Monday, March 28, 2011

Unlikely Praise

I mentioned on Saturday that a variety of events had left me uninspired all week. How I could manage to be uninspired with the Georgia spring bursting into bloom around me, I do not know, but uninspired I was.

But then...

Just before I left town on Friday, my blog friend Angel sent me something to help me Find the Inspiring.

I had seen this challenge to gratitude yakked abroad in blogland. I’ve even visited and enjoyed the author’s blog. I had just procrastinated the purchase of it because I’m a tightwad.  Leave it to God to use a literal Angel to get his message across.

Since thanksgiving is the ultimate inspiration, I have decided to join all the Gratitude Gals in blogland and count the simple gifts of the fleeting moment. I'm planning to put these on a separate page when I get a pair of minutes, but just for today, I decided to start my journey with some shout outs of  unlikely praise.


1. The gift of a traveling man

The husband is in sales and has traveled weekly for our entire marriage. If I could choose a different model, I would, but in many ways, I’m thankful for it. I’m thankful for his absence because it has always made his presence all the sweeter to me. Color me nauseating, but I really do get butterflies in my stomach every time I hear that door open and the sound of his feet clumping across the kitchen floor.

It has saved both our marriage and the man's sanity. How would you like to live with Charlie Brown's teacher 24/7? Wok wokwokwok wokkkkkk....

2. The gift of the terrible, horrible, very bad no good year

I’ve yakked before about the loss of our single income in 2008. While I wouldn’t have volunteered for that particular character building mission, I’m thankful that we endured it. I’m grateful for what God showed us about Himself through it all. I’m thankful that I no longer wonder what I would do if…

Because now, I know. I will do exactly what I did last time. I’ll cry like a baby. After that, I’ll lean and trust.

3. The gift of a big butt.
*What? You expected a picture?*

OK, maybe I'm not thankful for the posterior itself, but I have recently decided to thank God that I’ve struggled with diet issues for much of my adult life. I’ve gained and lost that same stupid thirty pounds more times than I can count. I’ve tried a hundred different ways to beat that monster who likes to stuff her insecurities down by the spoonful. I wouldn’t choose this struggle for the world, but because of it, I have an easy compassion for those struggling with addictions and strongholds of other kinds. Compassion is a gift, and so, I thank him.

4. The gift of a  leaky roof.

Our roof is original to the house, which makes it about 115 in roof years. It’s creaky, leaky and unpredictable. It has been repaired as we save for a new one in this pay as you purchase household, but roof repairs only last so long. Do I pray that she’ll hold out? Oh yes. Do I pray for a windfall roof fund to fall down on this house like manna from heaven? Yes again. But every time the rains fall instead and that patch holds, I get to have a little service of thanksgiving. Without the leak, I wouldn’t have the praise.

And so, I’m thankful.

And along those lines...

5. The gift of counting pennies

I'm a penny counter, and I'm truly thankful for that. While God has always met our needs, we still have a life just shy of self- sufficiency. Too many times to count, Satan has tapped me on the shoulders to make sure I know what I’m missing, too. He loves to remind me what I gave up by stepping out of a full time classroom all those years ago…

He tempts me to count my numbers.

He points out rain clouds and leaky roofs and weaklings in the piney stick forest. He niggles when the refrigerator dies and the washer starts to rock and roll. Though I admit that I'd rather count the Benjamins, I still think that counting pennies is a gift. 

A woman in my Sunday School class once told me that she couldn’t imagine praying over things like cars and appliances. If she wants a new van, she said, she just buys one.

No. Big. Deal.

Sunday School Girl would probably never believe this, but I pity her for that, and I’m thankful that I do. Maybe I’m just more fleshly than most (see number 3 above), but I don’t think that I can be trusted with too much self- sufficiency.  Obviously, God agrees.

And so, I thank Him.

The list goes on, but I've probably already lost half of you already. If I yak up the rest of them this way, I'll never reach 1000. Plus, I have lesson plans to finish and an unventilated book room full of students to  teach.

6. I’m thankful for that opportunity 
7. and I'm even more thankful that tomorrow is my last day to do it.
I'm a burned out little pool of wax just about now. 

