Thanksgiving week gifts

Yesterday I had an unexpected break and was able to sit down and add to my list of gifts. This is a habit I didn’t expect to make, but I’ve kept with it for almost 5 years! My perspective has changed in so many ways. Sometimes I do it and it’s very un-inspired. Other times, I just overflow with gratitude, which is really fun. The point is to open my eyes to what is right before me, this day. What do I have to be thankful for this moment? It may be fun, hard, painful, or simple. Together these things make up my life: food, people, opportunities to trust, comfy pj pants, pretty flowers, deep realizations, cups of coffee, silly memories, and more. And they are gifts by the grace of God.


“The whole of the life — even the hard — is made up of the minute parts, and if I miss the infinitesimals, I miss the whole. These are new language lessons, and I live them out. There is a way to live the big of giving thanks in all things. It is this: to give thanks in this one small thing. The moments will add up.” –Ann Voskamp
For the word of the Lord is upright, and all His work is done in faithfulness.
He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.
-Psalm 33:4-5 ESV

Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving!

monday gifts

The past few days I’ve been sick with a summer cold. It’s been frustrating to miss the grand opening of my church (at our building, we’ve been a mobile church until recently) and just life in general. But it’s ok, I probably need the reminder that I don’t keep everything spinning. I can step back and rest. The Lord is my shepherd, I have everything I need.
Even with a fuzzy brain, I notice things differently from a place of rest. Everyday, beautiful things that I didn’t earn or deserve: they are grace. I’m thankful for…
a day of cupcake baking with Val.
sandwiches labeled “Fralerie” and “Dawnabeth.”
crazy puppies to play with.
a sunrise before seeing Anna off at the airport.
prayer, together.
“get well” and “I love you” video messages from a toddler.
BLT’s & Goodwill shopping- making fun memories with my clients.
old pictures of me and my brothers that make me laugh hysterically.
the way those little plants grew up over the summer.
the colors of this time of year.

monday gifts


Thankful for… 

friends to pray with and just be with. This has been a tough time for my church family and city, with the loss of Pastor Ty and Terri. (See news story and video here.. goodness, I love my church.)

comfort when we’re mourning.

the inspiration of lives lived without regrets. People who gave and loved wholeheartedly.


how life goes on and we choose to celebrate and have joy! My birthday week friends enrich my life and mean so much to me!

when the room is filled with the sound of half a dozen conversations between friends. That is music to my ears.

gigantic blocks of cheese.



relaxing walks to de-stress from challenging caregiver days.


goofy fun with neighborhood youngins.

the way God is helping me see more clearly so many beautiful gifts in my life. Every day is full of moments and people and good things. Often I miss out, dwell on petty things, or just plain don’t notice. But I’m learning to treasure.




monday gifts


Thankful for…

my colorful rug, always reminding me of Jamaica.


Saturday wanderings with best friends. 


when beads and small children and sidewalk chalk combine in a crazy way that makes you wonder, “what is going on??!”


the fun blessing of being a part of an outreach & vbs this week with my church.

getting to meet beautiful neighbors:


when friends linger on a Sunday, lazily amused by the antics of a small boy and a puppy.

when I miss my people who are too far away.

when I fail at Bible memory group.

when I got really sad news but I had a friend to share it with.

when I get to arrange flowers and bake cookies and be really proud of my friends.

when I’m stressed out although I have no reason to be.

when God is good. (Which is all of the time.)

monday gifts


Thankful for…

this right here:


safe travels, crazy travel companions.
my family. I love them.
homemade ice cream.
mega humidity.


pool days.


very large fish!


sweet tea in plentiful abundance.


mornings that do not start well. :)


salads that are beautiful and dinners with friends.
this life, right now. The hard parts and the wonderful parts. I am blessed.

monday gifts


Thankful for…

the smell of tomato plants.
lightening bugs.
rest & antibiotics to get better.
puppies and toddlers to bring cuteness into our lives.


voxer karaoke from my brothers.
the book of Romans.
those days where everything is just “off.”
fireworks + friends + sonic afterwards = the simplest, best things.


monday gifts


Thankful for…

flowers. muffins. guacamole. front steps. strong yummy coffee.


the best street in Omaha. :)
basil growers and basil chats and the pesto that is to come!
perfectly worn-in t-shirts.
friends who remember things about me I had already forgotten.


funny little souls to babysit.
fruit snacks and dinosaurs and legos and footie pajamas.


