Grudgingly Grateful??

No, not really.  
Not so much grudgingly grateful…
but rather… um…shall we say..
 resistant to this list-making idea 
that’s become so popular since Ann’s book 
(actually the blog came first) 
invited us all to take up our pen and write down 
what we see and experience that makes us grateful 
for our unique lives.  
Please don’t get me wrong!  
I think this is a great idea – 
I’ve sponsored small groups at our church 
that are centered around gratitude; 
I have preached on the power of gratitude to change lives; 
I have experienced how gratitude begins to alter 
my thinking, 
my choices, 
my behavior.  
I’m a believer – I really am.

But … I’m also a bit rebellious by nature.
(Probably not the wisest thing for a pastor – 
even a retired one – to admit, but hey – it’s the truth.)
And this exercise began to feel a bit like the latest ‘fad,’ 
the newest formula for deepening our faith 
and widening our outreach.  
And, as a rule, I resist fads like the plague.  
Generally, they’re not helpful 
and tend to burn themselves out 
after exhausting church leaders and congregants alike
But as I’ve watched and waited, 
it seems to me that perhaps 
there is really something to this idea.
And Michelle DeRusha’s lovely photo list last week 
pushed me right over the top 
and made me want to think through my week 
with photos of those things that God has used 
to bless me in unique ways in the dailyness of my life.
So…I guess you could say,
I joined the Ann Voskamp club!
I’ve followed her blog for a long time now 
and have always appreciated her words and 
most especially, her pictures.
So here are a few of my own – 
which don’t begin to match the 
artistic gentleness of Ann’s, 
but which do speak to the life God has given me, 
far from the Canadian heartland.
I am a rank beginner at this kind of gratitude list-making, 
but the gratitude itself is far from grudging.
It is deep and heartfelt 
and very much an expression of my blessed existence.
1.  The first red roses from the garden.
2.  This kind of weather for about five days in a row.
 3.  An inviting space in which to ponder God’s goodness.
 4.  Inviting friends in to hear stories of God’s goodness on secular college campuses; stories told by a long-time friend and former pastor with a great new call on his life.
 5.  Our 1st harvest ever (in 45 years!) of fresh green beans!
 6.  A new magnolia tree to replace our old friendly oak that went down in the rains of March.
7.  Getting to love this little one every Wednesday.
 8.  Our grandson’s jazz concert – fabulous!
 9.  My 2nd office – and, truth be told, my favorite.  :>)
10.  The arrival of our eldest daughter’s wedding invitation – finding love, joy and grace after loss, heartache and suffering.

God is good.  All the time.  Isn’t that the best news ever?

So…finally joining in with Multitudes on Mondays:  

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  1. Beautiful list and photos! What a full life and warm weather…MN is just now getting warm… a bit jealous of the green beans!

  2. I clicked your link from Ann’s blog because, truth be told, I liked the picture of you. You seemed like a kind, witty, tell ’em like it is, kind of person (if you can tell that much from a photo). I’m so glad I came over. I love your list and your beautiful photos! Congrats on your daughter’s joyful wedding and that first crop if green beans. We planted beans last year and got two measly pods. 🙂 Blogs may be fads but, as you know, being grateful is always sweet music to God’s ears. 🙂 Have a great evening!

  3. I love this post and that you joined the club . . . when it was the right time for YOU.

    Your list is sweet.


    ps. I love rebellious pastors. 🙂

  4. Great photos. You have stored up gratitude so that it pours out quite naturally, in spite of your resistance. 🙂

    Surrounded by all that beauty, you have much to inspire!

  5. Thanks for the kind comments, friends. Special thanks, Rachel, for judging me so kindly from that photo! Stacie, we’ve had even more green beans and a few small zucchini, too. Makes a great stir fry. :>) Relieved to hear that rebellious pastors pass muster with you, Glenda. And Ann, you are always so gracious. Thanks to you all.

  6. Oh, WOW…I found you by way of a comment you left over at In courage. Your last name rang a bell and I wondered where you were from…I still don’t know. BUT…I love your blog and I will be back. Love the roses, green beans, the pictures are fabulous. Feeling extra blessed that I found you today. Thank you.