Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

Growth Group Time February 2, 2013

Filed under: One Thousand Gifts Challenge,Women in Ministry — Amy Scott @ 9:46 pm

It seems like time flashes forward when I blink. Or maybe it has something to do the fast that most of my life been lived on the couch since last Monday. I don’t know, but all of the sudden I find myself in the month of February with a Growth Group about to start on Monday evening. Oh my! Where did all the time go? This was always so out in the distance. Now it’s here. I’m not sure I’m ready.

One thing is for sure, my house isn’t ready. Because of the great illness, I haven’t touched my house in a good long time. It’s not often my floors go a week without vacuuming (at this point you are either worried or impressed). My game plan for tomorrow is to clean the house and then probably take a nap. Since I’ve been down with this bug my energy level has popped back up yet. There is something about a clean house that sets my mind at ease. There are very few things I control in life and the tidiness of my house is one of them – except when I sick and that even goes out the window. I think having things fresh and tidy will signify that my days of being down are over and I’m ready to reengage in life. I keep telling myself this – here’s hoping my body agrees (as of today the bug is still slightly fighting me – I will rejoice when I no longer need kleenex handy).

Originally I was brainstorming what things to provide for food. At any social gathering, I was taught that the more food provided is better (Thanks Dad for that lesson – now I always overfeed people). I want something to be homemade because that seems thoughtful, but at the same time the only homemade things I make are baked goods and women seem to stay away from those. Maybe a plate of cookies and I’ll stop by the store for a veggie tray. I don’t know. I want to a good balance. Something sweet and something healthy. Don’t even get me started on beverages. My house is so low on liquids. We have a strange K-Cup assortment, water and A-1 sauce… Just kidding about the last one. But really water is classic, right?

As you can tell I’m over-thinking the details. It won’t be a Martha Stewart approved gathering, but who cares! The biggest things that are weighing mind would be along the lines of I really don’t know the ladies that are attending this group and from the little I do know, they are older than me. And my fear of leading adults rears its ugly head yet again. Kids are easy. Adults are scary.  I guess I’m using this blog to ask for PRAYER! I’m not sure how this is going to go, but I’m jumping in. It feels like head first. I pray that I can let my fears subside and trust God that it will all work out. I guess if I show up and engage then God will work out the rest. This could be a great opportunity to deepen relationships at Bethel Church with women who I don’t usually come in contact with.

Oh another funny thing – I have no idea what I’m going to do with the dog and the husband. Both will be home at this point. Toby can be a little crazy when guests first arrive. Dumb dog. He calms down after a while, but he really lacks in the first impressions department. Jeremy really doesn’t want to be around while his house is invaded by women. We don’t have a great man cave or spot for him to hide, so he might be in the bedroom for the evening. My guess is he’ll move the Xbox so he can play Halo and shoot people while we have our Growth Group on the other side of the wall. What a contrast!

Whatever happens, happens. God is good and it will all work out. I just need to take a few deep breaths and trust that I’m not in over my head. Even if I am in over my head, that is when God does some of his best work. So join in me in prayer as I prepare for this new experience. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes!


Changed My Mind… January 23, 2013

Filed under: One Thousand Gifts Challenge — Amy Scott @ 4:16 pm

As a girl it’s my right to change my mind… Isn’t that how the saying goes? Today I reached 4,000 gifts and I had planned to stop counting for a while and it a break. Sometimes you need space, even from good things. The first 1,000 I counted to I did in about 2 months. Each time it has taken me a bit longer. This time it took me 3 months. I thought that if I couldn’t keep up with the project, why do it?

But… I changed my mind. As I was writing my 4,000th gift I felt sad because I still had more gifts to write down. I wasn’t done for the day and really I wasn’t done with this challenged. So I flipped the page and started 1,000 Gifts Take 5. I’m again on my way – this time 5,000 is the goal. Surprisingly, I only have about a quarter of my journal left and I’m thinking it’s actually possible to fill it completely. I’m not sure I believe it was going happen, but now I think it just might.

Like all good projects there are guidelines and stipulations. Each time they get more relaxed. This time I’m not putting pressure on myself for time. It’s not a competition. I learned from this last season that when I need to count gifts my journal is there and waiting for me. On some of my darkest days it was gift counting that pulled me out of myself and gave me hope and a feeling of life. It seems like when things are going good it would be the best time to count, but I have learned its the opposite. When things are hard, I need to count. When I’m having a bad day, I need to count. When life makes no sense, I need to count.

