Let Go

“Humbly let go. Let go of trying to do, let go of trying to control, let go of my own way, let go of my own fears. Let God blow His wind, His trials, oxygen for joy’s fire. Leave the hand open and be. Be at peace. Bend the knee and be small and let God give what God chooses to give because He only gives love and whisper a surprised thanks. This is the fuel for joy’s flame. Fullness of joy is discovered only in the emptying of will. And I can empty. I can empty because counting His graces has awakened me to how He cherishes me, holds me, passionately values me. I can empty because I am full of His love. I can trust” (Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are).

Five years ago, I read a book that changed my life. It changed the way I look at my circumstances, allowing me to seek joy and to always be on the lookout for those 1,000 small daily gifts for which to give thanks. There’s always, always something to be thankful for.

I still have moments of grumpiness and days where entitlement and bitterness seem to win out. I go through seasons of complaining and comparison, unrest and envy. I can Debbie Downer with the best of them.

But the best days are still the ones where I give thanks and live out of gratitude and awe. That’s where I see God at work in me and around me. That’s when others see Jesus in me.

Regardless of how well or how poorly I lived out my thanksgiving, tomorrow’s always a chance to do better or start over or simply surrender and let God have His way. I think door number three sounds best.



Living by Gratitude

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them” (John F Kennedy).

Today is the 54th anniversary of the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States. Nearly all of you who were alive on that day back in 1963 remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when you first heard the news.

He may be gone, but his legacy and his words live on.

Anyone can talk a good game, but living it is something entirely different. When it comes to gratitude, anyone can say thanks. Words are cheap. But living out your thanks is much rarer and more precious.

How do you live by gratitude? You pay it forward. You take the good done to you and do something good for someone else. You thank God best by living out His message of reconciliation and hope in a world that desperately needs that message.

In 27 minutes, it’s Thanksgiving Day. Let’s not just live out thanksgiving on this one day of the year but on each and every day of 2017 and 2018 and every year to follow, for as many years that God gives us.

As a reminder, I urge you to look for one small thing every day to be thankful for and see if that doesn’t change your entire outlook on life.

Oh, and happy Thanksgiving Eve, everyone!


A Change of Scenery

Boom. That says it all.

Gratitude won’t instantly transform your scenery into something else entirely. You won’t be instantly whisked away to a tropical island with a hammock and fruity drinks that come in coconuts.

Gratitude will change how you see your scenery. Suddenly, you can see clearly all the blessings you have. You especially see all the little miracles that you missed before when you were caught up in greed, envy, bitterness, and general dissatisfaction.

Gratitude helps you see God in your scenery. Every thanksgiving is a reminder of God’s provision for you and God’s promises to you.

So, give thanks. Even on a Monday.

A Word from Mr. Bonhoeffer

“Thankfulness works in the Christian community as it usually does in the
Christian life. Only those who give thanks for the little things receive the
great things as well. We prevent God from giving us the great spiritual gifts
prepared for us because we do not give thanks for daily gifts. We think that
we should not be satisfied with the small measure of spiritual knowledge,
experience, and love that has been given to us, and that we must constantly be
seeking the great gifts. Then we complain that we lack the deep certainty, the
strong faith, and the rich experiences that God has given to other Christians,
and we consider these complaints to be pious. We pray for the big things and
forget to give thanks for the small (and yet really not so small!) gifts we
receive daily. How can God entrust great things to those who will not
gratefully receive the little things from God’s hand?” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

To receive the greater gifts and blessings, it’s important for us to give thanks for the seemingly smaller gifts (which in hindsight turn out to be not quite so small after all).

Above all, I think it’s important to give thanks for each day God wakes us up and not take for granted another 24 hours that we got to see and touch and taste and smell and live.

No matter what happened today, good or bad or ugly, the fact that you survived is an indication that God’s not done with you and that He still has a purpose for you being here.

I believe those who are the happiest and most joyful are the ones who are grateful for everything, not just the obvious blessings. I know those are the people I want to get to know and to be like. May we all be those kinds of thankful people.



Grateful for Sore Muscles

Yes, that title is correct. I’m thankful for sore muscles tonight. I’m generally not a fan of soreness, but tonight I give thanks for several reasons:

The soreness came from washing and waxing my car this afternoon, so I’m thankful for being physically able to do those things, even if it resulted in slight discomfort later on. There are a lot of people, some my age or younger, who could not perform those tasks because of physical limitations.

Being able to wash and wax my car means that I have a car that’s reliable transportation, so for that I’m also grateful. It may be old . . . I mean vintage . . . but it still gets me where I need to go with a little style to boot.

I give thanks that the good weather held out just long enough for me to finish waxing my car before the rain started. I also held out long enough, though I was sweating profusely by the time I was done. My next post will likely be about how I need to workout more.

Eyes to see with, ears that hear, a mind that works. I refuse to take anything for granted anymore, no matter how small or insignificant it seems. I believe gratitude opens up the door of blessing and makes us see more of the blessings we already have.

Usually, I suck at giving thanks. I do my fair share of complaining and grumbling (mostly to myself in my head). Those days when I give thanks, I can tell a tangible difference in the way I see the world and the way the world sees me. It makes a difference.

