Thursday, December 12, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Today my gratitude is leaning forward and not looking back.

* I am grateful that I will leave my house in an hour or so, head to Trader Joe's, perhaps stop at The Fresh Market, and then go enjoy a sleepover at my dear friend's lovely home on the lake. It has been far too long since I've hunkered down in front of her fireplace nursing a glass of wine or a mug of tea.

* I am grateful for these days of Advent, waiting, anticipating, pondering the coming of the Christ Child. I am grateful for the remaining days and weeks of singing Christmas carols, of hearing the story of that miraculous birth, and for the new lessons I am learning about Advent. This book, given to me by the same woman whose house I will sleep in tonight, has been guiding me towards Christmas morning in quiet and poignant ways. (Thank you, my dear and generous friend.)

* I am grateful for this passage from today's reading -  In traditional religious circles, we are rarely taught the value of quiet contemplation. We are a "doing culture" by habit and conditioning. Even when we go on church retreats, we expect an agenda of speakers, workshops, and activities. Most of us would consider a silent retreat an unreasonable way to spend our time when our to-do lists seem unending. But carving out space for contemplation and solitude can invite God to speak into our lives and offer us an opportunity for us to steep in the depth of what God is already doing and saying. (Silence and other surprising invitations of Advent, by Enuma Okoro, page 53)

* Speaking of solitude, silence, and contemplation, I am grateful that I will get to spend tomorrow in silence up at Starrette Farm in Statesville. Eight hours of prayer, journaling, reading, eating, drinking, pondering Advent, and planning for next year. What will my word of the year be for 2014? What will be my verse for the new year? What are my spiritual, physical, emotional, marital, parental, personal goals?

* I am grateful that Saturday is my birthday. I know that it is also the anniversary of the tragedy in Sandy Hook, and I will pray for the families of all those people whose lives ended far too soon and too violently. But I am also gonna celebrate my life. I am going to look back at my first 48 years and ponder the next 48.

* I am grateful that my daughter is making lists and checking them twice, filling in forms and choosing classes because early in January she will begin her sleepaway college life. She has worked hard and earned her associate's degree, so it's time to spread her wings and fly out of the cuckoo's nest. It's time for her to establish her own nest on her own terms. I am thrilled for her.

* I am grateful for the upcoming gathering of some girlfriends here at my house. I haven't seen them in far too long. We have stories to share, food to eat, and children to meet. Apparently, one of these beautiful ladies has gotten married and had twins since we last got together. I cannot wait to hear that story and hug her little ones.

* I am grateful for the ways in which all that I have lived, seen, tasted, experienced, and endured in the past have brought me to this moment on this Thursday when I can look forward to all that is yet to come with excitement and joy.

* I am grateful that even the parts that will be challenging and demanding will teach me much and transform me more into the image of God with each passing day.

* I am grateful for the hope of growth and change.

* I am grateful for this day, this hour, this moment.

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