You are my God, and I give thanks to you. My God, I honor you highly. Give thanks to the Lord because he is good, because his mercy endures forever. [Psalm 118:28-29 (GW)]

New England asterLast week, I sat down to write in my gratitude journal and couldn’t believe my eyes. I hadn’t written in it for seven days. “I write in it every day!” I protested. Surely there was a mistake—pages must be missing. It wasn’t and they weren’t—the mistake was mine and it wasn’t pages that were missing; it was gratitude! It had been a week jam-packed with family, errands, chores, and writing—a week of “same old, same old,” just at a faster pace than usual. That, however, was no excuse for a heart oblivious to the blessings of seven ordinary days. Surely, within each one of those unexceptional but busy days there had been something for which I could thank God. Although I always offer thanks in my daily prayers, that journal has been a way of making me mindful of God’s specific blessings of each day—a way of making me see His hand in a life of the “same old, same old.”

As I tried to recollect the previous week, I realized how many things I could have listed: a self-cleaning oven, on-line banking, Amazon Prime, Excel spreadsheets, Photoshop, Moody radio, no-iron clothes, auto-save, email, peanut butter, purple asters, discount coupons, honey crisp apples, text messaging and Google. My greatest oversight, however, was not mentioning my husband in that gratitude journal. No, he didn’t do anything out-of-the ordinary; he’s still the same old husband I’ve had for nearly fifty years. Still, I’d taken him for granted, just as I had all the rest of the week’s blessings. I’d neglected to thank God that I still have a spouse to hug when a friend lost her husband to cancer that same week. Oh, how easy it is to take the blessings of our unremarkable ordinary lives for granted.

It wasn’t until something special and out of the ordinary happened that I looked for my gratitude journal and discovered those blank pages. Most of our days, however, are not extraordinary. Rarely are they marked by outstanding achievements or special recognition. For the most part, our lives are simply the “same old, same old,” consisting of the familiar daily grind with a few minor variations. Nevertheless, hidden within each ordinary day are plenty of reasons for thanksgiving, beginning with our first breath of the day.

The unthankful heart…discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings! [Henry Ward Beecher]

When I first open my eyes upon the morning meadows and look out upon the beautiful world, I thank God I am alive. [Ralph Waldo Emerson]

Always thank God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. [Ephesians 5:20 (GW)]

Enter his gates with a song of thanksgiving. Come into his courtyards with a song of praise. Give thanks to him; praise his name. [Psalm 100:4 (GW)]

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