Oh, I’m also thankful that Advance Auto Parts had the car wax on the shelf for me to buy so that I could wax my car. I almost left that part out.

It’s Monday Eve Again

My cat Lucy is purring, so I’m thinking she’s unaware that tomorrow is Monday. Either that or she’s in complete denial.

I’m leaning toward the latter.

Of course, her schedule for tomorrow is a little less complicated than mine. Her to-do list goes something like 1) eat, 2) take a nap, 3) poop 4) take a nap, 5) dash crazily around the house for 45 seconds, 6) take a nap, etc.

Monday’s not my favorite way to start off the week.

Then again, Monday means I’m alive and made it to another day.

I can choose to complain or I can choose to give thanks. Gratitude is a much better way to live than grumbling. You can see every day as a burden or as a miracle. It’s your  choice.

So to that end, I say that God is great, life is good, and I am still very much blessed.

The end.

Happy Birthday Adam to Me!!

It’s my Birthday Adam, the day before my birthday Eve, the day before my actual birthday. As usual, all forms of payment are accepted.

I’m thankful that I’m still around to celebrate another birthday. Growing old is a privilege denied to many, so I’m not going to grumble or take it for granted.

I’m going to wake up tomorrow (God willing) and say a prayer of thanks for the privilege. I’m going to get in my car and drive to my job and be grateful for those things as well.

I’m going to take pleasure in the little things like the early appearance of spring weather and the flowers blooming. I’m not going to dwell on the things I can’t control or bemoan all that I don’t have but rather give thanks for everything I do have.

So here’s to a happy 45th birthday and another year full of grace and mercy to come!


A Pre-Lent Lenten Prayer

“A lenten prayer to avoid entitlement from Richard Rohr:

‘Maybe we all should begin our days with a litany of satisfaction, abundance, and enoughness. God, you have given me another day of totally gratuitous life: my health, my eyes, my ears, my mind, my taste, my family, my freedom, my education, clean water, more than enough food, a roof over my head, a warm bed and blanket, friends, sunshine, a beating heart, and your eternal love and guidance.

To any one of these we must say, “And this is more than enough!'”

Ok, I know we’re not quite to Lent season just yet. I realize that Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday are two weeks away (and Mardi Gras just happens to fall on my birthday this year, which is neat).

Still, this applies to any season of the year or of life. Gratitude is the gift that never goes  out of style and never becomes obsolete. Joy is as much of an art and a discipline as it is a gift because while it’s free, it takes effort and stamina to fully realize and appreciate it.

I should probably at some point tape these words from Richard Rohr to my bathroom mirror so that they are the first thing I see when I wake up. Or maybe I should post them somewhere I will see them AFTER I’ve had that all-important first cup of coffee.

I need reminding often of how blessed  I truly am. It’s easy in a culture that promotes dissatisfaction and envy to look at all that’s missing from my life and all that I don’t have. That can lead to despair.

Joy starts with being content with such things that I have already. Gratitude is the way we see God’s provident hand everywhere working in everything. Even on Mondays.



An Attitude of Gratitude

I found out that a friend of the family is currently walking through his own valley of the shadow of death in dealing with incurable cancer. To hear the word “cancer” coming out of the mouth of a doctor is scary enough, but to hear it preceded by “terminal” has to be frightening to an almost paralyzing degree.

Yet this friend of mine has faced this diagnosis with dignity and peace and an unswerving faith in the God who is still in the miracle business. While the odds seem insurmountable, I’m reminded yet again that what seems impossible to us isn’t even remotely difficult for God. Just ask any of the blind or lame men that Jesus healed. Or the lepers. Or Lazarus.

My friend said that it all starts with an attitude of gratitude. I truly believe that. A positive mental outlook is half the battle when dealing with a grim medical diagnosis.

Yet it’s more than that. This attitude of gratitude comes from the same place that allowed the Apostle Paul to pen the words that to live is Christ and to die is gain. It’s literally a win-win with Jesus.

Either my friend gets healed here and becomes a witness of God’s healing power or he is resurrected and finds ultimate healing and stands in front of Jesus to hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

When you think about it, we’re all terminal. After sin entered the world, death followed close behind and that proverbial hourglass started on each one of us. Unless Jesus comes back soon, all of you reading this will come to the place where you breathe your last.

Thanks to Jesus death will not have the final word. The grave is only temporary. The resurrection truly does mean that the worst thing is never the last thing and Jesus will have the final word in your story.

I’m praying for my friend for healing here and now knowing that no matter what happens, God is always good and we are always loved and that grace still wins in the end.


A Thursday Night Reminder

Remember as your head hits the pillow tonight that there is someone out there wishing and praying for all the things that you have and take for granted.

You might not have everything you want, but you still have way more than a lot of people around the world.

The next time you start to complain or to fall into the envy trap, remember that there are people who don’t have nearly as much as you who are way more content.

The old saying remains true– when you give thanks and practice gratitude, it makes what you have enough. You won’t get caught up in the futile race to find peace through the accumulation of stuff.

So give thanks for what you have and be generous to those who don’t have as much as you. Be one of the radical few who don’t feel the need to keep up with those proverbial Joneses but are satisfied with what they have.

I think that covers it for this Thursday, December 7, 2016.