Yesterday we entered the month of November. The time of year that so many people focus on gratitude; looking each day for a specific thing that they can say they are thankful for. Its so wonderful to be intentional about that, as often I can find myself more interested in the things that aren’t happening or working in my favor at the forefront of my mind. It also seems, as a loss mama, that there is such an obvious reason to grumble, that expressing - and intentionally looking for - gratitude feels slightly like a white lie in some way. While I know that there is SO much that I have to celebrate and appreciate, sometimes the task of naming those things  is easier said than done. Too often, any of the good things, the blessings, the gifts, etc, are tied, whether directly or indirectly, to the tough things. I shouldn’t be surprised… that is this stage of life. Equal parts joy AND sorrow. Because with every moment of wonderfulness there is a tinge of sadness, of mourning, of loss. And incredibly, in every moment of hard, God has sprinkled himself into each and every complicated layer: like butter in a flaky pastry - His goodness runs deep and wide, and coats my every emotion. He cannot be ignored, and for that I am most grateful. 

I’m going to try to commit to being intentional about gratitude. I think that the exercise alone, of seeking out those kisses from God, is enough to make one’s heart soften. I will be thankful that I looked for God and when I find Him, I will have the biggest reason to smile. (and the wonderful thing about God, is that you don’t have to look all that far - He’s there, in bold color, holding your hand, covering you with His wings, and providing the best place of refuge, but also the most pure source of complete and utter Joy, in His Son) He places the people in my lives that shape my days and my weeks. He lays out those perfect sunsets. He paces my Bible study to find just the right verses of encouragement/conviction/comfort. He times the hugs and snuggles of a very independent 3 year old. He gives me the energy to get outside and walk; to breathe in the crisp fall air, and to move the muscles that He so perfectly designed. God is good and that is the reason for, source of, and thing that deserves my deepest gratitude. 

“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for“‘In him we live and move and have our being’;[b] as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’” Acts 17:24-28