I’m not gonna lie… I’m in a pissy mood today. Whenever I feel crappy, I look for a book that will encourage me. Before Amen seems to fulfill that role today. I got it from the library yesterday.
Max Lucado is one of my favourite authors of all time. I have nearly all of his books. They have encouraged me and challenged me in ways that other books haven’t. He and his books inspire me. In fact, his books encourage me to write, in the hopes that I can do for others what his books have done for me. So when I saw Before Amen on the shelf, I just had to check it out.
Before Amen is a book on prayer. One component of prayer is thankfulness. In the chapter entitled “Thank You,” Lucado exhorts his readers to be thankful. He says, “Gratitude is a dialysis of sorts. It flushes the self-pity out of our systems.” One way to be thankful is through a method his wife suggested: “Alphabetize Your Blessings.” Taking up his wife’s suggestion, throughout this whole chapter he organizes his blessings like an acrostic poem. Since I know gratitude often drives the grumpiness away, I decided I’d try to do the same. Here’s my list (for today at least):
Alive. I’m happy I’m alive. Although, on a few occasions, life has seemed more like a curse than a blessing — what with its pains, hurts, heartbreaks, disappointments, depressive states and monotony — it is still good. If God woke me up this morning, it means I still have a purpose. It means I have another chance. It means that there is still hope. I’m also thankful for Ashley Stewart, which is the reason why I have my incredibly fly 10 way wrap dress.
Books. I’m so thankful for books. So very, very thankful. I think I would’ve lost my mind a long time ago if it weren’t for the ability to read. Books have helped me escape reality. Books have comforted me. Books have bestowed wisdom. Books have helped me solve my problems. Books teach me. Books have challenged my beliefs and stretched my intellectual limits. Books help me dream bigger dreams. Books allow me to hear the words of great thinkers – past and present – people with whom I may never get a chance to meet. Books inspire me. Thank God for books. Thank God for the Bible – the most important Book.
Oooh…and bug spray. Bless the Lord for bug spray. And my body — every single limb and organ and tissue and cell.
Chantall. My sister. My only sister. My best friend. One of the dearest people in life to me. She’s always been there when I had a crisis, always calls to check on me, even mothers me – although I’m the oldest. She has done so much for me. I pretty much owe her a lung and my first born child at this point. I’m also thankful for Canada. I’m proud to be a Canadian.
Dance. I can dance. Like, I can really dance. I only realized this recently. What a joy to be able to move your body in an expressive and creative way.
Electricity. Praise God for electricity…and education of which I am a proud beneficiary.
Friends and Family. After I failed my bar exam, I got a good picture of the people in my life who are truly in my corner. I never knew there were so many of them. I’m so thankful for their comfort, and for praying for me when I couldn’t pray for myself. I also have food in my fridge. I’m thankful for food…and fridges.
Gym. I’m so thankful for the gym. My favourite one is closing soon (*tear*) so I’ll have to find somewhere else to workout. The gym has, in recent years, become my adult playground. I’m also super thankful for Google.
Health. As I write this, I am tired but I’m not in any pain. As far as I know, I’m healthy. That is a huge blessing. Health is wealth.
Insulin? For all of the sweets that I have consumed over the past few weeks. If it weren’t for insulin, I’d be dead. Praise God for insulin. I’m also thankful for the Internet. I’m glad Kim Kardashian didn’t succeed in breaking it, ‘cause I need it.
Jesus. I’m thankful for His death on the cross and His presence in my life.
Kim Kardashian? No – I’m joking. Ummm…. Killer curves. I’m thankful for my killer curves. As one guy once said to me, “You have curves in all the right places…” From the crown of my head to the sole of my feet and everything in between…I am blessed. Bless the Lord.
Landlord. Very, very thankful for my landlord. He has been super kind and understanding. And Love. At least when I’m not sure if anyone loves me, or in the times I feel unable to love anybody, I know God loves me. And what a gift! The most eloquently written hymn on God’s love says:
The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.
Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.
Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song.
Which brings me to…
Music. I’m glad I had to opportunity to learn how to play the flute and the violin and to be part of a wind symphony and orchestra. I’m so glad for the gift of hearing. I appreciate that people with musical talents have put them to good use by writing songs and recording them so we would have them for ages. I’m indebted to the hymn writers of old and the songwriters of today. Music has helped me get through stuff. Music makes life bearable – enjoyable even.