I’m sure you might be tired of how one book and one challenge has impacted me so much. I just can’t help but share. It’s been too good to keep quiet. I just wanted you to know that I thought I was done for a while, but maybe I’m addicted to gift counting. It doesn’t seem I can give it up. I changed my mind and I’m still counting.


Still Counting January 21, 2013

Filed under: One Thousand Gifts Challenge — Amy Scott @ 5:42 pm

I know it’s been a while since I’ve mentioned where I am with counting gifts. It seems like the first 1000 is so exciting and because of that I never want to stop after it. My need for a gift journal break usually comes after counting to 2000. I’m now 30 gifts away from reaching 4000 and just like 2000, I think I might need a change of pace afterwards. It’s still so good for me. On my darkest days writing down gifts ministers to my soul. It pulls me out of those dark places and gives me a new perspective. It’s been so desperately good. Counting gifts has been a worthwhile habit for me to build into my life. I will admit that my writing down of gifts has started to go into spurts – a little here and a little there. I’m actually okay with the inconsistency. Gifts counting isn’t a science and it isn’t formula. The discipline of gift counting has awoken my soul to seeing things in the moment and saying thanks for them right away. I think because of counting, I am more thankful. I am able to the positive side of things again. Being a natural pessimistic, counting gifts is like rewiring my brain.

I start a Growth Group for church in February and the topic will be One Thousand Gifts. Even now I’m not sure how to communicate just how much this challenged has changed me. I guess people like before and afters – like before this project I was “fill in the blank here”, but now I am “…” I’m not even sure how to put it all. Possibly because I am in ministry and I’m not sure what to say because I don’t want to seem unholy or ungrateful or unhappy. I don’t want that to be my “before”.  I’m not sure how to word it all. Being in leadership sometimes feels like you need a course in strategic phrasing – how to tell the truth without telling the whole story.

So here is my best testimony without all the details – Before I started counting gifts, I was close minded and inward focused. I let my story become the only thing that mattered and all I saw was my pain. When that is all you are looking at things get bleak and hopeless. Counting gifts has opened my eyes to God’s blessings in such an intimate way. Now I know that it’s not the big things that matter but the small. I also know that God is good no matter what my circumstances. There are always good gifts around if I am willing to look for them and see them. It’s about changing my position – instead of looking inward, it’s about looking outward. Instead of looking down, it’s about looking up.

I’m not really sure where this gift counting, thanksgiving lifestyle will lead me. It’s already helped me cope with more than I can possibly imagine. Now that doesn’t mean I float around in some form of holy happiness all the time. I still really struggle. In fact, this whole last week has been rather up and down for me. My emotions have been all over in a roller-coaster kind of a way. I think without counting gifts and building in new habits, I might not have had the ups I had this week. The downs might have out weighted it all. Gifts give hope and hope drives me to keep looking up even when things feel down.

I’m not sure how great I will be at leading others through this experience. It really is just pop in a DVD and discuss, but I don’t want that to be all that it is. I’ve learned so much and I don’t just want to sit on those lessons and keep them to myself. I want to share. I want encourage and inspire. I’m still counting and I hope that I can help others to start. It’s worth it in the long run. So worth it!


Dealing with Nerves: The Drama of Public Speaking November 4, 2012

Filed under: One Thousand Gifts Challenge,Women in Ministry — Amy Scott @ 2:34 pm

I will be the first to admit that I’m a nervous person and I worry way more than I should. I feel like over the last few years I’ve been making progress in accepting how out of control I am. It makes me realize just how BIG of a factor God is in my life. I’m learning that trusting him means stopping my worry cycle and really putting aside my anxious thoughts. If I worry all the time then I’m pretty much saying I don’t trust God to come through for me and that the weight of everything is on me. Let’s be honest, worrying very rarely makes things better and improves the outcome of things… but still, it’s so hard. It comes so naturally. I have to be really intentional if I want to derail the worrisome train of thought I have running in  my mind.

With that being said, this Tuesday is really stressing me. I’ve been asked to speak at our church MOPS group about gratitude and what I’ve learned through counting gifts. Anyone who has been following my blog for sometime knows that I’ve read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp three times. You know that I’m on my way to counting 4000 gifts. I don’t do this because I’m a pro at it – I keep doing it because that is how long it’s taken me to get this! And truthfully, I still haven’t and I probably never will. This is one of the reasons why I feel completely unqualified.

