#ThirtyThankfuls Day 26: Open windows.

It’s rained here pretty heavily over the last few days, but this afternoon the rain has cleared and the skies are blue. The temperature outside has climbed up into the 60’s, so every window in the house is open to let in the cool afternoon breeze. (Now there’s 3 words you don’t often put together around these parts.)

Elsewhere in the country, I know folks are dealing with much colder temps and inclement weather, and God bless ’em. Truth be told, if given a choice, I’d usually prefer colder temperatures–I’m a winter-loving person by nature. But here and now, I’m grateful to be soaking up such pleasantness. The sound of the breeze blowing through the leaves of my neighbor’s trees, like the steady swish of waves along the beach, is a pretty sweet soundtrack for sermon-writing.

Thank you, Lord, for pleasant days and mild temperatures. We don’t get many days like this. They are precious when they arrive.

#ThirtyThankfuls Day 25: Leftovers.

Thanksgiving Dagwood.

Somehow, the delicious Thanksgiving feast is even better the second and third time around.

The sandwich pictured above was from last night: turkey, Mac, cranberry sauce, sourdough focaccia. Today, lunch was a big pile of bacon-apple-cabbage, Mac and cheese, and more turkey. I may grab some more bread with cranberry sauce for a snack shortly.

Leftovers are a reminder of God’s abundance—not just blessing us with the needs of the moment, but with that PLUS an extra spoonful of delight and satisfaction. It’s another one of those easily overlooked blessings that we can take for granted.

This weekend, enjoy your leftover stuffing and pie with a happy heart, reminded that God is generous.

#ThirtyThankfuls Day 24: Flavor

My sister brought the charcuterie magic today!

Something you may take for granted is flavor. Have you ever taken time to consider that God design a world that is pleasing to our senses–including our senses of smell and taste? Food could have been a completely utilitarian creation, full of bland, unchanging flavors and textures.

Instead, we were given a world full of flavor and texture and spice by our loving creator. The juicy richness of a well-cooked turkey or brisket. The salty sting of olives. The sweetness and tartness of a Granny Smith apple. The chewy, fermented goodness of fresh sourdough. The bitterness and complexity of coffee. All of these things are gifts from God for us to enjoy.

For us here in the States, today is Thanksgiving: a celebration that started with religious refugees fleeing to this continent to escape persecution by an over-reaching government. (Make your own editorial comments here.) The pilgrim community–already reduced greatly by disease and hypothermia and starvation–celebrated surviving in this new land. We celebrate the kindness if God and the gift of each other on this good day by bringing a bounty of flavor and color and smells to the festive table.

For my fellow Americans, I pray your celebrations were delightful, and that even now as you think back on the day’s dishes, you reflect on God’s gifts of friends, family, and flavors.

Our bird turned out nicely!

#ThirtyThankfuls Day 23: A Working Vehicle.

The van wouldn’t start last night (Tuesday). I had noticed that it was hesitating a bit when I started it a few times Monday, but it just completely stopped working when I was about to head to the grocery store after the kids’ bedtime.

That could have been bad. It could have been when my wife was out with our kids, in inclement weather, in treacherous traffic or a less-safe environment. We were spared that. Everyone was home and secure, the van safely parked in the garage, when the battery gave out. Grace.

A friend came over to try to jumpstart it, and then he helped push it into a better position for the tow truck driver. When I finally got to the mechanic, they were able somehow to fit me in before the holiday and replace my battery. I drove the van home this evening, relieved that we have a vehicle available again in case of emergencies during the long weekend. (We’re a 1-vehicle family in a car-focused city.)

You can sometimes take for granted that when you get in the driver’s seat and turn the key, that all will function properly. When it doesn’t, you realize it’s a convenience and a blessing that you should appreciate more.

On top of all that, this past weekend, we received an unexpected monetary gift that more than covered our auto mechanic bill. God’s providence once again provides what we need before we even know to ask.

