A Few Things About Gratitude

14 Nov

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Gratitude slows us down.

We have to pause to think. To appreciate. To name the very thing we are so grateful for.

Gratitude gives us perspective.

Tired of the same clothing? Or thankful we have something to wear.

Embarrassed at the rattle trap vehicle? Or thankful that we have transportation.

Gratitude changes our heart.

It takes the focus off ourselves and onto God.

Research has shown that we receive 3000 messages a day telling us that we aren’t happy, we don’t have enough or we aren’t enough. That’s a reason to make sure we are incorporating practices of gratitude into our lives to counteract these messages. Here is a place to start.

Some gratitude practices:

  1. Write a letter to someone expressing gratitude. Maybe an old neighbor, a teacher, a friend- someone you haven’t seen in awhile. Let them know the difference they made.
  2. Keep a gratitude journal. Each day write five things you are thankful for.
  3. Sit quietly. Express gratitude for each sound you hear.
  4. Read Psalm 138. Let the words soak down deep.
  5. With a group of friends or around the Thanksgiving table with family, take turns answering these questions:

Name three of God’s gifts in this room.

Name someone who made a difference in your life.

Name something that made you laugh today.

What was your favorite part of today?

What two words would you use to describe the person on your right?

 

What are you grateful for today?

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It’s Wedding Day

30 Jul

It was Christmas Eve. We had a surprise gift that year- a little guy coming 9 weeks early while we were out of town visiting family. I had a picture of him taped beside my bed while he fought for his life in NICU. I remember being scared to death. Would he make it? Would he have a future? Would I lose him?

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This 3 1/2 pound premie is now a  Children’s Pastor. He is funny and talented and energetic and thoughtful. He has brought us so much joy the last 22 years. I never imagined that day in the hospital bed that it would all turn out this way. But it did.  And today is his wedding day.

His fiance has been hanging around our home for almost five years now. They met in math class in high school- that first day he couldn’t take his eyes off her. So he pursued her like I’ve never seen anyone pursue someone. He was relentless. Somewhere along the way they fell in love.

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And our family fell in love with her.

Last September he drove her up to Duluth, Minnesota and along the North Shore stopping at Shovel Point. He led her out on a path overlooking Lake Superior, got down on one knee, and asked. She said yes. Some kind stranger recognized what was happening and quickly recorded the moment.

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Today they make it official but truthfully she has been a Goscha in our hearts for a long time.

It’s Wedding Day. The groom has left the house with his best men brothers and his groomsman cousin. My husband is upstairs- I can hear him moving around. And I’m sitting in a puddle of tears.

I’m overwhelmed with it all, I guess. How God has worked in our son’s life both physically and spiritually. I’m feeling like the most blessed mama in the world. I’m so full of gratitude for life and grace and love. I’m sad that our time with Zach in our home is closing but excited for the adventure he is beginning. I’m excited to welcome another daughter-in-law who has stolen our hearts. Sometimes it just feels like so much.

Today I will celebrate with incredible gratitude every single gift that God has given our family. It’s time to dry the tears. It’s time to move onto the next part of this great adventure of life and motherhood. It’s time to enter into this holy and sacred day with a full heart. engage city

Later today they will vow to serve God together. I’m not sure it gets any better than this.

 

Update: So this happened.

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Photo credit: Kallie Elizabeth Photography
Venue: Stillwater Historic Courthouse
Second shot with Jessica Stoe Photography

 

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Science Object Lesson

25 Jul

Supplies: Balloon and Hex Nut

Directions: Place the hex nut inside the balloon. Inflate the balloon and tie. Hold the end with the tie in one hand with the palm of the hand over the tie. Place the fingers and thumbs around the balloon. Move the balloon in a circular path until the hex nut starts spinning along the sides of the balloon, making a buzzing type sound. The sound will continue for a bit once the motion is stopped.

Spiritual Connection: Abundant Life

(Show balloon). This balloon is fairly lifeless. It just sets here. I am going to blow it up and see what happens. (Make sure the hex nut is already in the balloon. Blow up the balloon and follow the directions above to make it buzz.) This balloon is a lot more exciting now than before I blew it up. 

Our lives are a lot like this balloon. Before Jesus comes into them, we are really lifeless. However, when we give our lives to Him, we find joy and hope. Not only did Jesus come to give us eternal life, but He also came to give us a full life while we are still on earth. He wants us to really live. He does not want us to walk through each day and grumpy. He wants us to be full of joy. We find that with Jesus we can have joy in the everyday things of life. We find that He gives us strength when we are weary. We find hope for the future. When Jesus transforms our life, we come alive just like the balloon. 

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the fullest.”  John 10:10