Practicing Simplicity Leads to Gratitude

Simplicity can make the ordinary things special. This morning I woke up with a smile on my face. This is a big deal for me because I have never been a morning person.

You know it’s going to be a great day when you wake up smiling. And not just smiling but wrapped in a moment of joy.

It Started with a Dream

I was dreaming of one of those long-ago moments that evoked a certain scent, a particular sensation on my skin, and filled me with pure bliss.

That moment after giving my babies a bath, drying their perfectly soft skin and wrapping them in a cotton Onesie. Then doing that thing where you hold them up to your face and squeeze them close thinking you could eat them all up they are so cute (and clean!).

And then you breathe.

Breathe in that baby scent and feel that squishy baby love against your neck and chest.

I am getting the warm fuzzies replaying that memory.

This emotional memory that began as a dream started my mind trolling through similar memories. At 5 Am I was up and writing in my journal.

To Do ListI am a list maker.

Now don’t just think of lists as those “have-to-do” or “don’t-forget” things. I make lists all the time – the kind of lists that help me remember, or celebrate, or experience gratitude.

 

I also journal lists. Some lists I’ve used as journaling include:

  • Miracles God has performed for me – the Bible talks about this as a memorial to God. In Joshua chapter 4, the Israelites laid up stones as a memorial to what God had done for them. Do this when you’re stuck in a bad spot and need a Big One from God or just to be reminded of His faithfulness. This builds your faith, reignites your gratitude to Him, and can serve as a memorial for your family and future generations – one that testifies to the goodness of God!
  • Memories: when Colonel, my special Labradoodle died, I made a list of all the places we had walked together. He was my walking buddy, my companion, and making this list helped me process my grief.
  • Experiences: For example, I keep a list of all the wildlife we have experienced in our backyards at all the various places we’ve lived. From pileated woodpeckers to bald eagles and beavers, I keep this list alive so I can reminisce about all the wildlife I’ve been able to experience without leaving home! Maybe you can make a list of the vacations your family has shared.
  • Books you’ve read and books you want to read. You can reflect on the lessons you learned from those books and how they impacted your thinking and your trajectory in life.
  • The Travel List – we all have this one, right? The places we want to see and experience.
  • Favorite Things – this is an ongoing list of things that make me smile and spark my creativity: it can include anything. Some things on my list: anything crocheted, eyelet fabric, feathers, toile, bonfires, sunsets, old buttons, colored pens, lilacs, butterflies, and painted furniture.
Today’s List

Today I was prompted to make a list of memories that flowed from the squishy baby memory. This list includes those everyday raindrop moments that don’t seem to make much of a life-drenching impact individually but bundled together over a lifetime, and they are what has nourished your life with joy, watered your dreams, and kept you alive.

I’m sharing my Raindrop List with you today in hopes you’ll start your own, or something similar. Too often we forget to train our eyes and minds on these less-than-sensational moments in time, only to look back and realize though they were simple – they were everything.

The moments that comprised an ordinary day have become extraordinary memories that stitch our lives together with those we have shared them with.

Take time today, begin your Raindrop List. Maybe like me,  you will go back into those dusty memories and resurrect emotions and sensations and just revel in them.

Or maybe, your raindrop moments are coming in what feels like downpours right now…still, take some time and record these precious moments. A kiss from a little one with chocolate ice cream lips, that boy smell in his hair after a long day of playing, the sound of that giggle, or the way your puppy’s breath smells right now, because that is a fleeting joy for sure!

Gallagher Farm and Faith - Simplicity Leads to Gratitiude
Mary’s Raindrop List – August 2017

~ that golden moment when it’s not yet evening but not quite day anymore and the sun makes everything golden and casts long shadows across the yard, when the air seems to “settle” and the animals in my barnyard all move a little closer to the barn and house, and I acknowledge that my life is great and this has been a good day no matter what has happened, and I’m home, safe, warm, where I belong.

 

The golden moment when day is giving way to night and shadows are long and everything looks golden.

 

~ that moment when I wake up on a cool, fall morning having left the windows open and now I’m cold, and my husband covers me with a blanket from the foot of the bed…the warmth seeps in like hot fudge melting over vanilla ice cream and I fall back to sleep.

~ dipping my toes in the water’s edge of a lake or ocean after a long journey to get there, feeling like here is where I should stay forever.

~ the spoonful of ice cream when the texture is just the right amount of creamy…on the cusp of melting as it slides against my spoon and the glass bowl -yikes there it is – can you see it?

The perfect bowl of ice cream when the texture is just the right creamy.

~ the sun on my shoulders and back like a massage, relaxing cold, tight muscles, especially after a long, long, long winter

~ the feel of the not quite dry sand at the edge of where the waves lap onto the beach but only occasionally drench it. Do you know that part I am talking about? Oh, it’s my favorite – it’s not wet but it’s not dry and it’s so perfect to walk on!

~ the embrace of clean cotton sheets at the end of a tiring but productive or fun day

~ stepping barefoot on wet, soft earth after a gentle spring rain

The Feel of Soft Wet Dirt on Bare Feet

~ that velvet spot behind a dog’s ears that I could stroke forever

~ that smell on a hot summer day when a long-awaited rain hits the ground. There is actually a name for that smell…petrichor.

~ the contrast of a yellow sunflower against a bright blue sky…nature’s perfect color combo of blue and yellow

Nature's perfect combination: sunflower against bright blue sky

~ the first brush or roller stroke of new paint on a dirty wall..so gratifying

~ a perfectly timed walk in the woods when my path is lined with newly fallen, multicolored leaves, still alive and not yet crunchy or torn up by the tread of others

~ my dog’s cold wet nose against my skin

A dog's cold nose against your skin!

 

I’m not sure what triggered that happy baby dream but I think it has something to do with this lovely book I am reading. I picked it up for one dollar at the thrift store. It was the cover that caught my eye.

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

The subtitle “Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are” and the hands wrapped around the nest drew me into the special message I felt certain this book contained. I’m confessing that this sweet dollar bargain is giving me more than my money’s worth. It’s poetic prose, the words flow, swim, fly across the pages and they flutter into my heart.

If you’ve ever found your yourself depressed, discouraged, or overwhelmed with the burdens of your everyday raindrop moments that feel more like a tidal wave, you may want to read One Thousand Gifts.

If you have let busy-ness rob you of an intentional attitude of gratitude, you’ll find One Thousand Gifts a reminder of what it means to magnify the Lord with thanksgiving (Psalm 69:30).

If you’ve wondered how or longed to “pray without ceasing”  – and here’s a clue: the next part of that line says “in everything give thanks” (1 Thes. 5:16-18). One Thousand Gifts will unlock that secret too.

It’s really a simple premise…it all begins with a list… 🙂

The message is simple but like many things that elude us, not easy to grasp.

It’s profound, actually.

Praying for your joy to be ignited by simple gratitude for a squishy baby or a wet dog nose. ~ Mary

 

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4 thoughts on “Practicing Simplicity Leads to Gratitude

  1. That was so beautiful, Mary. It really touched my heart and stirred up longings to remember those precious moments in my own life. Thank you for sharing your heart. You are truly a special person.

    • Thanks, Linda. I guess it’s time for some grandbabies for me, right? It really makes you want time to slow down!

    • Thanks, Lynne. I am so glad I grabbed this book. I also checked out her website today and it is amazing. I hope you love it too!

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