The author of the book I am currently also chose to keep track of God's gifts. In the book, One Thousand Gifts, she describes her journey of learning gratitude through challenging herself to create a list of one thousand gifts from God. Slowly, she unpacks gratitude as a spiritual discipline that slows down time and as an act of "unwrapping love". I highly recommend the book for her thoughtful meditations on gratitude and her exquisitely poetic writing voice.
With that said, here is my gratitude list for today:
- Thursday nights are my Friday nights because I have Fridays off. My Sabbath is near.
- My gracious housemate, Colleen, shared her pumpkin curry lentils and rice with me for dinner. Best meal with lentils I have ever had.
- Andrew Bird's cover of Townes Van Zandt's "If I Needed You".
- My tutoring kids. They challenge me, on numerous levels in all kinds of ways.
- Square dancing at First Presbyterian every other Monday night. It's only Thursday, and I can't wait until Monday.
- Cold milk and warm banana bread for dessert from my other lovely housemate, Kalyn. For her friendship and generosity.
- A roof over my head, electricity, a food budget, a van to drive, and even traffic to sit in. Not only are these each gifts in themselves but the fact that these gifts are all here in New Orleans, my favorite city, is an entirely different story. My blessings are countless.
- I have never experienced grace in so many different forms in such a short amount of time. More on this later when I figure out how to talk about it because right now it's overwhelming...
- My housemates are family to me. My favorite nights of the week are when we are all together. We each have somewhat crazy schedules, so it's definitely a treat to spend time with all of us together. But during the week, we'll share meals, stories, homesickness, movies, or whatever else in small groups, which is just as beautiful, if not more so.
- My books. A few weeks ago, my parents sent me six boxes (SIX!) of books and clothing. My books mean the world to me, but I could not bring many to New Orleans because I traveled by plane. Ripping up those packages felt better than Christmas morning for a small child.
- The changing of the weather here. I saw a commercial this morning for an "End of Summer" furniture sale because "summer's ending quickly". It's late October, and for this Jersey girl, the summer's been over for a while. Yet the drop in humidity and increase in cool breezes brings me joy. Hot cups of tea don't seem as silly anymore.
- The Presbytery of South Louisiana. This presbytery is wildly supportive of the YAV program. Everyone is so generous and welcoming that it's overwhelming. Churches, YAV mentors, and presbytery members have hosted us for dinner several times already. The YAV Board is gracious towards our needs by providing each of us with a mentor from the presbytery. We as YAV's have been invited to help serve at different ministries throughout the state. To say that we are being taken care of is an understatement. My site coordinator said that the Presbytery of South Louisiana loves YAV's the most. I cannot imagine how they could support us more. I have no idea how to receive these gifts, let alone thank the presbytery for them.
For these gifts and for the countless others I am not aware of, I give thanks.
What have you given thanks for lately? What do you praise God for? What would your list look like?
Thanks for reading!