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! 

EARLY IN THE MORNING–My song will rise to Thee!

 For as long as I can remember the stillness of the early morning hours has always brought about a heightened sense of THANKSGIVING.   Growing up on a dairy farm, meant a lot of early mornings.    As I would trudge my way to the barn under the clear moonlit sky,  (even through my sleepy teenage eyes) there was a deep sense of peace that gave way to THANKFULNESS.   The early days of my professional career had me walking the streets from my 3rd floor apartment to the community hospital downtown for a double shift.  The only activity along the way was the flicker of the street lights and the corner bakery.  Yet again, a deep sense of goodness and joy gave way to THANKFULNESS.  Life would later bring with it wedding bells and precious little babies, and yep, you guessed it…..early morning hours.  As the glider moved back and forth, the sweetness and wonder of new seasons in life gave way to THANKFULNESS.   There have been some blunders along the way too.  Seasons that have spelled grief and heartache and pain, but even in those moments of early morning wakefulness, no one could deny that  God’s presence right in the midst, left my heart overflowing with THANKFULNESS.   I rise early today, for there is much to do.  Food and tables to prepare, guests to entertain, friendship to be shared and so many blessings to count—-but before I begin, I pause.  The sun is kissing the earth, a new day is dawning and in the perfect stillness, my heart is overflowing with a song of THANKSGIVING.


Tea Time Thankfulness

 You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me. ~C.S. Lewis

Somehow, I don’t even mind that the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting colder.  I’ve come to savor this time of year.  Just as the season of harvest is coming to an end and the fields are quieted for a much needed rest,  so do I settle in….with a good book, a cup of hot tea and a heart overflowing with THANKSGIVING.

It’s the simple pleasures of autumn leaves and blue cloudless skies that stretch out with ease.  The north wind is blowing, the fire is glowing and my family knows abundance from diligently sowing.  As I gather my thoughts, and assess the results, I am blessed beyond measure with goodness I treasure.  Who would think through the rigors of life’s daily clutter, would yield such contentment and peace for another.  I’m thankful for so many wonders discovered, yet so many more in life to uncover.  Faithful with all that you give to me Lord, in the stillness of my heart, I  long to give back to you so much more.   

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