Beginning A New Practice: Seven Gratitudes, Vol. 1

7 Gratitudes 2017

I mentioned on Facebook this week that I want to develop a more committed relationship with For the Birds this year.

2016 was difficult in more than a few ways, but here are three:

  1. We moved all of a sudden. We realized with much pain and confusion that we did not belong with the congregation that called my husband in October 2015. Church life is real, y’all. I won’t sugar coat it. Finding that we no longer belonged hurt a lot. The good news is that we now find ourselves picking up pieces in Winston-Salem, NC. With joy I can tell you that those pieces are coming together, though in a very different pattern than before. It’s achingly beautiful. Rejoice with us?
  2. The 2016 US Presidential Election. ‘Nough said.
  3. Graduate school is H A R D. Seminary is wonderful and chock full of life-changing goodness—but it is the most difficult thing I have ever attempted in my life. That is as it should be, I suppose. Course work is one thing, but THE challenge of divinity school is in its utterly demanding questions of my essential BEING. Questions of vocation, theology, and outlook—those words are altogether too tidy...the realities they represent are NOT tidy—they sear through every defense I have. To go through a divinity program of any worth is to pass through fire, I think. And I am quite literally in the middle of it (three semesters done, three semesters to go!).

The answer to both my desire to blog faithfully and overcome whatever challenges this year may hold came quite neatly to my brain the other day:


Every Friday this year you will find For the Birds counting her blessings, seven quick thanksgivings at a time. Will you join me?  

Seven Gratitudes, Vol. 1

This week I am grateful:


That Christmas was still happening.

I think it was the 10th day of Christmas before that delicious feeling of Christmastide really settled into my soul. All the days of the season have been delightful, meaningful even, but something really sweet and whole warmed my spirit through on Tuesday.

I am thankful for the lingering nature of the liturgical Twelve Days. Christmas-as-sacred-season instead of Christmas-as-glitzy-break-between-sales gave my body and soul enough time to be with the Incarnated God whom it is all about. It is a lot of pressure to DO and BE ALL THE CHRISTMAS on the 25th. The liturgical calendar offers something different, and I say thanks be to God.


For being home./For our hand-me-down furniture.

Case in point: The dresser came from a deacon, the candle holders and vases were gifts or saved from the garbage, my mom thrifted the coffee table, we inherited the kitchen table (barely pictured), and the table chairs are on loan from my aunt--they are the chairs my great-grandfather grew up using!

Case in point: The dresser came from a deacon, the candle holders and vases were gifts or saved from the garbage, my mom thrifted the coffee table, we inherited the kitchen table (barely pictured), and the table chairs are on loan from my aunt--they are the chairs my great-grandfather grew up using!

Being home this week has been a gift. I loved being able to take in the rhythms of our little family. I also loved reveling anew in the collection of ramshackle odds and ends that make up our home. There are literally two items of houseware that Aaron and I bought straight from the store. Everything else was either inherited, thrifted, gifted, hand-built, loaned, or picked up by the dumpster. It is amazing how odd items from even odder seasons of our lives just work together, sitting congenially side by side. I am thankful for our furniture and the stories they tell.


For The Frugalwoods’ Uber Frugal Month Challenge


Aaron and I are participating in an Uber Frugal Month Challenge, otherwise known as—we broke! Ha! I kid…The few days we have been in on the project have already proved worthwhile. It is amazing what a little goal-oriented community can do.

The challenge is to spend as little money as possible, obviously, but the overall goal is to cultivate contentment and creativity. Even though we are only at Day 6, the challenge has reminded me how empowering it is to cook a meal from scratch—and how badass it is to craft a genuinely tasty meal from leftovers and pantry finds.

There is enough in this world. It is liberating to remember and live into “enough.” 


For homemade hot chocolate.

Per the Uber Frugal Month Challenge, I have been getting creative with what is already on hand, and seeing as it is still Christmas and all, we had homemade hot chocolate the other night. Y’all, it is so easy to make from scratch. There is no going back, ever. The drink was delicious (and I am not even a chocolate lover—gasp!), but the real treat was to see my husband’s eyes light up as we sipped and sat cozied together.

Homemade Hot Chocolate for 2

homemade hot chocolate
  • Heat two cups of milk gently in a small pot, stirring fairly constantly.
  • When the milk starts to steam, whisk in two tablespoons of cocoa powder, a dash of salt, two pinches of ground cinnamon, and pure maple syrup to taste.
  • If you’re feeling happy, add a splash of heavy cream and whisk until almost boiling.
  • Pour into your favorite mugs, cuddle up, and enjoy.


5 & 6

For preachers who have babies and need Aaron to come preach for them.

There is something about watching your partner do the thing that they were born to do.

Just look at that post-preaching glow. <3

Just look at that post-preaching glow. <3

Also, this happened:


That Epiphany begins today!

Matthew 2:10b

Matthew 2:10b

O I love this day and the season it brings! We are celebrating over Magic Magi Travel Bread with dear friends tonight. And, who knows? We might sneak out and bless some houses, scalawags that we are.

There. You have heard my problems, my plans, and my praises.

Will you join me?

What are seven quick words of thanksgiving from your week? Connect with me in the comments below or find For the Birds on Facebook.

Here’s to gratitude in 2017!