Tapestries, Thankfulness and Twenty Thirteen

There is something about the turn of the calendar page from December to January that spurs great reflection, more so than any other time.    2012 left me with a tangible list of 1000 gifts of thankfulness.   When I started this journey 365 days ago, I had no idea what an incredible birds eye view it would give to me in that time of reflection.  
Being able to step back and see the beauty adds such value, such purpose, not just in the successes and moments of celebration, but also in the pain of mistakes and regret along the way.  
I like to think of it as my tapestry of thankfulness in all things!
Sometimes in the day to day weaving, it’s hard to see anything other than a jumbled fray of knots and random tangles.   The big picture is sometimes difficult to see.  It’s not until you look from afar that you begin to see each color and texture and pattern has amazing purpose.  
“No thread of experience good or bad…….is wasted.”
#994. Kind-hearted people and good customer service. 
#995. Christmas traditions, bringing us together. 
#996. God’s WORD, affirming me, reminding me, guiding me. 

#997. Memories of you….sister.
#998. The gray of winter outside my bedroom window—-it makes the colors of spring that much more beautiful.
#999. Life…..coming full circle.  So profound!
#1000. The stroke of the clock at midnight, brings with it, a new year, a clean slate and endless possibilities.   

Here’s to 2013 and all the moments of thankfulness that will be woven together, by His grace and for His purposes!



I applaud the many folks who have committed to an intentional list of thankfulness for the month of November.    2012 has been a YEAR of documented gratitude for me.   On track to reach 1000 gifts of thankfulness by December 31,2012,   it has been an exercise that has refined me, that has tried me, that has  made me a new person — better, more complete, and more THANKFUL!


I printed out my list this week and took the time to read back over each and every gift and reason for the gratitude within (825 thus far).   A year in review simply stated = my cup runneth over.    As we gathered around an intimate table of Thanksgiving celebration today, (we kept it simple this year due to Rick’s knee surgery) and will later gather with extended family for all the sweets and treats of Thanksgiving, no one can deny HIS goodness in our lives.

As we celebrate, as you celebrate, may we do so by giving thanks with a grateful heart; for a grateful heart is the source of thanks giving!


A Friday Night Party of Unusual Sorts, On The Road to 1000 Gifts.

734.   Countless cups of hot tea….soothes my oh so sore throat.
735.   Scheduled days off to recover.  (at least timing was on my side) 
736.   Safety in the storm and no power outages.
737.   The 3 other people living in the 4 walls of this house….golly they are amazing!
738.   That (evil) little white pill, prednisone…..ahhhh, I can breath.
739.   Leftover trick-or-treat candy.  
740.   Puffs Plus!  An absolute necessity for this sore nose. 
741.   Strength to get my chores done.  (If I have to be sick, I want a clean house)
742.   Throat lozenges….yellow, red and white (because variety is important)
743.   A night of sleep, uninterrupted by coughing.   On the mend?   
                                   NOT SO QUICK! 
744.   A relapse today leaves me no other option.   A Friday night party of unusual sorts.  
As I reflect on my growing list, I am most thankful for–
745.  The gratitude in my heart that flows freely and abundantly on most days, but also, those every now and again days that require me to dig really deep to find it.   


Recent studies have concluded that expressions of gratitude can have profound and positive effects on our health, our moods and even the survival of our marriages.  A growing body of research also shows that gratitude is truly amazing in its physical and psychosocial benefits. 
We don’t have to look far for reasons to despair.   However, in cultivating a sense of genuine gratitude in ALL things (1 Thess. 5:18), life gets better not just for us, but for everyone around us.  
I began my own “intentional” journey of gratitude almost one year ago, while reading  One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp, with my daughter Sarah (a gift in itself).
With each passing day my list grows, but at nine months and counting, it has become way more than just “a list”  (and some amateur photography).     It has become a daily reminder to bow my heart in gratitude, finding beauty in the mundane, making the small stuff count for more than the bad stuff, and looking at everything in life with new purpose and a thankful perspective!

