Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Living in the Now (Gratefully)

As I wrote out my thoughts on chapter 4 of One Thousand Gifts earlier today, I could feel God here with me. The concept of slowing down, of noticing, of counting blessings, of naming Gifts...these are not entirely new thoughts, but they have certainly been presented in a whole new way. I feel challenged, inspired, invited. How could I say no to this?

My Gifts List Journal is well under way, lying open nearby and waiting for more gifts to be added, and then more and more. A thousand and more, because His gifts cannot be limited. They can, however, be named if we care to notice and put them into words.

I am comfortable alone. I love being with my family, make no mistake. I live for time together, all of us, the noise and music and laughter and silliness a wild and wonderful cacophony ringing through the house. But I also deeply appreciate solitude. I am comfortable alone, because even alone I am not lonely. I feel God with me all the time, talk to Him constantly because living in Him means the Amen never has to come.

I was thinking today about how much I love being at home. Maybe that is one reason why it isn't difficult for me to notice and describe the simple blessings, the ordinary things that really aren't ordinary at all: because right here, right now, in the moment, is where I live. Honestly, I think what Ann did for me more than anything was put into words what I've been living and feeling for most of my life.

Steve said something interesting to me this evening. "You know...and you can commence the eye-rolling any time now...this writing, this's what I've known you could write for years now."

I tried really, really hard not to roll my eyes. But I did grin. "I'm not rolling my eyes," I said. "And I have to say that while I wouldn't dream of putting myself in the same writer's camp with Ann, I do think her style is very me."

He grinned a cute "Ha! I win!" grin.

"Not so fast, mister. I still don't consider myself worthy to sharpen Ann's pencils." That is when he rolled his eyes.

I've never met this woman, and I think it's a safe bet that I never will meet her in person. But I can say with complete honesty that I love her. And part of the reason for that is because she allows herself to be real, to be seen as she truly is. No pretenses or masks, just out there raw and open and vulnerable. No wonder we can all identify with her so completely. She is all of us.

And I really, really do want to be that real. As a writer, and just as a woman. Living in His grace and truth, there is only the real. There is only the now. I have to say it feels good to slow down and be fully present in the moment, thanking God for every good and perfect gift one by one. Ann is right: time really does seem to slow down.

And I like it here.


  1. My hubby says the same kind of things to me - it is so nice to have a champion isn't it!?! So nice that they believe in us, even if we can't see it in ourselves yet!

  2. I love how real you are! I love the way you write! I wish I could meet you in person and spend time with you. I know I would come away blessed!

    (for some reason, it won't let me sign in using my wordpress account, which is where I now do most of my blogging)

  3. (Joining in the eye rolling)...Sis, you are more than worthy. You can do this.

    I agree with you that Ann is all of us. She writes like I think most of the time. I have to slow down to read it, to fully process it.

    This book, her style, the subject, they are all working something in me that I can feel in a very real way.

    Bless you, and watch where you step. Steve might need those eyeballs later. :)

  4. you've inspired me to start journaling online, but I probably won't be able to give up my fabric-bound journals, i love the feel of the worn corners, and someday my daughter might stumble across them in the attic and pick one up to read...
    ~Lisa E.

  5. Hey Lisa,

    Just given you a blog award - can't find your e-mail address to contact you privately, so had to share it here... check it out at:


  6. So nice to meet you! Thanks for stopping by my blog. Yes, I can see our hearts connecting. Ohhh, I need that quiet time ALONE too - though it's a rarity.

    I've "known" Ann through her blog for over 6 years and we've e-mailed numerous times. This past summer she was in Grand Rapids, MI where her book is getting published & I got the chance to go out to dinner with her. She is just as real in person as she appears on her blog and in her book. Very soft spoken, humble and loving. She certainly is a gift to us all!

  7. @writingcanvas:

    That must have been a treat to get to spend the evening with someone you respect and admire so much. I felt that way when I met and chatted with Elisabeth Elliot several years ago. I'm so glad you got that opportunity. I would have guessed Ann would be as real in person as she appears in the videos. I love her authenticity.

    Thanks so much for your kind words. I miss the days of barely-structured chaos in our house. Our youngest two are turning 16 and 18, so it won't be long before it's just Steve and me. We've been married nearly 31 years, and we are the best of friends underneath it all, so we will love being together. But we are already missing the kids. ;)

    Lovely to "meet" you. :)