What about you? Do you have gifts of unlikely praise?

Thanks to Jen's gracious invitation, I'm going to join here today, too.


Jen said...

Oh, Debbie, I just love how you have taken things that most people would never even think to find thanks in and totally turn it around to praise God! Lovely.

Would you be interested in linking up for Soli Deo Gloria sometime? You can get more info here:

Patti said...

I'm having a huge problem with my internet filter (Integrity). For the past week, it has been blocking almost every picture (some sidebar items too). So, I can't see a single one of your photos :(

But I had to tell you this...from June 2003 to July 2005, my husband was out of work...our only source of income. He ended up doing some custodial work and a bit of construction work to bring in a small amount of money, but for the most part, those 25 months found us with zero income. And it was in the midst of that time (December 2003) that the Lord prompted me to start a "thanks journal." I recorded 5 things every day for which I was giving thanks. In the beginning, it was hard...I mean, my circumstances were could I give thanks? But give thanks I first for the ability to see, hear, walk, etc.

Before long, I was actually thanking God FOR our bleak circumstances, because we were experiencing his peace in the midst of it all. I was thanking him FOR employment doors that didn't open, because we only wanted his will.

It's not a time I would ever want to go back to...but it did help me learn to give thanks in everything. Just like you are doing.

Good for you for honoring God this way.

Have a great day.


Red Couch Recipes said...

I loved your post!! I could relate to sooo much in it. Thanks! The best post I read today! Joni

Sonja said...

Talk about relating!!

My hubby traveled most of our married life, flew out on Monday morning and flew back home on Friday. Lots of my friends thought I was crazy, but we loved it that way!! Like you said, keeps everything fresh and new!

2... the big butt and the 30 pounds. I guess every time you lost the 30, I gained the 30, cuz those same 30 have been my 'lifestyle' for years, and the current mode is I'm losing them AGAIN!

3... the roof! I think they have now said we had hail damage, so our insurance is going to buy us a new roof!! YEA!!!!

4... the penny jar, here too! I also grab hubby's change off of the nightstand every day, stick it in a coffee can and when I roll it into the bank machine it's always $50-80... goes right into my little stash.

I love this Debbie... can you tell??

Christine said...

I love reading your (and your follower's) stories.
I reminds me to think more and be thankful, more.
Great post!!!!!

Chatty Crone said...

If you can take the negatives in life - and change them into positives - just think what you can do with the positives!
This book seems AWESOME.


Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

Love it! Unlikely praise... Every single time I go out to shovel the snow I thank God for allowing me to be healthy enough to do it! Just wish I felt the same way about mowing the lawn:@)

Angel said...

Oh Debbie, this is why I love coming here to visit. Your posts are always honest, humorous and, yes, inspiring. I'm so glad you won the book and that it prompted you to make this list. God has used your "unlikely praise" to make me consider my own. Thank you for that. Blessings!

Amy Kinser said...

Debbie, you truly are one of the most interesting people I have ever "spent time with". You have a way with words that can't be beat.

I would LOVE to spend time with you "in real life" and just sit beside of you and listen.

The Decorative Dreamer said...

Oh Wow! What a beautiful post. You may have been uninspired all week but I think you were being prepared for this one! I LOVE everything you said and can so relate. I honestly was praying very hard last week to find "unlikely praise" in why my son had yet another car accident just when it seemed things might be getting back to normal in our household. It took me a whole day of pity last week to move on. I took it very hard and so did my son but my husband who has had his hands overloaded with things lately said, "Well, I guess this is just to be our life." He wasn't smiling but he wasn't frowing either, he was steadfast. We always have a bill that has to be paid anytime we ever get more money and have often talked about how this is how God keeps us humble. It would be nice to be like sunday school friend but apparently that is not our lot in life. Perhaps we wouldn't handle it so well, though sometimes I think I wouldn't mind being tested. LOL! However, there is joy in a son who is still with us and who is whole despite the debt and hassel of finding a new car and there is joy in having just enough money to pay those unexpected bills with unexpected funds. I do appreciate this post and the wonderful reminder to appreciate those unexpected praises a little more. Thank you!!!

