Ready for a lullaby.

As you sit quietly in My Presence, let Me fill your heart and mind with thankfulness. This is the most direct way to achieve a thankful stance. If your mind needs a focal point, gaze at My Love poured out for you on the cross. Remember that nothing in heaven or on earth can separate you from that Love. This remembrance builds a foundation of gratitude in you, a foundation that circumstances cannot shake.

As you go through this day, look for tiny treasures strategically placed along the way. I lovingly go before you and plant little pleasures to brighten your day. Look carefully for them, and pluck them one by one. When you reach the end of the day, you will have gathered a lovely bouquet. Offer it up to Me with a grateful heart. Receive My Peace as you lie down to sleep, with thankful thoughts playing a lullaby in your mind.

I am grateful that I have a long list of things to accomplish tonight, because that means that my daughter and her family will arrive tomorrow.

I am grateful for bittersweet that comes with tears and emotion. It’s my last day to work with Joyce – happy for her, sad for me.

I am grateful for pictures of Parker on her birthday.

I am grateful for a really full refrigerator ready for hours in the kitchen.

I am grateful for elastic in my socks.

I am grateful for a clean car on the inside.

I am grateful for anticipation of bedtime stories and maybe a lullaby or three with little ones this week.

I am grateful for a Fraser Fir Christmas tree ready to put in the living room tonight.

I am grateful for laughter and silliness at the end of a stressful day.

I am grateful that my sister is helping to make the hard food for Thanksgiving.

I am grateful that our friends and family really won’t care that much if the windows are not sparkly clean, the floor is not mopped squeaky and polished slippery, the food is not 5 star, and not everything is Martha Stewart perfectly matched. We are who we are, and we are grateful.

And finally, I am grateful that when I feel like I am loved not, I know that He. Loves. Me.

 

 

 

I’m just a nerdy birdy.

I am grateful for who I am. I am grateful that I do not want to live in a nation that says, “Stay out.” I am grateful that I want to live in a country that says, “We have room, we want you, we hurt with you, you are welcome here.”

I’ve been collecting books. Children’s books are my favorite. In fact, for many years now, and Shirley Mackey can attest to this, one of my most favorite things in life would be…children’s books. Picture books. The kind that can be read in a few short minutes and the kind that has the BEST PICTURES.  The kind that has a sweet story or one that makes a heart laugh or one that puts a lump in my throat.

I am grateful for the simple but profound and beautiful story of Nerdy Birdy. Everyone should have this book on their coffee table. It is a sweet story that makes my heart laugh and puts a lump in my throat, all at the same time. And it’s a perfect message for these times we are living right now.

I am grateful for silence.

I am grateful for grandchildren pictures to stare at.

I am grateful for my mom’s coat to wear.

I am grateful for the convenience of online shopping and bill paying. I am so vulnerable to retail temptation when my grandchildren are involved, and it is best that I stay out of stores as much as possible.

I am grateful that I am passive and a peacemaker. I would not want to be any other way.

 

I am grateful that Sam listens to me and allows me to engage in long conversation about what is going on in the world.

I am grateful for someone who has a great speaking voice. There is a man who works on a floor above and I always know when he comes off the elevator around the corner because no one has a deep voice like he does. I could listen to him all day. He needs a new career as a narrator for audio books. A voice like buttah. He should read Nerdy Birdy out loud. To me.

I am grateful for flowers that Sam brought to me.

I am grateful for the President of France and his determination to do the right thing in the midst of tragedy and fear.

 

Leave outcomes up to Me. Follow wherever I lead, without worrying about how it will all turn out. Think of your life as an adventure, with Me as your Guide and Companion. Live in the now, concentrating on staying in step with Me. When our path leads to a cliff, be willing to climb it with My help. When we come to a resting place, take time to be refreshed in My Presence. Enjoy the rhythm of life lived close to Me.

You already know the ultimate destination of your journey: your entrance into Heaven. So keep your focus on the path just before you, leaving the outcomes up to Me.

I am grateful that sometimes, my devotions are like a pierce to the heart. Or they are like that V8 commercial where the guy gets bopped on the head. DUH, nerdy birdy.

Finally, I am grateful today that God is God, I am who I am, and He loves me JUST AS I AM, all wishy-washy-peacemaker-avoid-conflict-love-everyone-dailyfail-try-again-rose-colored-glasses me.

Smiling at anyone is to awe at the face of God. – Ann Voskamp

I noticed something this morning. Well, I actually notice it a lot these days in this season of life. I’m sure others my age have noticed, too. I was walking in to the office, and the 20-30 somethings dressed in their business attire and business casual looked straight ahead and made no eye contact, or they looked straight down at their devices in their hands. There was no “Good morning.”

Only the silver streaked-creased forehead-crows feet-out-of-style-lived-lifers offer a smile or greeting.  Or the occasional rug rat accompanying their don’t-make-eye-contact parents to work and who haven’t learned the ways of this new age world.

At least, that’s the way it is in this corner of the woods.

I’ve had a more difficult time writing gratefuls lately. It’s not that I am not grateful. I’m busy and do not take the time. And I’m doubting myself. And I’m burdened with worry. And I sometimes wonder if it matters.