My next big hang up is I’m scared of speaking to adults, especially moms. This might seem strange, but moms really scare me. They are like a part of this club that I’m not a member of. I work with kids all the time, but they say stuff like “Just wait until you have kids” and “You’ll understand when you’re a mom”. When I hear things like this it makes me feel like they are so much smarter than me and that I have nothing to say to them. They are on a whole different plain of being, one that I won’t understand until I join the club. It’s difficult for me because I’m so worried that I’ll say something that will elicit the look (the one that says “You don’t even know”) along with a just wait statement. I’m not even talking about something related to mothering, but the whole mom club is a group that I’m just not comfortable with.  I’m totally freaking out!

The thing that really getting to me the most is speaking for 45 minutes. I’ve taught at a conference workshop alongside Jeremy. I’ve team preached on Mother’s Day with two great ladies. I’ve never been responsible for 45 minutes of time all on my own. As I’ve been preparing my thoughts and notes, I’ve been blown away at how the length of time is a game changer for me. I’m used to splitting things up between people. I’m used to trying to keep my part down to a certain amount of time. Now I find myself trying to fill time. I’m used to practicing out loud word for word what I’m planning on saying. With 45 minutes, this tasks seems so much harder than I’m used.

Okay, now that I’ve whined, I’ll bring it home with the good church girl responses – I believe them in my heart… I just wish my stomach would get on board and stop feeling like I could throw up. I know that God is right beside me through all this and that he’ll help me through. I believe that it’s important to do things that feel bigger than yourself so God can show up and blow your mind. Doing something bigger than yourself means you have to rely on God because there is no way you can do it alone. Every time I start to feel like I should breathe into a paper bag, I’m reminded that I’m not doing this by myself. I’m sharing this presentation with God. There is a good chance I might fail… There is a good chance that 25 minutes in I might be starting at the floor trying to make the time stretch. These are very real possibilities. I just don’t want fear to keep me from growing. I don’t want fear to stop me from trying.

Tuesday could be the best day ever and be the next step in my development as a public speaker. Tuesday could go terribly wrong. I might be scarred and need counseling. One thing is true – I will not be alone. No matter what happens when I’m up front, God will be with me. His love won’t change based on how well I do. I just need to trust him. I need to let go of the nerves and just believe that he is good all the time,  no matter what, regardless of my personal performance. This is good news. I just have it keep repeating it to myself!


An Autumn Afternoon September 24, 2012

This afternoon has been going pretty well. I’ve been quietly enjoying an autumn afternoon and celebrating in small ways that make me happy. I found myself photographing pumpkins, making a cake that resembles a Pop Tart and trying out a new Scentsy scent from my sister-in-law called Caramel Pear Crisp! If the Applesauce Cake smell wasn’t enough, now I have the smell of yummy pear crisp in the air. My house smells good enough to eat! I love doing these small things that remind me that it’s fall. Changing the Scentsy to fall smells, using autumn colored sugar crystals on the cake, taking pictures of our pumpkin abundance! It is good! So good!

I finished One Thousand Gifts today. Closing the cover felt like saying good-bye to dearly loved friend and companion. This book always brings out a better side of me. It gives me hope and inspiration. This probably is why it was my third time reading it. I may never master it, but I will keep rereading and I will keep counting gifts. I’m halfway there to my next thousand. When added to previous times, I am on my way to 3000 counted gifts in about a year. It’s not about the numbers. It’s about the heart change that comes from each gift, from saying thanks to each small blessing.

Life is so common. It’s in the common things that I see beauty. It’s in the common things that I feel grace and I give thanks. So yes, this autumn afternoon is a time for counting blessings that come as surely as the seasons. Each day new and fresh. My eyes are open. I am looking. Taking it all it. I’m loving this autumn afternoon!

Enjoying an Autumn afternoon!


It’s In The Name September 23, 2012

I think every kid likes to hear stories about how they got their name. While my sister and I weren’t named after specific people, our parents (aka my mom) were focused on the meaning of the names. Amy Elizabeth. Amy = Beloved. Elizabeth = Child of God/God’s daughter. I remember my mom telling me she liked that when the names combined that they became Beloved Child of God. A name defining who I am and who I always will be. I am loved. I am a child of God. I have been shown this truth over and over again. I need only look as far as my name for a reminder.

