Counting My Blessings

During a time when the health of the planet, of humanity, and of democracies is under threat it takes great effort not to give in to hopelessness. Recent events have made me (want to) turn off radio, television, and computer to avoid exposure to some of the basest human nature and to prevent me from crying sad tears or screaming in disgust and disbelief at what was said and done—or at what was not.

I frequently despair of humankind. Yet I am also reminded that human goodness does exist, and there are many reasons to be grateful. One of them is a dear friend who celebrated her 100th (!) birthday in December 2020. Esther has been in the habit of counting her blessings most of her life. She has been an inspiration for me for many years and I endeavor to embrace her positive attitude.

Esther on her 93rd birthday in 2013, still living in her own home. For her centenary we were only able to wave at her through the window of her assisted-living home.

Among my greatest blessings are my family and friends who have supported me in myriad ways throughout my life. Lately I have been touched by the kindness of fellow bloggers who reached out to inquire about my well-being. Thank you for your concern. I am still here and am doing as well as can be expected, and much better than countless others who have lost their health, loved ones, homes, or jobs.

In the turmoil of the past year nothing has comforted me as much as Mother Nature and her still mostly predictable cycles when everything else was all but. I am thankful that my freedom to spend time out-of-doors was never significantly curtailed. To experience nature’s multihued autumnal fashion show before it changed into its more muted winter attire, and to observe the parting of some birds for southern climes and the arrival of others from the north was reassuring. It gave me hope that spring will once again return and with it new life and new prospects.

Scrub oak at Cheyenne Mountain State Park, Colorado Springs, October 21, 2020.

Pair of rare Tundra Swans at Manitou Lake near Woodland Park, October 30, 2020. An unexpected delight.

Serene winter scene at Bear Creek Park, Colorado Springs,  January 11, 2021.

In Esther’s spirit, I am counting each blessing that sustains me through these troubling times. I trust each of you is safe and healthy and wish you your very own blessings.

56 thoughts on “Counting My Blessings

      • Liebe Tanja,
        mir geht es dank ausgeprägter geistiger Immunstärke und sehr guter zwischenmenschlicher Verbundenheiten gut. Ich schreibe auch nach wie vor weiter an meiner Dankbarkeitsliste für die vielen guten Gaben, Freundlichkeiten, Hilfen, Inspirationen und glücklichen Fügungen, die sich in meinem Alltag ergeben.
        Herzensgruß von mir zu Dir
        Ulrike

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Steve. I’m all for parallel structures and think the second sentence makes perfect sense. 🙂
      We have heard about the unprecedented weather in Texas. Sadly, serene does not describe it in many places. I hope your electricity and water didn’t fail.
      Best,
      Tanja

      Like

  1. So very, very good to hear from you. Sorry about your state of mind, but I sure do understand. I haven’t been as perky or as with it as I would like, either. A belated happy birthday to Esther. I, too, had a dear friend named Esther. She died last year—just before her 82 birthday. Such a special friend. I really miss her.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Schön von Dir etwas zu lesen! Ich hadere auch oft mit meinem Menschenbild. Aber es ist wahr. Es gibt immer auch diese schönen Momente, die einen stärken. Von Menschen, die Liebe, Emphatie und Anteilnahme haben.
    100 Jahre Deiner Esther sind echt gewaltig. Und sie sieht zufrieden aus. Das berührt mich! LG Simone

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dankeschön liebe Simone. Wir dürfen uns nicht von all dem Negativen in die Tiefe ziehen lassen. Esther verkörpert Lebensfreude und positive Energie und hat meine volle Bewunderung.
      Ich hoffe bei Dir ist alles in Ordnung.
      Alles Liebe,
      Tanja

      Liked by 2 people

      • Da stimme ich dir zu. Aber es ist sehr anstrengend sich zu schützen. Es ist eine Herausforderung, sich nicht negativ beeinflussen zu lassen. Umso wichtiger ist es, sich ein Umfeld zu suchen, dass positiv denkt. Viele Menschen sind depressiv. Ich persönlich muss da sehr aufpassen, ich war mal sehr, sehr lange krank.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Good to hear you are well (and safe), Tanja.

    I notice absences in fellow bloggers, but having short-term memory issues and my own frequent heath downturns (and finally, hip surgery in December), have not been exactly sure of who is absent.

    All I can say is….. keep faith and inspired by Nature and the changing of the seasons. Despite unseasonal weather and climate change, it is Nature and the daily sight of birds at my birdbath that keep me going.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Welcome back, Tanja. The pandemic – and recent political developments! – have definitely focussed attention on what’s important, in particular relationships with those who are dear to us, as well as Nature. Take care and stay safe, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Liebe Tanja, ich habe auch oft an Dich gedacht, wollte Deinen Rückzug respektieren und habe darauf vertraut, dass Du Dich wieder meldest, wenn es wieder gut für Dich ist. Ich freue mich, dass es jetzt so weit ist!
    Wie gut ich verstehe, dass Du die Medien soweit es geht ausgeschaltet hast. Mich persönlich macht all das wütend, keine Nachrichtensendung in der ich nicht laut streiten möchte! Auch kein gutes Gefühl.
    Sonst geht es mir aber relativ gut, Homeoffice kenne ich und mein geliebtes Meer ist auch noch da. Die Natur gibt auch mir Kraft, sie lässt sich nicht beeindrucken von all den kleinen und großen Schwierigkeiten dieser Zeit. Und es ist schön zu sehen, dass der Frühling an die Tür klopft und wir wieder einen Winter überstanden haben. Alles Liebe, Ulrike

    Liked by 2 people

    • Liebe Ulrike,
      Vielen Dank für Deine lieben Worte.

