday. As we enjoy it we need to remember that there are many hungry people in our community and our world who will not sit down to a feast. While we thank God for what we have, we may also want to ask how and where we could give a helping hand to others.

Thinking about simple blessings, we can surely thank God for the lowly pecan. My mother taught her family to love toasted pecans and every Thanksgiving I always look for some. What a great dayís work the Lord did on the day he decided that his people would enjoy the blessing of pecan trees!

Count your blessings -- it will help you have a great Thanksgiving!