Gratitude Day 516

Mon., Sept. 28, 2020

1 Corinthians 12:27 – You are the body of the Anointed One, and each of you is a unique and vital part of it.

We’re into the last days of September. Summer is officially over … and it’s fall. I’ve been thinking about I’ve learned these last number of days and I’m reminded that taking time to reflect is SO. IMPORTANT.


Today, I’m sharing a few things that I have learned – or more appropriately – relearned in the last 60 days. Folks – these concepts ARE NOT complicated. I am constantly reminded that there is much that I’ve learned before … and just need to relearn again and again.

This is what 2020 looks like.

We’re four weeks into school in our area, which means that the last four weeks, we’ve packed weekend food bags for our local school district. When schooling went online in March and continued through the end May, we provided weekend food bags for students. We just completely reorganized how we did it to keep folks safe.

With more understanding of how we can be together and keep each other safe, we’ve welcomed back volunteers who feel comfortable packing bags. The first week back, all of the volunteers were SO EXCITED about having some place to go, something to do and could once again feel like they were contributing to our local community. IT WAS GREAT.

Local school districts continue to have significant needs. They need supplies to keep folks safe, just like everyone else. Add in families in your local community that have been hit financially by the pandemic, and we quickly see needs. There ARE ways you can help. A call to the school district’s social worker or student dean will help you find out what is needed. Do you have to make a huge financial donation to make a difference? NO. Believe me … every little bit help counts. Weather will be getting colder soon. Used coats for kids of all ages will be needed, along with hats, gloves, etc. Make your heart sing this week by doing a little something for your local school district.

Laughter is great medicine.

Did you laugh yourself through the Father of the Bride movies that came out over 20 years ago? Steve Martian stars as an over-zealous father whose daughter gets married. His on-screen wife, Diane Keaton, bails him out of jail after an incident at the grocery store about hot dogs and buns.

The writer of the earlier movies wrote a little movie during the pandemic. She recruited the original cast and they filmed a short new movie called Father of the Bride Part(3ish). Only 30 minutes long, this new version places the Banks family right in the pandemic, dealing with the stuff the rest of us are dealing with. Of course, the family gathers on a ZOOM call because, well, that’s what we do in 2020.

The movie is a breath of fresh air. Because it was filmed during the pandemic, each character filmed themselves in their own home. There were no professional camera people, make-up artists or such. The movie provides literally a real-life interpretation of how one family is making it through the pandemic.

Even more cool? The movie is FREE. It’s been released through Netflix. If, like us, you don’t have Netflix, you can go to Netflix’s YouTube page and watch it there for free. People are encouraged to donate to an organization providing meals to families with food insecurity in lieu of paying for the movie. Here’ the link. It’s family friendly, has a fun twist AND will make you laugh.

We all need a hobby. Seriously.

For years, Hubby Rick has said that I need a REAL hobby. One that I do on a regular basis. One that brings joy into my life.

Hubby Rick has lots of hobbies. He fishes and fishes and fishes. He has kayaked and kayaked and kayaked this summer. He rides bike, golfs and is so happy to be watching sports on TV again. When he wakes up in the morning, he goes outside and surveys the garden to decides what needs watering, what needs harvesting and removes any pesky weeds before they have a hot minute to live.

Naturally, his remodeling skills are the hobby that I desperately appreciate.

So, what are my hobbies? I bike and hike and walk. I am reading. I exercise and like to make our home feel cozy and warm. I have a variety of other things I do on and off; probably more off than on.

But in Rick’s opinion, not a REAL hobby.

Here’s something that I’m not sure qualifies as a hobby … but brings me joy. On Labor Day weekend, Hubby Rick and I wondered down to the local farmer’s market and bought a huge box of tomatoes. On Labor Day, I turned those tomatoes into salsa and spaghetti sauce and tomato juice.

Is it very cost efficient to spend a whole day canning tomatoes when I can probably buy a jar of spaghetti sauce for less than $3? Probably not. I’d like to think the homemade stuff tastes better with the love and care put into every jar.

