On November 1, 2012 I began the venture of recording a thousand blessings. Eight months later and I’ve only recorded 238. Wow! At this rate of my reflection it’s going to take me about 3 more years to get to 1,000. Not that I’m in a hurry or some great race to get to a thousand, but the reality is that this is a practice of identifying the blessings in my life. It’s designed to reframe my thoughts on those days when I just feel icky and unaware of how truly, truly blessed I am. There’s an inherent need in this process to be more diligent and disciplined about looking for the blessings in each day. Granted, as some have pointed out to me, the way I’ve been recording my 237 entries so far, I could have at least 500 by now if I would simply have teased out one-by-one the blessings from each paragraph long description that I wrote with abundant detail. But truth be told I feel like each of those are tiny capsules unto themselves. Yes, each of those moments have countless blessings all wrapped up in them- but I feel like I want to give each of those, as a whole, as gifts of praise to the Lord. The goal is not merely to get to 1,000. The goal is to train my heart and mind to look for all the blessings in each given day and specifically each moment. So here it goes….the purposeful looking continues…..
238. Thank you Lord that my children are growing up getting to know all of their grandparents. Thank you that Jacob and Natalie have been in years of relationship with Grandpa, Grammy, Dide, Grandma and Omie. I am so thankful that they all live in Los Angeles. I am so thankful that each of them are willing to carve out time and come together to celebrate my children on their birthday. What a gift- to sit around the dining room table in each other’s company- on each of Jacob’s past 7 birthdays and Natalie’s six. So thankful for them and the love they pour into my kiddos. It is without question that my kiddos feel their immense love. So thankful.
239. Thank you Lord for the gift of stillness. Those moments in the day when the only thing I hear is the ticking of the kitchen clock and the chirping of outside birds. I love that glorious stillness.
240. Thank you Lord for Natalie’s crinkle-nose smile, just like mine. Thank you that when I see pictures of us together that I can see in her smile a mini-me. Love that!!! Thank you that she loves to smile so much.
241. Thank you Lord for Natalie’s attention to detail. She is so observant. She noticed that Mrs. Siomacco and I were wearing the exact same black flip flops. She noticed that the little monkey from a book called Mr. Artichoke was in one of the illustrations of another book by the same author called Dim Sum for Everyone. She is always watching, observing and registering details in her mind. I catch her studying people when we are out and about. She and I have that in common. What a joy to see a mini-me with that trait…..something that you oh Lord instilled within her….not anything I specifically taught her to do. I love how amazingly awesome genetics are when they surface in ways like this!!!!!! God you designed DNA and it is absolutely fascinating to me!!!
242. Thank you Lord for the creative ideas you give Steve on how to bring greatness to the world of education. Thank you for each and every idea you’ve given him…..how to greet students at the school on opening day, mastery-based grading, a hs student-led summer science camp for kids from the neighborhood, year after year of overnighters for the incoming freshmen, buying a super high-tech amazing mill and 3-D printer for the school, encouraging the growth of a robotics team, changing the tradition of Senior portraits and bringing in Stacee Liana to bring beautiful, natural pictures of each Senior, having amazing pictures of kids’ learning framed and hung in the hallways, intentionally leading the school through a disaster drill that includes intruders…..and the list goes on and on. Thank you Lord for the ways you drop these ideas in his thoughts and give him the vision and wisdom to unfold these marvelous plans.
243. Thank you Lord for each moment I see Jacob and Steve in the backyard playing catch. With each ball that gets thrown and each ‘thump’ I hear as the ball whacks the inside of one of their gloves, my heart smiles. That is beauty in the making- a father and his son spending minutes and hours together…..throwing….throwing…..throwing. I love it that we have a backyard with beautiful green grass as the setting for that relationship building.
244. Thank you Lord for Erin, Steve’s right-hand admin. She allows him to execute incredible plans for the school. I am so thankful she is such a hard worker with a goal of excellence in all that she does. I am so thankful that they can plan/brainstorm/run the school together and they are on the same page with their values and goals for the school.
245. Thank you Lord that I finally was able to categorize and hole-punch years and years of YL paperwork into specific binders. Thank you for the organization that now exists, instead of boxes of heaping loose-leaf papers.
246. Thank you Lord that the Oakbridge campers and leaders arrived safely at camp. Thank you that you are at work there- in their hearts. Thank you that lives will be changed for all of eternity because of this meaningful encounter with you this week.
247. Thank you Lord for Young Life donors who have hearts of wanting to serve you with their money. Thank you that our great need in campership scholarships were covered this summer and we can enter the new fiscal year without any deficit from camp. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
248. Thank you Lord for pictures and how they help me retain memories.
249. Thank you Lord for how fueled up I feel by your Holy Spirit when I walk out of church each Sunday. Thank you that church gets to be a place of recharging and reconnecting with the importance of you.
250. Thank you Lord for the power of prayer. Thank you that you let us communicate with you. Thank you that you hear us. Thank you that you listen to us. Thank you that you say we can ask for anything in your name. Thank you that you are alive and present and eager to hear our prayers.
251. Thank you Lord for how often you remind me of how fragile this life is and how much people need you. When I hear of tragic car accidents, of young people trying to take their life, of the heavy, heavy problems that weigh on people’s hearts, of kids that are abandoned by their parents……I am reminded of how crazy it is for me to get sucked into the minutia and stress of daily living…..but instead I should keep my gaze on you and my energy focused on the things of your will. More and more people need to know about the hope you offer. Our mission is to share you with them. To give people the escape from the stresses and anxieties of this world and introduce them to you- the Prince of Peace.
252. Thank you Lord for Shannon Olson and her heart’s desire to see your kingdom work be done. Thank you for her partnership with me to be co-chair on the YL committee. Thank you for what a sweet, loving, passionate person she is and how fun she is to be around. Thank you for her maturity and her zeal to see your name be known. Thank you that ministry work is her heart’s desire. Thank you that she and I get to work together and neither one of us needs to try to go at this alone.
253. Thank you Lord that right now as I sit here typing this, Jacob is delighting in the world of lego robotics, snap circuits and all things electronic at Science Camp and Natalie is delighting in the world of colors, paper and brushes at Art Camp. Oh how I love how differently their brains are wired and how passionate they are about different things….and that we have DV camps to send them to, to fit those yearnings of theirs.
254. Thank you Lord for the vibrancy of color and the money we have been able to spend on birthday decor to fill our dining room this past week. A whole set of teal/aqua colored decorations for Omie’s birthday and then a whole set of pink/purple colored decorations for Natalie’s birthday. Thank you for the fun of twisted streamers swooping down from the ceiling to the lamp, encircling the table. Thank you for fun swirls of colors and beautiful tissue paper foldout frilly fun things. Thank you that a tradition has begun and continues from year to year…..of the dining room being a place of warm reception and celebration for the person whose birthday it is.
255. Thank you Lord for the yumminess of food and our content enjoyment of it. Thank you for the surplus of it too. We never go hungry and I am so thankful for that. Thank you for filled pantries and a filled refrigerator day after day. Thank you.
256. Thank you Lord for Charlie and Annie. Thank you for their companionship of these past 10 years. Thank you for their loyal dedication to our family. Thank you for the whap-whap-whap tail-on-hardwood-floor thumping I hear when I walk into the room and they are happy to see me. Thank you for their faces awaiting our arrival at the slats of our back gate. Thank you for their silly personalities…..with Annie ALWAYS wanting to carry something in when we first unlock the back door and she greets us with….a plastic water bottle or a shoe or a towel or her food dish….you name it….she looks around and grabs whatever she can so that her mouth is never empty when she first greets us. I guess somehow she feels it’s ungracious to enter empty-handed, or in this case, empty-mouthed. Gifts abound from Annie girl. I love my Annie banany and Charlie barley. Love it that they have aged with us. So much gray.
257. Thank you Lord that as of late Jacob has grown very very fond of the doggies. Thank you for the time he spends sitting on the floor rubbing their tummies and petting their heads. Thank you for the sweet surrender I see of the doggies- when they roll over and grunt ever so quietly and contentedly as he loves on them. They make these tiny, tiny short grunt sounds as though they are thoroughly in heaven with the massages he gives them.
258. Thank you Lord for the joy of pool time. The glorious blue water and the coolness of it as the kiddos are refreshed in it. Thank you for affordable swim lessons at the Hawthorne pool. Thank you that the kiddos love being in the water. Thank you for how refreshing it was for me to be in the pool once again yesterday. There’s something just so relaxing gliding through the water. Thank you for that joy.