Friday, February 3, 2012


February Lenten Rose, Jamestown, NC

Just how should we respond to this priceless gift of life we have received anyway? And just exactly how can we live our life to the fullest, day in and day out? Ann Vaskamp was given a dare to list A Thousand Gifts or blessings in her life, right where and as she was living it at the time. So she began a journal with “morning shadows across old floors” followed by “cry of blue jay from high in the spruce”. She hadn’t ever imagined them as God’s gifts until the writing down became like “unwrapping love”. Of course, it’s much easier to have an attitude of gratitude when life is going well. But simply being thankful for God’s presence when one of life’s storms is passing through can be even more comforting if we have established a grateful mindset. The secret can be found in the “lesson learned’ of the Apostle Paul in his letter to the people of ancient Philippi when he writes:

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength”.

Paul has found that the elusive grasp of happiness is solely based on the worldly temporal circumstances we pursue such as spending money, collecting stuff, and the adrenaline highs of risky adventures. But nature doesn’t like a vacuum. So when the stock market crashes, the toys rust, break down or become obsolete, and age begins to erode health, despair can set into our lives. But there is lasting joy to be found in the strength and love assured for all in relationship with the source of life.

So I set out to try listing a few of my own every day gifts. My first thought was that I should be traveling to some exotic land far, far away to provide inspiration. But staying close to home would ultimately be more revealing. The fact that I was contending with a winter cold added to the challenge:

• Stimulating strong dark coffee.
• Warmth of throw cover.
• Welcome sunshine slicing through open blinds.
• Gentle whir of furnace fan.
• Sinus draining vapors of hot shower.
• Cool vanilla flavor of cream soda.
• Soothing sounds of smooth jazz.
• Comfort of hot chicken soup.
• Retirement time to read and regroup.
• Assuring presence of Heavenly Father.
• Warm thoughts and memories of loved ones.
• Bright pansy’s smiling on the porch.
• Spring catalog in the mailbox.
• Tender beef brisket and balanced Merlot.
• Colorful winter Lenten rose blooms.
• College hoops on television.
• Undisturbed night’s slumber.

When Jesus broke bread with his disciples during their last supper he asked them to “remember me and give thanks”. Eucharist or thanksgiving is the best response to God’s grace in our lives. We see in life what we look for and intentional Thanks Living helps us to be more present in the presence of the source of life that brings lasting joy into our life.

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