Today, I am grateful for my new favorite book. It is called “One Thousand Gifts,” by Ann Voskamp, and my cousin, Sandy Thompson, introduced me to this incredible gem.
I am grateful for great kids on this choir trip who are so easy to chaperone and are no trouble at all.
I am grateful for the time when the hotel room door shuts and all I hear is…quiet. No bus engine, no DVD blaring over the speaker system, no noisy laughter and constant talk from the back of the bus, no music, no whistling from the driver up front. Just quiet. Quiet is underrated. Quiet is beautiful.
I am grateful for hotel breakfasts. Especially those with waffle irons.
I am grateful for the presence of the Holy Spirit on Sunday morning as we sat at the Interfaith Chapel in Vail. The church sits next to a roaring creek and the sanctuary has a bank of windows all along the creek, so that as you sit and soak in the message and the Presence of God, you have a beautiful view of His creation. Behind the pulpit, there is a massive window that gives the congregation a picture of the deep blue spring sky and an aspen tree, complete with the round silver dollar leaves that shimmer in the morning breeze. It was so peaceful…and as Father Brooks gave his message about stepping out in faith and truly living the words of the Nicene Creed, “I believe in God the Father, Maker of Heaven and earth,” I was so grateful to feel the Holy Spirit in this place of worship, so grateful for the privilege of hearing this particular message in this particular setting, so grateful for this time and place on this journey. It was a gift.
I am grateful for the beauty of the mountains, the Colorado River, the trees, the puffy white clouds against a vibrant blue sky.
I am grateful for the sounds of the birds, the raging water, the crunch of gravel.
I am grateful for Jenna. As we got into groups of six to ride the tram up the mountain on Sunday afternoon to ride the alpine slide, I was my typical cowardly self and informed everyone that if they were sitting next to me, I apologized in advance for the fingernail marks I would most likely leave in their legs. Sam sat on one side, and Jenna sat on the other. We started up the mountain, and just so you know, it was windy, and when asked what might help to calm my fear of heights, I replied, “Just sing or something and take my mind off of the fear.” Scott sang with me, “I love the mountains, I love the rolling hills, I love the flowers, I love the daffodils…” And from out of nowhere, quiet, shy, sweet 7th grade Jenna startled us all by belting out “Taylor, the Latte Boy!” in as perfect a Broadway voice as I’ve heard in a long time. It was stunning. And she changed the words to fit Sam and I: “Sa-am, the Latte Boy! I love him, I love him, I love him!” It was another gift that I want to remember forever. And Jenna helped me reach the top without hyperventilating.
I am grateful for my counselor group. These students have opened up to Wendy and I and have allowed themselves to be vulnerable enough to let us have a glimpse into their souls, and as I think of each of them and pray for them by name every day, I am humbled by their attitudes, their desire to be a part of this group, and their genuine care and concern for each other. Riley, Albert, Grace, Jake, Avery, and MacKenzie. God, please keep your hand of protection on their lives and fill them with more of You.
I am grateful that I have been paired with Wendy to lead this group. She is such a blessing to me. After hearing just a small sliver of her life story, I can already tell it was a divine pairing. God knew I needed Wendy for this time and place. I love that she is sensitive and easily brought to tears, just like me. I am grateful that she loves her girl as much and as fiercely as I love my girls.
I am grateful that God knows. “Many things about tomorrow, I don’t seem to understand, but I know who holds the future, and I know who holds my hand.” For you, Karissa.
I am grateful that although we have had many bus problems on this trip, the group has been flexible and has flowed with the adjustments that have had to be made. I am grateful for our bus drivers, especially Dave, who has had to deal with the bus problems and is still having to drive the little engine that thinks it can but really can’t.
Psalm 50:23: “He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.” Thanksgiving – giving thanks in everything – prepares the way that God might show us His fullest salvation in Christ…our salvation in Christ is real, yet the completeness of that salvation is not fully realized in a life until the life realizes the need to give thanks. In everything. This is from the book I am reading…after Ann read the story of the ten lepers in Luke 17. Only one came back to thank Jesus, and His response was, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
Thank you, Lord. Thank you for the smallest of these gifts, as well as the ones that are so overwhelmingly large. May I never again go through a day without being grateful.