Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Daily Gratitude Year Four-Day 334: Today, I am grateful for my Randy... who is with me. (Text my journal prompt #29: What friend/family member are you grateful for today?)

I am grateful that he knows me so well (for better or for worse). He reads me like a book and says what I am thinking before I spit it out. We are opposite in some ways, but he is my other half. My best friend and so much more. We can stand on our own and need some quiet time, but we are better, stronger and more fun when we are together. 

One of the things that I love the most after 32 years together and 29 1/2 years of marriage is knowing we are heading in the same direction. Side by side is a great place to be. Even when we are apart... I am not alone. 

I am awed that God designed the intimacy of marriage to help us understand his love for us. We started a new Sunday School series. I am going to enjoy it.  The first lesson looked at the beauty of the words "I am with you." Love is an action verb. When we truly love someone... we look for their good, not to harm them. We desire to protect and serve them. We want to be with them. Even the trials of this world are more manageable when we know someone loves us and is with us. 

God created the human race for the unique purpose of designing into us the ability to deny and reject him. All of creation... without his intervention...always follows his rules and his ways... except us. We get the choice. I wonder if he ever regrets that decision. It has cost him so much. 

At creation... it cost him His breath.
At advent... it cost him time away from heaven.
At the cross... it cost him His blood.

Still, He did not give up.  Immanuel means "God with us". With us means for us and not against us, although, like any good Father, he allows us the consequences of our behaviors so that we can learn and grow. 

Behold! The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel” (which means, “God with us”) -Matthew 1:23 

With us. such a profound thing to be. Present and active... even when silent.

I have seen, known and felt suffering and loss. I am often reminded of the powerful lesson learned in Job.  His friends gave him comfort by simply being "with him" in his suffering... until they opened their mouths! To be with someone... in silence... is powerful. It says, "I don't understand what you are feeling, but I am with you.". 

Yes, I am with you. 

When Moses asked God who he should tell them sent him. God replied, "I AM". That... for my language loving friends is in present tense. Our God is present. No need to be tense. 

When Moses would fret... and who could blame him... his God assignment was huge.
"God said to Moses, “ I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘ I AM has sent me to you.’” - Exodus 3:14

Another favorite of mine... simple but powerful:

"Be still and know that I AM God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" Psalm 46:10

I am with you! 

Randy and I are far from perfect... but we are better together. God designed us for a partnership and I am grateful he is mine. I am grateful for the examples we've been given... and this long and enduring love story between God and humans. Love, grace and mercy are beautiful. 

I am still giggling about a story told by our pastor about Ruth Graham. She was being interviewed. They stated that being the wife of Billy Graham had to be difficult at times. Have you every thought of divorcing him?  She laughed and said, "No. I've have considered murder a time or two, but never divorce." It was all in good humor, but it speaks to the challenges and the joys of being with someone for better and for worse, on the same journey. 

Today, I am grateful for my Randy...who is with me... and a God who designed us to know him for the purpose of being "with Him." 

Monday, November 28, 2016

"Dressember" Awareness Campaign

Daily Gratitude Year Four-Day 333: Today, I am grateful for "Dressember". (Text my journal prompt #28: What small thing are you grateful for?)

My friend, Shelia, spoke a few weeks ago about a December awareness event called Dressember. I have not been able to get it out of my head. First, For King and Country's song "Priceless" has grabbed at my heart. Then, I saw they made a movie about human trafficking based on that song. Obviously, it is a mission close to their hearts. 

"Dressember" is a commitment to wear a dress every day in December (yes, it is cold here) to bring personal awareness and raise funds to help rescue and restore the lives of humans impacted by the sex trade that is alive and well... right here in the USA and beyond our borders. 

Proverbs 31:8-9 NLT keeps coming to mind. "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice."

"Dressember" doesn't sound that hard until I think about the times I really enjoy the "cozy" of a sweatshirt and leggings.  Some have no voice and no choice. I love wearing dresses, but I have a choice. For "Dressember", I will give up that choice as a reminder to pray for those enslaved and the people in law enforcement who seek, rescue and give their lives to save those who are crushed in spirit by human trafficking. 

Babies as young as two are taken and sold. Boys are not exempt. GIrls around the world and right here at home continue to have their innocence taken... literally stripped from them... with no tenderness and no choice. Many are conned with promises of work and a better life. They buy the lies. They can't get out without help. They grow into young women under the cover of the darkness with no hope for escape.Their souls are wounded. 

