Gratitude Attitudes

Out on my deck, I consider the last gasp of summer – this season I enjoy with its plantings and harvests, its colors and textures. In my gratitude journal, I record the sights and sounds so that in the cold misery of winter – I will not forget what my heart is now thankful for.20140822_095730

A baby cardinal, his downy feathers fluffed as he learns to fly.

Deep purple campanula that hangs over my terra cotta pot, a reminder of New Mexico and the Southwest colors I love.

Tinkling wind chimes in the briefest of leftover wind.

Relentless sunshine – a heat advisory now but in the winter when I struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder – these sweltering days will be reminders of healthier moments.

A squirrel lying on the deck railing, lazily munching on seed – his own breakfast in bed.

My yellow umbrella that reminds me if we continue to pray and wait long enough – we will see God answer.

A nail that needs hammered deeper into the board – a visual sacrament to the God/man who took the nails for me.

My cup of hot tea that I brewed and chose myself, grateful I still have choices and can make my own sustenance.

A quickie prayer for Mom whose choices are fewer than ever within the fog of Alzheimer’s. Her choices will eventually all disappear.

Sparrows who compete with chickadees for my offered seed – tiny symbols that God’s eye is on me – His own sparrow who depends on the feeding from His hand.

Words and more words that illustrate the joyful flow within of the gift God gave me. In the beginning was the Word and the Word is in me.

Blueberry bushes – emblems of Reverend G’s favorite dessert, now past bearing yet still gorgeous as their leaves morph into early reds.

A monarch who pulsates his wings in a happy dance, sucking morning dew from the lantana I planted, hoping to attract him and his choir of butterflies.

My herb garden: rosemary, thyme, chives, lavender and cilantro that provide flavor and health throughout the year, reminding me to eat what God has created rather than what man manufactures.

The sunflowers that reach heavenward, moving their cheery faces toward the Kansas sky.

My cat who watches from inside the house, begging me to take her outside. “Later, Betsy. After I finish meeting with God.”

Do we ever finish meeting with God? Even when I return inside to dump a load into the laundry, baste the marinating chicken again and steer the dust mop over dirty floors – my thoughts will float to this early morning tabernacle.

I will remember how these hallowed moments prepared me for the day, somehow strengthened my resolve to be more present with God and encouraged my lonely heart.

Out on my deck, I find my solace and there, in an attitude of grateful praise, I find the reality of my faith ensconced in the creatures and plants God made before he made my species. In concert with Him, I whisper, “It is good.”

I finish writing in my gratitude journal and spin around in a final chorus of praise. My deck becomes an altar and the outside world a sanctuary. Together, the rocks, the birds, the plants and I cry out in spontaneous worship.

©2014 RJ Thesman – “Intermission for Reverend G” –




Santa Fe Symphony

During my first day in Santa Fe, I noticed the symphony. Not the famous Opera House in Santa Fe, although that is incredible. I’m talking about the symphony that God conducted every day, using the birds he created and placed in New Mexico.

As smooth as a cello, as comforting as a viola and as sweet as the trill of a flute – these Santa Fe birds enthralled me whenever I stepped outside. I am used to the raucous calls of the Kansas blue jays and the warbling of mourning doves. A pair of faithful cardinals often call to me from my deck, so I love listening to the birds that I feed.

But there was something different about these birds in the Land of Enchantment. They actually sang together with melodies that seemed to worship the God who created them. It sounded as if they played a piece of sonata music together – in perfect harmony. And perhaps they did. Maybe each day, God composed another piece, transplanted it into their intuitive voice boxes and lifted his baton.

Wherever I walked, whether close to a tree or crossing a street, the songs of the birds followed me. They seemed to welcome me to their city, as if proud to show it off and sing a tune to accompany my visit.

I expected to hear the chirrups of hummingbirds although it was a bit early in the season for these tiny creatures. But I never expected to hear such joyful songs from birds of the other species. I wish I could have recorded these symphonies – to replay them when the Kansas skies turn gray and winter wipes away thoughts of spring.

For now, I’ll just praise God and thank him for providing such a rich memory. And I’ll look forward to the next time I visit Santa Fe and hope I can once again hear that rich symphonic sound.

Enchanting indeed!