Adventures in Thanks-Living

Living the gift of life one breath at a time

Archive for the month “May, 2012”

Big Praise for Small and Simple

Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius-and a lot of courage-to move in the opposite direction. – Albert Einstein

Why are we encouraged to assume that bigger is always better? That complexity is more advanced than simplicity? We choose the larger grocery store because we are conditioned to believe that there will be more choice and lower prices. The big box store is appealing because we can make one stop to purchase many different items at a reasonable price–thus theoretically saving time and money.

But is this really the case? Our locally owned grocery store has more variety per square foot than the grandiose foreign-owned competitor. One can purchase perfectly fine gardening tools at a local hardware store and plants from a community farm stand rather than driving several extra miles to save a dollar or two.

I am thankful for any chance to enjoy a smaller, simpler daily existence. I am much happier supporting a local farmer or sharing plants, tools, and time with a neighbor. Life on a smaller scale means I am able to really see the ground on which I stand rather than always whizzing by it at 65 miles per hour. I can walk to the post office and say hello to folks on the way, meet new people or greet old friends while walking the dogs, and enjoy the view of the rolling hills and orchards from the top of the hill near our house.

My husband and I can spend time together doing the dishes after supper rather than sticking them in the dishwasher and plopping down on the sofa to watch TV. It is a small and simple thing–dishes, water, and the company of the one I love–but it is worth far more than any sitcom. It’s a prime example of companionship trumping convenience.

Think about it. What do we give up when we add needless layers of complexity to our lives? More stuff requires more money to acquire it, bigger space to store it, and more time to manage it. Even modern kitchen conveniences that were supposed to save us time have only freed our time so that we can clutter it with other things.

How can you make your life a bit simpler today? What one small thing can you celebrate right now? Can you spare a few minutes to connect with those you love? Small and simple. Try it. You just might like it.

Photo by Nanagyei used under Creative Commons License. Thanks!

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Experiencing God in Creation

“I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.”   – George Washington Carver

Do you experience God’s presence and handiwork in the natural world? I know I do. Like Carver, I believe that God does communicate with us in many ways–some subtle and some more direct. We hear God speak through scripture. We come into the Divine presence in worship. We converse with the Triune God in prayer. We encounter Christ in Holy Communion, and we sense the nudging of the Holy Spirit in our daily  lives. Whether or not we are aware of and in tune with these holy encounters is another story.

Try this: next time you are outside try being open to the presence of the Divine. Listen for the still, small voice of God in the wind. Smell the freshness of newly turned soil. Hear the trill of a bird song. God is present. The Creator is active in the Creation. You are a blessed part of the creation and as such you are dearly loved.

Pay attention to the divine “broadcast station” of creation. Listen. Hear. Understand. Live. Give thanks. Oh, and be a good steward of this marvelous gift. God’s hand, God’s voice, and God’s presence are everywhere in it.

Photo by Per Ola Wiberg used under Creative Commons License. Thanks!

Now

 

“Now is the accepted time, not tomorrow, not some more convenient season. It is today that our best work can be done and not some future day or future year. It is today that we fit ourselves for the greater usefulness of tomorrow. Today is the seed time, now are the hours of work, and tomorrow comes the harvest and the playtime.”   – W.E.B. Du Bois, from Three African-American Classics

Hi, friends! I’m back. Sorry for the unexplained absence. Life took a turn for the crazy–and busy. Good intentions had to take a back seat to multiple and immediate priorities with family and vocation. Thankfully, my world has stopped spinning at such a dizzying pace.

The hectic pace at which I’ve been moving lately got me thinking about the value of the moment. Too often we live in the past, filling our heads with the mantras “I could have. . . ” or “I wish I had . . . ” While there may be truth to our thoughts, the past cannot be reclaimed. Better to glean what you can from those past places and experiences, acknowledge the feelings that are stirring in you, let them go, and move on.

Just don’t fast forward into the future too far. You can plan, you can hope, and you can dream, but the future is not yet yours to have. How many times have you made plans only to have them blow up in your face or fritter away as the future becomes present and past? How often have you said, “I’ll do this tomorrow” or “I’ll think about this when (fill in the blank) happens,” or “I want to do (fill in the blank), but I can’t because . . .”?

The great American novel won’t get written if you don’t begin. Your debts will not disappear if you don’t begin today to put a plan in action. Your children won’t be with you forever. Your relationships need tending now. The only moment you really have control over is the present one.

Take this present moment, this one hour, this precious day and spend it wisely. Banish regrets, work toward the future, but live in the now. Only by doing this will you be a wise steward of your time, talent, and treasure.

Oh, and don’t forget to give thanks for each precious moment. All we have is a gift of the gracious Creator. What a blessing!

(Photo by return the sun used under Creative Commons License. Thank you!)

 

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