I was blessed and refreshed in our Dare to Dream session at work today. I just LOVE the energy I feel being around those dreamers! I love lifting others up and I certainly love being lifted, especially when I'm in desperate need of it.
In our session we were reminded how precious life is and how blessed we really are. Learning of a fellow associate's recent diagnosis of an aggressive cancer, I was overwhelmed with sadness for what his family is having to endure and gratitude for the abundance of blessings God has poured on my life. My heart is convicted of the times I take those blessing for granted... wallowing in self-pitty.
Irritated and complaining that we have to wait in line at the grocery store rather than thanking God for the overflowing cart of food and household items... how could we be so shallow? Some people in our own neighborhoods barely get by, struggling to come up with enough money for a family meal and we complain about an excessive wait time.
The book 'One Thousand Gifts' is putting the embodiment of gratitude into perspective for me. After enduring a traumatic event as a child, Ann Voskamp found herself on a journey facing her own difficult, dark days and hidden fears, stumbling to the answer of life's great riddle: How do you discover joy - right here and now?
Her dare... to live fully right where you are.
My word, how it's making a difference in the way I see life.
On the way to Louisiana last weekend, I downloaded the 'One Thousand Gifts' app and began making a list of things I'm grateful for. And not just the obvious, big blessings, but those little things I love about life. Like feeling a gentle breeze blow across my face on a low humidity day. Or the smell of pine trees when we're in the south (you just don't have that in Northwestern Missouri). Seeing birds on a wire and watching prairie grass blow in the wind. Little, sweet blessings. Things you don't really consciously think about until your perspective is somehow changed. [Side note: I plan to buy a journal... there's just something about writing them down that makes them come alive for me. I find the app to be a great way to list gifts wherever you are and write them down later.]
Making this list of things I'm grateful for finds me creating opportunities to be thankful and cherish these special moments in life because, after all, life is fleeting. Our parents, spouses, children, families, friends... they won't live forever. Our children will never be "this age" again. When the braces come off, they usually never go back on. When they graduate from high school and move away to college, a new chapter has begun. We easily forget all those little in between moments... the silly things, the things that drive us crazy yet we'd never trade them for the world.
What if we wrote them down? What if we kept a list of those gifts and blessings from God so we could reflect during trying times? Those times we need reminding of how unbelievably blessed we truly are. And what a great example for our children and those around us. I'd love to leave behind a book for future generations listing how God blessed me, in hopes it would change their perspective they way 'One Thousand Gifts" changed mine.
It makes my journey more beautiful. It makes it a little easier to accept that this weight isn't pouring off my body in record time. It makes me love everything I'm learning and sharing with you. And it makes me want to keep going.
* I'm thankful for the most amazing weather we had to enjoy that game
* I'm thankful for watching a squirrel stop the game by running wild on the infield
* I'm thankful for the way God mended relationships that our world typically finds in chaos... "step-families" in unity, working together and getting along. It's the absolute work of God.
* I'm thankful for watching my amazing "bonus" son get dirty playing shortstop
* And, don't tell the boy, but I'm thankful for the stinky, gross smell that fills our vehicle for the ride home after every game