Friday, November 29, 2013

Thankful Thursday #1: A Grateful Heart in Kiev

Since it has been a brutal day for me, having spent more than three hours on foot (taking the metro and marshrutny taxi -- the express mini-bus -- does not eliminate a lot of walking in Kiev), more time in chairs meeting with people, followed by facility tours (more walking beyond the three hours), very little down time, and limited Internet minutes, I have decided to join the Thankful Thursday crowd this week because I am thankful for so much these days. More information about two-year-old Thankful Thursday meme can be found at the website of Grace Alone. So, here is what I am thankful for today.

• In keeping with yesterday’s post, I would have to say that I am thankful again and again for all the times that God takes care of me. I have come to rely on that, whether at home or traveling the world. After all, the entire world is home to God.

• On a pragmatic level, I am grateful for the purse-size Korean hand-fan that I purchased on a whim in Korea; without air conditioning here in Kiev and with the temperatures soaring to unseasonably high levels, I am putting that little fan to good use.

• I am grateful for people who let me know when I have made their lives easier; for example, the young professor who was assigned to be my escort when I visited the university told me she did not sleep at all the night before because she was anxious about our meeting, but once she had met me, she really enjoyed the time we spent together and was quite relieved that things turned out differently from what she had worried about; a hug took away any remaining reservations.

• Of course, in recent days, I am thankful for the health of Shane and Nikolina (and even Nathaniel and Doah, who have had their small issues); we could have lost them both, but we were reprieved (once again, spoiled).

• This week I joined Face Book (under my real name) and found many old friends there, including a number of high school classmates; I also have found new friends; for every single person, I am grateful.

• We got a little bit closer to finding Ksenya this week, and I am very grateful for that.

• I had lost contact with my friend from Austria, and up she popped on my email the morning I was leaving for Ukraine and Germany; I would have been shouting distance from her and not have seen her; instead, after mass on Sunday, we are going to meet in Austria, in the Alps, just across the German border for lunch; I have not seen her for nearly ten years!

• Recently, one of my employees at a branch site became very ill (cancer) and used up all his sick leave, with no end in site; I donated two days of leave to him and asked all 400 of my employees, if they could, to follow suit with one hour or however much they could afford; the payroll clerk tells me that we got many donations (some went straight into the system without going through her so I only know about those anecdotally and some I don’t know about at all); I am very proud of my employees and very thankful for their generosity.

• In the same vein, I am pleased and grateful that nearly all the managers I supervise understand the difference between doing things right and doing the right thing and consistently choose the latter; it makes the working atmosphere so much better.

• I am also grateful that I no longer have any non-believers among the managers in my division; that was not anything I caused or planned; rather, I assume that God is spoiling me again.

• I am grateful that God intervenes in my work place, creating miracles and positioning people to help one another.

• And finally, coming back to where I started this post, I am grateful to God for being in all the strange and familiar places to which I travel so that I am never alone, never without help, and never without someone to talk to.
For what are you thankful this wonderful Thursday?

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