Grace Notes:Appreciation

Welcome. Draw up a chair and pour yourself a coffee as we share this time together. One of my great pleasure in life is to share a coffee with a friend. 

As someone who is rarely well enough to leave the house, it is a lovely treat to spend time enjoying a ‘coffee and catch up’ session.

I enjoy the natter more than the coffee, to be honest.
Time away from my own four walls stops me going ‘stir-crazy’. It lifts my spirits.

We all need to have things in our lives that make us appreciate the good and focus our minds on the positive rather than negative elements – which are all to easy to spot and get dragged down by.

This Grace Notes series is a way to bring to remembrance God’s goodness toward us in all things.

Do you remember, or maybe still practise, saying ‘Grace’ as a ‘Thank you’ for meals?

One of the first ‘Grace’ forms I was introduced to as a child was this simple rhyme below that we used to sing in nursery school:

World So Sweet
Thank you for the world so sweet,
Thank you for the food we eat,
Thank you for the birds that sing,
Thank you God, for everything.

I remember drawing out the last line as ‘Aaaameennnn’ with great relish.

Its very simplicity brought an awareness to my heart that Somebody had provided the things we were about to consume and, hopefully, enjoy. They didn’t materialise out of thin air

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” ~ James 1:17

Life is a gift and we need to treasure it as such. God provides the common grace whereby we can all enjoy the simple pleasures of life around us.

To reaffirm the good things in my life I’ve dusted off my long-neglected journal and deliberately chosen to record only those things I am thankful for at the close of the day. This can be a challenging, mind-stretching task at times but it is already reaping positive benefits in my thought-life at least.

More thoughts on gratitude for life’s blessings:

“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has” ~ Epictetus

“Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in the quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return” ~ Mary Jean Iron 

In developing an ‘Attitude of Gratitude’ it helps to write down the things we are grateful for. Although I may not be actively joining Ann Voskamp’s “Joy Dare” this year, I am taking on the spirit of it instead.

Here are a few things I am grateful for – (with family and friends taken as read, naturally).

  • A life-long love of reading books that may have sprung from seeing my mother escaping into the pages of novels, blue smoke curling from her hand and lips, housework and children ignored and unseen, meal before her (OK to read up the table then?) and utterly engrossed as she shut out the world around her. My aunt Madge was a prolific reader too who lived in chaotic splendour, amidst a sea of papers and books, and whose great charm was the possession of a ‘mini library’ in her own home that I greedily plundered and devoured as a child, with her happy compliance. Books have been my escape, refuge and a healing balm throughout my life.
  • Being able to express myself in poetry enables me to pour out my deepest thoughts, concerns and desires in a way that brings release and relief. If other people enjoy reading it then that’s a great and unexpected bonus. It stayed hidden away for several years, both literally and metaphorically, as I struggled with many issues and failed to remember (or even know how) to begin again. With the creative juices flowing once more over the last few months, I have felt brave enough to keep writing, delve into the archives at times, and share the results here.
  • Chocolate – but of course. What woman isn’t grateful for this lovely delicacy? I attempt self-control and indulgence by allowing myself a couple of squares of dark (we’re talking 70% minimum) chocolate daily as part of a balanced diet. Who am I kidding? I just love the taste, the way it melts in the mouth, the…well, you get the picture.
There are many other things. This is just a small example.

But I’d love to hear from you:

What do you have reason to be thankful for right now?
How do you maintain an attitude of gratitude?

In this post I am linking up with Missional Women Faith-filled Fridays

You can keep up with future posts by signing up to e-mail, subscribing by RSS feed or connecting with me on Facebook.

I would love to carry on our conversation. Speak again soon!

14 thoughts on “Grace Notes:Appreciation”

    1. To be thankful for His grace This day and be mindful of His touch upon our lives are two of the blessings that come from writing down and being thankful for the graces we live and experience. Thank you for sharing your own desire to remember TODAY. Be blessed in the process. 🙂

  1. I just want to thank God for Being who He is. It makes all the difference when someone says thank you for something you have done, even though you did it not expecting gratitude. So 'thank you God' for all you have done for me.

    1. Welcome, Mandy. I am delighted to find you here! God has enriched and blessed us so much. I am grateful for your friendship, support and encouragement too in so many ways. God bless you 🙂 xx

  2. Joy, this is lovely. I am honestly grateful that somehow in all of cyberspace I linked up with you, because every day you lift my spirits. I am thankful that I have found such community through the blogs, Twitter, Facebook – I know that as Christians we need to be 'out there' where perhaps people are not so understanding of the way we think and the things we write, but it is essential to me to find a home where people root for each other.
    I have a beautiful John Muir diary this year and among the breathtaking photos of the natural world I'm writing down where I see God each day. God started something wonderful through Ann Voskamp, didn't He?!

    1. Helen, I can honestly say the same feeling is echoed in my own heart. Your blog blesses me tremendously too. It also amazes me how often God is placing similar thoughts in us at the same time so that we laugh and marvel over the shared God-incidences! Lovely to hear you are writing down God's touches on your life too. We have so many reasons to be grateful for His work in and through Ann Voskamp that is affecting many lives for the better.
      Enjoy the diary (it sounds lovely) and listing God's personal grace notes to you this year! Blessings 🙂

  3. What a beautiful post! Love your heart of gratitude as Psalm 118:24 spurs us on to do! I am grateful for bloggers like you linking up and sharing your hearts. I am grateful for a community of women who encourage each other.

    Carly from Missional Women

    1. Hi Carly. Great to meet you! Thank you for dropping by and leaving such a lovely encouraging comment. I am grateful for the privilege of joining this community in sharing the grace notes God is writing on our hearts and lives. Stay blessed in Him. 🙂

  4. Thanks for the coffee 🙂

    To be thankful is a beautiful gift from God. I enjoyed your blog and I am very grateful that I after my flu now could write a new blog. Yes and I'm just like you, thankful for books and chocolate (dark)

    1. My pleasure, friend. Feel free to call in any time – especially as a fellow book and dark chocolate lover! Sorry to hear you've been ill but pleased that you have now recovered from the flu. Happy reading and writing. God bless you 🙂

  5. How to be grateful in all things… still working on this one but I think one of the keys is to catch ourselves when we complain and instead think of one thing we can be thankful for in the situation.

    Thanks so much for this post.

    1. Yes, it will take some working on, Wendy. I can't pretend I have it all together. This is just the start of a journey of faith coupled with a determination to rise above the circumstances I'm in. Love your suggestion about catching ourselves when we complain and reversing it by being thankful instead! A great idea. Thank you so much for your input here and support in general. Stay blessed in Him. 🙂

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