1,000 Gifts of Thanks

Slowing down.

Finding God in the busy crush of daily life.  Where He is sometimes pushed aside; until we have a great need of Him.  The Lover of our souls, made to wait, our affections growing stale and brittle out of what we claim as necessity. 
Can you hear His voice, tender as a lover, calling your treasured name? 

Do you see His love, laid out before you as a lavish celebration of His delight in you?
 Can you feel His breath on your cheek, as He whispers sonnets written just for you?

Take a moment, take time to recall His lavish gifts to you.  See how He has wooed you; how He woos you still.  Be still, breathe in the quiet.  Let yourself see God’s love unfolding before you, in His way for only you.  Mark it; capture it within your heart.  Store it up for the dry times of the soul.  Lay this foundation, daily; and let the weight of your life rest upon it.  You are cherished.  You are delighted in.  You are loved by the Creator of the universe, the Author of all eternity. 
I will mark these gifts; I will see them and treasure them and recognize their meaning in my life.  Here, I will record them, daily adding to their number.  May they speak only of You, o Lord.  May You be honored here, for Your love is the orb encircling my life.   

1.        Redemption, a LOVE that rescues and restores, rebuilds, and reclaims what was always there.

2.        Baptism.  A young man’s declaration that he will follow Jesus all the days of his life.

3.        Photo-day clothes shopping; in stores that were once too expensive.    

4.       Hiking to Cub Lake, with longer legs and stronger backs; chatting the entire way.

5.        The return of Friday date days…without the study having to be crammed in as well.

6.       Photo op with Bibleman…and knowing that his passion for the gospel is infectious.

7.        A four-hour coffee date to bring a friend up to speed.  And her empathy.

8.       The annual tradition of re-birthday girls’ night out celebrations.

9.       Doing laundry with a friend.  And sharing truth, to keep alone-ness at bay.

10.     Fixing what needed it; and having the resources to do so.

11.      Going to church sans the Officer, instead of hiding at home.

12.     A long day of friends and sun and play.  Respite for solitude

13.     The last turn around the rink…for this summer.

14.     Answer to prayer…immediate and literal.  Direction and purpose.

15.     The delight of a little girl as she watches her toes and fingers glitter.

16.     Her self-assurance as she rounds the corner, out of sight.

17.     His delight at rediscovering friends.

18.     Finally breaking the silence; and their offense on our behalf.

19.     Parents and siblings who take the kids fishing and hiking and amusement parking.

20.    Sitting in the lobby, praying.

21.     Having to do it again.

22.     Doubling up on birthdays; and having it all work out.

23.     Parents-in-law who can’t get enough time with their grandchildren.

24.    My on-sale uniform

25.     The quiet that finally let me hear You.

26.    Remembering why…Song of Solomon

27.     An inspired manifesto.  And the desire to follow it.

28.    Golden-dipped days of sand and surf, just the four of us.

29.    Mouse-ears, light-sabers, roller-coasters, electric parades, castles, and fireworks. 

30.    Flight.

31.     The friend who’ll drive us, at 4AM, to the airport.

32.     A hometown friend as a representative; and her finesse and expertise guiding us along the way.

33.     The ultimate spring cleaning.

34.    My mother’s day bouquet of roses

35.     Post-semester trip to Breck.

36.    Snow falling as we sit in hot tubs

37.     Family game competitions, ending in wacky-jacks

38.    The Officer’s phone calls in the middle of the day.  Just to say, “hi.”

39.    The question that just won’t settle: “then why do you go there?”

40.    The welcome we found at a church we visited.  God’s people, open to receiving one another.

41.     A two months gone Christmas present that sits by the door, reminding me to pray for whom it is intended.

42.    A daughter who wants to butter me up with a pie date.  I can’t wait!

43.    Pink Champagne; because when you love someone that much, her accomplishments feel like mine, too.

44.    Wasted Thursdays.

45.    Praying together, and being filled with the lightness that only comes from oneness.

46.    A video game, 2 minutes of side-by-side time that opens up the rest of our Mom/son date for finding out who the other really is.