      Viele unter uns leiden emotionell unter dem, was da gerade in der Welt passiert und die Ohnmacht, daran etwas zu ändern, ist sehr frustrierend.

      Es freut mich, daß es Dir soweit gut geht und Du weiterhin Zugang zu Deinem Meer und den Wellen und dem Wind hast. Die Rhythmen haben sicherlich etwas Tröstliches.

      Die Aussicht auf den Frühling macht auch mich froh, sehen wir mal, was er bringen wird.

      Sei herzlich gegrüßt,
      Tanja

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful photos Tanja! Esther is an inspiration. So glad you’re doing ok. Events over the last year in the USA have been difficult for me to understand but I’ve been learning much about US history and politics over this period! Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Liz. It’s nice to hear from you. Esther is a remarkable lady and she continues to spread good cheer even at her age.
      It has been difficult for me too to understand what is going on in this country. I’m afraid different sides live in parallel universes and cannot relate to the other side at all. Not a healthy scenario.
      Warm regards,
      Tanja

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hello Tanja,
    I feel you are not alone in feeling this way. What a year it has been, and affecting all of us in some ways. But I am glad to hear you are doing well, and many congratulations to your dear friend Esther. Always in my thoughts ❤

    All best,
    Takami

    Liked by 1 person

    • Herzlichen Dank für Deine Willkommenszeilen, liebe Ira. Es tut mir leid, daß Du Dir Sorgen um mich gemacht hast. Meine Probleme sind hauptsächlich emotionell, doch ich versuche die Hoffnung nicht aufzugeben.
      Ich hoffe Dir und Deinen Lieben geht es gut.
      Sei herzlich gegrüßt,
      Tanja

      Like

  8. Hello, Tanja. I honestly don’t know how long it’s been. My life-and-times went on an upswing sometime mid-2019 and it hasn’t let up since. Tundra Swans!! O, to see these beauties in the wild. I am quite envious of your sighting; today, it was the joy of a single White-throated sparrow at our birdbath, a first for our property. (I’d rather have the swans.) My family will be back in Mueller again this year, after a year without. I will be in touch with you properly very soon … I do hope we can reconnect outdoors together with Pike’s Peak smiling upon us! ~ Best, Shannon

    Liked by 1 person

    • The swans were a complete surprise and a first for Teller County, Shannon. A birding friend and I saw them together, along with Rusty Blackbirds, a Greater Yellowlegs, and a Pipit. It was one of those days when you think you are dreaming.
      How exciting that you will be able to come to Colorado for a vacation. Let’s hope there won’t be a blizzard this year!
      Talk to you soon,
      Tanja

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Welcome back, Tanja! You, your beautiful photos and your way with words have been truly missed.
    We are many who share your despair and struggle with our concern for the planet, humanity and democracy while the dark shadows are closing in on us.
    Despite the climate changes, we’ve still got our seasonal changes, and yesterday the first signs of spring landed on the field, the lapwing and the skylark. As the ground is frozen and snowy, and there are no signs of insects, I keep my fingers cross that they will survive.
    Best wishes and stay safe,
    Meggie

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Happy to see you back with us, Tanja! In the best of times we often have to remind ourselves of the good things in our lives and this past year has tested us in a way most have never experienced. It is good that you take heart from Esther. At 100 years she has seen a lot and learned a lot that has helped her attain that age and her wonderful smile you have shared. Every year is a blessing if we choose to see it that way despite everything life drops in our path. And for those of us who love nature there is always a chance to refresh our outlook and be happy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Steve.
      You are so right about the need to remind ourselves about the good things that come our way.
      And your comment on Esther’s wonderful smile is spot on. She is one of the happiest and most content persons I know and her smile and chuckle never fail to warm my heart. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I love reading your posts, even if I am a bit on/off with concentration.
    I have nominated you for an Outstanding Blogger Award. Please feel free to accept or not. Whatever – I think your blog is outstanding. K x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Kerry,
      Thank you so much for your heartwarming comment and for your nomination. I decided a long time ago to keep my blog award-free, but I so appreciate your support and suggestion.
      I hope your concentration will return!
      All the best,
      Tanja

      Liked by 1 person

      • That is no problem, Tanja. I completely understand – I used to enjoy them and then stopped accepting them. You are still an outstanding blogger. I suspect we are feeling a similar tension about the country we chose to live in – even though I was born here. K x

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Esther is a good example of how we should all live, Tanja. Gratitude is such a great way of realigning our focus to what is good instead of what is lacking in our lives. Like you, I often despair for humanity, and do my best to avoid too much exposure to news and social media, as it is simply not benefiting my life and emotional well-being.

    Like

    • Thank you, Jolandi, I agree with your thoughts. And Esther has been an inspiration for me on so many different levels. She is the most positive person I have had the privilege to meet, and I will forever be grateful for having known her.

      Liked by 1 person

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