August 30, 2010

The Wonder of It All ~ Counting My Blessings

“By and large, our world has lost its sense of wonder. We have grown up. We no longer catch our breath at the sight of a rainbow or the scent of a rose, as we once did. We have grown bigger and everything else smaller, less impressive. We get blasé and worldly-wise and sophisticated. We no longer run our fingers through water, no longer shout at the stars or make faces at the moon. Water is H20, the stars have been classified, and the moon is not made of green cheese. Thanks to satellite TV and jet planes, we can visit places once accessible only to a Columbus, a Balboa, and other daring explorers.
There was a time in the not too distant past when a thunderstorm caused grown men to shudder and feel small. But God is being edged out of His world by science. The more we know about meteorology, the less inclined we are to pray during a thunderstorm. . .

We get so preoccupied with ourselves, the words we speak, the plans and projects we conceive, that we become immune to the glory of creation. We barely notice the cloud passing over the moon or the dewdrops clinging to the rose petals. The ice on the pond comes and goes. The wild blackberries ripen and wither. The blackbird nests outside our bedroom window, but we don’t see her. We avoid the cold and the heat. We refrigerate ourselves in summer and entomb ourselves in plastic in winter. We rake up every leaf as fast as it falls. We are so accustomed to buying prepackaged meats and fish and fowl in supermarkets, we never think and blink about the bounty of God’s creation. We grow complacent and lead practical lives. We miss the experience of awe, reverence, and wonder.

Our world is saturated with grace, and the lurking presence of God is revealed not only in spirit but in matter—in a deer leaping across a meadow, in the flight of an eagle, in fire and water, in a rainbow after a summer storm, in a gentle doe streaking through a forest, in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, in a child licking a chocolate ice cream cone, in a woman with windblown hair. God intended for us to discover His loving presence in the world around us.”

~Brennan Manning (The Ragamuffin Gospel)
My life has been so hectic and stressful the past few weeks that I haven’t been blogging much. It seems it takes all of my energy these days to get the simplest of tasks done, and so I am behind, way behind, on many things. As a result my blogs have suffered, but I’m glad to be back today with a gratitude post. My life may seem to be a jumbled mess right now, but there is always time to pause and give thanks for the multitude of gifts that God bestows.  I never want to lose my sense of wonder.

446. a bit cooler temperatures

447. the sound of the high school marching band practicing in the morning

448. enrollment is over and work should become a little less hectic

449. the opportunity to bring some measure of support and comfort to my parents

450. a sister who is willing to drive 3 ½ hours to help out with mom and dad

451. a brother who is willing to fly in from 1000 miles away should we need him

452. the starting of my photography class although I think it will be just a review of what I have already taught myself

453. a husband who greets me at the door with a hug

454. a puppy dog who recognizes my anguish and snuggles up close

455. tears that release my knot tied emotions

456. a new café that serves down home southern cookin’

457. orange sherbet

458. sleeping in

459. a co-worker whose tears match mine when she hears my story

460. helping a homesick Bangladeshi student

461. prayers that are unspeakable but that God still hears

462. realizing how hard I’ve tried to be perfect and knowing it will never be so this side of heaven

463. God’s love and compassion for the ragamuffins

464. the perfect love that casts out fear

465. the moon that reflects the sun’s light. Do I reflect the Son’s light?

A blessing captured . . . the crescent moon


  1. I'm glad I'm not the only one having trouble getting things together! The beginning of the school year is always hectic, but for some reason it seems more so this year!

  2. I'm sorry you are having a rough week! I hope you are feeling better this week. A good cry always makes things better. And so does making gratitude lists! xo

  3. What wonderful words from Brennan Manning! Thank you for sharing and for taking that gorgeous picture of the crescent moon. It's beautiful. Life does get so hectic, but thankfully we can slow down and smell the roses... it's really more of a necessity than a luxury!


  4. As usual, a wonderful post and your gratitude list always causes me to stop and think. Love the words from Brennan Manning. What truth! Praying for you during this "season" of your life. May the Lord bless you in a special way in the days ahead. Hugs!

  5. From one ragamuffin to another, I love you and I don't want you to hurt.

    Praying for you,

  6. I have felt what you so eloquently describe. I will be praying that things get better. Do you work at a college or university? I get the sense you might and I do. Recognizing gratitude does put a different spin on things, doesn't it?!? :-)

  7. Beautiful Stephani, just beautiful.

  8. Oh, how I loved the words of Brennan Manning! It is so true, though I have always been enraptured by nature and still am.
    And little Jaylon has helped me to slow down and appreciate the wonder of discovery, as I watch him learn and discover the world around him. Something as simple as him learning to feed himself, is so precious, Stephani. He bent down to look at something in the yard the other day and I looked with him. It was a woolly worm. He was so intrigued by it. He finds so much pleasure in sticks and rocks. Such simple things. I'm thankful the Lord has given the gift of this precious grandchild to me. It has opened my eyes and heart once again.
    I pray this week finds you doing better, Stephani. ((HUGS))
    I love reading your precious words.

  9. Your list always reveals so much about you. You have such a tender heart. That's good, even though it means you're more open to feeling pain, too. :-( Praying for you, friend...

  10. Continuing to pray for you, friend. I can only imagine how overwhelming everything is right now. I pray that even in the midst of such pain, you'll be able to cherish these moments with your dear parents. May you know His peace in extra measure during these difficult days.

  11. Hi Stephani, I have now read the passage by Brennan Manning on your blog 5 times. It is perfect. Would you mind if someday I used it on my blog too? I can't tell you how many times in the past 3 years as we have dealt with unemployment and a health issue, that the beauty of our world has reminded me of God's love for us. Maybe I am easily distracted, in this case a good thing, by the things God has made around me. A "down" day is suddenly changed as a hummingbird swoops past me or a sunset lights the evening sky. Sometimes, like the other day, an appearance by a rather handsome tourquoise frog makes my day. I still love the words to the old hymn, "In the rustling grass I hear Him pass, He speaks to me everywhere!" I have marked this blog as a favorite now of mine too, and I will continue to enjoy a Picture Window. Just tonight I sent a link to your post on "Unit 8" to a friend. I got tears in my eyes as I read it again today. I love how your writing reveals God's love for us! Thank you!

  12. Oh friend, my heart is with you as you care for your parents. I'm so sorry for the ache you feel in your soul and am praying peace for you.
    The passage from Ragamuffin Gospel was perfect! I haven't read it, but thinking now it needs to be upgraded to my nightstand! Oh the wonder - I have the beautiful opportunity to keep it fresh when I view life through the eyes of my children, yet how easy it is to lose anyway. I found it again as we took a vacation last week, and I didn't realize how much I missed it. Praying wonder keeps your heart like that of a child's, even in the midst of all the adult things you face in this season.
    Blessings on you...


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