Count Your Blessings

(Dedicated to:  Brandon & Danielle Greenland) 

Once upon an early eve in May, the 28th to be exact, a Mother received a startling message from her youngest child.  She listened to Danielle’s joy-filled voice and couldn’t help but join in her daughter’s excitement.  The call of love revealed that Danielle had just eloped, marrying the man of her dreams.  She had grown to a woman and had just become Mrs. Brandon Greenland.

The Mother’s heart filled to overflowing pride and skipped a few beats, but remained silent with her emotion as her daughter happily shared the moments of the simple, but beautiful, ceremony.  Danielle began describing her beautiful dress, which matched the ribbons woven in her hair.  Across the miles, the Mother could easily envision her daughter’s beauty.  Her daughter merrily described her groom’s handsome appearance in his military dress blues and the glimmer of love in his eyes.

The temporary, one-sided conversation included details of her new and now extended family, thoroughly accepted by one and all.  Her new Mother and Father-in-Law had taken every opportunity to help her feel welcomed into their home and lives.

Obviously, on Cloud Nine, Danielle completed the description of her wedding day with a request and a solemn vow.  “I promise to renew the vows at home, in one year from this date.”  She continued, “Because nothing would mean more to me than having you to perform the ceremony and to have my Daddy walk me down the aisle.”

The Mother knew she would do anything she could to make her daughter’s dreams become reality and agreed to her daughter’s invitation.  However, she also knew she would never force Danielle to honor the offer she’d made while her head was in the clouds.  The Mother had learned, over her many years, to no longer try to force events or life into occurring a certain way.  She learned to depend upon nothing (until it happened) and to follow the flow, expecting anything and everything.  She had learned to live her life one day at a time.  If her daughter’s heart’s desire included a future ceremony involving her Mother and Father, it was okay, and if not, so be it…that was okay, too.

Expressing their love for one another and the Mother giving sincere congratulations to the bride and groom, the call ended.   The Mother was surprised she took the news so well.  She and Danielle’s Father discussed their joy and only wished Danielle the best life had to offer.

As the hours passed, the Father and Mother began feeling and processing every possible emotion.  They continued to fluctuate from joy to regret for not being present at one of the single most important moments in their child’s life.  It would, perhaps take time to accept that all is as it is supposed to be, although at times, like this, it is humanly impossible to understand.

Each evening, following dinner, the Mother walked.  Whether it was rain or shine, snow or sleet, hot or cold…she walked.  In this quiet time, she received spiritual insights and inspiration.

Only days had passed since the call and the Mother had still not decided on a gift for the newlyweds.  Starting a new life, in an apartment…with no utensils, dishes, pots ‘n pans…should have been a good clue what they could use.  But, it just didn’t seem to be enough…  Of course, she would mail a sizable monetary gift, allowing them to choose, together, those “things” they would share, but in her mind, even money wasn’t enough…

As the Mother walked, she hushed her mind from trying to mentally decide what she thought would be the best gift to give.  She listened to the silence…and the Silence spoke.  The message from the Invisible Messenger filled her heart and mind, “Count Your Blessings.”  Along with the three words came the meaning in its entirety.

Returning home, she took pen in hand and wrote these words to the newlyweds.


To my daughter, Danielle…

I am no longer disappointed that I couldn’t be a part of your wedding.  Rather than counting my disappointments, however few, I will instead count my blessings that you had an alternate Mother to help you prepare for the ceremony and to tell you how beautiful you looked.  In our twenty years together, I could count my disappointments concerning you on one hand.  If I counted my blessings, concerning our Mother/Daughter relationship, we would need to have everyone on the planet join hands around the earth and it still wouldn’t be an accurate count.

Danielle, you have been raised in a home, united in love.  Your Father and I have set an example to follow and you know that the only fight we ever had was over who loved whom more.  

Just a Mother’s bit of advice:  If you and Brandon decide to take even days to love the other more and odd days “to be the luckiest person alive,” and only argue about who’s love is deepest and strongest, you will be ones of the few who live happily-ever-after rather than fantasizing about doing so.

As you and Brandon begin your new lives together, remember not to keep count of disappointments in life and in one another, but to Count Your Blessings and to honor the Force of Love that brought you together.  Don’t keep count of resentments or arguments; remember always to Count Your Blessings of the many things you have in common and the dreams you now share. 

If you ever have a difficult time making a decision when falling asleep, look to your side and see the reality of your husband.  Reach out and lovingly touch him, kiss him goodnight, close your eyes and Count Your Blessings. 

To my new son-in-law, Brandon…

 Welcome to our family and our lives!  Although we have never physically met, I have seen you through Danielle’s eyes and know you to be a reflection of the united love and spirit between your Mother and (step)Father.

As Dani was growing up, she was stunningly beautiful.  We had a few quarrels and I would tell her, “It won’t matter how pretty you are on the outside if you’re ugly inside.”  Brandon, as you look into the face of my daughter, you are seeing her inner beauty.  I must congratulate you – YOU and you alone – are the first man to see the loveliness of Danielle’s soul…  Count Your Blessings!

Brandon, when Danielle enlisted in the Air Force, I felt so strongly that she was now safe and secure in her future.  I know how odd that must sound since her career may one day lead her to defending this country and the expense costing her…her life…  The Air Force gave Dani an opportunity at an education, which I was unable to give her.  It gave her a chance at a life, beyond Stevensville, and the limited boundaries I surrounded her with.  The Air Force gave her an exciting future she couldn’t have had otherwise.  Yes, when Danielle joined the Air Force, I felt she was safe.  Now that she has met and married you, I know how right I was.  Without the Air Force, she would have never met you.  Danielle IS safe and secure in the arms of the man she has chosen to love.  Count Your Blessings.

As the years together pass, don’t count the years in birthdays, anniversaries, or in well-earned achievements.  Instead, Count Your Blessings that you and Danielle could share them together.

The Mother’s message from her heart ended by saying,

And to the two of you, Brandon and Danielle… 

“You have the blessings of your parents, which is the first indication that you will live long and prosper.  Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Brandon Greenland!”

As Danielle’s Mother closed and sealed the envelope with a kiss, she lay her pen on the table and folded her hands.  She closed her eyes and bowed her head in silent prayer, counting her many blessings…

Thanks for touching my life…

…With love


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