With the arrival of summer comes the reading.
This past week I made time in the late afternoons to take my beach chair out onto the side lawn, placing it under the ancient Jeffrey Pine that holds the kids' tree house, and settling into dappled sun/shade with writing desk, journals, Book of Common Prayer, Kindle, and Ann's One Thousand Gifts.
After praying and reading God's Word, I read a chapter from Ann's wise book, soaking up God's Truth through her poignant writing.
The best writing seems to come from the deep places of pain and suffering--in which God reaches in, transforming sorrow into a joy so profound that it rocks our comfortable little worlds.
This morning I was reading from another favorite devotional, John Baillie's A Diary of Private Prayer. From the Twenty-Seventh Day, Morning:
...For all suffering freely chosen for noble ends, for pain bravely endured, for temporal sorrows that have been used for the building up of eternal joys, I praise and bless Thy holy Name.
O Lord my God, who dwellest in pure and blessed serenity beyond the reach of mortal pain, yet lookest down in unspeakable love and tenderness upon the sorrows of earth, give me grace, I beseech Thee, to understand the meaning of such afflictions and disappointments as I myself am called upon to endure. Deliver me from all fretfulness. Let me be wise to draw from every dispensation of Thy providence the lesson Thou art minded to teach me. Give me a stout heart to bear my own burdens. Give me a willing heart to bear the burdens of others. Give me a believing heart to cast all burdens upon Thee.
So with thanks for all things, the beautiful and the painful, I add to my journey to One Thousand Gifts with the Gratitude Community at Ann's A Holy Experience these gifts:
541. ...for the reading and the learning and the growing as I journey this path of gratitude, and the joy of discovery that infuses Ann's little book, One Thousand Gifts
542. ...for the gift of words flowing through pen onto paper, formed I know not how, both of prose and poetry this week
543. ...for the writing of the first poem of this calendar year, the ending of a too-long dry spell
544. ...for the gracious art of stained glass I watch as Keith works on this new commission, an Arts and Crafts-style for a 1915 Craftsman bungalow in Los Angeles
545. ...for the joyous play of ocean waves on gray days, toes dug deep into warming sands, boys boarding and digging nearby
546. ...for the delight of books and friends who also delight in discussing them, too, and who challenge me to read outside of my comfort zone
547. ...for peace of candles and icons, praying of Psalms, the anointing with oil and laying on of hands in prayer at Victoria House that sustain me in His grace another week
548. ...for lovely responses to my writing from friends and strangers, for words that encourage and uplift and inspire
549. ...for sweet, cold summer plums, juice running down my chin
550. ...for this day, my parents' 47th wedding anniversary, for a marriage strong and deep as a model
So as I walk with gratitude this day, I pray for our needs, knowing that God hears and answers, and thanking Him for the many blessings, the little graces that color our days lovingly, if we but look and see....
With gratitude, this day and always,