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Posts Tagged ‘God’s Gifts’

 

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery.

Today is a gift which is why we call it the present.”

–Bill Keane

(creator of the comic, Family Circus)

 

During my years as a fourth grade teacher, I used this Bill Keane quote to review with the kids the basic three tenses of the English language. The humor added a bit of fun; the truth of Keane’s statement added a bit of wisdom.

Even nine- and ten-year olds can benefit from the realization that:

Yesterday is past. We’re better off if we choose not to hold on to the hurts and disappointments of days gone by.

Tomorrow is a mystery; ‘best not to dwell on worrisome possibilities that most likely won’t happen.

Today is a gift from the ultimate Gift-Giver, God himself, and there is much to savor and appreciate.

 

 

The problem is, I forget. Those moments when I’ve marveled, laughed, or sighed in contentment are lost by day’s end in the blur of busy-ness.

So over the last few months I’ve been recording small blessings worthy of celebration—at least one per day, sometimes more.

For example:

  • While I was exercising, a bustling little wren nodded and bobbed from her log-perch outside the window. She cheered me on.

 

 

  • A glowing pink sunrise in the east greeted a crescent pearl moon to the west. Beauty shouting praise into the silence of dawn.

 

 

  • Our four-year old granddaughter, Elena, found an instant friend at the playground. The two girls gleefully ran back and forth several times across a field, holding hands. They perfectly illustrated Celeste Palermo’s observation, “Children are high-energy guides from Heavenly Tours, Inc.” (1).

 

 

  • A woodpecker extravaganza occurred in the backyard when three different species congregated at the same time—a flicker, a red-bellied, and a hairy.

 

(Hard to tell this guy is a red-bellied woodpecker.)

 

  • I spent a quiet hour reading on the deck one evening, reveling in heavenly weather and a bowl of sublime strawberries. All senses were happily engaged—mind and spirit, too.

 

 

You’ll notice there’s nothing particularly exciting on this list. No exotic locations, no momentous adventures.

Just affirmations that right now is good and quiet moments afford their own distinctive treasures.

It’s been great fun collecting these small snippets of surprise, exhilaration, and solace each day. I’m learning to carve the extraordinary out of ordinary and find the holy among the humdrum.

The Gift-Giver himself resides among his gifts. And as I savor selected moments of my days, I taste and see that he is good (Psalm 34:8).

 

 

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

 

Thank you, Father, for this moment, right here, right now, that includes happy trees outside my window, clapping their hands in praise to you. I thank you for the soft cloak of quiet around me, and the nest of memories surrounding my desk, woven from things old, bestowed, and beloved. “The earth is full of your loving kindness, O God”—even in my little office.

(Isaiah 55:12, Psalm 33:5b)

 

What moment from today will you savor?  Tell us about it in the comment section below!

 

Note 

  1. Celeste Palermo, The Coffee Mom’s Devotional: A Rich Blend of 30 Brief and Inspiring Devotions, (Revell, 2009), 154.

 

(Art & photo credits:  www.wikipedia.org; http://www.wikimedia.com; http://www.maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com; http://www.wikimedia.com; http://www.pexels.co; http://www.wikimedia.com; http://www.pixabay.com; http://www.pinterest.com.)

 

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IMG_2275

 

“Nancy, come here!” Tabbitha called, as she poked her head through the door of my classroom.  Tabbitha taught across the hall from me. It was still early morning, and students hadn’t begun to arrive yet.

“I want to show you something!” she beckoned. Tabbitha’s smile and sparkling eyes gave me a hint that, whatever her surprise, it was going to be good.

Quickly she led me out of the school building and back towards the parking lot. She stopped at a row of low, scraggly bushes that grew along the sidewalk.

“Look!” Tabbitha cried, pointing down at one of the bushes.

I looked but saw nothing. “What am I supposed to see?”

“Right here,” she said, and moved her finger closer to the object.

My eyes finally focused on what she saw: a shriveled brown pouch adhered to a branch. A chrysalis.

 

chrysalis

 

I couldn’t remember ever seeing one in the wild before, only in a butterfly habitat.

We studied the chrysalis closely, marveled at the miracle within, and wondered whether the end result would be a butterfly or moth.

“Actually, I have to tell you. I didn’t spot the cocoon,” Tabbitha confessed. “Brooke did.”

Of course.   Tabbitha’s daughter, Brooke, was four years old at the time–closer to the ground to notice such details as an odd protrusion on a low stem. But Brooke was also an observer. Her little eyes and ears didn’t miss much, and her mind was always active—learning, wondering, connecting,

As for me, I hardly even noticed there were bushes along that sidewalk, much less a miracle taking place among them. My mind was always busy with the to-do list, lesson plans, students needing special attention that day, the emails to be answered, the meeting after school, etc., etc.

Little Brooke taught me a lesson that morning:  Pay attention!

God is revealing himself to me every day—his creative genius, his loving care, and his wisdom. He arranges little serendipity gifts for me to discover. My challenge is to be watchful.

The blessings are there, the joy available–not just in grand rainbows and sunsets that grab my attention, but in the sheen on rain-washed leaves or in the mesmerizing flicker of a candle flame.

 

candle_flame_2

 

Joy is not the result of happy events, a collection of lovely things, or even near-perfect relationships with family and friends.  Joy is experienced in the presence of God (Psalm 16:11). And when God and I together enjoy his creation, his people or his engineering of events, the joy becomes rapturous.

However! I have been a slow student to learn the habit of attentive living. I’m still developing a praise-frame of mind.

But when I pause long enough to enjoy a cocoon on a stem, a group of children on a playground, or the smile on the face of a friend, I want to extend that pause into a prayer:

Oh, God, thank you for lavishing gifts of love upon me each day. Thank you for filling me with eternal pleasures at your right hand (Psalm 16:11), all day long, now and forever. Yet there is more!  Thank you that, as I celebrate these blessings together with you, my joy is expanded even further. Help me to become attentive like little Brooke. And perhaps, as I express my contentment in you and in all your gifts, your heart will be filled with joy as well.

 

 

(photo credits:  www.princetonaturenotes.blogspot.com; http://www.discovermagazine.com; http://www.brantfordfire.ca.) 

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