47.    The Officer, doing everything he can to make me happy. 

48.    The jump, a little too close to the stream, at the bottom of the sledding hill ~ and the hilarity that followed.

49.    The out-of-the-blue-left-field-never-woulda-thought answer that I know is the result of little girls’ prayers.

50.    Her theology trumps mine.  Always.

51.     He wants to be a missionary.  He knows what that means.

52.     Dreaming.  Together.  Alone.  As a family. 

53.     Un-expected Sabbaths, in deep snow, blankets, hot chocolate, movies, cuddles. 

54.    And getting to do it over again, the very next day.

55.     A note, the very thought making me laugh; hoping my laughter springs out at her over the miles.

56.    The Officer, who can see that I’m buried, and he wants to pull me out again.

57.     A Blind Lab, playing fetch.

58.    Fish tacos, for the first time, with a vibrant, old-new friend.

59.    “I. Am. Praying. For. You.”

60.    Immanuel: evidence that I will never know the trajectory of the story; I can merely await God’s personal, miraculous intervention.

61.     Shoulder-shaking encouragement, of the don’t-you-dare-give-up variety.

62.    Whispering, “you’re the only one I can say this to,” and knowing what follows will not be judged, but the heart behind it searched out.

63.    One person checking, every day.  And letting me know they see. 

64.    “Rock star pajamas” ~ thank You, Father, for their fitting!

65.    Wonders, miracles, small and great, wound in words to remind me who You are.

66.    Karios time, to carpe the chronos pace of many days.

67.    An entire day lost in bumps, jelly-legs, and following my younger brother in his world.

68.    The Officer who offers those days as gifts.

69.    The time-strapped hand that held the book to screen, an ezer to propel studies.

70.    Every morning.  New mercies, every morning.

71.     It’s not in there.  The wide-eyed opening of my spirit to Your truth, not man’s traditions.

72.     Hand-hewn floors.

73.     A face-lift for windows, polka-dot pillows to throw, fresh blowing of color to make things new.

74.    Face-lighting, springing steps of my father to pass family traditions to another generation.  And them not wanting to leave.

75.     Excitement, shy and humble, in my Mother’s voice.  Because writers often are.

76.    Hurts, greatly stricken, acknowledged, then let go because our friendship is too deep.

77.     Chinese strategy with my beloved God-family.

78.    My Dad’s inability to leave dirty dishes sitting in the sink, or the cooler unfilled.

79.    Actually buying the hardwood, and knowing my Mom will make everything just right.

80.    Driving up a snowy mountain road, glowing with love.

81.     Rivers of encouragement from my Mother’s tongue.  And sensible shoes.

82.    A house too-full, bursting with memories, laughter, and love.  Like holidays should.

83.    “I’ll be home for Christmas,” an apropos brotherly anthem.

84.    Watching S’s carved out of powder and hops dared on ice, a Koala and Firefly learning.

85.    Two strips of plastic, waxed, edged, and bound to my feet, letting me fly.

86.    Geeky snowflakes, harbingers of laughter, remaining in spite of summer’s breath.

87.    The most perfect batch of fudge.  Ever.  Because we all made it together.

88.    The words, Spirit launched, that soothe and refract truth into weary hearts.

89.    Advent, a season of remembering to anticipate hope in hopeless times.

90.    Three, scripturally inaccurate but thematically complete, crèches.

91.     The histories behind each bough-dancing bauble

92.    the Pentatonic scale, culturally boundless and neuronically intrinsic

93.    Humility ~ pride’s antithesis, the pathway to joy and peace.

94.    Glitter glue, to make ordinary prose sparkle.

95.    Ornaments from my father’s childhood tree, now twirling at the ends of my branches.

96.    A motley Christmas tree, very un-magazine-ish in its perfection.

97.    A down comforter, weighted warmth for solitary studies.

98.    Flannel sheets.

99.    the Word ~ always available, always training, always alive

100. The glow from shining countenances proclaiming that these captives have been set free

101.  God’s voice to us both, unified and unflinching.

102.  Homemade apple pie.  For breakfast.

103.  Becoming the church

104. Friends who finish, and call me towards the ending.

105.  The universe is expanding, as our understanding of it expands; just as Lewis’s Aslan grew because God is always the same size, we merely become more aware of Him and his Awesomeness.

106. The ontological argument: it at once announces how small and humble I really am, by putting me into perspective of the eternal, Almighty God.

107.  The 2 women I can call or text in the moment of crisis, and know I will be prayed for and over On the Spot.

108. My kids singing made-up songs in tunes only they know; harmonizing in ways only they understand, in caves of prayers, under blankets ~ working together, because unity comes from caring for others.