Where there is no moral compass, human depravity runs deep. Where people are willing to bring awareness and make a stand... hope grows. Wear there are people willing to stand together... there is hope. Wear a dress a day for 31 days.

"Dressember" supports the International Justice Mission and A21 with funds raised. The Superbowl is one of the biggest human trafficking venues of the year right here at home in the USA. The cybersex trade is easy to hide and it happens everywhere there is internet access. 

So... I am taking the challenge to wear a dress every day (even on my stay home Christmas day... that is all about cozy) because everyday there are humans who have no choice on what they will wear and how their bodies will be used. For the month of December - a dress is a "prayer trigger"  to keep me praying for those fighting the cause of freedom in some of the darkest places and for the people risking life and limb to rescue them. 

I am grateful for Sheila's passion that has been contagious. Illinois Dressfighters is our team. I am not asking for money. I will give some tithe money because it calls to my heart. I am adding the link for anyone that feels the same call on their heart.  https://support.dressemberfoundation.org/fundraiser/851051

Today, I am grateful for "Dressember".. 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Small Things Used Daily

Daily Gratitude Year Four-Day 332: Today, I am grateful for my old gas stove. (Text my journal prompt #27: What small thing used daily are you grateful for?)

Almost four years into daily gratitude and not once have I remembered to be grateful for my stove/oven. It isn't fancy. It is quite old. It does not even had auto clean. We purchase our home here "with appliances". 

The people we purchased our Morton home from proceeded to swap the ancient, ugly 70's bronze colored appliances from the house they purchased just off Grandview Drive... taking their much nicer ones with them. So, on top of a home purchase, we needed appliances. We got a "basic" stove and small refrigerator. We knew the energy cost on the old 70's models would be high.. and they looked terrible in the kitchen that was new to me. 

My humble little stove has cooked meal after meal since 1996. I have neglected to clean the oven as often as I should... it just keeps making meals without complaint. We eat at home most meals. it gets a work out. I prefer food cooked on a stove. The microwave is the stove's sidekick, not where meals are made.

Hams, turkeys, roasts, casserole (the working girl's answer to what's for dinner), pizza, brownies, pies, pumpkin muffins and so much more. The upside to the "Great Appliance Swap" was that we ran a gas line and I was able to have the gas stove put in place.  I have cooked on both... I cook better with gas!

The years have come and gone... 20 of them... and she keeps chugging along. I have been using an alternative timer for years, but other than that... it still cooks, simmers, boils and bakes. I would love an update... but today, I will be grateful for the Magic Chef that keeps on "takes a licking" and keeps on cooking. 

One of my recent favorite passages in the Bible are from the 40 years in the desert where Moses led... or attempted to lead the Israelite people. They whined and complained about nearly everything, yet God provided water from the tap of a stone, manna daily, sandals that didn't wear out and more quail than they could eat. They had plenty in the midst of the trial. Supper at the end of the daily struggles. They were blessed but for much of the time, unsatisfied.
Sometimes... I act like that, too. Blessed but unsatisfied.

My old stove isn't fancy... but it keeps providing hot meals. My God blesses in so many tiny ways that I forget to be grateful. 20 years on a stove that cost under $300. Blessed beyond measure. 

Today, I am grateful for my old gas stove.

Saturday, November 26, 2016


Daily Gratitude Year Four-Day 331: Today, I am grateful for for decorating. (Text my journal prompt #26: What form of expression are you grateful for?)

This is the season of Christmas decorations. For us, in Morton, pumpkins are a part of the decor from September through Thanksgiving. From Pumpkin festival through Thanksgiving weekend, it is about pumpkins, leaves and acorns. Then, as soon as the turkey settles... the Christmas tree appears and is ready to bring another year of holiday wonder.

Each ornament is a memory. We prefer white lights, but have gone back and forth between silver and gold ornaments on the crystal tree. We love shine. Some sparkle is always in order. The festive decor brings a sense of anticipation for the holidays ahead. 

Decorating a space is a way of making it your own. It is a chance to express personal style. In truth, it is a luxury. Not necessary, but it delights the senses. 

Our Willow Tree Nativity is a special part of the decor. Lola gifted us with the Creche on one visit. It makes it special. Our dear friend Robin, has added an angel with special meaning. The faceless figurines, somehow, offer so much expression. How? I don't know... but they do. 