Sharon Kirby said...

I love the idea of being thankful for unlikely things.

I love the idea, but when I stopped to think about what unlikely things I might be thankful for, I had a hard time. Because most of the unlikely things I thought about were things that I am distinctly NOT thankful for.

A nervous nature
A worrying mind
A fearful heart
A need for approval
A tendency to be negative

I'm not going to go on...suffice it to say that these were the sort of things that came to my mind.

However, I think I will give praise for these unlikely things because they continue to turn me to the only One who can help me - and the only One who deserves every last ounce of praise I can muster.

So, snaps for God - and for the unlikely gift of knowing how much I need Him.

elizabeth said...

This is what Ann calls the "hard eucharisteo"...thanking God for and really believing He works ALL things together for our good.
Love your post, as always!

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

So much of this touched my heart in so many ways. My husband was a traveling sales for years, we gave that up and stated our own business, which later meant totally financial I totally understand a few of your thanks giving, I have them also. I also grinned at the pennies and counting your Benjamins...I laughed because it was our Benjamin that has held is together through the financial loss...our Benjamin is our surprise sixth I love your counting your Benjamin's as a gift.
Well I will stop yakking and just say, I enjoyed and was blessed by your list.
We serve an awesome God!

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

Debbie, you are an absolutely amazing and wonderful person. It is so easy to thank God for obvious blessings, but you have taken bad lessons and turned them into reasons to be thankful. You inspire me every time I visit here. Now, if you could just shove my mojo back across the Mississippi (I laughed out loud at your comment about that), and back into my life, I'd be most thankful! I do give thanks that you are in my life ~ even though it's in the cyber world. laurie

Sue said...

How blessed I am to have come here tonight, Debbie, I could have written this post, big but and all the dieting woes I have gone through.

It is nice to meet another penny saver, I have been saving them for untold years, and have crammed them in jars too. lol And to top it off, I have those same butterflies every time I see that truck of Mr p's coming down the driveway.(oh be still my heart). lOl

Debbie I have learned so much from getting to know you, You have taught me that no matter what is going on that I can find the lighter side. Thank you for being you, you inspire so many.

no spring chicken said...

Oh what a generous friend you have. I was agreeing with your entire list. Well, everything except for the traveling man. I have me a right here at home man thank you very much. I love your great pictures illustrating your thanks ... butt I have to say it was probably an inspired decision to leave #3 text only!! Pun intended.

The Polka Dot Closet said...

Great post, I think a man that travels is perfect for all of the reasons you listed. I am thankful that I got laid off in 2009, at first I was devastated, then I got the severance package (More like a golden parachute) Now I love every day and every night I thank God for this blessing when I lay my head on the pillow, I think you can tell by my blog I am having more fun than a girl should be allowed to have. I was lucky enough to have made a good salary and invested well to allow me to never work again.....Oh yes, I am thankful every day!


Courtney said...

So glad to see you at Soli Deo Gloria! Thanks to Ann's book, I've also started to give thanks for some unlikely things, like tight finances, unruly children and difficult jobs. Love your perspective here and so glad to have discovered your corner of blogland :)

Anonymous said...

It's so good to see that you seem to find things to be thankful for in the midst of adversity. I think that's God's way of revealing our gifts to us and showing us where we can serve Him (and others). I can hardly wait for you to share more on this topic. You made me laugh and cry all in one post.

I was in the room with Sunday School girl when that story was told. I am sad for her as well. While I don't always have to worry about paying for "stuff" that comes along, I always pray about it anyway. I still want to spend my money God's way, not mine.

Denise said...

Having trouble with my computer again. Previous post was mine. Sorry.

Laura@OutnumberedMom said...

Just got that book in the mail, and I can't wait to crack it open. You should check out the Friday's Fave Five meme -- we do this at the end of every week.

Your post made me smile...and think! Thanks!

Sherry said...

How wonderful to be thankful for the "gifts" of life. I have been struggling with this very thing and not so graciously either. I am thankful to have you for a blogging friend and it is wonderful to come and read your wisdom. I am not always so thankful but, really need to be. I have been blessed in so many ways.