And then last Friday happens. And the essays and diatribes begin about closing our borders and the blame flies. And fear and sadness invade.

And I am reminded that it does matter. So, my grateful today is this writing by a friend I will never meet, a sister in spirit who thinks just like me:

When you want to live love large in a world with terrorists: a movement of giftivists

Today, make eye contact. Smile at the 20-30 somethings. Be the first to speak a kindness. Refuse to spread hatred and fear.

 

Celery makes my tongue numb.

Just sayin’.

It’s pretty funny how “just sayin’” has become an ending to random thoughts.

My gratefuls are fairly random thoughts more often than not. It’s just that my mind is swimming, as a woman’s mind tends to do, and I rarely have long stretches of time to formulate ONE thought into a detailed acknowledgment of my thanks. So, random thoughts they are…while I’m swimming.

I am grateful for people in my life, even ones I do not know personally but observe from a distance, who reach out and touch and bless others because it is the right thing to do. Because God has called them to something beyond themselves. Three of them brought tears to my eyes this morning. They don’t really know me, but they blessed me today, and my day has been easier because of them.

I am grateful for a young man named Austin who needed some community service time for his leadership class in middle school and just showed up at the assisted living facility where I volunteer to help out with dinner one night, and then realized it was Bingo time and stayed to help me call numbers. And that’s all fine and dandy and good for him to score some points for community service, but then, he returned on Tuesday night just because. Just because he saw a group of elderly people who desire nothing more than time and attention, and he saw a place to serve.

I am grateful for Sam, because his hours are filled with work and projects, but he takes the time to go to Bingo and give a little love to Betty and Jim and Avis and Louene and Cindy and Ruth and Ken…and me. And he takes the time to help someone who is in the middle of a traumatic and life-changing move, because it’s the right thing to do, and because his heart is as big as Dallas.

I am grateful for Tequila Harry’s. It’s a little restaurant in our neighborhood that my Dad thought was a bar. It has a bar in it, but most restaurants do these days. This is the kind of place that is like Cheers, and if we keep going every week, I’m sure one of these days when we walk in, we’re going to hear a rousing, “Sam!” from the regulars. But this little place hires the best kids – not kids, really, but young men and women. Every week when we go for our taco and burrito dinner, we end up having the BEST waiter or waitress. They are attentive, they are friendly, they are prompt, and they each have a story willing to share with us. These kids all attend college full time. They work to pay their way. They have dreams and aspirations. And they serve us. So I am grateful for each one of them, willing to work hard and share a little of themselves with this middle-aged couple.

Speaking of serving, I am grateful for Ivory. He can be found at McDonalds, sweeping and mopping, wiping down tables, hosing down the parking lot, taking out trash, or quietly sharing his incredible life story in snippets to anyone willing to stop and visit and ask his details. He began his career at the young age of six, picking cotton in Mississippi. At the spry age of 76, he loves his job at McDonalds. I would too, if I had to pick cotton at the age of six. I think I would love a job at McDonalds anyway, but especially if I had to pick cotton first. I am grateful that Ivory chooses to serve in this way, because he touches lives and does so without fanfare.

And last, I am grateful for the bites of celery I had mid-morning to keep me from eating Cheezits.

I’d rather go to the dentist office than a shoe store.

I went to a shoe store at lunch. It was AWFUL. Makes me nauseous and bitter. I am grateful that my shoes still work so that I don’t have to spend time there.

I am grateful for socks. Dry socks. Socks do not make me nauseous and bitter. I could shop for them all the day long.

I am grateful for the interesting shapes of leaves that cover the sidewalk right now.

I am grateful for the feel of a paring knife cutting into a crisp apple.

I am grateful for CASA inservice discussions that are enlightening even if a little depressing. These discussions remind me to be very grateful for the living conditions that my grandchildren have, for my CASA child and her beautiful foster family, and for the naiveté and shelter that I have lived under all these years. I am also grateful for the opportunity to serve with this organization that exists to protect children.

And I am grateful for the pleasure of seeings dog ears flapping in the breeze as they hang out the window.

I don’t like dirty drawers.

So I am grateful that a few of them were cleaned out this weekend and organization is restored.

I am grateful for approximately 40 books wrapped for Christmas.

I am grateful for the sound of a little boy saying, “I wanna sit by Rhonda,” at The Peanuts Movie and then hearing him laugh loud for the next hour and a half.

I am grateful for those three little boys – my selfish “ticket” to Friday evening at the movie.

I am grateful for hot cocoa foam on top.

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. – Philippians 4:8 (The Message)

I am grateful for a dirty dust rag, a sign of productivity.

I am grateful for a lawn mow in November so that there will be fewer leaves to rake.

I am grateful for a drive without radio.

I am grateful for sunbeams in the kitchen.

I am grateful for long phone calls with Karissa and Katrina.

I am grateful for Sunday messages that make me re-evaluate and spark conviction.

I am grateful for the students in my life right now. I love hugs from Grace and Albert and kind words from Anna and walking with Fabien and seeing Sophia.

I am grateful for breakfast with my CASA girl.

And I am grateful for this past week of refrain. It has forced me to reflect on motive, on priority, on the negative words and thoughts that permeate.