The nativity isn't finished until our family figurines are added to the mix. We all worship Jesus. And, for some family nativities ... a dinosaur or two get added to the scene. There is room for all at the manger. It is a slice of happy in the season that I look forward to every year. 

The image is a scrapbook page from a few years ago. 

Today, I am grateful for the ability and the resources to do some decorating.

Friday, November 25, 2016


Daily Gratitude Year Four-Day 330: Today, I am grateful for moments that add a slice of "perfect" to the day. (Text my journal prompt #25: What moment of the week are you most grateful for?)

This one is a hard prompt for me. I collect moments. Treasure them. Write them down. Share the story. Moments matter. Once again, how can I choose just one?

Then... as I am writing this, I am remembering a "snapshot" of cousins around a board game laughing it up and enjoying time together. On the Lindgren side... with just Matt and I... Ciara and Kenzie have been Chase and Walker's only first cousins in the area. They have been been blessed with extended family. They have enjoyed vacation times with Smith cousins in some fun places... but on my side - the girls are it. 

The four of them have always managed to find common ground and make fun wherever they happen to be. It was never boys against girls. There were seasons that they had more to talk about than others, but they always made that important. Seeing them... with Emma in the mix... playing the same board game for 3 hours...well, it was pure delight to my heart. They are funny and sassy. Silly and sincere. They are family. 

While Randy and I caught up with my far away cousins, Aunts and Uncles... the cousins and good company hung out and made some moments that will be memories worth keeping. Mama Ina Mae caught up and enjoyed hanging with her brother and sisters. Cousins from our tree with many branches savored the moments, too. 

Never wait for the perfect moment. Use the moment an make it perfect. Life isn't always what happens to us, but how we frame what happens. Life isn't perfect, but it is a gift to be unwrapped each time God grants us another dawn or he keeps us through the sunset and night of rest. We have 10,000 reasons to be grateful. 

Today, I am grateful for moments that add a slice of "perfect" to the day. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


Daily Gratitude Year Four-Day 328: Today, I am grateful for tradition. (Text my journal prompt #23: What tradition are you most grateful for?)

"Tradition does not mean to look after the ash, but to keep the flame alive." - Jean Jaures
Jennifer and I have always loved that our kids quickly embrace a new "tradition". I like to think that makes them resilient. They love the familiar, but are not afraid to try something new. If we do it more than twice... it becomes "a tradition". I adore the deep pockets of memories that seem to burst at the seams during this season of holidays. 

Getting the house and the turkey ready for 50-80 people... give or take 10... is work. I appreciate that Matt and Jennifer have continued to open the house for the masses. It is work on their part... and for all who join in the Thanksgiving Eve traditions. We make some time for fun and conversation in the middle of the preparations. We are grateful for cousins and friends who lend a hand, tables, roasters and whatever we need.  Even the preparations find us enjoying and adding "traditions". 

I love Thanksgiving. I love traditions.I love family time.

The Bible speaks to remembrance and passing things on to our children's children. Heritage doesn't just "happen". It requires intentional behavior. 

 And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today? “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children's children—  how on the day that you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, the Lord said to me, ‘Gather the people to me, that I may let them hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children so.’" -Deuteronomy 4:8-10
I will chose on this day to think about tradition. I will treasure the old and contemplate the new for their value. Together... we will prepare turkeys and so much more. We are Americans. We are family and friends who are family. We are children of a living God. We can live with hope. We don't "live in the ashes"... we "keep the flame". 

Today, I am grateful for tradition. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A Story: Grandpa Spared

Daily Gratitude Year Four-Day 327: Today, I am grateful for the story of a life saved. It still speaks to my soul. (Text my journal prompt #22: What story are you most grateful for?)

My Grandpa Lindgren was my favorite storyteller. He made the wild and crazy things that happened to him seem so... well... normal. He loved to weave share the stories of times he was protected by heavenly hands. As a child, hearing the him tell it, the thought of angels protecting us became a bit common place in my youthful mind. Perhaps, I am still not thoughtful enough to entertain angels. 

"Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." - Hebrews 13:2

Grandpa Isaac "Harry" Lindgren was a manager at a gas station in Kankakee... until he had the chance to buy it (One man caught cheating became Grandpa's opportunity to buy the station, but that is another story.) It was during the Great Depression and Grandpa did very well in a time that many struggled, due to his conservative ways and hard work ethic. He had the first 24 hour gas station in Kankakee. 

