It was one of those dreamy days of Autumn. You know, the kind that make you want drop whatever you are doing, go outdoors and just take it all in. Late in the afternoon my granddaughter, Faith, who would soon turn five, and I, along with our Yellow Lab, Logan, were playing in the field that adjoins our yard. The fall scene and the scent of freshly cut alfalfa filled our senses. For a moment of rest, I lifted Faith up on to a bale of hay and then climbed up beside her. As we sat there looking around, faith remarked, “Grandpa, this hay smells good!” AH! The light bulb came on. “A teachable moment!” I thought to myself. “I’ll teach Faith to be thankful for small things.” So, enthusiastically, I said,”Faith! Let’s thank God for this bale of hay we are sitting on!” As she purposely and carefully folded her hands, Faith responded with excitement in her voice,” OK! Grandpa you pray.”  I prayed, thanking God for the hay bale. Then I began talking, when Faith raised her hand to stop me. I looked down to find that she was still praying. First silently, then out loud. She was thanking God for everything her senses were picking up. A bird singing, a tractor, the dog panting, an airplane and on and on. She prayed with freedom and spontaneity, not caring what she sounded like. I had thanked God for what was on my mind. Faith was thanking Him for everything that her senses revealed to her. She had no idea that she had become the teacher and I, the student. As we walked away, I asked myself, “How many times have I walked by without taking notice, heard without hearing, touched without feeling, seen without seeing and smelled without smelling all that God has placed around me to give me joy and to remind me of Him?

Now, think about your little corner. is there anything you may have overlooked that the Father has placed in your path to remind you of who He is and of how much He loves you? Look back five years, or even one year. Who has the Lord placed in your pathway to make a positive impact upon your life, to remind you of who He is or show you how much He loves you?

When you have time, take the 3/10 test to find out how thankful you are or how thankful you could be. Take three sticky notes. On the first one,  record 10 times yesterday that you thanked God for something or someone other than at meal time. On the second one, list 10 things you taste, hear, see, smell or touch each day that remind you of the awesomeness of God. Then, on the third sticky note, write 10 names of people that God has placed in your life, to demonstrate His love for you. Place these notes where you will see them each day. If you can’t fill out the notes on the first try, then take 3 days to practice. Then come back to them to see how you do.

I am shocked at what a “Jeckyl and Hyde” I can be. One moment I can be a really thankful guy, then something happens and I become an ungrateful slob! The scripture instructs us, in Colossians 4:2, to devote ourselves to prayer and to be watchful and thankful. Colossians 2:7 impresses upon us to be a people overflowing with thankfulness.

Do you think Paul and Silas felt like being thankful and singing and praising God after being stripped and beaten and put into stocks? I doubt it. But they did it anyway and look at the miracles God performed. If we are honest about it, most of us need to clothe ourselves in gratefulness when we get out of bed in the mornings. I know too well that I do. The other day as our family celebrated Christmas, we formed a circle of thanks. There we were, seventeen of us, children, adults and one baby. Joined not only by our hands but by the love we have for each other as well. One by one, each shared something they were thankful for. As I listened to each voice and then we offered it all up to God in prayer, I was deeply moved. How can we explain what happens to us, inside, when we hear someone verbally stating what they are thankful for? Even in the midst of  struggles and the difficulties of life, do you suppose that when we purposely give God credit and thanks and praise for what He has done for us, that maybe, His greatest work is done within our own hearts?

  As the sun began to drop low and the shadows were becoming long and dark, faith and I slowly made our way back toward the house, stopping every few steps to examine another treasure of creation that God had placed in our path. I can remember thinking, ” I need to switch roles with a child more often.”Possibly, we could all learn valuable lessons about God by feeling through a child’s hands, hearing through a child’s ears and seeing though a child’s eyes.SDC12411

  So, if you come across a bale of hay, grab a child and pray and see what happens!… Ahh’… Can you smell the freshly cut alfalfa?