#TBT: Thankful for the Mess and the Mundane

With all the negative narratives running through our daily lives, it’s never been more crucial to develop the habit, the discipline, of thankfulness. Gratitude isn’t just for Thanksgiving. #duh

Reading to Awaken Thanks

As Thanksgiving approaches, you may find yourself inundated with daily thankfulness posts from friends on Facebook and Twitter, or you may be one of those participating in the practice of daily, mindful thanksgiving-via-social media.

Habits of thanksgiving have always been important to me this time of year, as I keep yearly traditions of writing thanksgiving lists and attending church services dedicated to giving thanks. For some reason, however, I’ve struggled this year to focus on what I’m grateful for in the midst of mundane messes.

Fortunately, other people have done the work for me and written it down, so that all I need to do to remember why I am thankful is to read a few pages of one of these wonderful resources for reawakening thankfulness:

1. 1,000 Awesome Things

This blog-turned-book provides me with daily reasons to smile as I remember the “awesome” parts of everyday life. Some of my recent favorites include:

#369: Finally getting something for free off your loyalty card
#371: Seeing old people hold hands
#376 Realizing you still remember the words to a song you haven’t heard in years .

Each post in the blog (or chapter in the book) is filled with funny and moving observations about the world that make me happy to be alive — and that make me ready to give thanks!

2. One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

This book by Ann Voskamp had a lot of buzz in Christian circles in the last couple of years, but I’ve only recently gotten around to reading it. Now I know what all the fuss is about. This book boasts gorgeous writing that will provoke thought and spur action toward a life of noticing and appreciating the astounding beauty of the day-to-day. It’s a perfect Thanksgiving read.

3. For the Life of the World  by Alexander Schmemann.

This Christian classic on the importance of the Christian sacraments does not appear, at first glance, as though it would provoke anything but sleep, never mind thanks. But it is one of my favorite books of all time because it opened my eyes to what 1,000 Awesome Things only hints at and what One Thousand Gifts states more fully: that all of life is shot through with God’s grace. Every beautiful piece of life — every “awesome thing” or “gift” can be received sacramentally — as an interaction with the Divine. This book has been one of the formative books of my life, and I highly recommend it, especially during this season of giving thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Dr. Christine Hand Jones
Dr. Christine Hand Jones is a singer-songwriter, a college English professor, and the Director of Music Ministry at Highland Baptist Church. She has a PhD in Literary Studies from the University of Texas at Dallas, which she earned, in large measure, by listening to the collected works of Bob Dylan and writing about what she heard. When she’s not playing music or fascinating her students with stunning lectures over comma splices, Christine can be found drinking coffee, playing devoted cat mom to Desmond and Molly, and blogging at thebeautifulextras.blogspot.com.