Continuing Thanks

by Sabina I. Rascol
Published on: December 2, 2013
Categories: Celebrations, Inspiration
Comments: No Comments

sunny day-near SuceavaOn a beautiful morning this June, my heart swelled with gratitude for God’s many kindnesses to me. I was leaving the Romanian countryside after a very special trip there with my mother. She’d had the courage to travel again though much older and frailer than when she’d last seen her birthplace. I felt privileged to be there with her.


It had not been a perfect trip, mind you. My smart phone, which I used as a recording device, had been stolen. I still ache to think of the many stories and interviews that have been taken from me. Yet that June morning I was just grateful. Overall my mother was well, we’d spent time with many wonderful people, the sun was shining after a month of endless rain, our train compartment was roomy and comfortable… Now we were heading to Bucharest where we’d stay with a lovely friend of mine and I’d do research in a very restricted archive before returning home to the States.


I saw how much I have been given in my life, gifts and graces big and small. I also saw my tendency to want EVERYTHING, rather than being regularly and profusely thankful for the much that I have. Supportive family and wonderful friends. Basic provision. Peace with God. So many beautiful things. Books, and time to read. My mother still with us. And, as someone once pointed out and it stayed with me, that bombs aren’t falling in our backyards. In short, peace on many levels. Peace.


I remembered that June day and my feelings of gratitude again before Thanksgiving. What a good way to live! Rather than getting hung up on things, even important ones, that I’d like but don’t have in my life, I feel rich when I review and delight in the many, many good things, big and small, that I have been granted. That’s not my default, but I’d like it to be.


In the Bible book of Lamentations, though Jerusalem had just been totally devastated by the Babylonians, the writer includes one of the best reminders for gratitude: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23) Isn’t that amazing? New graces every day. We can look for them, the whole year long. Whatever may be lacking, we can give thanks for what we have and be richer and more at peace for it.


On the writerly front, my big thanks this year go to:


-MY CRITIQUE GROUP: for the Scrivas’ example of diligence and delight in writing; for seeking ways to encourage me and all of us to write; and for their support and compassion when my family passed through hard times this year.


-JERROLD MUNDIS, author of Break Writer’s Block Now!: for properly identifying my various reasons for not writing as the decoys that they are; for helping me detach from my Baggage Train (about which I blogged this fall); and for the reminder that it’s best to aim small when blocked or starting writing again, but to be consistent.


-DONALD MAASS, author of Writing the Breakout Novel and Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook. I’ve thought of a few ways to apply his advice already that I am very excited about and know make my story stronger. I continue working through his books. If I can implement a fifth of what he advises, my novel will rock for readers, as well as for me.


-GREAT STORYTELLERS who have gone before and show me how it’s done. Right now two examples come to mind: The Sound of Music movie, which I saw again on Thanksgiving, and which reminded me that when you’re done with one important scene, you move on right away to the next important event. And the Harry Potter books, which I’ve been “chain-reading” over the last week or two, and which left me in awe again at J. K. Rowling’s weaving of sub-plots and just the general enjoyableness of her writing.


Thanks for staying alongside as I enumerate blessings. What are some of yours?


-Sabina I. Rascol

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