He longed to own land and farm, but he wanted to save up plenty so he was ready when opportunity came. He had a good business in the heart of Kankakee. The hired man was Dickie... I think Dickie Young. They worked the station and Grandpa took the late shifts.

One day, Grandpa arrived at the station as they were being robbed. The men were armed and they took the cash from the register. They wanted Grandpa to take them somewhere in the car... I believe it was a Studebaker. Grandpa knew they would kill him and take the car. So... when opportunity arose... he and Dickie did their best to escape. 

Dickie was shot in the leg, and was crippled for life. They aimed the same gun at Grandpa. The one that had already shot Dickie. It was aimed at his chest. The shot was clear. The gun misfired and Grandpa escaped death. Tell me there wasn't an angel involved! I won't ever believe it. 

We have a CD of Grandpa telling the story (thanksto Matt). I need to listen again, but the thing I am sure of is that the gun worked fine... and then it didn't. 

Shortly after, Grandma Mabel told Grandpa they were making a move and she gave her blessing and support to the purchase of the farm in Clifton we know as "The Homeplace". He has saved well and they were ready. God opened the doors. 

Obviously, my life would be very different if Grandpa had died that day. Dad was born in the house in Kankakee, but they moved to Clifton early enough that he has no memories of that house. Coincidentally, my cousin Harry and his wife are blessed to live in the house my Grandfather built. I love that the legacy of it. 

I have so many stories... but this one is rich in the reminder that God's hand can and does move boldly. The gun only misfired once and then worked fine. An angel intervention sent from God's hand.

Grandpa lived until 96. I thank God for this faith, wisdom, work ethic, storytelling and love for people. A handsome bald guy with beautiful blue eyes... and one of the first "great loves" of my life. We were always safe in Grandpas hands.  

As Grandpa came to a deeper faith in Christ, the patchwork quilt of his life's chapters became more of a work of art from God's heart. A moment of this and a season of that...some colorful and others dull and hard work. It all fit together into something beautiful. 

God can do that with the scraps of our life, when we offer it to His hand in faith. He makes the mismatched pieces into something more than we could have ever imagined. 

Grandpa bought his farm.
He raised his sons to love the land.
He nurtured his grandchildren until his last breath.
He was a good and faithful servant. 

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

Today, I am grateful for the story of a life saved. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

10,000 Reasons

Daily Gratitude Year Four-Day 326: Today, I am grateful for the song, 10,000 Reasons. It still speaks to my soul. (Text my journal prompt #21: What song are you most grateful for?)
I can no more pick a favorite song than I could choose a favorite child (and I only have two). 
Music speaks to me. Different songs at different seasons of life. Music is the reflection of emotion... and it can even alter it.It can be the key, at times, that opens a heart. The right song can give hope, give strength and even foster healing. Music can do what words alone cannot. 

The song that continues to be key in the gratitude journey for me is 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord, Oh my soul). Discovering it was a favorite of Dad's makes it more special. He leaned over and told Mom one Sunday that "This is a farmer's song.". He was right. 
It has been my song: 
It was my song through a job change.
When Uncle Lee died.
When Dad died.
When Matt lost his dear friend Vaughn.
When Jill died.
When our Hanson branch of the family lost Jacob.
When the tornado hit.
When floods came.
When Jill's mom and Todd's dad, too. Both, dear pillars of faith. 

It has been my song as:
Mom's health declines.
Huntington's Disease creates challenges. 
Healthcare becomes more frustrating and expensive.
Seasons change. 

It continues to be a special song because:
It can still bring me to tears, but the tears are more grateful than sad.
It can lift my spirit.
It still seems to carry me by way of gratitude to the throne of His mercy and grace.
It is a song of a new day.
It is the song of each new morning until our last dawn.
It reminds me beautifully that death is not an end but a door. 

When 10,000 Reasons came on the radio, the morning of game seven of the World Series for the Cubs, I said, "Lord, is this a warning to get ready to "wait until next year". He whispered..."that song can be a song of celebration, too. Not just getting through the hard stuff." I said, "Oh... you are right.". Well, we all know how that turned out! 

What song speaks life into your life? Crowder's "Lift your head weary sinner" still is getting a great deal of "airtime" in Earworm's show inside my head. I'm not the only one with songs in their head, right? 

Today, I am grateful for the song, 10,000 Reasons. It still speaks, lifts and restores my soul.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Who's in Whoville

Daily Gratitude Year Four-Day 325: Today, I am grateful for the "Whos" who love me back. (Text my journal prompt #20: Who are you most grateful for?) 

