Welcome: An Introduction

Sharing the insights I discover as I explore and experience the mystery that is our reality. Join me in my journey and share yours.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Gratitude Revisited After Irene

A couple of months ago I was fortunate to find myself reading, alongside an unforgetable group of mothers, a book that I believe truly has the power to transform lives. This book was, One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp.  You can read my book review here: http://ascendingthehills.blogspot.com/2011/06/one-thousand-gifts-book-review.html

It was a particular joy to be able to read Voskamp's novel with others and get the chance to discuss its contents, chapter by chapter, as we dove into her personal journey of spiritual transformation. We witnessed her once tormented life resurrected into a living testament of hope and joy. It is a journey which has helped spark countless others to re evaluate the way in which they perceive the reality that rests poised to take form and be recognized in their everyday ordinary moments. There were a couple of articles that were conceived by my reading this book, you can find the first one here: http://ascendingthehills.blogspot.com/2011/05/gratitudes-greatest-gifts.html and the second one here: http://ascendingthehills.blogspot.com/2011/05/dare-to-live-fullyann-voskamp.html

                                                            Courtesy of Google Images

It wasn't too long ago that Irene swept through our state, leaving in her wake a twisted trail of fallen trees, powerlines and inward groanings, and sometimes very loud outward ones, from those of us who found our daily routines severely interrupted by the lack of running water and electricity.

I found myself trying to find the silver lining amidst the gloom that constantly threatened to spoil our moods much like the food in our refridgerator had. It had been cut off from the source that maintained its freshness and lost its initial appeal, in the end turning toxic. When we allow ourselves to be cut off from joy, negativity threatens to sink into our subconsciouses, spoiling our perceptions and altering them. Clouded perceptions doused with negativity hinder us from seeing the blessings that abound in each given moment and oftentimes turn our moods toxic to ourselves and to others. It is then, much like with the rotten food in our refridgerator, a purging needs to take place.

What  blessings and gifts might be conceived and encountered in the wake of a source so turbulent and unpredictable as a hurricane? Read the blessings and gifts I experienced and I'd love to have you share those of your own which you've encountered in moments where, if we allowed, we'd only see the the negative but instead we chose to see the imprints of God's handiwork and presence rythmitically injecting itself into the reality and fiber of our lives in moments so seemingly bare.

*   flames of candles flickering, their warm glow scattering darkness
*   more silence, less sound, as tv remains off
*   tiny hands wielding flashlights, imaginary worlds of shadows dancing on walls
*   bedtime stories read outside on picnic blanket stretched out wide
*   getting over my fear of cooking on the grill, cheese melting on bread
*   a child's simple delight of eating literal "grilled cheese"
*   laptop closed causing more books to open
*   writing by candlelight
*   lulled to sleep by the sounds of nature
*   early darkness gathering us together as a family, technology no longer dispersing
*   extra days off for my husband, more time to make memories
*   a windy walk down sidewalks, tiny hands clasped in mine, eyes wide with wonder

What are some gifts/blessings that you have encountered during times of natural disasters or other events that might, at first glance, be seen only in the negative?  I'd love to hear them!

Thank you for sharing!


  1. Beautiful post Jessica! We went through a very tough time last year as it was our first year of standing on our own feet with the business. I remember last year August so well. We had almost nothing to eat and we tried to get all the coins that were lying around to see what we could buy. It was tough. Our needs I confessed in prayer and I asked God to bless our business and prayed for Him to help us. He did and the next morning a deposit was paid in for a booking for that October. Now I appreciate coins. I always pick one up when I see it lying around because I believe it is a blessing from Above :)

  2. Wow, thank you so much for sharing Nelieta!! My family and I went through some financial hardships a few years past. There was more than one time when I would have to leave a basket or cart behind at the store, not an easy thing, especially when you have kids in tow.

    It's a very humbling experience indeed. Now, I thank God everytime I can fill up a basket at the store, for the nourishment and blessings He provides for our family. Those times were abundant with pain and sadness, but now, when we taste the fruit of our hard labor and faithfulness, the fruit is sweeter and more fulfilling than ever before. And much more appreciated as we've been given a whole new understanding of how precious the simple things in life are. I am glad things are going better for your business :)

  3. Thank you for sharing Jessica :) It is amazing how differently we look at small things! I will never forget this and I ask God every day to bless our business and to provide in all our needs. He is a Great Provider and has never left us hungry! We are entering our second year now and I am sure it will go from strength-to-strenght :)

  4. I like the fact that you literally "counted" your blessings. I was more cerebral: http://charlesredfern.com/2011/09/01/when-the-lights-blink-off-and-the-basement-turns-foul/

  5. Thanks Chuck...loved your post! I'd recommend any reading this to check it out. Great message...as always :)

  6. I loved Nelieta's comment because my wife and I walk in that same anointing. Our 19yr old was going to work at 5:15am on August 13 to stock shelves at the Hardware, which he does before going to class at the local college. We only had a truck for 3 months and the largest buck we ever seen was standing around the curve where he could not see it!

