This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it…
The Lord is God,
and he has given us light.
Bind the festal procession with branches,
up to the horns of the altar.
You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
you are my God, I will extol you.
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever. Psalm 118: 24, 27-29
It’s another overcast day in North Carolina. Again, in many ways, I have to say that winter around here is beautiful. I love bundling up in scarves, hats, gloves, and leather jackets; I love how warm the house feels after a long walk with Scout; I love hot bowls of soup at lunchtime, extra pots of tea during the afternoon, and snuggling up in front of a roaring fire in the evening.
In many ways, it’s incumbent on us to generate our own sunshine, and I can’t think of a better way to do that than through thanksgiving and gratitude.
I’m not talking about “the power of positive thinking” so much as testifying to the fact that life is rich, and full, and overflowing with reasons to be grateful. Simply paying attention to what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable can often be enough to dissolve any cloud and to invite the light into any dreary day.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. – Philippians 4:8
AINT IT GRAND: Then of course there is “contemplating my grandchildren”! So I’ll share a recent photograph of each one (taken by Naomi). If you’re short on sunshine, then try one of these. Guaranteed to raise a smile.
Beks is already – at 18-months – such an individual. She has her own style, and – as in this photograph – she often insists on picking out her own outfits. At least (this time) she wasn’t wearing her bumble-bee bike helmet all day long!
I love, love, love how she is already “coloring outside of the lines.”
I’m in a middle of writing an article about this for AllProDad.com, encouraging grown men to learn how to color outside the lines, and to make decisions that are not predetermined by dismally restrictive rules regarding “manliness,” and stereotypical roles for men and women when it comes to raising a family. Children the age of Beks and David are naturally gifted in creativity; then, somewhere between pre-school and college, we run all that diversity and spunk and verve through the same sausage machine, and too many reach adulthood having lost their sparkle.
David is brimming with sunshine, loves his life, and has such a tender heart. Here he is with a “some assembly required” stuffed animal he helped to build yesterday – and who he named, “Scout”! It may be dark and dreary outside, but, inside, his home is blazing with light and love.
SO COUNT ALREADY! So count your blessings already. Write them down if you have to. Then take it a step more, go ahead and tell somebody how thankful you are.
Seriously, friends, it’s the sharing that makes the difference. Every time you find yourself tempted to complain about the weather, criticize the government, pass on a negative story about “so-and-so,” or generally moan about anything at all… take pause and then flip the conversation around.
Share your blessings, and they will multiply. I can guarantee it!
In gratitude – DEREK
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there's always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men's Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.