For Blackberries, Blue Skies, and - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 26

Today marks the halfway point for #SevenGratitudes! For anyone new, this year-long weekly series is about cultivating thanksgiving in the midst of the everyday, pausing to allow our hearts and minds to catch up with the waves of grace in our lives. Feels so good to have stuck with the practice this far--join me for the next 26 Fridays?

So glad you're here this morning! And I’d love to hear a gratitude from your neck of the woods. (These things multiply, you know.) Throw one down there in the comments if you like or blog in our link up.

This week I am grateful…


A blackberry abundance!


A few weeks ago I was walking my dog Barkley when I noticed flickers of red winking at me in the green. My eyes being what they are, I had to step partly into the weedy hill to get a good look: yep, baby blackberries (that I mistook for raspberries until my FB friends helped me out)!

Everyone said to be on the lookout around July 4th for a good harvest. They were right. There are enough free-growing blackberries for every family in my neighborhood and every bird who can find their way!

It is amazing. These beautiful, nutrient-dense bites of bounty are just there for the picking. A gift. Grace. Would it not be amazing if every neighborhood had access to food like this? It is possible. It could happen. I want to be a part of making that happen.

Like whoever loved the world enough to plant our blackberry hill.


The view from my pillow.


I am still enjoying my little sun room (that I shared with you last week). My favorite part, I must say, is the view from my pillow. Luna the Cat and I have gazed many a night like this one these past two weeks.

(True story, though, the first morning I woke up here I rolled over and thought I was about to fall out the window. Ha! My sense of space was so confused for a moment, like when you look down off a moving boat after or off a steep cliff. Whew.)


For green smoothies.

I got burned out on the smoothies there for a good two year stretch, but, baby, they’re back! I have so enjoyed slurping some cool and colorful nutrients this week. They have felt almost like milkshakes. <3

In fact, I have not had one “sweet treat” all week—except for fruit + spinach smoothies. Huh. I did not even realize that!

My “recipe” this week:

  • 4 or 5 strawberries or blackberries  
  • 0.5-1 frozen banana (I peel and break a few bananas into pieces and then store them in a jar in the freezer.)
  • 1 spoonful almond butter  
  • Two enormous handfuls of spinach
  • Two dashes of cinnamon
  • 4-5 ice cubes
  • And just enough milk to make it go ‘round in the blender.


For my incredible colleagues, a great summer session, and a surprise pizza party!

Preaching class wrapped up this week and my "Whiteness and Theology" class will close just as soon as I can finish a quick 10-page research paper. These six weeks passed in a blink because (1) the content was worthy and (2) my colleagues ROCK. It has been a surprising and beautiful summer session!

I am thankful for the challenging conversations my peers were willing to risk together, how we were willing to grow together. I appreciate the chance to submit my thoughts to such a body of trustworthy ministers and thinkers. And I am especially thankful for Eva who so lovingly chose to surprise our preaching class with a PIZZA PARTY last night. That’s right, a pizza party! :)

“Ya feed the people you love,” she said.

And that just about sums that up.


For meeting my ancestors.

I spent an emotional day last Saturday tracking down my fraternal family line; that would be my father’s father and so forth. The Coyle name comes to me through them, and while I will research my entire family tree (Cothran, Bishop, Andrews, Gosnell, etc.), I need to learn all I can about these Irish folks.

When did we come to America? What sent us here? Were we indentured servants, disappeared children, prisoners sent to work, or victims of the potato famine? What all did we have to do in order to survive? What did we choose to do in order to fit in? At what cost did we assimilate to the Anglo culture of the burgeoning USA?

What do I need to know in order to reclaim my particularity in a culture of bland and utter “Whiteness”?

So far I have learned the names of my great-great-great-great-great grandparents. And the gravestone of my murdered great-papa appeared on my screen, too.

I somehow love these people that I have never known. I want to know them, though their sins and wounds scare me. Because they are in me, too.

I am grateful for the chance to do this work of learning stories—be they joy or horror or both.


For this scene in Moana; for the invitation to bravely receive one another, to heal one another with our names.


That I get to see my husband tomorrow.

For the first time in two weeks. Hallelujah. 

Seven Gratitudes Link-Up

If you would like to join in on this weekly practice of gratitude and chicanery, grab yourself a button and link up with us here every Friday morning of 2017.



  1. Write a listicle about your seven gratitudes each week.
  2. Publish your piece with a link back to my blogpost on Friday mornings.
  3. And then link up with the form at the bottom of the page.

Be sure to visit with the other bloggers in the party--THEY ARE TOO WONDERFUL TO MISS!

What are you grateful for today?

Thanks for being here, beloveds.