    Our truck was totalled and if he was driving the Honda accord he bought last year, it would have been seriously hurt! When all the insurance stuff was settled, we had a difference of $800 plus to pay and did not have that money in cash to spare. All of a sudden a $500 check showed up in the mail, which we had forgotten - it was our state income tax refund - $507! Then the insurance co. said we could pay off the balance in instalments anytime we want! You think God is good??!!

    He is more than that!! That's why I wrote that post on my blog this morning. I don't read or fellowship or interact with anything or anyone, beyond surface decency, who does not follow my FATHER in Heaven. He has rescued me from the Dark Domain and has never left my side. I love the LORD with all my heart soul and mind.

    When He brings electrical prairie storms here, we have so much fun cooking in the dark, singing songs out out and talking! Love those times and cherish every moment like Jessica did....don't usually write these long comments...am cooking why typing for the big family dinner and day in a few hours!

    Happy Labor Day!

  7. I have not faced any natural disaster as yet,and with the grace of God,nothing else that has caused turmoil in my life.
    But I am aware of how people face hardships in their daily lives...
    I am learning how to appreciate the little joys life gives me..and i am thankful for it.

  8. Years ago, we survived the highly unusual Blizzard of '93 here in Georgia. We were out of electricity for five days. I remember being grateful for:
    Cold weather - my refrigerated food did not spoil.
    Candlelight in the evening.
    Walking in the biggest snow I'd ever experienced.
    The warmth of the fireplace.
    The friendship of neighbors as we cleared fallen trees and sawed up firewood.
    A gas stove - hooray for cooking!
    A gas water heater - hooray for hot showers!
    My children were staying with their father who DID have electricity; I missed them so, but knew they were better off there than with me considering how cold it was in the house away from the fireplace. At ages 9 and 6, they would have been so bored! :)

    Wonderful post, Jessica! Thank you for encouraging all of us to count our manifold blessings in all times, in all places, in all situations.

  9. You arec an inspiraation. What fantastic interpretation of such frightening experiences. But it is so true, you have to find the positives in every situation

  10. It is then, much like with the rotten food in our refrigerator, purging needs to take place. Good line! Amen to that :)

    What beautiful blessings you have found during the literal storm of life Jessica!
    A few of mine:
    Going inward to find the treasure in the earthen vessel.
    Sharing dreams and inner visions.
    Being still and knowing God without distraction of outer stimuli.

  11. Jessica after every life storm there is always a light at the end of it. I have been through a couple of scary life storms in my lifetime and what I learnt form them have been interesting and changing to the person I am today. Am grateful for those experiences and I believe that these experiences that we go through is a way of learning about true inner strengths that we either take for granted or do not acknowledge .

  12. A very beautiful post Jessica. We just got our power back on Saturday morning. I remained thankful throughout, especially since we were talking about selling our broken generator for extra money to pay bills but hadn't gotten around to it yet. My husband used his God given talents to fix the generator just before we lost power. It allowed us to help our neighbors keep from losing all that was in their freezers. We learned that we can survive without ice cream which allowed me to look better for my class reunion on Saturday night. ha ha I was also extra thankful nobody was hurt and I was able to spend more fun time with grandchildren. Their first day of school was postponed.

  13. What a positive post Jessica. We tend to dwell so much on the negative that we lose our focus on the positive outcome of every negative. I have always tried to seek positive things in negative experiences. My ten year old marriage with an alcoholic taught me that. I look back at it without any bitterness, instead I learnt compassion, I learnt to be more tolerant, trying to see from the other person's point of view, being more understanding as to why people behave the way they do. Oh it has taught so much. It has made me into a survivor who is capable of coming out from any disaster a richer and fuller person. I loved your post, something I so relate to Jessica. Thank you. I recently read a post similar to this by Lisa Brandel (The widow lady). She said that the opposite of sadness is gratitude for all the good things that come into our lives.


  14. As always I'm inspired by your ability to find light in darkness while finding joy in a bleak situation. We should all have your positive outlook on life and try to make the best of what God has laid at our feet. Often life's most difficult eperiences turn out to be blessings in disguise. Thanks for reminding me that I have much to be thankful for!! Blessings :)

  15. We call this "moments of grace" although when we realize it after the event. It's when God's hand is the strongest because left by ourselves, we are nothing.

    We didn't experience much disaster in my place in QC but September last year left my country with Ondoy that flooded most areas here (There we realized that the poor and the rich are equal and nobody's spared from such tragedy. That led us to help one another in times of need).

    I pray everything will be well soon at your end. Take care sis...

    Wonderful reflections :)