Please forgive...

 shameless display of color and sunshine and iced lattes on the backyard swing while I slowly savor Ann Voskamp's beautiful, heart-rending, soul-satisfying One Thousand Gifts

I often worry about those "shameless displays" of what I call lovely.

I worry you'll think I live in paradise. And I struggle with how to say that without seeming ungrateful for our home and where we live - or disrespectful of those who live around us here on Pollywog Creek. But, I do not live in paradise. That you need to know.

I worry that my photos will plant seeds of discontent, when it's my desire to encourage - to "cultivate an eye for life's mercies" - right where we are. To discover and wonder at the "strange glory of ordinary things" waiting to be uncovered and touched and heard and admired with gratefully contented hearts.

What I hope to communicate by counting gifts with photos, Ann Voskamp inspires most eloquently with words and lists and her own stunning photography. I've been meandering through One Thousand Gifts a chapter at a time. Distracted by the glorious painted buntings and the early blooming azaleas and the mockingbird who serenades me from the crest of the honeysuckle vine, I'm in no hurry to read to the end. It's the perfect pace for Bloom, the (in)courage book club.*

What about you? What are you savoring these days? And how are you counting His gifts?
"I must try and cultivate an eye for life's mercies...And life, while it has its ugly swamps, its vile weeds, and its sharp thorns, has always its fair flowers to charm the eye with their beauty, or to fill the air with their fragrance..." ~ Rev. John Flowers Serjeant, 1878

*It's not too late to join. Just click on the button above. One Thousand Gifts  is in bookstores everywhere and the chapter one video from Ann and book club discussion begins tomorrow. Hope to see y'all there.