673.  The colors of autumn. 
674.  The silver lining in every cloud. 
675.  The wilderness, don’t miss it (there’s something to be learned there too).
676.  Celebrating new life (with old friends in new houses)  
677.  A perfect autumn day.  
678.  Friendships, birthdays and layered pumpkin cheese cake.  
For another day my sense of well-being leaves me happy, healthy and giving thanks in ALL things. 
May expressions of gratitude do the same for you. 

Gifts of Thankfulness—-Oh So SWEET!

Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones–Proverbs 16:24.  

A short, midweek, get-a-way to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, allows for some much needed down time. As friendship is shared,  and pleasant words exchanged…
my list of thankfulness is growing, and with it, plenty of sweetness to go around. 
550.   The lights and sights of the harbor by night. 

551.   Purple dragon boat rides in the harbor by day. 
552.   Hotel vending machines at midnight because the packed box of snacks isn’t accessible.   
553.   Conversations highlighting personal growth and rewards, through the rigors of ministry. 
554.   An open-mindedness—– no, it hasn’t changed “who” or “what” we are, but rather has shaped “how” we respond to the world around us. 
555.   Moments in life that keep us real…keep us grounded  (usually the less than perfect & humbling).
556.   Savoring “good food” moments in Little Italy (pizza and pastries and gelato galore)      
557.   $6.00 worth of cinnamon Jelly Belly’s, oh yeah!
558.   Favor upon a daughter’s honesty at a concert ticket booth (not during this trip, but worth noting).  
559.   Kodak moments that define a summer lived to the fullest.                                 
560.  Camaraderie with other pastor friends and their families.

     Pleasant words are a honeycomb–sweet to the soul and healing to the bones—speak them often.   And every now and again, on the way to 1000 gifts of thankfulness — eat your dessert, FIRST! 

Unplanned Gifts!!

You don’t have to know me well, to know I AM A PLANNER.   Planning has been a vital component in multiplying my joys and dividing my sorrows, for the better part of 40 years….and although I won’t be  changing that anytime soon, I have a growing appreciation for the UNPLANNED. 
   Most recently, it was physical discomfort and dental necessity that required Sarah to have 4 wisdom teeth extracted.   Although she might have chosen to script her very first college spring break differently, it was the slower pace of recovery, the beauty of springtime and choosing a thankful heart  that yielded “unplanned” additions to our list of 1000 gifts.  
210.  Sleeping with the windows open and white sheer curtains blowing in the breeze.
211.  Curling up on the couch for 4 hours and watching Gone With The Wind.
212.  Taking the entire day off to make sure she ate her applesauce and stayed pain free. 
217.  An uneventful course to recovery. 
218.  Matt’s first baseball game of the season. (a win)
219.  Sitting in the sun and working in our flower gardens.  
221.  Quality time teaching my 18 year old daughter there is more than one way to dry clothes.  (see picture)
Actually, hanging the clothes out to dry, was her idea.  
222.  Blaring music and singing in the car (kids with parents)
223.  The greater gift is that they still love to do it at age 15 and 18.
224.  That feeling of total contentment, special memories made, even while packing to take Sarah back to  college.
Planned or otherwise, gifts are all around.

One Thousand Gifts

The  VALUE  in time spent with a friend, can’t always immediately be calculated.    Such was the case for me a few months back.    Sitting amongst the stately furniture she reads to me…. “One Thousand Gifts beckons you to leave the parched ground of pride, fear, and white-knuckle control, and abandon yourself to the God who overflows your cup.”   Instantly I know it is a MUST READ. 
Not long after arriving back into town, I purchase a copy for myself.   It will surely be the perfect mother-daughter read over Christmas break.  However, in a moment of spontaneous gratitude,  I gift it away to a lifelong friend.  I wonder what One Thousand Gifts will become to her. Christmas is just around the corner now when my sister arrives with shopping bargains in hand.  I am ecstatic to find a copy for me and a copy for her.  What will One Thousand Gifts become to us?
Christmas passes, a New Year dawns and we relish the evenings for reading, my girl and I do.  Almost finished with the book now, One Thousand Gifts is real, it’s deep, eucharisteo, becoming personal.  We are counting our gifts, with gratitude, one day at a time, One Thousand in all.  At the very top of my list….…. The value of time spent with a friend.
%d bloggers like this: