Tag Archives: gratitude

An Attitude of Gratitude

5 Mar

Tulips are peeking through the snow. Bushes are budding. Spring is on its way. We are on the road to Easter both in 2018 and in our own life’s journey. What’s not to be thankful for?

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Giving Thanks

23 Nov
Photo via Flickr user Tyler Neyens

Photo via Flickr user Tyler Neyens


O give thanks to the Lord, for he
is good,
for his steadfast love endures
-Psalm 136:1

When I was little, my mom required us to make homemade thank you cards for everything. It became second nature, habit. As an adult, it is still part of my spiritual practice. I don’t use construction paper and markers as much anymore, but I do enjoy the task of sitting down to write a detailed, personalized thank you. I like to think about my gratitude and put words to it. Specificity helps awaken, deepen and broaden my gratitude.

The trumpeters and musicians joined in unison to give praise and thanks to the LORD. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the LORD and sang: “He is good; his love endures forever.”

-2 Chronicles 5:13

Every Thanksgiving, my spouse and I make twenty pies the day before and serve them to our friends for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning. It is probably the most decadent thing we do all year. People love it, taking a moment of abundance to indulge in the bounty. Giving thanks to God and each other is so important on Thanksgiving and beyond. It changes are hearts and eyes. It invites us to focus on what we have instead of what we don’t have. It reminds me to approach people and things I can take for granted with renewed reverence, curiosity, respect and love.

You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

-2 Corinthians 9:11

A well placed, heartfelt, specific thank you changes the energy in the air in a way that is contagious. Its spirit can grow exponentially. It is a practice that can change our worldview, posturing, outlook and energy individually and collectively. This Thanksgiving, I’m deeply grateful for my spouse, son, and baby growing inside of me. I am thankful for my co-workers and a fulfilling job. I am blessed with family, shelter, food, safety and community. I’m thankful for warm coffee, clean water, laughter, soft blankets, engaging books, beautiful music, a healthy body, and pie. In an age of cynicism, polarization, fear and scarcity, when the reach and strength of oppression can take our breath away, let us continue to give thanks and allow that gratitude to bring more beauty into a hurting world.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
-Philippians 4:6-7


6 Oct

Gospel Reflection for October 9, 2016, 28th Sunday Ordinary Time

5 Oct

Sunday Readings: 2 Kings 5.14-17; 2 Timothy 2.8-13; Luke 17.11-17

Jesus asked, “Weren’t ten lepers cleansed? Where are the other nine?” – Luke 17.17

In Sunday’s gospel only one of the ten lepers Jesus heals returns to thank Jesus. The passage prompts us to practice gratitude to God and to one another. Being alive calls us to appreciate the Creator. Evolution deepens the story of God’s creative love in which we live. We see with eyes that have evolved over millions of years in creatures that sought light. Our stem cells contain the memory of God’s love unfolding. To be part of giving life gives parents their moment in the evolution of all that is. The birth of a child takes them to a place of awe and closeness to God. The child immediately breathes in the oxygen that plants and trees make every summer day out of sunlight. Our lungs tie us to the outside world we share with all that squirms, flies, blooms, and in each of us says than you. Our hearts tie us to one another.

What are 10 things you are grateful for today? Use the question every day.

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Living The Gospel Today: Gratitude

25 Nov




27 Feb
Photo via Flickr user John

Photo via Flickr user John

Our church has three Ash Wednesday services, one of which is a family service. The children’s choir sings, and the pastor sets a bowl of palms on fire during the sermon, burning them into ashes. Each family is given a Lenten daily devotional book full of prayers created by children. “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)

Families come up together to receive a blessing, and then the family members place ashes on each other. I stood at a station blessing families, watching them remind each other of their dust-i-ness. As families filed up to the altar, the sanctuary was charged with love, affection, humility, mindfulness and a touch of melancholy.

My spouse approached my station with our sleeping three-month old son in his arms. I started crying while blessing us:

Holy God, we praise you for sending your Son into the world to show us how much you love us. Bless us with your grace and strengthen us in faith, now and always. We ask this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

I continued crying as I placed my pointer finger into the bowl of ashes and made the sign of the cross on his little forehead:

Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.

Dan and I exchange ashes, and I was filled with gratitude for this life we are given, this moment of consciousness together on earth as the dust brought our mortality undeniably into focus. I was not filled with fear of our dust-i-ness, but filled with wonder of the depth of goodness that occurs between dust and dust.

Just a year ago, I sat by myself during the family service, watching parents place ashes on their children’s foreheads. I didn’t go up to a station to get blessed. I didn’t want to place ashes on myself. I waited for the next service that wasn’t so focused on children. We were living in the grief of two miscarriages, and exhausted, sad and lonely, I leaned hard on God. Alone in the pew, I laid my heart bare to God. It was an Ash Wednesday and Lent that felt comforting, appropriate, raw and honest to me in my melancholy, in my grief. We are dust. We are human. We are dependent, like children, on our God.

I kissed my baby’s warm, soft cheek before they returned to their pew, and my heart sang with joy. Here is this person, given to us to care for for a short time. He is such a gift, and the ashes on his forehead, sitting right between his bright blue eyes on his tiny, innocent face reminded us that there was nothing and now there is something, and that something is so good. It reminded us of our need for God who gives us life now and promises life for us forever.

Living the Gospel Today: Gratitude

2 Jan


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