I got out of bed at 10:45 this morning because I was on the One Thousand Gifts web site until 4:00 a.m. And the first thing I wanted to do was to come here and write down more things for which I'm thankful. I encourage everyone to make a gratitude journal. As Ann writes (I feel like I need to call her that; she doesn't know it, but we are too close for me to be more formal), "[Since typing that quotation mark I have written up a bank deposit, driven to the bank to get it in there, brushed my teeth (floss, brush, Listerine), made my bed. It's going to be one of those fifteen-things-at-one-time kinds of days!] And I see it now for what this really is, this dare to write down one thousand things I love. It really is a dare to name all the ways that God loves me."
Oh, she writes so much more. That writing down gifts places us firmly in the present: in the presence of the great I AM who is always present, always now. That writing our gifts slows down time for that same reason -- we are not rushing ahead or looking back, but here. Now. Savoring the gifts of now. There's a lot more and I'm only through chapter four.
It is dangerous to name people in a public (even as small a public as I have here) gratitude journal, but I am going to take the bull by the horns because today I am especially gifted by two people.
9. Sue Bohlin, whose message at a women's retreat two years ago laid the foundation for this effort. Gratitude 101 -- Sue, I don't need to follow your link because I remember more than you can imagine and have whispered your words (His words) to myself on many occasions. In everything give thanks. We have been in the same zip code for about two days of our lives, but I love you as though I've known you forever -- because that's how much time we have. You walk the talk; your grateful spirit is a blessing to so many.
10. Irene Anderson, whom I HAVE known forever. If you see Irene from across the room you notice that she is beautiful, but the best part is that her inner beauty is so much more dazzling. She lives her life as a gift to others; she has been a take-my-breath-away gift to me too many times to name. She recommended One Thousand Gifts to me first and when someone else named it as well I felt that it was necessary for me to pick it up (this is her second change-my-life book recommendation). Irene and I have slipped into a delightful relationship where one-sentence emails get dashed off two or three times every day. An easy conversation that continues; a chat over cups of tea that never wraps up. She is always ready for an adventure, always poised to offer a word of encouragement to me. I love Irene with a kind of amazement that she would want to be friends with someone like me.
11. Buds on trees! By the time I get back from Florida the pear trees will be in full bloom (I hope I don't miss them!). Today I noticed them as I drove past neighbors' yards: the symmetrical branches tipped in round, fat buds. There is no more spectacular tree in springtime than Bradford pear trees -- giant white Q-tips decorating the city. The flowers smell dreadful and the trees split easily -- I can think of two trees in our neighborhood that have divided in two and had to be removed -- so I did not plant one in our yard, but I do enjoy them in others'. Spring really is on its way!
12. Faint smell of garlic on my fingertips. It never goes away; I buy garlic by the bushel because we eat so much of it. (Okay, I don't really, but I do buy a LOT of it!) I used to use a garlic press every time -- I hated the smell on my skin. But I almost never use it now. I like chopping the clove into tiny, tinier, tiniest pieces. The price for that indulgence is garlicky fingers -- but that just reminds me of a meal well cooked and eaten.
13. Blue Monster energy drinks. Bane of my existence, delight of my mornings. I keep thinking I have to give them up; I keep buying them by the case from Costco. I crave one first thing in the morning and drinking one, cold, from the fridge in the garage, is a daily ritual that is a blessing to me. I'll never like coffee; Monsters are my caffeine delivery system of choice.
14. Husbands who do dishes. Need I say more?
15. Kindles, ebooks, my Kindle Fire. This morning I have read from M'Cheyne's Daily Bible Reading Calendar, from two versions of the Bible (ESV and King James), and from One Thousand Gifts. I searched for the quote above from bookmarks of highlighted text. I've used the dictionary. All from one device, from one handheld marvel. William Blake saw eternity in a grain of sand: his mind would have exploded if he'd been given an ebook. Will I ever cease to be amazed by all this device has to offer? I don't think so; I hope not.
16. The Epistle to the Romans. Such meat, such depth, so many answers to everything. Who is a Jew, really? Is God faithful to His promises? How does salvation come about? Ponder on Romans forever; reading a chapter a day is embarrassing. Read, think, pray on a verse a day, maybe. I can read God's voice! Amazing.