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Today we are being asked to give thanks for 3 gifts painted.  In a flash I knew which 3 painted gifts would make my list.  The first two sprang from the mind of my marvelous daughter, and the third is a gift of love.

  1. My daughter used our cats Coffee and Sailor’s paws to replicate a painting that I have of an Island on the West Coast.  Each paw print is distinct and I can clearly see the pattern of sea and sky and land.  Now  that Coffee and Sailor are no longer with us this painting is something that makes me smile every time I see it.
  2. My “Mommy’s Day Gift” as my grandson calls Mother’s Day was paintings that he (age 3) and his brother (age 15 months) had done on a craft afternoon.  On top of the masterpieces they created are their handprints done by dipping their hands in black paint and pressing them down on the canvas.  What a treasure of the days when they are still young, and a true gift of love.  
  3. When I received this painting as a gift I was so overwhelmed that the only words I had were, “it’s perfect”. Over and over as people asked me if I liked it all I could say was “it’s perfect”.  Frankly it was all I could do not to burst into tears.  The day the gift of the painting was given was the final service that I conducted in a little country church that was closing.  It was one of the saddest days in my life.  I loved and still love the people in that congregation.  Every once in a while I see one of them at worship, or on the street and it is a joyous time.  The  gift that moved me to speechlessness:  a painting of the church done by one of the grandchildren of an elder.  Every time I look at the painting I can see the faces of those who have worshiped there with me.  Every time I look at it I am reminded of the love we shared and still share.  Such a marvelous gift.

Again, I am struck, at how giving thanks makes me realize how  much there is to give thanks for.  Today on Ann Voskamp’s blog http://annvoskamp.com/ I read the following quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Only he who gives thanks for little things receives the big things.

We prevent God from giving us the great spiritual gifts He has in store for us, because we do not give thanks for daily gifts.

We think we dare not be satisfied with the small measure of spiritual knowledge, experience, and love that has been given to us, and that we must constantly be looking forward eagerly for the highest good. Then we deplore the fact that we lack the deep certainty, the strong faith, and the rich experience that God has given to others, and we consider this lament to be pious.

We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts.

How can God entrust great things to one who will not thankfully receive from Him the little things?”

~Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community

What a question to ponder.  How can God entrust great things to one who will not thankfully receive from him the little things?

Just the practice of finding things, silly, ridiculous, profound, small, or big on a daily basis has made me so much more aware of the many ways in which God touches my life.  I know that I am blessed, and I am realizing every day just how blessed I am. Wow.