Beauty among the thorns

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Today our family was supposed to leave for a 2 week family camping trip. We were going to camp our way to Liberty University and back to watch Rob walk across the stage and receive his college diploma. We were going to see friends along the way that we haven’t seen in way too long. We were going to enjoy some of our favorite things – camping and road trips.

Unfortunately, the trip was cancelled due to the Covid outbreak.

I admit, I was a little saddened as I used White-Out on our refrigerator calendar yesterday to remove the trip as I turned the page to May. We were all looking forward to that trip and it tugged at my heart a bit that we aren’t able to take it and to celebrate Rob in that way.

However, today I will count my gifts. Today, I am choosing JOY. I choose to be thankful, not FOR all circumstances, but IN all circumstances just as Paul tells us in the Bible.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Back at our church in NC, I was blessed to go through a Bible study using the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. The author had lived through some very difficult times and she challenged her readers to focus their minds on the gifts God gives us each day. She encouraged us to make a list of 1000 gifts – things we are thankful for. She talked about EUCHARISTEO, the Greek word for “give thanks”, and how important that became in her life. If you haven’t read the book, I encourage you to do so.

So today as I think about my gifts, the incredible blessings God has given me, I will choose to think about those things instead of the disappointments.


  • The sunshine
  • The desert blooms that are sprouting up all over
  • The time together as a family at home
  • Our game night last night
  • A kitchen with plenty of food
  • The job Rob has that provides for our family
  • My husband, my best friend and the extra time I get with him working from home
  • Homeschooling
  • The worship songs I hear my daughter singing down the hall
  • Her beautiful voice and heart for loving God
  • The relationship we have with our teenage daughter
  • God’s word, the Bible
  • My warm cup of coffee
  • Technology that allows us to keep in touch with friends and family
  • My comfortable bed and favorite blanket
  • Our home
  • My slippers
  • My colored pens
  • Craft supplies
  • Our ice cream maker

These are just but a few of the many, many things I can choose to be thankful for today. What are you thankful for today? I promise that if you will truly look for the good in each day, and ask God to show it to you, then you will see it.

Growing up, I remember singing an old hymn called Count Your Blessings. It’s a great reminder for us each and every day to look for the good. The good is always there, even in the midst of the hard times. I know this because God is good, and he is always there.

If you’d like to listen to it, you can do that here:

If you’d prefer to read it, here are the lyrics:

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your blessings, see what God hath done;
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by.


When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold.
Count your many blessings, money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your hope on high.


So amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

I hope and pray that today, in the midst of the chaos and the unknown, you will count your gifts and give thanks to the Lord God who has given them to you.

Always choose JOY!

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