So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:6-7)
A Very Happy Birthday
The current year has been a strange one, and yesterday brought us to the halfway point. There are now only six months left of 2020. I doubt that at the beginning of 2020, any of us could have possibly predicted what the current year would hold. However, despite the many sorrows of this past year, we still have so much for which to be thankful. Giving thanks is good for our souls. Research has even show that cultivating a spirit of gratitude can help us to live happier and healthier lives.
32 Things for Which I’m Thankful on My 32nd Birthday!
Yesterday, I celebrated my 32nd birthday. As a way of celebrating, I would like to share thirty-two things for which I am thankful. I hope that this list of joys will inspire others to also give thanks to God, especially during challenging times.
- First and foremost, I’m thankful that God loved us enough to send us Jesus. When I think about Christ’s perfect sacrifice, I am deeply humbled and eternally grateful. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).”
- I’m grateful that it has been exactly one year since my most recent eye surgery! On July 1st of 2019, I had a tube shunt revision at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia. (I have two tube shunts in my right eye and one tube shunt in left eye to relieve the excess pressure from my glaucoma). The talented surgeons at Wills Eye re-positioned one of the tubes in my right eye, scraped out excess scar tissue, and used a graft of donor tissue to cover the tube. It was a very painful procedure, and I’m so glad that it has entirely healed.
- I’m so grateful that the weather has been good for running! Although I don’t see well enough to drive, I have enough vision to run on a bright and sunny day. After my surgery last year, I wasn’t able to run for ages because of the stitches in my eye. I wasn’t even allowed to bend over for an entire month. This year on my birthday, I went on a seven mile run– which is very different than how I celebrated last year!
- I’m so grateful for outdoor activities with family. One positive aspect of the current pandemic is that it has encouraged Jeff and I to discover new outdoor activities that we can enjoy together. Last night, we played outdoor chess at a local amusement park!
5. I’m thankful for music. A lot of things have been cancelled due to COVID-19, including most concerts and public music performances; however, I take joy in being able to make music in the quiet of my own home. Sometimes on warm summer evenings, I sit on the porch and play hymns or folk tunes on my flute. (Jeff is very grateful when I practice outside because then he doesn’t have to listen, but I try to keep my music sessions short because I worry that the neighbors might not enjoy my playing!)
6. I’m thankful for the many talented members in my church family. They are making adorable masks! I serve two wonderful churches, and one of the churches has a sewing group. These very talented ladies have made hundreds of masks to give to anyone who needs them! They made enough that everyone can take several so that people will have extra ones to wear when some are being washed. They also made masks in small sizes for children and larger sizes for adults. This owl mask is one of my favorites– in fact, I’m starting an entire collection of owl masks.
7. I’m thankful for Tinkerbell the chihuahua. She is fourteen years old, and she is my baby. Despite her age, she is sassy and cuddly as ever.
8. I’m thankful for Zeus the cat. I got Zeus when I was twelve and he was just a kitten Now I’m over thirty years old, which makes Zeus about 19! He’s a grumpy gray kitty and a wise old soul.
9. I’m thankful for Jeff. We will be celebrating our three year wedding anniversary very soon!
10. I’m thankful for the two churches I serve. In the conference where I serve, our appointments run from July 1st of one year to July 1st of the next. This means that for my birthday this year I received the amazing gift of two wonderful church families! I will be starting my seventh full year at Christ Community and my second year at Llyswen.
11. I’m thankful for sushi, donuts, and ice-cream. Yesterday, Jeff took me to dinner at my favorite restaurant. I think they have the best sushi in town! It’s the little things that make me truly happy.
12. I’m thankful for audiobooks. I love to read, and in recent years, audiobooks have become more and more popular for sighted people. Now I can read all my favorite authors in audio form!
13. I’m thankful for modern technology. Although my heart was very heavy when we were not able to gather publicly for worship, I was so grateful for the modern technology that allowed us to continue to worship online. Now that I know how easy live streaming is, my church purchased a license and we will continue to stream our services.
14. I’m thankful for warm weather. I’m always cold in the winter. Because of my medication, I’m particularly sensitive to cold. Hot summer is a treat for me!
15. I’m thankful for the people who help with music and technology! These wonderful people continue to help with worship on Sunday mornings, live streaming, and worship music planning. It’s amazing how much wonderful texture a few voices, a guitar, and a piano can add to a worship experience!
17. I’m thankful for my grandfather. I never got the chance to know my father very well, but my grandfather was a wonderful man and I’m so thankful for him.
18. I’m thankful for new running shoes. I ran so many miles that I wore a hole in my old pair of running shoes. Jeff purchased a pair of bright turquoise sneakers for me, and I love them so much! They are super comfy for running.
19. I’m thankful that Disney Plus and Netflix have Audio Description. In the evenings, Jeff and I like to watch movies or television together. Many of the shows on these two services have the option to turn on audio description. With audio description, a narrator describes what is happening on the screen.
20. I’m thankful for chocolate. It’s delicious.
21. I’m thankful for coffee. It helps my migraines and is delicious.
22. I’m thankful for my cast iron skillet. It was a Christmas present last year, and I don’t know what I did without it. Pineapple upside down cake made in it is yummy and steaks always come up so evenly grilled!
23. I’m thankful for my iPad. I use it to edit worship videos, record music, and I even have an app that enlarges my sheet music! The iPad is also accessible, so I can use voiceover to read books or listen to podcasts.
24. I’m thankful for books. I love to read.
25. I’m thankful for the Bible. It is my favorite book.
26. I’m thankful for my Kindle Paperwhite. It has a special screen that doesn’t hurt my eyes, and it also lets me enlarge the text of any book.
27. I’m thankful that Jeff’s parents and family are so nice to me. I feel so blessed to have such kind and caring in-laws.
28. I’m thankful that many of my meetings and gatherings are now online. This year, I wanted to attend the Order of St. Luke’s yearly gathering and the Festival for Biblical Story Tellers, but I couldn’t afford to do so. Travel is expensive, especially when you need to pay a driver; however, now that these meetings are being offered online, I can attend both of them! Furthermore, since all my meetings for work are being held on Zoom, I no longer need to worry about paying a driver or arranging transportation to the conference offices.
29. I’m thankful that I don’t have to go to the grocery store anymore. I haven’t been to the grocery store since the beginning of the pandemic. It was very crowded and I had trouble seeing well enough to maintain social distance. One woman ran into me and was very rude. Since then, Jeff has been kind enough to do all the grocery shopping. In exchange, I do all the cooking.
30. I’m so thankful for frozen pizza and frozen shrimp. Although my cooking has gotten better since we’ve been married, I’m still thankful for anything that we can just heat and eat!
31. I’m thankful for a safe place to live. During my time in seminary, I had the opportunity to help with ministries that served the city’s large number of people without homes. It was an eye-opening experience for me that helped me to be truly grateful for a safe place to lay my head at night.
32. I’m thankful that we have enough food to eat and that we can help others who do not have enough. Even though Jeff is still laid off from work, we never have to worry about groceries. Working at a church, I encounter many people who are in need of extra help. Things have been especially bad since the pandemic. I am thankful we can help others who might be struggling.
This post is part of the series, “His Encouragement: Thursday Thoughts to Strengthen Your Soul.”
Now, it’s your turn! What Scripture verse is inspiring you this week? Let me know in the comments below! I’m excited to join with a group of blogging friends in order to offer you a weekly devotional which will be posted every Thursday.
Please be sure to check out the other great bloggers involved in the His Encouragement weekly series!
Andi @ Radiant Light
Leslie @ Words of Hope
Claudia @ By Claudia Moser