I've been looking forward to doing this post since the beginning of summer! But, with the hectic pace of painting and life, it has taken me this long to actually get down to it!
It was a lovely sunny day, and I was digging weeds under my Red Arthur Honeysuckle bush, with my two helpers climbing all over me. On the outside, all was idyllic (well, except M probably stuck a twig or leaf or something scratchy into the back of my pants! That was itchy!!). On the inside, however, a storm was brewing - the storm of discontent. It's funny how those winds can pick up speed in an instant. Something small leads to something just as small, but suddenly I found myself grumbling and mumbling and praying the same things over and over and over.
Then, in the midst of it all came that small voice - Just give thanks.
Immediately I knew that praying specifically about whatever it was that was irking me at the time (I have lonnnng since forgotten, which means it must have really been a small deal!) was not the solution my heart and soul needed. I needed to learn to give thanks. In all things. And here was an opportunity to practice before my heart felt like it.
And so I did. Appreciation poured forth - for so many things. Personal things (health, family, joy, peace, reconciliation, salvation, friendships, so many creature comforts, a God who cares) and created things (moon, stars, flowers, colors, warmth, seasons) and hard things (conflict that stretches me, painful growth that deepens me, trials that challenge me).
A friend gave me a journal (some people collect shoes. With these big flat feet I have, shoes aren't really so attractive! - journals are much more ... flattering!!!) and I put it to good use. A collection of thanksgivings. No dates. No specifics. No lengthy entries. Just bits and pieces of gratitudes that I collect along the way. Inspired by the blogs of Brene Brown and Ann Voskamp, I purposed to write down as many as I can. Some days it is easy. Other days, I'm too tired to care. But it is good and cleansing and helps me see things in a new perspective.
So here it is.... Things That Make My Heart Happy!
The goal.... 10 things every Friday (in no particular order!).
1. I am thankful that I live in an area where I can still see the stars twinkle at night. As a teen (sometimes returning to the home farm later than I should ;)...), I would always look at the sky as I walked from the shed to the house, finding grounding in the stars that covered the sky. They are brilliant in winter, during the cold cold cold nights! I still find them inspiring.
2. That my girlies enjoy dancing. Every so often, we crank the tunes, and letter go :). Even Sweet K is finding her groove, which is really really really funny!
3. For solitude. Over the course of a busy summer, I set aside those precious hours of prayer, journaling, reflection and quiet. I lost myself. Not good. I have reclaimed that time once again (most mornings ... it's tough when you've gotten carried away with a novel and stayed up too late!!! :P) and am slowly finding ground again.
4. I've been reflecting on James 1:19-20...
My dear brothers, take note of this:
Everyone should be
quick to listen,
slow to speak and
slow to become angry,
for man's anger does not bring about
the righteous life that God desires.
I have a long long way to go, and I am grateful for a Savior that takes me as I am, but leads me on to something better.
5. Books - whether it's a well-written story or a provoking non-fiction piece, I enjoy reading. My only beef is that I can barely remember what I read these days!!
6. Friends. Good friends. Kindred friends. Silly friends. Serious friends. Family friends. Long-time friends. New friends. Rough-around-the-edges friends.
Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.
7. Popcorn. One of my most favorite-ist treats on earth!!
8. The hum of farm equipment in the fall. There's something about autumn that makes me utterly nostalgic!!
9. Compliments from my husband.
10. Music. Worship music. Country music. Songs that take me back a million memories to times that made me laugh (or cry!).
It's a sweet life and I am thankful!
Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.