As humans, we forget so easily. God walks us though the desert. Christ dies on the cross. And yet, we forget. We complain. We look for more as if what has been done isn’t enough. It is. Every mountain has a valley below and we must remember that God is in it all. The highs and the lows. I forget that I that I  am beloved. I forget my value in God’s family. I forget to be a team player when I focus only on myself and my needs. I am so small and yet so loved. So seen. God never forgets. Even in my forgetfulness, he still shows up. He still reminds me. Never let’s go. True love.

I’m in the last chapter of One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. Yet again, I am undone. I am brought low, humbled by the act of counting gifts. This discipline that brings joy. This discipline that helps me remember. The blessing that comes from counting blessings. It’s amazing how exciting life is when I am looking for the next gift. I would say that since my last time reading this book I have grown in my character. I now see beauty in the ugly. I am thankful for the pain. I can see God’s blessings in the good and the bad. In times when I can’t see the beauty, I am reminded to trust. I am reminded that I am completely out of control. When I quit pretending to have it all together, I feel peace. I know God’s got it covered.  This challenge is like fresh air. I am grateful. I will keep doing it. It brings life and I want to live fully.

I am beloved. Because of his love for me, I can turn around and share love. It isn’t for me to keep to myself. The gifts are not meant to be lived in isolation. Yes, I love my quiet life. I have learned that my pace is slower than most. I have found myself in stillness. That doesn’t mean I have become a hermit. I’m not hidden in seclusion left only to a faith that I contemplate. My life is very much about my relationships. The flesh and blood loved ones that drive me crazy and make my laugh and make me pray hard. I am in love. With people. Because God has loved me, I can now love them. Be light in their life. Share joy. Be a blessing since I have been blessed. This is my goal.

This Beloved Child of God, this Daughter of the King is signing off with a quote from the book, with a hope for a lifetime well spent.

Spend the whole of your one wild and beautiful life investing in many lives, and God simply will not be outdone. God extravagantly pays back everything we give away and exactly in the currency that is not of this world but the one we yearn for: Joy in Him. – Ann Voskamp

PS… This blog by Sarah Bessey also left me undone this week. I see myself so reflected in the words of Ann and of Sarah. I am blessed by women who speak truth and share their lives – along the road, in the pain, in the mess. This blog is worth the read.




The Small Things Matter Most September 13, 2012

“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” – Ecclesiastes 1:2

“For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.” Ecclesiastes 1:18

Thanks to my wonderful mentor and friend, Vicki Judd, I found myself sitting and listening to a podcast by Jonathan Martin entitled “The Gift of Being Small“. Seriously, it was an amazing sermon on Ecclesiastes. I had a major light blub moment while listening to it. In fact, this sermon hit so close to home. It’s right where I am at! God’s Word is so powerful and a well time message is confirmation from the Lord. It was a beautiful thing. So let me try to explain! I have included the link, so you can listen in as well. It’s worth the time! Please try!

Okay, the book of Ecclesiastes is always really cheery. I mean who doesn’t love being told everything is meaningless? Makes you want to grab some pom-poms, right? YAY LIFE!  But as I listened to the Word and Jonathan’s explanation, it just came alive right where I needed it. You see getting smarter, filling your mind with more, trying to always achieve the next level – in life, at work, wherever – it’s never going to satisfy. There will never be enough. There will always be more that we want, that we need. On this side of heaven, we will never achieve it all. We will never arrive. We can spend our whole existence chasing after more. More money, more intelligence, more skills, more responsibility. Our desires for more will never be fulfilled. In fact, the higher up the ladder of more we climb, we find that it’s harder to be satisfied. Every new thing loses it’s thrill. A new phase of life, a new toy, a new job – nothing stays new forever and the need for more creeps in. This is the life most live. It’s considered chasing after the American dream. Really – it’s meaningless. It will never satisfy. A chasing after the wind.

Now that we’re all built up and feeling awesome about life – the Teacher says “A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?.” (Ecclesiastes 2:24-25). It comes down to the simple things. Enjoy a meal because it’s from God. Enjoy the small things. Enjoy the things in this moment. Looking back – meaningless. Looking forward – meaningless. Enjoy the moment – God’s perfect gift.

