Received with thanksgiving...


It was two days after the respite and I was delighting still in the benefits of rest and prayer and the marvels of modern medicine.

Compared to pre-respite days, life was perfect. White lights on the Christmas tree sparkled and except for the rhythmic tick of the clock, the house was warm and still and perfectly quiet.

I stood at the edge of the back porch. Frost-bitten grapevine blanketed the thickets along the creek, glowing amber in the rising sunlight. Sparrows and gold finches fluttered about, eating from the feeders now hanging from bare branches, while white-winged dove pecked through the mulch below them, and I whispered. "I sure would love to see a painted bunting today, Lord."

The painted buntings had been gone for months and were due to return any day, but I was immediately embarrassed by my selfish request. The basic needs of many are so great, Lord, and yet I'm not satisfied with the multitude of gifts I hold in my hands that I ask to see a painted bunting?

I poured a fresh cup of coffee, grabbed a sweater and my gratitude journal, and headed outside for the backyard swing. Where do I begin? Can amazing grace and mercy and forgiveness not be on my list every single day?

293. Lizzie, who gives the best knee injections
308. goldfinches and red-bellied woodpeckers
313. the way the sunlight gilds the grapevines
318. John Piper - who reminds me not to waste one single moment
367. dish towels and soap
368. clean, warm, dry blue jeans
371. Advent devotionals that twist and bend my heart aright
385. constant comment tea, sweet with honey and peppermint stick swirls
398. yogurt for tummy health
402. the painted bunting that arrived in all his glorious plumage the very day I asked to see him

I don't know why God chose to answer my selfish prayer for a bird, but I do know this...
"For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving."