Tuesday, February 22, 2011

so much to tell

Dear blogosphere world, 

My sincerest apologies for leaving you so long. I doubt if you seriously missed me, but nevertheless, here are my reasons for leaving you.
1) I love my life. 
2) I am quite enjoying my life. 
3) Did I mention I love my life?

Things have been a little crazy lately, and I have neglected to let you all know about the wonderfully great things that God is doing in my heart and life. 

So as you may know, I am reading an amazing new book called One Thousand Gifts that I ordered from Amazon a little bit ago. It is wonderful. The subtitle is: "Dare to Live Fully Where You Are," so of course I wanted to see what that was all about. The author was challenged by a friend to see if she could come up with 1,000 things she was grateful for, and she took the challenge by beginning a gratitude journal that all began with a scrap of paper. Once she started doing it, she realized how much she was missing by ignoring the little ways that God loves her and shows His love for her in the smallest and most beautiful ways.

In a word, I love this book. And I love the ways in which it is challenging me to see the little things that I normally just ignore and take for granted. I began my "list" on Valentine's Day. I have to admit that I woke up that morning just ready to get another "Singles Awareness Day" over with and behind me. But this Valentine's Day was different. I was awakened to the simplicity of the beauty around me that I had allowed myself to be blind to for quite some time. I brought my little journal with me to school (the journal that just so happened to be a Valentine's Day gift from my mom) and was meticulously recording things I saw and the Lord brought to my attention. 

#1: beautiful sunrise over the mountains of Chihuahua
#8: Socks making paw prints on my leggings
#28: community of believers here at Binimea
#40: Kari singing over me
#65: Mexican Valentine's Day 
#73: Mexican Coke
#99: Romans 6-8

This heightened awareness of all the "little" ways in which the Lord expresses His love for me each day has made an irrevocable impact on my paradigm. Here in Mexico, Valentine's Day is not just for sappy couples, but instead a celebration of friendship, too. Hence, the name Dia de la Amistad.  After receiving sweet gifts from my kids, sweet emails from friends, and ending the day with a lasagna dinner and roasted marshmallows via bonfire at a friend's house, my heart was full, and I had counted 100 unique gifts from my Lord that day.

As I have continued with my list, I have found that there is indeed nothing magical about making a gratitude list. The "magic" or real life change occurs when I make the conscious decision to choose joy. That choice is not always easy. In fact, it is sometimes the hardest choice to make. But it is the best choice and the one that brings such deep peace. 

It has been a little over a week, and I am now at gift #458...and counting. 

Lovely gifts from my students.

All the kiddies with their Valentine's Day treats.

My friend Moni and I cheesin' at our V-Day bonfire.

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