Since we've been the midst of long, unstructured summer days, which often don't leave me much time for writing because I'm either trying to be intentional with my kids, cleaning up the hurricane mess that seems to sweep through the house every day, or putting out fights between my dear, sweet children (who sure like to bicker!), I thought I'd keep this post simple...
Honestly, I don't think we spend enough time considering all that we have to be grateful for-- all of the incredible gifts God has given us--from relationships, to the glory that abounds in nature, to the overabundance of 1st world luxuries that we tend to take for granted--air-conditioning, clean water, the ease of electricity, massive grocery stores filled to the brim with more options than most of us know what to do with...the list goes on and on.
So, over the course of this last week, I kept a list by my desk...just a lined piece of notebook paper, numbered 1-40, and I started to jot things down.
At first, I wondered, will I be able to fill those 40 lines? I knew I should be able to, but what if I couldn't? I read Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts several years ago now-- I admired her ability to capture moments as simple as the glimmer of soap bubbles in her kitchen sink, to the grandeur of a breathtaking moonlit sky, and everything in between.
But, would I be able to be still enough to notice even just 40 things in my life? I sure hoped so.
As it turns out, it was easy to come up with a list of 40 things. So easy I wanted to keep going (maybe I'll make myself another list this week!). It was so easy that I would suggest that you give it a try-- the truth is gratitude begets gratitude. The more I wrote down, the easier the process became.
So many of us have SO much to be thankful for. We are blessed beyond measure, and it wold do us all a whole lot of good to be intentional about remembering the blessings we have, and turning that praise back to God-- the creator of every good and perfect gift.
So, without further adieu, here is a list of 40 things I'm grateful for:
1. My Bible, and the God breathed inspiration and wisdom that it fills my soul with daily. I know this might sound cliche, but when your faith permeates everything you do, it's ALWAYS the first thing you're abundantly grateful for, and it's one "cliche" I'll NEVER apologize for!
2. Friendships, new and old, and the sweet blessings they bring.
3. Air-conditioning. I didn't grow up with it, know it's a luxury, and am over the moon thankful for it!
4. Our home, and everything in it.
5. Our minivan (I NEVER thought I'd say this, but I LOVE our minivan!).
6. Our vegetable garden; beets, tomatoes, green beans, radishes, swiss chard, yellow squash, the sunflowers, and herbs, all growing big and lush and green!
7. Local running races, and the menagerie of people (the slice of life) that comes together for such events.
8. A cool breeze on hot days.
10. Strong legs for running (it's the best natural antidepressant in the world!).
11. Rain, especially when it means I don't have to water the garden!
12. Hydrangeas, peonies, daises (I could probably crate a 40 item list for the pieces of God's natural creation that I love!), but I'll just start with a few flowers.
13. Farmer's Markets
14. Family Vacations (well, for the most part!).
15. Crafts with my kids.
16. The freedom to go to church each week.
17. The friendships and supportive fellowship cultivated through our church relationships and small group.
18. My marriage (that Scott puts up with me! Lol!).
19. Blueberry picking, and the blueberry pie a la mode afterwards.
20. Good counselors, the kind you pay for and the kind that comes through friendship and fellowship.
21. Art Museums
22. Mountains, and hiking in them.
23. Fruit! (Cheeries, pineapple, blueberries, mango...the list goes on and on!).
24. Words, phrases and jokes made up by my children and the laughter that ensues.
25. Good movies.
26. Vacuum cleaners. I mean really, when you have kids, they're kind of miraculous and necessary!
30. Coffee (need I say more?!).
31. Natural Bliss Vanilla Coffee Creamer
32. Lots and lots and LOTS of ice cream cones with my kids during the summer.
33. Good Books
34. PaperMate colored flair markers for journaling!
35. Blank Journals in all different shapes, colors, textures and sizes.
36. Office supply stores and the billion ways they promise to keep all of my ideas organized!
37. My I-phone.
Did I really just say that?
Honestly, I'm not the most tech-y person in the world, and could probably do without it (if I really, really had to), but truly, it makes a LOT of things super convenient! From GPS, to grocery lists, to the timer, the little flashlight and being able to call my husband from the grocery store to tell him I forgot my credit card!
38. Campfires in the summer.
39. A good Broadway play that inspires and leave me in tears all at the same time.
40. Skiing in the winter...and, while I don't like snow in March, I do like the first snowfall and white Christmases (:
I could go on and on, but for simplicity sake I'll stop there for this week.
I encourage you to take up this challenge for yourself. Pull out a piece of loose leaf paper, pick a number (using your age is an easy way to start!), and start jotting down your own gratitude list. I promise it will lift your spirits and change your perspective.