Gratitude Celebration: Day One!

It’s my 60th birthday and I thought of a way to celebrate all sixty years. Every day, I’ll recognize someone who blessed my life along the way!

I’ll start with my parents. I know that’s two people, but I figure since it took both of them to get me here, they come as a package to start off this party. Thanks a million Mom and Dad, Patricia and Jim Bernard, that is.

I was their fourth child. When I was born they didn’t know they would be having six more kids, so I was the special baby for a little while anyway. I have a LIFETIME of gratitude for my parents. I’ll make it easy and just start a list of thank you’s:

  • The basics – helping me get here
  • More basics – food, clothes, beautiful homes, school all the way through college
  • Special things like teaching me how to sew, build things, use tools, and start gardens
  • Dad taught me how to do plumbing (Remember when my Dad and I did 36 joints in one day in the basement of my first house in Covington, KY? That’s soldered copper pipe joints don’t cha know?
  • Mom went with me and my Biology Class to the Great Smoky Mountains Wildflower Festival. That’s where I first saw liverworts, which is very special for someone who loves plants!
  • They took me and my siblings out West a few times, camping, and spending time in the mountains. A seed was planted for future adventuring when I asked my mom if I could walk over to the top of a bald spot on a distant mountain. She said, “Sure!”  What a smart woman, ’cause even though she knew that I would not walk that far, she let me find out for myself. Years later, when I hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 2008, I remembered that moment and realized that while walking that trail I often walked to the peaks of distant mountains.
  • When I was 17, I backed my dad’s car into another car, denting it. I was mortified and so embarassed!  I thought, “He’s not going to let me drive, ever again – he shouldn’t let me drive, I’m not a good driver!” He didn’t say that. The next morning, he said, “OK, let’s go! You drive!”
  • And the most significant gift, which I have only recently realized was my dad’s contribution to my biggest transformation in life was when he said, “When are you going to get a real job? Teaching at an outdoor education center is not a real job.”  It’s been only in the past few years that I’ve realized how deeply I swallowed that belief that what I loved to do most was the thing I could not proudly do! Transforming that belief and claiming my calling as an outdoor educator has given me the opportunity to realize my personal creative power. So, thanks for that, Dad.
  • Having a book about the Appalachian Trail in the home library. The idea of hiking the trail lay secretly dormant until I was 50!
  • I’ll add more points of gratitude to my parents, but you get the idea!

Thanks, Mom and Dad for being exactly the parents I needed!!

This is the book that helped me turn my resentment of my dad’s discounting of my vocation into a powerful transformative accomplishment.

 

Radical ForgivenessRadical Forgiveness, Making Room for the Miracle

by Colin C. Tipping

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