I am so loved. I am so secure. Your faithfulness is always.


time around the table, face to face. it seems I’ll never get my fill of long conversations.


stores and gas stations and fast food and email and phones and hot water and the library and ice cream and electricity. (Can you tell, I just lived a book about civilization after an apocalypse type situation??)  


this prayer. (Thanks, Deidra.)


Sometimes I re-think keeping on with this, counting gifts and sharing some of them. Maybe I’m glossing over my struggles or living with blinders on to the heartbreaking things going on in the world around me? Maybe I take too many pictures of flowers and am too grateful for coffee, isn’t that kindof silly?

I do know that this habit changes me into a person more likely to bring good to my corners of the world. It smooths worry from my anxious, often overly empathetic heart. My eyes open wider and I am humbled by grace. It’s a start.

Maybe we could be a people known not by our disgust and judgmentalism, but by our gratitude and our joy because gratitude starts movements. You can’t be moved by grace — and not become a revolutionary. –Ann Voskamp 

mother’s day

Mother’s Day isn’t a day for me. It’s a day for moms. A day to honor my mom and say thank you. I totally get that and I think it’s a good thing! mothersday

On Mother’s Day this year, I found myself making breakfast for 7 guests, 2 of them under the age of three. I’ve known some of that group since I was 8 years old, and they’ve known me and seen me grow up. I read books aloud and searched for the paci and answered to “Aunt Frances.” I really enjoy seeing my friends become these awesome moms.

Later I had a big meal surrounded by family- not “my” family- including 4 of my very best friends. Then, I had another meal with my mom and other family, including my aunt who is one of my go-to people and always has my back. There was laughter and hugs and so much food.

During the day I received an email from my dad, saying he had visited one of the older ladies from church, she used to be my AWANA leader. He wanted to pass on that she asked about me, and that she prays for me every day. I know she isn’t the only one. There are my grandmothers and aunts and dear church ladies and the moms of my friends and teachers and coaches and family friends, who pray for me and continue to influence me. There are the authors who have taught me about grace, living life, leaving a legacy.




I’m thankful.

Yesterday I was reminded that I have been mothered by many wonderful women; only some of them are related to me. And, that children come into my life in many different ways, all the time, needing love. I want to have my heart open and just be available. jamaiica


monday gifts

Thankful for…

daffodil time!

various fun things like my ongoing fishing feud with my brother and looking at old artwork and writings from our younger years with my cousins.
college, when I had time to write and illustrate letters, but not actually mail them.
the intense experience of crafting while watching an action spy movie. The world is about to explode and here we are gluing paper circles. “Craft, Kathy! Craft like you’ve never crafted before!”

dad stories. Not all dads are equal on this one, I think. My own Dad set a very high standard. “Ok, one more skunk story,” said Valerie’s dad (unfortunately for her family, I adopted them long ago), and we listened eagerly. Snake stories, hunting stories, horse riding stories, injury stories, car stories, stories of getting in and out of scrapes, I love them all.

You are my refuge of strength till the end.

hands that can do work. Sunshine. Encouragement. Trader Joe’s coffee. Birds.

monday gifts


Thankful for…

old quilts & young hearts.

quiet moments in the middle of the crazy ones.


my brothers, and our particular way of coping with things: being ridiculous. They are God’s gifts to me for sure! What would I do without them??


the faithful friends who helped with the move. Brought trailers, lifted heavy things, made food, and showed us tons of hospitality.


[more] safe travels.

smelly old dog to keep me company while I cleaned.


puppy therapy with friends.


first birthdays, first houses, first graham crackers with blue frosting.


that Jesus never leaves me alone, He’s with me whatever I’m going through.