Nephew. He’s the cutest, smartest, little boy who has ever stepped on the face of this earth. I have a slight bias because I’m his only aunt.
Oxtail. With butter beans. And spinners. Nuff said.
Parents. They have a way of getting on my last nerves, but I’m thankful that they are there. They’ve always been there. They created a stable and safe family environment in which to grow and I’m so thankful. Plus, they introduced me to Jesus. I am forever indebted. I’m also thankful for prayer… and parks.
Quinoa. And Quebec. And Quartier des spectacles. And questions (with answers). And quality time. And quality experiences. And clothes of quality. Maybe one day I will try eating quail?
Running water. My parents grew up in a place and at a time when they had to wake up early to go fetch water from a communal pipe. If they wanted to go pee or whatever, they would have to get up in the dead of night and go to the outhouse which was littered with all sorts of Caribbean creepy crawlies. Either that or they had to pee in a bed pan. I just wake up whenever and turn on the tap and sit on my throne in my heated apartment. Praise God. I thank Him for hot showers and flushing toilets. I’m also thankful for the roof over my head.
Sabbath. SOOO thankful for the Sabbath. A legitimate excuse not to work. A legitimate excuse to have fun and eat good food and see good people. I ❤ the Sabbath. Sunday is up there too…and sunshine. And shoes. And Sheldon — my brother. I’m in awe at the man he has become. So kind. So giving. So handsome. He’s always been there for me too…Since Chantall is already getting my left lung, I guess I can give you my right kidney…and my second child.
Tastebuds. Life would be so boring if I could not taste. I’m so thankful I can taste food with my own mouth and tongue. So very thankful. And tears. Crying is cathartic.
Uterus. Many women hate their uteri for the monthly pain that it causes. But for me, there was a time in my life when my period mysteriously and suddenly stopped. For years. I was beginning to get concerned. The OB/GYN was unhelpful. I prayed about it. Now, when I see my period, it’s not only a welcome reminder that I’m not pregnant (thank you Lord!!), but an indication that everything is in working order down there (as far as I know). As someone who is not trying to get pregnant anytime soon, I see menstruation as an indicator of health and not only fertility, as well as the fact that God answers prayers.
Vagina. My beloved “va jay jay.” I mean, if I am thankful for my uterus I might as well be thankful for my vagina right? And my vulva. That starts with “v” too. Isn’t my uterus technically part of my vagina? I couldn’t think of another “v” word… I once saw a show where a woman had two vaginas – which means she had two periods. I’m so thankful that I have one. I’m thankful I’m not a victim of FGM. I’m thankful that I’ve never had toxic shock syndrome. I’m thankful that I can talk about my vagina openly and not fear repercussion. I’m thankful for all of the things I’m learning about my vagina. I’m so thankful for all of the things that my vagina does for me and all of the things that it will do for me. It really is a fascinating and resilient organ.
Come to think of it, I’m also thankful for my voice. I love that it’s deep and sultry and sexy and warm and powerful. I love that it commands people’s attention.
Writing. I’m so glad for the ability to write and the gift of writing. I write to live. I live to write. It has helped and still helps me process my emotions and allows me to obtain another viewpoint on my life. I’m so grateful for the writing of others (see B, for books). I’m also thankful that I can walk. I love walking. And Nintendo Wii.
Xanthan gum. A key component in gluten-free baking and vegan ice cream making.
YMCA and YWCA. The latter gave me an award a few years back. Both organizations have been pillars of the community and served its population well. If it weren’t for the Y, I couldn’t go swimming for free.
Zumba. Praise God for Zumba. Thank you Beto Perez for forgetting to bring your cassette tapes to that fateful aerobics class, else we would not have the gift of Zumba today. I tell you – Zumba is saving my life right now. Any time I have a crappy day, I turn on some Pitbull, Don Omar, or Enrique Iglesias and I instantly feel good. Natural high. 🙂
This was a fun exercise. I feel better already. Now you try. What are you thankful for? Jot it down!
Mom used to sing this when we were growing up: