Sep 6 2012

Every Thursday, Thanksgiving

Counting thanks to 1000 and beyond…

822. A finished paper and the lovely spaces in which to write it.

823. A night of blackberry and plum crisp making with Jack and Jane, dancing in the kitchen to the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack.

824. Kitty company

825. 45 days of sunshine and counting. I’ve forgotten it’s September.

826. The Sergio Leone Suite, Ennio Morricone, played by Yo-Yo Ma. I weep everytime is comes on Pandora.

What are you thankful for this week? Might you share with us 1 or 2 gratitudes in the comments so we can rejoice with you?

Join my friend Kimberlee and I as we give thanks together.

And the inspiration for counting gratitudes:


Oct 3 2011

{Day 3} Noticing Thankfulness

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What is a memory for which you are grateful?

Take a moment to put yourself back into the memory, see the colors, hear the sounds, feel the emotions attached to the recollection.

Be there, just for an instant, stretch your imagination back to that moment. Breathe in the thoughts and feelings.

A precious memory I have is from when I was 8 or 9.  My family was living in Kentucky, at Ft Knox. If you are familiar with the area, you know that there are many little civil war cemeteries in the most unusual places. Some are forgotten in forests or sit lonely on top of hills. My dad and I loved to go on walks or bike rides together, exploring, and we’d pour over local maps to find these hidden pieces of history.

One of these little collections of stone monuments sat on top of a hill, right above the Kentucky Fried Chicken. The tallest obelisk poked out from tall grasses and my little historian imagination would go wild every time we drove past.

The problem was getting to it.

Kentucky wasn’t a place you went treading in grass above your head. Critters of the slithering kind were often minding their own business there. But I was not deterred, pestering my dad repeatedly, until one day, he agreed and we forged our way up the steep slope and unkempt path back in time to the 19th century.

The cemetery was small, less than 10 monuments, worn with weather and years. I was thrilled. The forgottenness of the place just made it more mysterious and separate from the commercial strip below.

And that my dad was willing to take me still makes me smile. I am grateful for this, one of many wonderfully clear memories of my dad’s love.

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Three years ago, I stumbled upon Ann Voscamp’s A Holy Experience blog where she challenges her readers to count gratitudes to 1000 and beyond, small and large. Since then, thankfulness has changed my life and my relationships. When I want to enter deeply into the present moment, especially with people close to me, I count gratitudes. Alongside paying attention, it is one of the foundations of contemplative living and makes any moment a moment of  worship.

Gratitude Journal

Gratitude Journal

When we look for what we are thankful, our hearts expand, hope is near, and love over-flows. We stop consuming life and start living it, with and through the presence of God.

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Practice: Write down 5 things you are grateful for. Not what you think you should be grateful for, but the people, places, memories, sights, smells, sounds, feelings, that make your heart and mind sing, “Oh, yes, thank you God!” I’d love to hear what’s on your list.

And visit Ann’s blog for some printables to start your own list of 1000 gifts.

31 Days




Dec 6 2010

Sword Fighting

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Sometimes I’m sure I rattle when I walk or think or talk or simply stand, paralyzed.

Chains, binding and heavy, clank about me.  Doubt. Worry. Fear. Sadness.

I read about children in Ethiopia, whose home is a pile a trash, who drink rain water that collects among the garbage and eat whatever they can scavenge.  I pace my apartment, feeling the weight. I read the article and unmistakable rattling echoes under the words. My heart hurts. All is not well. The chains are not only on me, but on the world.

Clanking and whispers. What good can an easily-tired introvert do?

I can pray. Love and pray. For the children, for people who can go and give homes and food and water and love. For the strength to do something myself.

Amid the whispers and rattling, I wish I had one of those awesome magic swords like in the stories I love.  High King Peter’s Rhindon. The Sword of Griffyndor. Frodo’s Sting. Arthur’s Excalibur.  With it, I would go to work breaking the chains that bind, myself, the children, the world.

Clank, rattle. Those swords don’t exist.

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Then, suddenly, surprising me, my thoughts change. A real sword breaks a chain, out of the blue.  Snap!

“Take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Eph 6:17)

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Jesus answered Satan’s temptations with scripture as he fasted in the desert (Luke 4:1-13). So today, I pray Ephesians 1:16-23 for you, me, and the world:

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give us a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of our hearts enlightened, that we may know what is the hope to which he has called us, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

Jesus, may we live the power of love you have given us. May we hear the sound of chains breaking.

***

In gratitude today for…

The Word of God and the words of Ephesians.

The bible found in the garbage by one of the Ethiopian children, and his ability to read it and share the Word with others. A person threw away the Word of God and God used it!

For the YWAM team who visited the children and brought help. For the photographer who makes these young faces real and present to me thousands of miles away.

God’s faithfulness as I wrestle with words to write.

Tim Dearborn’s sermon of hope yesterday.

Advent wreath making at Holiday Magic.

Reconnecting with my friend Amy.

Watching young Jack create a aluminum foil suit of armor so he can play High King Peter.

Music, especially “Of the Father’s Love Begotten.”

holy experience

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