Feeling Grape-ful

grapes-in-a-bowlEven when grapes aren’t on my grocery list it seems I always come home from the store with some. I can’t resist those beautiful green or red orbs, now usually packaged in easy-to-grab cellophane bags.

And is there any other fruit more…well, fruitful? Grapes are not only a delicious, nutritious snack for school kids and dieters, they are used to make jam, jelly, juice, raisins, vinegar, grape seed oil and, of course—wine! In fact, 71% of all grapes grown are used to make wine, and the United States is fifth in in the world in grape production, behind Spain, France, Italy and Turkey. (If you somehow missed seeing the episode of “I Love Lucy” where Lucy visits a winery in Italy and learns to stomp grapes, find it on YouTube. It’s always good for a laugh!)

In this season of nostalgia and gratitude, however, I’ve discovered yet another purpose for grapes. No doubt you, like me, have friends and acquaintances going through difficult times this season—or maybe the person suffering is you. Two people I know have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. A wonderful couple in our community lost a son to addiction in spite of every effort to save him. Natural and manmade disasters fill evening news reports and newspapers.

In light of all this, I want to be more aware of the blessings I have been given—and to focus anew not on what I don’t have, but on what I do. This is where the grapes come in. While sitting quietly with a small bowl of grapes next to my favorite reading chair, I decided to let each grape I plucked from the bunch represent a blessing that came my way this year. Taste and see that the Lord is good…we read in Psalm 34:8. Oh how His goodness became apparent to me as I acknowledged one blessing after another…all while enjoying the fruit of the vine.

On every bunch of grapes there will be a few vacant stems. Maybe a bird ate that grape or it was sorted out of the bunch for some reason. I let the empty stems represent blessings that didn’t come my way, but went to someone else instead. Maybe to one of the people that I know is hurting. And so I was even grateful for the missing grapes.

Grapes nourish us, but then so does gratitude. It’s said a grateful heart is in itself a prayer. I hope you can join me in being grape-ful this season. Taste and see!

This blog post first appeared as a column in The Country Register, Nov-Dec 2016.

Comments

  1. Rolle Waker says:

    Nancy, this is so easy to do. I need to be aware of the blessings that went to another. I’ll
    never look at an empty grape stem in the same way again. You have given your readers a simple
    Thanksgiving blessing. Thank you! Please hug Jim for me.
    May the Peace of the Lord be with you. Rolle

  2. Lea Ann Brookens says:

    Delightful! Reminds me of those times, 30+ years ago, when I sat in the evening putting my 2 year old to bed, nursing my infant and singing “when upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed, when you are discouraged thinking all is lost, count your many blessings name them one by one and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.” Indeed it was a nourishing time – this giving thanks.

  3. Great thoughts!
    Good idea!

  4. Jim B (your loving huzzband) says:

    Sweet words my dear.
    The empty stem also reminds me to be thankful for adversity that comes our way since it will draw us closer to our Lord for strength and guidance.
    Love you

  5. Very good point. Thanks, dear!

  6. Elizabeth Van Liere says:

    Nancy, my favorites have always been green grapes. You’ve given me something special to think about the next time I nibble on a bunch. So neat to turn even grapes into something to be blessed by or to bless others.

  7. I have always loved grapes joined by a small plate of crackers and Swiss Cheese; a double blessing of sorts. Part of the reason I enjoy your blog is that it helps me fill my daily quest for positive hopeful perspectives. A few months ago, I became a charter member of Peter Diamandis’s Xponential Advantage. In one of the course modules he challenged me to keep a record of every news story i read (85 stories that day). The purpose was to log the ratio of positive to negatve stories. In my case it was 67 negative to 18 positive. The point: one cannot maintain a positive, hopeful can do attitude toward life while being constantly bombarded by negativity. We don’t have to ignore negative news; neither do we have to wallow in it. Changed my perspective. Your blog helps me in the quest for balance.

  8. A beautiful post on so many levels, Nancy. You make me grape-ful!
    Wishing you and yours a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving.

  9. nancy,

    A wonderful example of the Fruit of the Spirit in action. Blessings!

    Bob

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