As I count 1000 gifts yet again, I  am so aware of the small things. How each one of them is a gift from the Lord. Each breath, each meal, each laugh, each smile. They are all priceless and yet cost so little. These are things that make life worth living. They can not be enjoyed apart of God and the knowledge that he is the gift-giver. Jonathan said, when you think you’re BIG – you expect big things, you need big things. When you realize how small you are, you can be satisfied by the simple pleasures. It’s not about having it all figured out. It’s not about being the greatest. It’s not about how awesome we are. It’s about God. It’s about the fact that he loves us. He is in each moment. Especially the small moments, the ones we tend to overlook. Life is so much better when we are satisfied by the small things. The things that are free and precious and vastly unseen.

While I have known this in my head, for the first time in my life (in my heart), I am living each day with two questions in my mind. The first is – Am I loving God? Have I given him my time, my praise, my worship, my adoration? Is my love for him growing and deepening? The second questions is – Am I loving people? In my actions, in my words, through my decisions and choices? Jesus says these are the two greatest commandments and they go hand in hand. If I can answer yes to both of those then it’s a good day. I’m on mission. I’m living life on purpose. It’s not about to-do lists and achieving and reaching goals and cleaning bathrooms. Love God. Love people. Find joy in the small. See God’s gifts in each moment.

This is manna! This is the meal that sustains me. This is the good life. I am so blessed. Tickled down to my toes over the little things. Why? Because they are signs that I am loved by a BIG GOD! It’s mind-blowing! I am humbled! As Ann Voskamp says, I may never wear shoes again. This is sacred ground!


A weekend of socializing and Hallmark movies! September 9, 2012

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf,One Thousand Gifts Challenge,Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 6:53 pm

Okay, I will admit that I’ve been busy… When I’m up, I’m running and when I’m down, I’m down. Like down on the couch with a blanket and a dull headache. It’s been a good weekend with lots of fun highlights that I’ll get into in a minute. When I haven’t been trying to be presentable and forming complete sentences, I’ve become completely obsessed with Hallmark movies. They are mind numbingly corny and you gotta love how they all live happily ever after and seal it with a kiss. I know they are silly, but I can’t help but watch them. They have been the perfect non-moving remedy for this weekend. Also, on a side note, they are advertising for their Christmas movies already. Normally I only watch Hallmark movies at Christmas time, so this is exciting and mean at the same time. Why mean? Because they don’t start until November! Ugh! That is a long time for this Christmas-movie-loving-girl to wait. Advertising this early is a mean tease. Okay, I’m sure you didn’t need to know that… or want to know that. I guess that is one of the benefits of it MY blog! I can ramble about Hallmark movies if I want. It’s my party and I’ll… you get the idea!

Meals with Maggie May are the best!

Anyway, back to what I’ve been doing when I’m mobile and not bumming around! This Friday was my quarterly meal with my forever friend, Maggie May (check out her baking blog to be inspired by her goodies). These lunches are the best! We take up a table for hours talking and catching up. Since we don’t live near each, a few hours together is practically heaven. I’m so glad that all those people who told me that I can’t keep my high school best friends were wrong. Maggie May will forever be in my life and I better person for her friendship, encouragement and support! We went to lunch at one of my favorite places, The Cheesecake Factory! I got my standard Lemon Raspberry Cream Cheesecake for dessert and the entire piece was gone in minutes! I couldn’t help myself! After our lunch, we went over the mall and did a few laps to walk off the cheesecake! I bought fall hand soap which is a big deal to because it’s fall related and anything fall related is amazing. I’m one happy camper with my pumpkin soap.

Any weekend with cheesecake is a good weekend!

Saturday was spent up in Puyallup catching up with family, which was shamefully overdue. I hadn’t been to a family gathering in more months than I care to admit. It was good to see my grandma, aunts, and cousins. The occasion was a bridal shower for my cousin, Charlotte. It was fun to celebrate this long awaited upcoming wedding. The joke is that shower games are something I’m skilled at. I have no idea why these random and unique games have a way of coming easy to me. This shower was right on par with my winning skill set. Now the funny things is I don’t live close to the bride and I’m sure no one would say we know all about each other. I beat Charlotte’s close relatives and friends in the “Who Knows The Bride The Best” game. It made me chuckle, because it was pretty much dumb luck, but I felt pretty cool. My mom told me that I’m observant.  Hopefully Charlotte didn’t find it too creepy!

