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  • Jered Stewart

Greeting the New Year with Gratitude

When I was growing up my grandmother lived with us. My “Nana” was a hard working woman, born around the time World War I was starting. She was a great baker and owned a bakery in our small hometown for many years. I remember her making wedding cakes in our kitchen, and sometimes she made donuts fried in lard. I think she passed along her baking skills to my mother as she is also a fantastic cook and baker. Her homemade bread is the best. If you visit her around the holidays you are guaranteed to gain at least 10 pounds. But it’s worth it.


I remember when my Nana would come home from town she would sometimes bring a treat for my brothers and I. This would often be a candy bar or a package of gum, something most kids would like. Well, I remember one day she brought home some terrible watermelon flavored bubble gum. It was the worst. As a kid you like almost anything sweet, but this wasn’t good, it wasn’t good at all. And we grumbled about it.


Well, unfortunately she overhead my brothers and I complaining about this gum, and she said to us that she wouldn’t bring us any more treats because we were ungrateful. In those days you would say that we had begun to take her gifts for granted. And I remember hearing “don’t take anything for granted.”


It seems that this may be one of the biggest complaints today about those “millennials”. They don’t appreciate anything, or they take everything for granted. And this may have some truth to it, but I also think it’s probably true of all of us. The last time you turned on your shower and hot water came out within seconds, did you take a moment to appreciate that? When you turn on the faucet and have immediate access to cold drinking water, do you think about the millions of people in the world who do not have access to clean drinking water? According to the CDC, 2 billion (with a B) people in the world do not have access to clean drinking water in their home. There are almost 8 billion of us now on the globe, so if my math is good that is 1 in 4. And we could also think about electricity, food, transportation, and shelter. Perhaps each of us have been lulled into that “taking it for granted” thing.


As we begin a new year I would ask you to think about what you take for granted, and perhaps think about what you really appreciate. As we go forward into 2023 I hope that we can all be grateful, and perhaps consider what we can do to help alleviate the suffering of others in the world. If you are able to read this message, then I would count you (and myself) among the lucky. Don’t take it for granted.


“Don’t take anything for granted, because tomorrow is not promised to any of us.”



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