So tonight, I thank God for His gracious provision, and for a van that starts.

Sleep well, friends.

#ThirtyThankfuls Day 22: Taking time off.

Photo by lil artsy on Pexels.com

Here, in the all-too-early morning of Tuesday, just an hour or two away from sunrise, the task list is finally at a reasonable stopping point. The “out-of-office” message turns on, the laptop closes, and the editor sleeps for a few sweet hours before toddlers jump on him to wake him up to a new day.

I am thankful to put the work email to bed for the rest of the week. Finally.

Tomorrow, you’ll hopefully be hearing from a less-stressed (and hopefully more rested) man. See you then.

#ThirtyThankfuls Day 21: My wife’s patience.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I’m supposed to be off work all week. My PTO has been locked in place for months. But of course, as things tend to go, once the time comes to close up shop, there is more necessary work than necessary time to complete it. So my tasks from last week are bleeding over into my vacation time, and my wife is…not pleased. Thankfully, she understands that I’m trying to resolve these things as quickly as possible, so she’s not too frustrated with me. Yet.

Suffice it to say, I don’t want to presume on her good graces any longer than I need to, so today’s entry will be a short one and hopefully tomorrow’s won’t be a tribute to the joys of sleeping on the couch because work time has bled too far over into vacation time.

Goodnight, friends.

#ThirtyThankfuls Day 20: My home office.

Messy workspace photo, because I keep it real, yo.

When the #ForeverPlague hit, my team was told to go home and work remotely, and we haven’t stopped since. The organization I work for has embraced the “Future of Work” (as they call it), and I’ve benefitted from the blessing of working from home. I’ve talked about this before, but one related blessing I may not have specified is that I also have the benefit of my own space.

When we bought our first home, we made sure there was a bedroom that could be designated my office/study. It’s not big, but it has built in bookshelves on one wall and a door with a lock.

I will never take this situation for granted, because I’ve known far too many people who don’t have the blessing of private space for work, where good walls and a door can muffle, if not silence, the sounds of the rest of the house or apartment.

So I’m very thankful for my workspace, because without it I would be hard-pressed to be as productive or effective as I am in my various tasks.

#ThirtyThankfuls Day 19: Ice cream.

Sometimes, when the kids are particularly cranky, and you and your spouse are tired from a good but long and overfull week, the best thing to do is put the kids to bed, leave your beloved at home for (hopefully) a few moments of peace and quiet, jump in the car, and head over to the grocery store for two pints of cold, chocolatey goodness.

Thank you, merciful Lord, for the gift of ice cream, an unnecessary blessing that reminds us that You don’t just give us what we need to survive, but You graciously provide us all good things to enjoy.

#ThirtyThankfuls Day 18: Christmas Lo-fi Music.

I can try to wax poetic and write something deep and meaningful here, but I realized that these entries don’t all have to be Big Important Statements. The truth is, it’s good just to be thankful for the simple joys and blessings of our lives. That’s what this whole #ThirtyThankfuls thing was originally meant to be about this year. Simple joys.

Today, as I’m slammed with work in advance of taking a little time off, I’m thankful for a chill, festive, instrumental soundtrack.

Here you go. Enjoy.

#ThirtyThankfuls Day 17: Table fellowship.

I had the blessing of sharing meals with fellow believers twice today: eating tacos for lunch with a new pastor friend from another church whom I got to meet through a mutual friend, and then a dinner of grilled cheese and homemade soup with my family and a few folks from my church family.

Just the simple act of being able to look across a table of half -empty plates and say, “How can I pray for you?” is a sweet thing. The bond between believers, even those who have just met, is a marvel.

I know this is a little repetitive from the other day, but I’m just again reminded what a blessing it is to be part of the family of God. My Father is so gracious.

Plus, the tacos al pastor were really, really good. (Wait—a pastor eating pastor tacos with another pastor. That’s kinda funny. Okay, maybe just to me.)