For newborn nephews, life’s unfolding, & our bed - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 33

#SevenGratitudes is a weekly gratitude practice for the enlivening of my soul, a deepening engagement with the world, and simple encouragement for anyone who stops by.

Thanks for being here.


This week I am grateful...

1

To meet my newborn nephew. To see his face.

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Oh my goodness. There have been so many feelings about this little one’s arrival. When I got to “meet” him over FaceTime, when I saw that precious face, every one of those feelings melted into awe. Then gratitude. Then absolute, head-over-heels Love.

I praise God for the miracle of life. I celebrate the safe delivery of another beautiful earthling. I am hopeful for his future and the ways our paths will cross. I see God and God’s powerful creativity already at work in my nephew.

To witness such a Presence is transformative, and I need transforming. The world needs transforming.

2

For the SparkPeople Nutrition Calculator.

I rediscovered this week that I can roughly calculate the nutrition of the meals I prepare at home via the SparkPeople Recipe Calculator. What a gift, you know? It is free and informative. I love seeing how different recipes bring all the necessary vitamins and minerals into my body. I also appreciate the hard data necessary to moderate, alter, or abandon other not-so-life-giving dishes.

Grateful for a reminder of how incredible food can be. Sustenance and variety born on every bite. Tastes like grace.

3

For the ever-unfolding nature of life. That I am neither the beginning nor the end of this.

My friend Kaitlin shared several encouraging messages this past week on Facebook in the wake of the terrorism that took place in Charlottesville, VA this past weekend.

In the face of such hatred and violence, I found myself floundering in despair.

Spirit, however, offered something else through Kaitlin’s words:

"I get it. We should have seen this coming & all of that. I know.
But we can't stop caring for ourselves now. 
I feel traumatized by all of this, friends, and I wasn't even in #Charlottesville.
We need to be people who aren't afraid to care for ourselves AND for each other.
So do the dishes. Go on a run. Watch a movie.
We don't need to be broken, traumatized AND exhausted people.
To do the work set for us, we need rest. 
Get on here to check things out, and then get off.
Go outside. Watch a squirrel run up a tree trunk or a bird glide in the sky above you.
Remember that we are dust to dust, and let that give us perspective to make space here. To rest and create. We're not first & not last. 
This world has seen brokenness for a long time, and we are part of that history, part of that cycle. So don't give up or sit in trauma. 
Our traumatized selves will only act out of that space, and we need to act out of our wholeness. We need to do that so that we can lead.
There's a line between rest & giving up; there's a line between self-care and selfishness.
We know the difference. Trust yourself. 
Then go out into the world/neighborhood/living room and let the deep truth of God speak life into you so that you can pour it out again. 
That's what America needs right now. That's what the church needs, what #HeatherHeyer's mother wished: that death would bring life.
So let's know our history and then let's keep it from repeating again.
Let's know ourselves and learn to love each other.
I'm going to go make dinner now."

I am neither the first nor the last in this earthen project. I must do my part. I may die without seeing victory, but I will die in the fight for truth, justice, and Love.

I will live my part of this unfolding creation.

Connect with Kaitlin B. Curtice on Facebook here.

4

For a surprise trip to the Perot Museum of Nature & Science. For the marvelous and delightful diversity of earth.

Image by Joe Mabel.

Image by Joe Mabel.

New friends at church offered us two extra tickets to the local museum of natural history yesterday. I had never been to such a place before—only art galleries and human history museums thus far—and I found myself quite excited for the adventure. The exhibits were well thought out, beautifully arranged, and chock full of curious corners to engage even the most unlikely guest. Perot is great.

Delight bubbled and fizzed through my veins and my belly as I took in the marvelous rocks, dinosaurs, animals, and molecules of life on planet earth. It giggled out. We have such a wondrously weird ecological family here, I could not help but chuckle and squeal over the various sights, smells, textures, and sounds of the various aspects on display.

Who knew rocks could make you laugh? Who knew coyote urine smells like perfume? Who knew a model of sister Lucy would feel so much like a friend?

Creation is a wonder. Thanks be to God!

5

For our bed.

Freshly made, quilt-bedecked, and ready hold us tight in the night. I love how it stands guard there during the day, keeping that space for us. How grateful I am for such place to lay down my head and my defenses, to sleep in peace and dream. For a place to be with him, to have our love and our talks and our rest.

The quilt is one of our favorite wedding presents—made by one incredible and generous Mennonite friend in Atlanta.

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6

For silly page-turners.

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Since finishing Outlander last month (the series I have been reading and obsessing over for the better part of a year), I have been timid about picking up another story—because how could it ever compare to Gabaldon’s epic time-traveling, romancing, world-changing, kilt-wearing tale???

So, with Aaron’s encouragement, I just snagged a silly page-turner at the library.

Too ashamed to show you the cover, but not at all shy to say that I’m enjoying every sub-par paragraph. ;)

7

For eyes turned willingly toward the challenge ahead (somehow).

I completed my first assignment for my last semester of seminary this week. It was merely a bio for one of my classes, but it was required. And I did it.

I leave this place Saturday week. Full steam ahead. I think I can do this.

(What wondrous things God can do! What strength God lends to those who need it! Stick with Her, o my soul! heart of my being. Stay with God, wait for Her, no matter your feelings or fears. For God shows up. Christ reveals the Way forward. Spirit can hold you together, and she will. Just wait.)