What I do know is that for that whole day, I loved canning those tomatoes. I listened to books on tape and planned how I could most efficiently go through the planning process. (I know. Can’t my brain just ever rest?)

Yes, I’ve canned other things this summer. For some reason, canning those tomatoes was so cathartic for me. I pray you have an activity that you do every so often that feels the same for you.

Have Something You’ve Been Wanting to do for YEARS? JUST DO IT.

The day before our 20th wedding anniversary, Hubby Rick and I had no clue what we were going to do. In a very last-minute decision, we decided to cross a big one off of our bucket list and go sky diving.

I’ve shared about our adventure previously. I was not prepared for how many people commented back about how there was no way they could go sky diving. I’m not going to try and convince anyone that they should go sky diving … unless they want me to.

Here’s what I want to convince you of: DON’T put off doing that something you’ve always wanted to do. I know traveling in Italy isn’t possible right now. Or going to the South Pole. I’ll add a disclaimer to wait until the something is safe and possible right now, but “Just do it.”

We’re loving the things that completely make us think of summer … right into fall. And will do so until we can’t.

I’ve baked more peach pies this summer than I ever have. We’re finding fun places to hike and walk every weekend. Rick gets me in our kayaks about once a week. We’re drinking in every minute of sun and 60+ degrees weather that we can. We’ll be eating our meals on our porch until a serious coat is required.

Hubby Rick seriously thinks God should have made only one season: summer. Yet, we also love the leaves turning and pumpkins and going to the apple orchard. I hope you are as well.

I’m loving the volunteer gourds from our garden.

The last number of years, we’ve had a healthy crop of volunteer gourds in our garden. We’re never quite sure what each vine plant is when they begin growing, so we just let them go. This summer, the volunteer gourd plants took over a chunk of the garden.

We don’t plant the gourds. Every fall, I just throw this year’s gourds into the garden so they will compost. Every spring, some of those old gourds because the seed for this year’s harvest.

We have a wide variety of gourds this year. Hubby Rick is convinced at least some of the plants cross pollinated with the cucumbers because of their pretty stripes. I have them scattered around the house and the porches for fall décor.

Here’s the deal: every single gourd is different. Unique. Special. No two are alike.

Friends: if God can make each gourd unique, special and different, then God will also make each person different. Unique. Special with no two alike.

Sometimes, it’s easy to point out the parts of another person where things feel a little cross-pollinated. I’m sure plenty of people have done this about me, just as I have done about other people. Nonetheless, I celebrate how God created me just the way I am. Just the way you are. How we’re all unique, different and special.

It can be SO EASY for us to find ways that we’re more alike than the same in the next 60 days. I find myself doing this all too often. And I wonder why. And it makes my heart sad.

I saw this quote recently and I pray we will remember these wise words for the next couple of months:

I am way less concerned with who you vote for than I am with how you treat the people that vote differently than you do.

We may or may not know how each other votes. In the end, I pray that how we treat each other is far more important than an election. Can we agree to be uber kind to each other for the next period of time? Will we value the unique and special character of each other … even if sometimes it drives us a bit crazy? (Maybe I’m the only one who struggles with this …)

We need folks who model and prioritize kindness as a high core value right now. I’m going to TRY and be one of those people … and pray you will as well. (P.S. – Yes, you have permission to call me out on this when I’m not following my own suggestion.)

Take two minutes. Look at your calendar. Or the most recent photos on your phone. What little lessons have you discovered or maybe relearned these last couple of months? What are those lessons saying to you today? Maybe, just maybe, it’s how God is speaking to you. Right here. Right now.

Blessings –


For lessons that I need relearning and rediscovering, I am grateful.

Holy God – Thanks for granting me the opportunity to look back over the past couple of months and find these lessons that help me grow in love of You and my neighbor. I deeply appreciate how You speak in and through them. Amen.

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