Remembering to be Thankful

It is so easy to think about how busy I am, that pain in my shoulder, issues with children or family members, disasters around the world. There’s abuse, divorce, homelessness and helplessness. Reading the newspaper and watching the evening news can cause anyone to become worried and depressed.

How then can one see beyond the hate and darkness and see the light and beauty around us? Where can we see God, who is beauty, love and all things good? Even in the darkest world, God is here.

I was tired of feeling blah, cynical and self-centered. Then I discovered this book that changed the way I view my world.

Ann Voscamp experienced tragedy when she was young and she couldn’t quite get through it as an adult. A heavy cloud followed her, until a friend told her to think about those things she was thankful for. She was challenged to think of 1000 gifts from God.

Ann discovered that as she spent more time looking for God in the big and small things in her life, the dark cloud began to disappear and the world became more beautiful.

I wanted this challenge. But I have to say that after I wrote down how thankful I am for my health, family, food and home, I was at a loss. Luckily for me…and you, Ann helps us see things differently. On her website, Ann gives us a daily calendar of prompts. One day may be to name 3 things blue or maybe 3 things broken. As we write these gifts down we are reminded daily of how much we are blessed. The more I concentrate on looking for God, the less I focus on the negative and dark.

This journaling practice has been so helpful to me, I decided to make some calendars for friends. I first downloaded the monthly pages from A Holy Experience website. I dug through my paper stash and found lots of pretty paper to glue the months onto.

I decorated the front cover with ribbon and cut out designs.

I punched holes down the sides and tied some string to bind it all together. The pencil is there to give space so the pages can turn more easily. (Looks like my old hands need some lotion.)

Ta Da! Add a journal to record your blessings and your on your way to a brighter outlook!

Please check out Ann Voscamp’s website:
I promise you will be blessed.

Brayden, God’s Little Angel

This is Brayden. In his 2year old life, he’s had 37 operations with 10 more at least planned in the future. As you can see he has a trache tube to help him breathe.

I met Brayden at the homeless shelter, where I volunteer twice a week. He and his mom moved from NY state to try to start a new life. They have no family or friends here, just the two of them.

Brayden and I play together while his mom and the other ladies have bible study. The doctors told his mom that he wouldn’t live, walk or learn. Well, he’s shown the doctors wrong. He runs and plays like any other little boy. I think he’s smarter than most children his age doing puzzles, stacking cups, and building with Legos. And his greatest gift is just making everyone around him smile.

This is one of his first days in the hospital, looking pretty good and being a wiggly 2year old,(thus why the picture is blurry. He was “cutting” his, his mom’s, the teddy bear’s, and my hair with the oxygen moniter).
Unfortunately, he developed pneumonia and an infection around his trache tube which landed him in the hospital. He has been there for two and a half weeks. Things have gone down hill. This past Monday the surgeon operated on his trachea in hopes of repairing it so Brayden could breathe unassisted. The doctor decided it was beyond his capabilities and Brayden needed to be transferred down to the medical university. While the doctor was there, the baby had a feeding tube put in to give him the nutrition he needs. Sadly, though, he has vomited everything back up. Nothing will stay down. This is putting off the transfer.

With a feeding tube, vomiting, trache tube, iv’s, all the poking and prodding done every 4 hours, this baby still has a smile and a kiss for you.

God has great plans for this little boy. Please pray with me for Brayden and his mom, Nina. She hasn’t left his side. She’s scared, tired, frustrated and loves her little funny monkey so much.