Tag Archive: thankful

i hope that you are enjoying our observance of Lent and if you have just joined us – as some have – it is good to have you along – never to late to jump on this train and see where it goes.

i read an excellent piece on Lent on Relevant Magazine today and if you have some time, give it a read.

Zachary Perkins gives a broader definition and picture of the idea of Lent that the early church held on to as opposed to simply giving something up:

When we talk about “giving something up for Lent,” let’s be honest: we usually mean “I’m going to throw God a bone.” But the time between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday is meant to be a time where we take ourselves out of time and out of the business of our world to spend time dying to ourselves. It’s not just our way of giving Jesus Christ a pat on the back, but it’s first about re-centering our will to His and secondly living that out in the world.

DAY 3 

Task: Make time to be grateful


This follows on directly from yesterday’s five minutes of stillness to just be:

Take time to know. To realise. To remember. To speak to. To think about. To listen to. To be awestruck by. To call on. To rage at. To praise. To invite.

You may want to consider adding another five minutes, or even a separate time every day for the rest of this observance, to make some space for Gratitude, for Thankfulness, for Appreciation, for Praise, for Worship…

What are you thankful for today?

i literally just this moment was interrupted with news from a friend from Philly who i said i would pray for yesterday who went into hospital for some tests and they came back clear so giving God thankx for that.

and there are so many things in my life to be thankful for, but instead of listing them all here, i want to help create a space for you, for us, to be able to slow down long enough to actually get to the place of giving thankx.


i encourage you to perhaps grab a pen and paper and physically start making a list of things you are thankful to God for, starting with something that happened today and then moving on to this week – what is one thing from this week you can say “Thank-you” to God about… then think back to the month and come up with another different thing – and onto this year – one thing in 2014 you can thank God for.

You should have a list of four things already and maybe you needed to write more than one for some of those times. That is amazing, don’t limit yourself. Let my invitation be a minimum, so force yourself to find at least one for each time period.

Once you are done with that, look back and pull one thing from last year that you can really give thankx for. And then another thing from the last decade. In the past ten years, what is the biggest thing that stands out in your life that you would like to reflect back to God.



How often do you take the time to say “Thank-you” to the important people in your life? If you want to get super involved in this, you could commit to one person a day for the rest of this Lent period – dropping an email, sending a text, calling up on the phone, arranging a Skype, writing a note or even a full on letter… but at least start with one today.

Why not take it up a notch and write a message to someone who may not expect to receive such a thing from you, but someone you have appreciated maybe even for the simplest of tasks that they do – perhaps a regular bus driver you often see, or a neighbour who has a garden you really appreciate, or even a checkout person at the store you frequent. That kind of thing can be gold.


Take a little time to focus on you. If your health is half decent. If you have a job or contribute in some way that pays the bills. If you’re a dad or a mom or a son or daughter or uncle or aunt or brother or sister or friend. If you’re a mentor or confidante or counsellor or tag team buddy. If you have gifts or skills or talents or hobbies or successes  or attempts or dreams or hopes. For your sense of humour or appreciation of small things or ability to raucously celebrate or athletic ability or skill with words or favourite cooked or baked dish or ability to listen or speak or rally or protect or assist. Stand in front of a mirror and smile at the person you see and give thanks for both the person you’ve been and the person you are becoming. I think Dr Seuss just may have gotten this one right.


Even if you choose not to do this as a regular practice for each day of the rest of this Lent observance, try to find times and spaces to work it in on different occasions and in different ways. This is a great time to remember that there is so much to be thankful for.

[To continue on to day 4, click here]

So these experiments of various disciplines began with tbV and me running a book study of this book called ‘Free: Spending your Time and Money on what matters most’ by our friend Mark Scandrette which none of us had actually fully read yet [we’re discovering it as we’re leading it which has proved interesting and fun]. And which i highly recommend that you totally just order and get and work through.