The prompt made me think of "all the Whos in Whoville".  

Today, I am grateful for people who love us back. Of course, Randy, my boys... and my soon-to-be daughter-in-love (I'm getting a girl...have I mentioned that little "happy" spot in my world). My brothers and sisters... born and gifted in love (not law)... and my ample array of Nieces, Nephews, Aunts, Uncles and Cousins. My family tree is full and full of nuts. I am grateful for for the sweet, the salty and the cracked. 

All the Whos in Whoville will gather for Thanksgiving. We can be 50-90 in count - and the conversation is never quiet or dull. It is a time of cracking up and hanging out. It is good. 

Today, I am grateful for the "Whos" who love me back.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Compassionate Touch

Daily Gratitude Year Four-Day 324: Today, I am grateful for compassionate touch...a hug. (Text my journal prompt #19: What touch are you most grateful for?) 

Sometimes there are no "right" words. 
Sometimes, remaining silent is a gift.
In those moments, compassionate touch can make the difference.

Babies need to be held. 
Children need positive touch. 

Teens find was to touch... through sports and dancing.
Grown-up's need hugs, too. 

This sweet image of a little girl and an elephant reminds us that compassionate touch is a language that breaks down barriers imposed by culture, race or even species. 

At birth... touch encourages first breaths and nursing. At death, touch eases the pain and sorrow of a goodbye. All the touch in between adds strength and sweetness to our days. 

Today, I am grateful for compassionate touch.

Friday, November 18, 2016


Daily Gratitude Year Four-Day 323: Today, I am grateful the art of scrapbooking. (Text my journal prompt #18: What art or piece of art are you most grateful for?) 

"Every story matters, and you are a walking story."

How do I choose a favorite art?  I love them all. 

Back in the late 1980's I discovered rubber stamps and paper arts when my dear friends, Lana and Tom, moved to Hong Kong. I used rubber stamps to make happy mail.

Then, I learned about the wide world of paper arts. I have a collection of creative stuff that literally makes me smile. I have used it for everything from card making to Bible Journaling. Still... the art that has most captured my heart is modern scrapbooking.  

Scrapbooking combines my love of photography and "paper arts" with storytelling and memory preservation. It is my personal, artistic sweet spot. Lately, many of my scrapbooks are digital in medium, making them easier to share... but my soul still sings when I have time to work the paper process. I love them both. One kind of art can have many facets... just like a beautiful gemstone. 

Only in recent years have I included pages about myself. I became involved in an online community that really stresses that we should tell our own stories and not just the stories of our loved ones. Lain Ehmann's class, "Your Story Matters",  added another component to this art I love so much and introduced me to some amazing scrapbookers in an online community. I have "friends" around the world and many of us will do our best to "connect" when travel. Art brings people together. 

For me, it is a chance to capture our lives, our faith, our highs and even our lows.  Yes... the hard stuff matters, too. Those stories will strengthen the next generation. Look at Hebrews 11:31-33:

"By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies. And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,"

These Hebrew men and women were part of generation after generation of God coming to the aide of his people when they sought his face and changed their ways. I adore that Rahab is mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus. From prostitute to kinship with Jesus. Life's chapters are chapters. The big story is whom we choose to serve and where that leads us.

I was always captivated by Grandpa Lindgren's stories. Matt, April and I all lived with our grandparents for a season. Matt was the youngest and was Grandpa's roommate until he married Jennifer. Jennifer tells of many failed date nights that were never executed because they ended up around the Formica table in Grandpa's kitchen, hearing his stories.  Now, she smiles remembering the richness of those evenings. 

This is one of those stories, passed down by Grandpa and my Dad. 

Today, I am grateful the art of scrapbooking. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016


Daily Gratitude Year Four-Day 322: Today, I am grateful I know how to read.
(Text my journal prompt #17: What knowledge are you most grateful for?)

What knowledge am I most grateful for? I think that the knowledge that unlocks so many other doors is knowing how to read. I grew up hearing a slogan, "The more you read, the more you know." 

I read early. Mama was busy with April. Aunt Judy had the twins. I was probably bored and being curious by nature.. by the time I was four, I was reading. Reading made learning everything easier... except math. In my teens, Aunt Judy and I would trade books. 

Mom and I disagreed on the value of Dr. Suess.  I loved his rhythm and rhyme. She thought he was ridiculous. She bought me One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish, anyway. She gave me my first Nancy Drew book, The Secret of the Wooden Lady, and made time for the library. Mama struggled with reading in school. She didn't want that for her children.

I remember sitting on Dad's lap and sounding out words. For a man typically short on patience, he was infinitely patient as I figured out written code. A father's love stretched him beyond his nature. His favorite test of my skill was to read from the Bible. Back then - King James Version was the only version. It sounded foreign - but there was always praise for getting the words right, even if I didn't understand what they meant. 

As the oldest grandchild on Mama's side and my Lindgren cousins were a little older, I was surrounded by adults or older children. I didn't want to miss anything or get left out. Everyone around me could read - so I would read, too. If you could read, you would know things they didn't always tell kids.

As I grew, living on the isolation of a farm... reading transported me anywhere I wanted to go. Dad had a nearly quarter of a mile lane of baby evergreens that needed to be watered... and it was my job. So, I would water and read. Read and water. Those evergreen are now giant sentinels that make me smile every time I drive up the lane of "the homeplace". At the time, they were a pain, but an opportunity to read. 

Reading unlocks the door to libraries of knowledge. It is a key. Literacy is possibilities. 

This is a great place to insert one of my life verses:
“Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. -Habakkuk 2:2

And, this is my verse of the day (this post was complete when I found it... God wink):

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."-Psalm 119:105
A word written down and meant to be shared is a beautiful thing. 

Today, I am grateful I know how to read

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

One Body

Daily Gratitude Year Four-Day 321: Today, I am grateful for one body.

(Text my journal prompt #16: What about your body are your most grateful for?)

My body? Really?  I am a woman. Are we ever really happy with our bodies? I am over 50 (by a smidgen). I need to lose weight. I manage chronic pain, numbness and limb weakness from an injury. My gene pool designed my family with "front butts" that only a couple of female Bess cousins escaped... in other words... flat tummies were never in our history, even when we are younger and thinner. I know... it makes me sound so glamorous, right? 

After that brief body image reflection... I sit here thinking that I should be ashamed of myself. I have a body. It is not perfect by any means, but it is mine and my responsibility. I need to be grateful for the parts that work and content with the things I can not change... and work on changing the things I can. 

I am grateful that I can move all of my limbs.
I am grateful that I have enough feeling to protect me from certain dangers. 

I am grateful I can walk... and talk (no comment My Love)... write, and sing and even dance a little.  
I am grateful that my family helps me.
I am grateful that I can work a full day. 
I am grateful I can taste wonderful things... like coffee & dark chocolate.
I am grateful I can answer a call for help. 
I am grateful for what I can lift and for those who help when I can't. 
I am grateful for eyes that can see color.
I am grateful for hands that can find ways to serve.
I am grateful for ears that can hear music.

I am grateful for a mind that can create, think and process. 
I am grateful for my soul breath... a gift from the Lord.  

Our bodies contain our spirits until our last earthly breath. They are a gift from the God, but what we do with them is our gift to him. 

My friend, Roxanne, shared this. She took the November Daily Gratitude challenge.  This image grabbed my heart. One body can make a difference.  And, when one body gathers with other "one body" people... they can change lives, households, communities, states and nations. One body at a time.

My favorite Sunday of the year is coming. Our congregation puts together Thanksgiving meal baskets for those in our community who are in need. Hunger happens everywhere. Thanksgiving is an expensive meal to make. We will prepare 80 baskets this year. 

Our congregation is blessed but not wealthy.  Some have tasted hard times, even this year. Still, we have abundant joy in the putting the Thanksgiving baskets together. It is children as young as 3 helping others reaching closer to 83 pack a basket. It is strapping young men doing the lifting. The multi-generational team with a mission delights my heart like nothing else. Everything about it is good. We serve as "one body" united in Christ.

 "And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” Luke 3:11 

These are actually the words of John the Baptist before he baptized Jesus and then this happened:

"And the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased. Luke 3:22

John the Baptist knew Jesus like few others. The way cousins know their cousins ( I am getting Thanksgiving giddy). He had watched his integrity from youth and knew who he was. Interesting that he didn't join the twelve... but his part in the gospel story is so huge. One body. Serving with his whole heart, until he was beheaded. A lonely mission? No. Crazy love. 

Whatever body we are in... we can make a difference as long as we chose to:
Love Him & Love our Neighbors (all of them) 

Today, I am grateful for one body.