Kelli said...

I just love you and consider the gifts that you share worthy of thankfulness.

Gaby said...

Debbie, it's my first time to visit you and I really enjoyed your post. I agree with Jen: your perspective on things most people would not find room to be thankful for is very refreshing. Blessings to you!

Jean Wise said...

This is a wonderful list. wow. I too have had to work hard at being thankful. As I climb into bed each night I pray and thank the Lord for something that day I am most grateful for and something I am least grateful for. When I started this - yes with a big bad attitude - I was sure I would always know the ungrateful one and would have to dig for the grateful one. Well the opposite occurred. and yes it has been uplifting and refreshing prayer to do. I miss many of night but do try to pray thankfulness often.

I could write a ream of paper on my roof leaking incident but later..

Thanks for visiting my blog and so happy we connected!!

Amy Sullivan said...

Glad you linked up today.

I, too, am so thankful for an almost full change jar!

FrouFrouBritches said...

Great post Debbie! I love that you get butterflies when your Hubby gets home. I get that way too.

I am thankful (this is gonna sound weird) that I've been kind of, well, broke for the last twenty years or so. Why? Because I know better than to take what I do have for granted. I know if I ever am blessed with lots of money, I will still be my frugal self and could possibly help a lot of people who truly need it.

I am also thankful for my big butt! Why? Because the seat of my jeans are never baggy!

bj said...

Not only is this a fine tribute to our Heavenly Father, you have also blessed ME by writing this amazing post. I love every single bit of it.
xoxo bj

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

I too often try to count my blessings when I'd rather grumble. Strangely it does always seem to make me feel better.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

I have missed you soooooo much, and reading this was just what the doctor ordered for me today, Debbie. You are amazing. This is what it means to have Christian sisters who lift you up because your posts ALWAYS do that for me. :-)

And I'm grateful for YOU! For your wit and your wisdom and your heart and your ability to put that in print. Thank you, sweet friend. I loved reading this. It was so inspirational.

And as to praying about cars... we have a Volvo which we bought in the 1980's that is still running!!! It's a miracle car, and we prayed over it. Yes, we did. I test drove it, and it drove like a dream. But I wasn't too keen on the color. Still, I felt the Holy Spirit urging me to pick that particular car, so we obeyed. Best thing we ever did. So we call it the God car. One of my friends had a similar model that broke down a bunch. Coincidence? I think not. God picked our car (He watched it being made!), and because the decision to buy it was wrought with prayer and obedience, it's still around! To me a car = something to drive to get from Point A to Point B, and the money we saved can then be applied to dishes. ;-)

How sad that the lady said that she didn't commit those things to prayer, Debbie. We serve a BIG God. I had someone say something like that to me once when I told her I prayed about parking spaces. "Why," said she, "would you 'bother' God like that? He has bigger things to worry about." Why, indeed! Because He rides in that car with me and knows that I don't want to walk in the 100 degree blazing Florida heat and have a heat stroke or a migraine, that's why! Because He cares and will answer my needs, according to His riches in Glory. He knows how many hairs are on my head, so he cares where I park, both for safety and comfort. :-) Yeah, baby, Yeah!

Love you...


Sheila :-)

We serve an awesome, sweet, loving Heavenly Father whose only desire is for us to glorify Him and to enjoy Him forever. And every day, every step we take, brings us closer to the day when we will be completely sanctified in an instant so that we may live in His presence and know Him fully. I get chills thinking about it. But in the here and now, in the quiet (or not so quiet) of my home, I hunker down in the sweetness of His care and in the knowledge that He loved me so much He gave His only begotten son that I might have life and have it more abundantly.

Donna@Conghaile Cottage said...

"BIG GIANT SQUISHY HUGS coming your way Debbie"!!! Loved your post and you are NOT ALONE! I recognized that penny jar! The Land of Blog is always here with such WONDERFUL FRIENDS...More Big Squishy Hugs Debbie!!! Love You!!!

Joan said...

Debbie - I love this post - truly you are giving thanks in all circumstances.



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