If you are married it’s an excellent book to work through with your spouse and if not then with a group of friends or small group. It is practical and inspirational and challenging and just really helpful. For some of you this will literally change your lives. For others of you there will be some helpful stuff. But yes, so good.

txSo it started off with an experiment of inviting people to slow down the rush and take time every day for a week to be still for ten to fifteen minutes and just be and meditate and pray and observe and listen… and a bunch of people got involved in that and it was really great reading through some of your comments over here.

And then next up was the invitation to keep a Gratitude Log for ten days [i have done 8 so far] and to come back and share some of your reflections with us in the comments section below here [so please do that!]

In the meantime, here are two of my days from this last week or so…

I am grateful for…

an old crazy friend visiting for two fun-filled nights

the opportunity to lead a listening to God exercise at a home group from church

a request met on our behalf that will lead to urgent dental work being covered for Val

an inspiring marriage blog post by Rachel Held Evans

corn/mielies left in the fridge for me by my beautiful wife to eat while she is away

God completely showing up and rocking the house at the home group tonite

I am grateful for…

a repaired bicycle tyre

date nite with my beautiful wife

some great 3D ‘Gravity’ movie action

the likelihood of getting to see my Jhb/Pta friends in January

some fun online connection and silly banter with Re:Generation church okes

what has stood out for me is that it has been so incredibly easy once you actually make the effort to sit down and write things down.

i tried to find a range of things to be grateful for, from simply daily pleasures like a good meal or drink to deeper experiences and realisations.

i found that relationships and people tended to dominate many of my entries as well as awareness of and experience of God moments.

today i sat outside and combined the being still and just taking in everything around me and the meditating on things to be grateful for and found the combination to be completely inspiring and life-giving.

doing this has caused me to want to make time for it more often and to continue to notice and speak and write and relive and above all be grateful for things both large and small that i have in my life and that take place in the world and people around me.

i have two days to go, but it is not too late to start… if you begin today then when you are done come back and share an entry or two of yours with us.

So what do YOU have to be grateful for today?

[For the next part and the challenge to Fast Something you Enjoy, click here]


txSo a bunch of us are nearing the end of an experiment of avoiding the rush, which you can read more about here, and i am going to share some of my experiences and hope others will do the same in the next day or two…

…but in the meantime our ‘Free: Spending your Time and Money on what matters most’ carries on and this week we are focusing on Gratitude and Trust.

And one of the pieces of homework is a Log of Gratitude and once again i would love to find at least nine other people who will commit to doing this with me for the next ten days, so, if you are one of them, please leave your name in the comments below…


The practice of gratitude helps us recognise how we have been lavished and loved. “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” [Psalm 106.1]

Living gratefully is an important discipline because it affirms what is evidentially true – that we are cared for by an abundant Provider who delights to give us many good things. This week keep a daily gratitude log. At the beginning or end of each day write down five things you are thankful for. Try not to repeat. If you write each item in sentence form, your list will begin to take the shape of a poem. For example:

I am grateful for…

the taste of coffee in the morning

how sunlight fills a room with warmth

the gentleness of a kiss on the cheek

the power I feel in my legs when I run

Your list could be a random collection of things that move you, or you might pick a theme for each day: food, people, nature. Or you might want to spend some extra time outside looking and listening for signs of God’s abundance. At the end of the week read your poetic list to a friend or small group. ‘

[from ‘Free: Spending your Time and Money on what matters most’ by Mark Scandrette]

So there it is, and if you’re feeling particularly brave and sharey then i will invite you to share your ten day’s worth of Gratitude with us in the follow-up blog.

Anyone up for this? 

[For Feedback from my Week of Gratitude, click here]

Weekly Photo Challenge: (thankful)

i am thankful that i get to journey through the adventure of a life to the full life with this beautiful lady, my wife Valerie aka tbV [the beautiful Val] and as i always say, ‘Marriage to the right person is one of the most wonderful things in the world.’

hold my hand… walk with me…

[For the previous Photo Challenge on the theme of ‘Inspiration’ click here]

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