109. The only two arms I ever want encircling me.

110.  A day at the lake; divinely Ya-ya-ish

111.   Art museums

112.   Friends you can leave your kids with … at a moment’s notice

113.   A four-poster bed, handcrafted especially for me

114.  Romance

115.   Love notes in lunch boxes ~ everyday.  Just like my Mom used to

116.  My brother’s nearness

117.   Teaching my kids the Cotton-eyed Joe in my living room, with my sister

118.  My man, in uniform

119.   Homecomings

120.  A Mom who upon arrival, takes the vacuum from me, and finishes because she can see how tired I am

121.   A surprise visit from a friend; one who can see the piles of laundry and dishes and help me get them done

122.  A bowl of ice cream, shared with the sweetest treats in my life

123.  A hummingbird, a spritely rainbow, trapped in the car

124.  A chinchilla, soft and nibbling, in spite of allergies

125.  11 days in the car, spanning across the frozen wilderness of the Yukon and Candada

126.  The azure emanating from glaciers

127.  Beluga whales, ghosts of icy waters, traipsing up the coast

128.  Anchorage, Alaska

129.  Lodge-pole pine trees, stately guardians smelling of vanilla

130.  Breckenridge, Colorado

131.   Realizing I get lost in the details when my beloved sees the bigger picture

132.  Learning how to landscape…sort of

133.  Rural-suburban Colorado

134.  The swing my Dad set up, so I could rock her on it; just like the one he rocked me on

135.  My Mother, bathing my newborn daughter for the first time

136.  Derby, Kansas

137.  The silver screen: Hitchcockean grace, Lewis-esque worlds, Burtonean quirks, and Lurhman-esque vibrancy

138.  Nana’s kitchen table, a place of laughter, confessions, and food.  Always more food

139.  Papo, calling me “Mrs. Baros” for the first time

140. Albuquerque, New Mexico

141.  e. e. cummings, from mother to daughter  to sister

142.  The pearl “mommy ring,” given by the Officer, to commemorate becoming parents

143.  A dirty old hat, camouflaged and stained; but the epitome of love

144.  Polaris

145.  Ft. Derusee Beach, Hawai’i

146.  Nancy Drew, from Grandmother to daughter to granddaughter

147.  Laughing until I snort.  Yes, even the snort

148.  The Timbertoes, beloved of my youngest, as I loved them, too

149. Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina

150.  Capice sea shells, a delicate chandelier

151.   The Nutcracker ballet, a family tradition

152.  The Mink coat

153.  Grandma Myrna’s propensity for late nights

154.  Aspens, quaking and whirling golden filters of sunlight

155.  Christmas tree lights

156.  A friend, who plans everything, and make sure I’m taken care of in the process

157.  My Mom’s butterscotch and chocolate chip cookies, made with help from my kids

158.  Glasses, on little faces

159.  Butterflies

160. A country that does not, yet, persecute me for loving You.

161.  Auburn hair, liquefying sunlight with copper strands

162.  Toothless grins

163.  Being a bride

164. The bench my grandparents made, an heirloom wedding gift

165.  My daughter’s love of books

166. Orchids

167.  Books I can’t put down, even when I should be asleep

168. The reading nook

169.  Words

170.  A Velcro Labrador

171.   The clack-clack bravery of a Mother-in-Law

172.  My $25 piano

173.  Worship

174.  The thumping swoosh of skiing

175.  Lap lanes

176.  Water

177.  14,000 feet above sea-level…5 times

178.  My tea garden: built by my Officer, for quiet moments with Jesus

179.  Lilac bushes, finally taking root.

180. Four-walls-and-a-roof, turned into a home with laughter and memories

181.  Traditions

182.  Music, of all kinds

183.  Seminary

184. Nightlights

185.  Mink-weighted feeling of security

186. Listening to my kids’ prayers

187.  Fireside conversations with my beginnings

188. The kisses that promise life

189. Being a girl

190. But not a pink bows, don’t-want-to-break-my-nails kind

191.  Velvet sand, glowing in the moonlight

192.  Soft, muffling blankets of snow

193.  Cool, sharpness of coming rain

194. Being called forward, to be more of who I was made to be

195.  My Dad’s voice

196. My brother’s smile

197.  Conversations with friends that make me known

198. The easy, silly moments with my sister

199. The comfort of my Mother’s arms

200. Mountains, sentries of glory

201.  Soft hands, folded over mine in prayer

202. The THRONE, now approachable through grace

203. Dancing firefly eyes

204. Koala bear snuggles

205. Breath, drawing in life

206. Peacock-colored, giddy firework LOVE