Columnist thankful for life’s blessings

By Helena Rodriguez: Freedom New Mexico

The Thanksgiving turkey has turned into the day-after-Thanksgiving-green-chile-turkey-enchiladas. Yum! But just because we’re feasting on leftovers today doesn’t mean I’m offering leftover thanks from yesterday.

Thanksgiving should continue, or at least it should begin anew, and be a year-round process. This is not gobbledygook. I truly intend to give constant thanks to The Man Upstairs.

What I thought was a year of frustrations has turned out to be a year of blessings in disguise and a year of answered prayers. He always surprises me though, so this is nothing new.

I purposely waited this year until after Dallas Cowboys Day, I mean, until after Turkey Day, to share my list of thanks, which, hopefully, by the time you read this, will include another Dallas Cowboys’ victory (I’m taking the liberty to offer thanks on behalf of my Dad).

Now I offer this list of thanksgiving, even as the turkey enchiladas settle in my stomach and my mind turns to more appetizing thoughts, which involve Christmas fruitcake. (No I’m not a fruitcake, I just like fruitcake. There I admitted it. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for The Great Fruitcake Debate.)

Now, things for which I’m still giving thanks on this day after Thanksgiving:

• I’m thankful for closed doors. I’ve had a lot of doors close on me this past year, but that’s OK. Temporary setbacks. I firmly believe that closed doors force you to open up the windows and see what lies ahead before venturing out into the horizon. And in many cases, you can find other doors to get you where God wants you to go.

• I’m thankful that Scarecrow, Anisha and Steph were able to spend Thanksgiving with us. (More hands to help wash the dishes. Just kidding!)

• I’m thankful for Baby Santos, our new addition to the family this year and our first boy in two decades. (I’m not kidding. Mom and Dad have nine granddaughters, and two grandsons; and the grandsons are 22 years apart).

• I’m thankful for 40 years of life. I hit the Big 4-0 last month, but I didn’t spend the day in mourning or searching for the Fountain of Youth. There’s something about that zero that scares people, but 40 is a significant number, according to Scriptures. Good things usually happen right after that. It rained for 40 days and 40 nights; and then the rainbow appeared. Jesus spent 40 days and 40 nights in the desert. Moses was on the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights and the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years before they came to the Promised Land.

• I’m dearly thankful for my precious daughter, Laura Micaela. People warned me about the teenage years, but they didn’t mention the frequent hugs that these species dole out for free when they see you’re down. Sometimes I even hear her mutter sincere words of thanks and “I love you, Mom,” which make all 17 years of her life worth much more than gold.

• I’m thankful for continued health of mind, body and soul. There was that little foot surgery this summer, but thank God I’ve still got two good pair of feet to keep me going.

• I’m thankful for all my nephews and nieces, and I’m thankful that I have Marili, in particular, to talk at sometimes. Yes, I said “talk at.” Actually, she talks a lot at me. We talk at each other. We both like to argue at times. But then there was that little incident last week when Marili just came up out of the blue and hugged me at a time when I was almost out of hugs. She said, “I know we don’t get along sometimes, but I love you!” And I was like, “Who are you?” Not really. I hugged her back.

• I’m thankful I’ve been forced many times this year to walk outside of my comfort zone, although it has been lonely at times, and yet maybe I’m still a little too comfortable. Need to do it more often. More of us should.

• I’m thankful the Cowboys won yesterday (assuming they won yesterday, which was after my deadline, and which will set them at a 10-1 record). This thanks is offered on behalf of Lenna Rolan. I like her office; a true homage to the silver and blue.

• Finally, I’m thankful for answered prayers. We pray for rain. We pray for peace. We pray for healings. Let us pray constantly in thanksgiving as well.