Today was not as social as Friday and Saturday, but still full of it’s own energy requirements. I got up in both of our Sunday morning services to take a few minutes to talk about You Lost Me with our congregation. It was good to get back up in front of people and continue to conquer my nerves in front of a crowd. Like any skill, it takes practice and the more I do it, the easier it gets. It’s been a few months and let me tell you, it really gets my blood pumping and that induces that I could throw up feeling each time. Working through these emotions is good for me. But tiring at the same time! I’m glad I got the chance and I’ll share my notes with you tomorrow. They are more complete then what I actually articulated on stage! Go figure!

Well, my hubby is out hunting. I’m all out of Hallmark movies, but I plan on watching TLC’s new show, Breaking Amish, later this evening. It sounds fascinating. I’m always curious what makes people tick – what is like to be Amish? Why do they want to leave? How hard is to adapt to the real world? I think this might be the first time I’ve blogged more about television than books! I’m human and my very real need for down time has been the focus of the weekend. Don’t worry, I’m still keeping up on my daily disciplines! God’s Word and counting my gifts has been just as important to this whole restful, soul-recovery process. Hard to believe that another September weekend is coming to a close.


1000 Gifts: All Around Me September 5, 2012

Filed under: One Thousand Gifts Challenge — Amy Scott @ 1:26 pm

As I ate my lunch, I pulled out my gifts journal and started writing out today’s blessings while they were still in my head. Part of being thankful is stopping in the moment, acknowledging the gift and truly seeing it for what it is. So often I breeze through life and never stop to say thanks for the small things. They just pass me by, unseen in my busied pace. I was thinking as I made my list how many gifts are not new. Things that bless today – like my dishwasher or clean towels have been with me often. They didn’t just appear. That thought led me down a rabbit trail where I realized that I am surrounded by 1000 gifts right now. I could name each item in my house, each a blessing in its own way. I know that I have a lot to be thankful for. A roof over my head, blankets on my bed, hot water. Seriously, it would be an endless list if I really went through all the daily blessings that I just pass in a hurry, that I don’t think about, that I have gotten used to, that I feel entitled to… Today I am aware of that fact that I am right now, in this moment surrounded by 1000 gifts and more. I feel a warm peace in my heart and a sense of contentment. This is a good place.


Back Again September 4, 2012

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf,One Thousand Gifts Challenge — Amy Scott @ 8:06 pm

So it begins again…

Some things are sacred. They move you and spur you on. They inspire and bring hope. They are the course correction that is so desperately needed. For me, I have gone back to a place where I am challenged and I am reminded of what matters most. Today I started reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp… again. This will be my third time reading this book and my third time counting to 1000 in my journal. This time last year I was in the midst of this book and this counting. I find myself returning. It’s almost like an alter that I’ve made before the Lord. He met me so powerfully while counting 2000 gifts. I pray that the next 1000 will be just as beautiful. Ann writes like poetry. Some people find her flowery language a distraction. I get that. However, for me it is life-giving. It’s water in a dry place. It’s what I need right now. When I first read One Thousand Giftsit literally changed my life. I got a shift in perspective and it was like breathing for the first time. You know how it goes. Life comes in. Things get busy. Lessons that were once learned get forgotten. So just like a kid who is going back to school, I am going back to counting my blessings instead of sheep. I am going back to thanksgiving – knowing that thanksgiving brings joy. I desperately need joy. I miss it. I know that I have yet again squelched it. It’s all me. I am to blame. So yet again, I return to this sacred place. I open my heart and admit that I have been distracted. I have let the worry of life strangle me. I have taken my eyes off of thanksgiving. When I am not thankful, I am selfish. I don’t want this to be about me. It’s really not. I’m a small part of a larger story. I pray that I can keep perspective. Maybe this will be a life long lesson. Maybe it won’t truly stick this side of heaven. But I’m going to try. I’m going to keep putting myself in that place where my eyes look up instead of down. Where my heart beats for the life I’m living, not for the fear I’m trying to hide from. As the Message would say, I’m heading to God’s wide open spaces. I am back again. It’s humbling. It is good though. It is worth it. And the counting begins again – 1, 2, 3… where will 1000 gifts lead me this time.