I‘m reading wise words about thankfulness. That 5 x 7 I’ve thought long and hard about, the one that can frame all of life in the best of ways. And in whispers that speak life to my soul, I’m reminded we we enter His courts with Thanksgiving, we walk through those gates with Praise.

How I continually try another route!

My grumpalicious attitude toward all of life told me when the boys were napping I needed to sit still. I picked up One Thousand Gifts , and the words of the third chapter wrapped around my heart, ringing out dirt and disappointment like a soiled sponge, squeezed and rinsed to make room for soaking in goodness and light.

The baby hasn’t been sleeping well. Night after night we take turns shushing and rocking, hoping a little pain medicine will help while a stubborn tooth that borders breaking through. I could set my watch in the day, by his wake-up from each nap, precisely forty-five minutes after I’ve laid him down.


{I’ve heard there’s a sleep transition at the 45 minute mark from a REM cycle to deep sleep or something of that sort…our little Tiger seems to prefer to keep it light.}

He is happier when he gets twice that forty-five amount, so I go in and try my best to settle him for a second round. Sometimes finding success, sometimes sighing and giving up.

In the middle of the moment — me finding peace in a book and the reminder that God is indeed so, so good — he wakes. With a sigh of disappointment I scurry in, hoping to catch him quickly enough with a shush and a return of the pacifier.

He doesn’t resettle, I scoop him up and begin the task of rocking him back and forth in the air, shushing every so often.

I stare out the window because I think if I look him in the eyes it’ll keep him awake.

Suddenly something I wrote weeks ago but haven’t had a chance to type out and post — about being thankful for these moments with this baby as a baby — comes to mind. And all those signs pointing to thankful from that book I’m reading — there, too, I hear the urging, the sweet little angel on my shoulder.

Look again!

As Sherlock Holmes once told Dr. Watson, You see, but you do not observe.

I look down and see the picture, re-framed with thankfulness. Look at those tufts of soft baby hair … he still has hardly any hair! And the way those eyelashes curl! That precious little button nose! And bless his heart, those ears! He is in my arms — peacefully asleep.

After two attempts to put him down which both resulted in his stirring awake, I decided to rethink the matter all together. Is anything in life so pressing that it can’t wait forty-five minutes? And how much longer will he be so small and take a nap in my arms?

I slowly sauntered back into the living room, where I’d been sitting before. Precious bundle, ten-months-along, snoozing happily with his head in the crook of my arm, me returning to my book, just as before.

These were but a few of the powerful words waiting for me:

On every level of life, from housework to heights of prayer, in all judgement and efforts to get things done, hurry and impatience are sure marks of the amateur.*

But how can this be? Isn’t my dirty kitchen floor the sign that I’m an amateur? The scratch on my baby’s nose because I’m not staying on top of keeping his nails trimmed? The Christmas tree still decorated and sitting proudly in the window … these are the things that scream amateur to the world, right?

I read on and the words are familiar because I’ve lived them: The hurry makes us hurt. Hurry always empties a soul. And Ann and I are kindred spirits because more than anything I say yes to this:

I just want time to do my one life well.

And Lord help me to see what that looks like.

Another forty-five minutes go by, slow and peaceful. The baby sleeps in my arms, I quietly turn pages, gently stretch for my pen to underline or make a star in a margin.

He wakes again, complaining because he has gotten so warm, snuggled into my sleeve, but the complaints quickly give way to joy.

The lyrics of an old Green Day song, one popular during my senior year of high school come to mind:

It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

And I remember conversations with my best friend about those lyrics — thinking they didn’t just mean ‘I hope you had a great time’ but “I hope you had the time of your life.” Did you have the time? Did you live the time you had?

Ann had said just then, Thanksgiving makes time. And until I saw it in a moment lived well, I still wasn’t sure I believed her.


{Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts is available on Amazon. I’m only on chapter four and it’s changing my life. It. is. so. good. If you want to fully live this year, I highly recommend getting this book. Practicing His Presence — and finding real joy — is simpler than you think.}

*Evelyn Underhill, quoted in Martin H. Manser, ed., The Westminster Collection of Christian Quotations (Louiseville: Westminster, 2001), 270. {via Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts, p. 66}

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