Friday, January 10, 2014

Discipline of Thanks

Ann Voskamp came up with this terrific calendar of gratitude that gives you three unique things to be thankful for in each day.  I may not be able to keep up with this all year, but it has been very good for me to express gratitude to my Heavenly Father for these positive and sometimes difficult pieces of life. This blog is a great place to share that. I'm thankful for my coworker, Barb, and the women in my small group who first introduced me to Ann's writings. After reading her book, One Thousand Gifts, I look at life differently and practice gratitude as a spiritual discipline to pull me through the dark, unpleasant seasons and remember moments I would otherwise forget. It's a way of worship that raises in me an awareness of Christ's presence. If you struggle with being present or feel you've lost joy, try the remedy of gratitude. Read Ann's story, or her blog, or just start making a long, long, list of thanks day in and day out. The easy and the hard things.

JAN1 - 3 Gifts Heard
  • The children giggling and dancing to those familiar Sunday school songs.
  • Benjamin's singing that haunting song from The Hobbit as he closed his eyes and fell asleep, "Far over the misty mountains cold, to dungeons deep and caverns old."
  • My husband playing Lincoln Logs in the other room as all the kids are asleep.
JAN2 - A Gift Outside, Inside, On a Plate
  • The sky. That ever-changing dome of light, color, texture and wind we are blessed to live under and unceasingly in awe of, every - single - day.
  • A free Christmas-style lunch AFTER the holidays (and the heart of Derek, our new kitchen supervisor at UGM, who created it)
  • Inside a dressing room - rare time to shop alone…and try things on!
JAN3 - 3 Gifts You Overheard
  • "The best thing to do with neighbors like that is to tell them you're praying for them and be in good relationship with them." (She gave him a knitted hat and invited him to Christmas dinner with her husband. He got arrested Christmas Eve.)
  • My little ones playing in the background on the other end of a phone conversation with my husband.
  • I heard my sister-in-law wants to meet up for lunch/coffee next week!
JAN4 - A Gift Old, New, Blue
JAN5 - Something You're Reading, Making, Seeing
  • Reading Jesus Calling every morning - gift from Amanda that we are both reading
  • Making Oliver's bed. Again. I'd do it thousands of times more.
  • Seeing Downton Abbey season premiere! The only show I actually get excited about. Truly a masterpiece!
JAN6 - One Thing in Your Bag, Your Fridge, Your Heart
  • A handwritten card from Dave in my bag for my 5-year work anniversary.
  • My fridge: Dairy. Cutting it from Oliver's diet? Could be an answer for us!
  • "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength." Isaiah 40:31
JAN7 - 3 Graces from People You Love
  • Benjamin's insistent goodbye kiss. I dare not miss it.
  • A confiding friend sharing her hope and fear.
  • My husband who insists we hash out our issues. "Don't ever think I don't want to talk to you. It's not true."
JAN8 - Dusky Light, Surprising Reflection, Lovely Shadow
  • Submit, Revive, Peace. Words God gave me to prepare the way and open my heart to receive His will for this year. The way is unclear, but the words give "dusky light."
  • The flashback (reflection) I had when putting a Breathsaver in my mouth, of Dad giving me Certs at church when I was little. A little something to hold me over until lunch time! All the smells and atmospheres of church flood back.
  • This verse has shown up 3 different times today, like a "lovely shadow" following me around. "Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:18 
JAN9 - A Gift Held, Passed By, Sat With

  • I held Benjamin on the floor of the bathroom at UGM as we fell over with laughter. One of the best moments of 2014 so far. He seemed to enjoy my laughter as much as I did his and we could hardly stop!
  • Passed by Paul today in the Men's Shelter dining room. He spent 37 years in prison and is learning to live in the real world again. He makes a point to say hello every time he sees me.
  • My dental hygienist, Nadia, whom I sat with this morning. A sister in Christ, and someone so similar to me!

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