Thursday, March 29, 2012


38.  Playing "Pip" with my friends.

I've been joining some friends to play "Pip" the last several Wednesdays. My friends are this 90+ year old couple (90 and 94, to be exact), both sharp as tacks a world of fun.  They have been married for 72 years, y'all.  That is a lot of years!  That means that she was just 18 when she married him.  I asked her once if she was scared then.  She said, "No.  Not at all.  We've both always just felt that home was wherever the other person was."  So sweet.  They are precious.  And most definitely an inspiration.  They are funny, too.  She says they play "Pip" because the other domino games are "too serious." I love the Wednesdays when I can join them to play.  Makes my day.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Charis in Chaos

I was just sure that I would have instant results from this counting to one thousand gifts experiment.  You know, feeling all light and airy and...well, all holy and sanctified.  I was thinking {hoping} I would immediately feel more at ease and more centered.

It has not been so.  I am enjoying it, to be sure.  As I write down the blessings, I do have real sense of just how blessed I truly am.  But the sanctification part that I was hoping for isn't really happening just yet.  I definitely feel my countenance changing.  Ever so slowly.  S-l-o-w-l-y.

I'll go ahead and confess a few things here.  First of all, I have felt a little guilty about the "quality" of the blessings I seem to be writing down.  Are they too materialistic?  Too much the same from blessing to blessing?   Are they authentic enough?  I also feel as if the counting of blessings is somehow worrying me a little.  Like, am I aware enough of all of the blessings in my life?  Or I only write down one or two at a time and this somehow makes me feel like I'm taking the blessing that is my life for granted.

And then I remember the book.  I remember her having trouble with this, too.

"Do not disdain the small," she said.  "The whole of the life - even the hard - is made of of the minute parts, and if I miss the infinitesimals, I miss the whole...There is a way to live the big of giving thanks in all things.  It is this: to give thanks in this one small thing.  The moments will add up."

I am not even to fifty yet.  I should just chill out and let the little graces accumulate.  I am hoping at the end of this I won't do this {as much} anymore.  You know, beating myself up over the small stuff and whatnot.

After all, "life-changing gratitude does not fasten to a life unless nailed through with one very specific nail at a time."

And so, I begin again.  Counting the gifts.  Counting all as a gift.  Worrying less about what is written and just getting to writing it all down.  In the midst of the chaos there is charis {grace}.  I am finding it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


26.  Wise words from the communion of saints...

"God hasn't given up on you.  He can still do great things for you, in you, and through you.  God is ready and waiting and able.  What about you, and me?" - Peter Marshall, "Disciples in Clay," Mr. Jones Meet the Master

Monday, March 26, 2012

Little Graces

7.  Communion Liturgy.

It is huge that I would include this, as liturgy used to frustrate me.  Someone I worked with long ago was very rigid about liturgy.  I asked why it was so important.  His answer? "It just is."  Teachable moment totally missed.  I "rediscovered" liturgy in seminary and am captivated by it now.  I love the idea that I am speaking words long spoken in the church.  I ♥ a good creed or prayer.  I especially love the old liturgy we use at the church I attend now.  One section ends with the simple words, "We are yours, dear Lord."  Beautiful reminder, that.

8.  Chipmunk on the porch!

Precious little rodent.  Also makes me smile because Jason tells a story of chasing, catching and, subsequently being bit by a chipmunk growing up!  This is funny only because he told his dad he was going to chase and catch it and his dad didn't think it was a good idea.  Jason could not be deterred, so his dad told him to go ahead.  Life lesson learned, I'd say. :)

12.  Hubs in a blue shirt and tie this morning.  *Dreamy*

13.  Fun notebook for the counting of 1000 blessings.  Flowery, I know.  A departure from what I would usually choose (it was between this and a brown burlap number.), but perfect for this endeavor.

I am excited about filling the pages and hope you'll join me on this journey.  It has already been a blessing.  And a little lot convicting.  And challenging.

"Every worthwhile accomplishment, big or little, has its stages of drudgery and triumph; a beginning, a struggle, a victory." - Ghandi

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Start...

A start on the writing down of one thousand gifts/graces/joys in my life...

1.  Smiles from my little guy when I pick him up from daycare each day.

Whatever the day behind me was - good or bad - disappears with that smile.  His smile reminds me of all things good.  It revives.  It relieves.  It reassures.  It does all of these things for me and more.

2.  A quick kiss from the hubs everyday when he comes home.

Needs no explanation, really.  But I'll just say it really is the little things like this that make a person feel so loved and secure (and I can assure you I am most definitely not looking sexy at that point in the day!).

3.  Little bit standing at the door pleading, "Doe dide?"  {translation:  "Go outside?"}

Cuteness personified.  Put him on that slide and he cannot contain his joy!

4.  Bedtime prayers with my husband.

I'll admit that I periodically fall asleep as he prays.  He never wakes me, though.  He thinks it is cute and just goes along and finishes praying for us both.  He's a keeper.

5.  Little Pookie.

If you have a little person and have not discovered these books, please find them and purchase them.  So cute. We ♥ Little Pookie at our house and read a Pookie book most every night.  Plus, the Pookster is a pig and that bodes well with this Razorback fan.  Just sayin'.

I'll share some more of my one thousand blessings as I write them down.  I am still looking for the right "notebook" in which to write them.  It is crucial that I find the right one if I am going to count all the way to one thousand!  Priorities, people. :)

Postscript:  Can I just say that the song in my head since I started down this road of rediscovering gratitude and really experiencing grace has been none other than Rocky Mountain High by John Denver?  If you know me well, you know I adore JD.  I was deeply saddened the day he died.  But his music still plays in my heart and on my CD player (yep, still use one of those) often.  It seems he already knew what I've learned (re-learned?) from one thousand gifts.  All of us really just need to go about life "seeking grace in every step {we}take."  Wise man, that John Denver.  Wise man.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

one thousand gifts

I've just finished one thousand gifts by Ann Voskamp.  The subtitle is "A Dare to LIVE FULLY Right Where You Are."  I love(d) it.  Hers is a heart like mine.  A heart that longs for peace in the present and joy in the everyday.  I want to live free and fully myself, so I pretty much resonated with the entire book.  I am convicted and convinced by the whole concept.  This eucharisteo - a life of gratitude, grace and joy - of which she speaks is surely where a life of fullness and freedom begins.

Voskamp articulated what I have long believed to be true:  sometimes, most of the time, we must fight for joy.  And what better avenue than gratitude?  I'll share more thoughts and quotes as I unpack and put into practice what I have read.  For now, let me just encourage you to find a notebook and start writing down the little mercies that come your way everyday.  This is where it began for Voskamp, in a "dare" by a friend to write down one thousand gifts in her life.

DISCLAIMER:  The Wesleyan in me feels obligated to say that I really struggled with Voskamp's theology of death.  Frankly, I disagree with her perspective on death and God's will completely.  At least what I gleaned from first reading, anyway.  But I resonated enough with the whole concept to continue the read and hope that you will, too.  I just felt I should disclaim that part of it all, as she hints at it at points throughout the book.  I commend to you Adam Hamilton's book Why? for a Wesleyan perspective on God's will and the problem of pain.  It is a wonderful book by a remarkable man who is changing revitalizing the United Methodist Church.