The Gift of Today


Today it is Thanksgiving. Perhaps the best day of our western holidays. A day of thanksgiving and gratefulness, of joyful reunions and family gatherings. And too much food, probably. But without the necessity of overgiving of unnecessary gifts, or the vast decorating of every nook and cranny, or the overly high expectations we often seem to place upon Christmas.

And Michael Hyatt's post arrived in my inbox - reminding me of this:


"You think this is just another day in your life. It’s not just another day. It’s the one day that is given to you today…. It’s the only gift that you have right now. And the only appropriate response is gratefulness." (quote from Brother David Steindl-Rast, a benedictine monk)


Michael Hyatt's post gives us four ways of practicing gratitude and thankfulness. He writes:

Here are four ways you can transform today, taking it from ordinary to extraordinary:

  1. Notice the gifts around you. Whether it is the natural beauty that surrounds you, the interesting people you encounter, or the simple beating of your heart, everything is a miracle—if you have eyes to see it.
  2. Open your heart to receive them. It’s so easy to feel entitled and become cynical when we don’t get what we want or feel we deserve. But if we receive everything as a gift, designed for either our enjoyment, our transformation, or both, we open ourselves to new possibilities.
  3. Express your gratitude for them. This is one of the things that makes humans unique and sets us apart from the animals. But we have to speak it to experience the power of it.
  4. Bless someone else. Let your gratefulness overflow into the lives of those you encounter today. It doesn’t have to be fancy—just offer them a smile, a touch, or the simple gift of your presence. (You could also share this post with them!)

Today will never be repeated. It it is unique among all the days of your life. Gratitude can transform into something to be remembered.


We sang this in church on Sunday (at St Michael's in Charleston)





How will you give thanks today?

What are you most grateful for?




I'm in an impossible mess. I need a Messiah

Photo from A Holy Experience  - Ann Voskamp

"It's a remarkable thing that you have been given to do - and also understandable in the light of all that you both - and perhaps especially Penelope - has been through.

Let us believe that the power and plan of heaven itself is in this prospect, and that you are going to receive every encouragement and resource available to see its accomplishment."


So wrote a wonderful older clergyman to us just a few days ago. And our hearts cried out yes, we want to believe that.

But crazy have been the past weeks and months. Our faith that we are called to this, our patience in the waiting, our trust that God can make it happen, have all been severely tested and tried. So we have been to our wits end. I think almost literally for Kim, my husband, dealing with mortgage lenders and solicitors and planning permission officers and insurance brokers and bank managers. (let alone coping with a demanding large church and now the Christmas season) It's over three months since our low offer ( see the story here: all change) was accepted and our excitement levels nearly exploded.

But life happened. Things took place - or didn't when they should have. The mortgage offer was withdrawn, delayed, reassessed, remeasured, re-offered. And lowered. Considerably.

We had to make the decision to sell our beloved South Carolina home as well as the London flat (which too has taken over three months to exchange since offer agreement) and the Bolt Hole. The Bolt Hole was withdrawn from the market - no one wanted it.

But the Lord did - He knew we would need it to live in while Mays Farm is being renovated.

And through it all, personal stresses and illnesses. I spent two hours on Saturday morning being assessed  by an independent Consultant Psychotherapist for the insurance claims. It was exhausting, draining, emotional. It almost knocked me out for the rest of the weekend.

What can I learn through all of this? For none of it is life threatening, none of it comes near to the horrors of the shooting in Connecticut and what those families are suffering. My salvation is not affected either.

Then today, an email from Michael Hyatt listing all he has being going through over the past week or two. And so I know I am not alone in the daily demands of every day life. He lists what he has learnt and it resonates with me:


My Take Away

So in the midst of this, I don’t have any big life lessons, other than to lean into what I know to be true:

                  God loves me.

                  This too will pass.

                  Be grateful—if not for all things then in all things.

                  Do the next right thing.

                  Don’t push myself too hard.

                  Get plenty of rest.

                  Prayer matters.

Yes. Yes, I echo, these are my takeaways too.

So I know I need every encouragement and resource. And where do I find them?

In the Messiah - who comes into these impossible messes and makes miracles happen. Even with mortgages and exchanges and buying and selling; even with a car which today needs a miracle too.

In time for Christmas?

Even so, come Lord Jesus.