How to Savor God’s Gifts

You may have noticed by now that my favorite books, quotes, songs, articles, and blog posts all have to do with finding deeper joy and thankfulness in everyday life, and learning how to enjoy ordinary moments now, while we have them.

I came across yet another quote I loved while reading Naked Spirituality last night. McLaren was describing how we can truly appreciate the gifts God gives us on a daily basis:

This day. This kiss. This view. This meal, this taste, this breath, this moment, this song. Instead of letting these treasures pass by as if they were nothing or as if we were unconscious of their beauty and wonder, we pause and savor them, and we lift our joy and appreciation up to God in gratitude. Because if God created these wonders, and if God created us with the capacity to enjoy them, what could be better than to enjoy them with God? Isn’t that what gratitude is, in its purest sense, joining God in the enjoyment of the goodness of creation — the goodness that was celebrated in the first sentences of the book of Genesis, and the goodness that surrounds us now, in this, and this, and this, again and again?

Life gets busy, for everybody. But every time I read a quote like that, I want to slow it all down, to truly notice and appreciate life. There are probably many ways of doing this, but for me, right now, this is how I’m choosing to be intentional:

A Gratitude Journal.

It’s changing me. It’s growing my ability to choose my thoughts. I’m up to #1440, and I hope I can keep going for the rest of my life.

There are many nights when I don’t feel like doing it, and I don’t think I’ll be able to come up with very many things to write down for the day. But time after time, blessings come to mind. I try to do at least five, but most of the time I can think of ten or more. What if I had missed them? What if I had forgotten to notice, and give thanks?



Going on a photo-shooting spree is another habit that forces me to slow down and notice things. This is another example of how I think I won’t be able to find anything worth noticing, but I am always, always surprised.

Every time I take my camera, and go get lost outside somewhere, I come back feeling refreshed and focused on what truly matters. I know what it is to enjoy God’s creation with Him.


Living in the Moment.

My massage therapist always has piles of New Age-type magazines sitting around in the waiting room. At first I ignored them, but then I started to notice that each one usually has an article about slowing down, being fully present. They’re not written from a spiritual perspective, but I believe that all of us are created with the ability to choose what we think about. The Bible tells us to take every thought captive, and it also tells us to only worry about today.

Learning to block out worries and concerns about the future, and slowing down my thoughts so that I can be fully present in this day has brought me closer to Jesus, even if some of those techniques did not come from spiritual places.;)

These are the ways I am choosing to savor the moment, and learning to thank God for the gifts He is giving me each day.



So I finished writing this, and then I went over to Ann Voskamp’s blog to read what she had to say for the day. Guess what it was – How to Focus in an Age of Distraction!! Such a fantastic read – you should definitely check it out!

Slow Down

I was cutting peppers the other day, rushing to get everything together for my pot of soup and feeling rather distracted, when I suddenly looked down, and really saw what was in front of me.

The bright red of those peppers, combined with the green plants sitting on my counter were such a fresh, appealing scene right before me, and I hadn’t even noticed it.

Oh, that happens far too often! All of those beautiful, wonderful, simple things that are easy to miss because life gets hectic.

I’m reading an absolutely fantastic book right now called Slowing Down to the Speed of Life. I found it at the MCC store for 25 cents, and I will be forever grateful to whoever donated it to MCC!

It is just exactly what I’ve been needing to read right now. The authors talk about how we rush around, and multi-task, and try to fit so much into a day, that it leaves us feeling stressed, frazzled, and short-tempered. (That pretty much sums up where I was at when I picked up the book!)

I’ve been reading wonderful new ideas for how to slow down, and live in the moment – to notice the little things, like red peppers!

Slowing Down suggests that whenever we are feeling flustered, irritated, or stressed about something, it is a sign to us that we are trying to do too much at once, and it’s time to slow down and live in the moment.

The other day, I was late for an appointment, and got stuck in some crazy traffic. I was getting extremely impatient and fidgety, because there was nothing I could do about the frustration of my delay. My mind was whirling, and grumpiness was coming, when suddenly I became aware of what I was doing.

It was my signal! Time to get perspective, and stay in the moment.

I happened to glance to my left, and wouldn’t you know, right there was the most beautiful bush, covered in white blossoms.

I said to myself, “In this moment, that bush is very beautiful.” And really, this present moment is the only one that matters.

Everything in me started to unwind, and I began to look around, searching for anything else I could enjoy while I inched along in traffic.

And guess what? By some miracle, I was not late for my appointment after all. I could have gotten all worked up about something that didn’t even happen. I could have missed those flowers.

I could have missed the bright red peppers.

I could miss the sparkle in those big brown eyes when Kaylia asks me for another story.

I could miss the excitement in Anika’s voice when she tells me (in the greatest detail imaginable) about her latest idea.

Each moment is new and unique. You’ve never had this moment before, and you never will again. As you tap into the beauty of your constantly changing moments by becoming more oriented to the present one, you’ll find yourself struggling with your moments far less and replacing your judgments with love and appreciation. (p. 142, Slowing Down to the Speed of Life)

Be all there.

Allow the stress to remind you to get back to this moment, and what you can do in it.

Notice the beauty around you.

Chop some peppers!

Or whatever. But do it with your eyes open!