Tag Archives: Thankful Tuesday

Thankful Tuesday: A History. And the First Ever Thankful Tuesday Link-Up Partaaaaay!!!

You might be shocked to hear that Thankful Tuesday did not begin as a somewhat piously disguised platform through which to list my kids’ accomplishments. (“Brooksie loves to sign ‘Thank you!’ August understands the theory of gravity!” *Insert eye-roll here.* Though, yeah, it’s a good way to talk about them and I can’t seem to stop, can I?) Also, Thankful Tuesday didn’t begin simply because it is cool to be grateful in the Christian women blogging community. (And, by the way, I’m totally okay with gratitude’s trendiness.)

Thankful Tuesday actually began in January of 1998 in the Behren’s Dormitory second floor (I lived on the second floor, I think?) hallway at my sweet little Baptist college. There, I met with Jamie and Michele every morning at 7 am for prayer. We made a plan. Every day except for Tuesdays we would pray through lists of requests or whatever (seriously, we probably said “or whatever”) but on Tuesdays we would only be Thankful! Why, you might be thinking did we choose Tuesdays for this task? Why not choose Thursdays and have some alliteration up in here? Because, friends, we were much too ironic for that, even as earnest 18-year-olds. Choosing Tuesday over Thursday made us laugh. So we chose Tuesday and I think God was really happy about that as well. We also decided it would be super funny and awesome of us to wish people a “Happy Thankful Tuesday!” every where we went on Tuesdays and insist that our friends tell us why they were thankful.

Click over to the new Patheos site to read the rest and join the first ever “Thankful Tuesday Link-Up Partaaay.” 

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Tomato Thankful

  • This bright red tomato just picked from our garden. On the last day of April??? (I can’t get over the weirdness of this. I know I may be from Texas, but Amarillo and Austin are 500 miles away from each other. That equals two very different climates. See here and here if you want to be nerdy about it. And after being a grown-up on the East coast, the idea of April being anything but ground-smushy and 60 degrees is still crazy to me. So, fresh tomatoes from the garden in the middle of “spring”? Strange and kind of wonderful.)
  • A new camera other than my lame-o phone camera! (Hence the photo above.) My kids will finally have their lives documented!
  • A friend-date last night with Andrea
  • A lovely weekend with my brother and sister-in-law…having them around, especially while Chris was out of town for the weekend, was such a gift. By Sunday lunch, Brooksie was crying when Jason left the table for the bathroom. (And calling “Ma-Ma-Ma-Ma” after him. Should I be offended?) Also, they left me a surprise thank you note and a bar of dark chocolate, which is the best way to ensure that I’ll always be their friend.
  • That my husband got to spend a whole weekend with his best guy friends from the east coast. That he loves his friends as much as he does and for how he inspires me to love mine well.
  • Brooksie’s newest word: “Eh-a,” which is baby speak for “Ezra the Super Cat.”
  • August’s sudden lovey feelings for our next-door neighbor. When she wasn’t around to play with us on Saturday and I suggested we walk to the park, he countered: “But, there aren’t any cute girls at the park!” Seriously? Where did he learn about cute girls?
  • The book, Psalms for Young Children that I discovered at the Eerdmans table at the Festival of Faith and Writing. The pictures are beautiful and the Psalms are true to form: there are sad ones and happy ones, and I’m amazed by how much August is connecting with the laments. More to come about my thoughts on why I believe we should be exposing our kids to both kinds of Psalms.
  • That my very sleepy almost-four-year-old fell asleep in my arms half dressed in his pajamas at 7:45 on Saturday night. I sang to him and smelled his clean hair and promised my heart that I wouldn’t forget what a gift it was to rock my big baby to sleep. Then I tried to stand up with his 36 pounds in my arms and lift him up to his lofted bed. It was hard work. Aren’t all beautiful things a little bit difficult?
  • The countdown to summertime has begun! Did you know I love summer for a gazillion reasons? After my two non-summers in San Francisco, I’m so thrilled to experience all the heat and ice cream and mosquito bites and sprinkler playing and sunscreen lathering and hamburger grilling with my boys.
  • Can I brag about my husband for a second? (You’re thinking: Isn’t that all you do on Thankful Tuesday?) After I came home from the Festival of Faith and Writing all rejuvenated and excited to write, he decided that I should have a whole day away every month, where I can go somewhere to write and meet friends for lunch and generally do whatever I want to do. That idea sounds kind of awesome, right? I’m thankful for a husband who is always thinking of ways to care for me.
  • For sundresses and iced coffees and sunsets and bubbles and baby pools
  • For popsicle makers and my dad’s birthday and my the chance to make up stories in the car on the way to all the places and watching August become himself and learning who that is. For the insight that he, “likes to watch soccer, not play it.” It’s good to learn about this person who is learning about himself.

It’s Thankful Tuesday. What are you thankful for?


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Quoting Thankful

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Today for Thankful Tuesday, I want to give you some words I heard over the weekend at the Festival of Faith and Writing, thoughts that have filled me up. I hope they speak something important to you too.

(Note: these are from my notes and they may not be exact…though I did my best–my very best!–at the note-taking.)

“Repetition…locates us, keeps us where we are, keeps us the way a mother keeps her baby.” –Jeanne Murray Walker

“It’s not an accident that Laments [in the Psalms] start individually and then turn into community. The circle widens with the Lament the more love and safety is there. We, the artists, are called to be the ones who bring [the community] into honesty.” –Gregg DeMey

“If I’m complaining to God it feels more healthy than if I’m complaining about God behind his back.” –Susan Isaacs

“Artists are called to be the most observing humans around, which involves a lot of listening.” -Gregg DeMey

“A testimonial is about answers. Good art is about polishing questions.”  -Greg DeMey

Quoting her friend: “Every church has a prase band. When are we going to bring out the Lament band?” –Caryn Rivadeneira

“In all of our rushing, we’re like bulls in china shops. We’re breaking our lives.” –Ann Voskamp

“[Our work is to speak] the language of amazement into a culture that thinks they’ve been abandoned.” -Ann Voskamp

“How did God make every woman to be a maker? He made an empty space inside her… Something always comes to the empty space. And it can be God.” -Ann Voskamp

“You either have to bury your fear in faith or bury your talents in fear. Which is it going to be?” -Ann Voskamp

“Story is in the suffering.” -Ann Voskamp

“When love and theology conflict, love should always be our priority.” -Dr. Vincent Harding paraphrased in Kristin Vander Giessen-Reitsma’s reading of her essay “Choice Cuisine” from the collection, The Spirit of Food

“People are gracious toward religious expression that is gracious to them.” –Marilyn Robinson

“God has never told us we would leave this world alive.” -Marilyn Robinson


Filed under Beautiful, Thankful Tuesday

A list of gifts on a Tuesday

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  • For a Saturday date night and one long, happy dinner conversation with the Mister
  • For a husband who holds out his arms for our boy when he comes out of the game and cheers, “Yeah, buddy!’ despite August never touching that soccer ball. (Instead he runs around the field with abandon…in the opposite direction of the game). I know I’ve said it before, but how many boys are loved by their fathers unconditionally? I know my husband’s not perfect (he’d agree) but, man, he gets a lot of things right.
  • For a hair salon that has a dispenser for “Hot Tamales” candy! (Why, I don’t know, but I never question a good, free thing that involves sugar.)
  • For my baby’s newly developed dance skills, the squatting of his diaper-clad butt into the air and scrunching his elbows in, all while smiling up at me for appproval. (Which I give, honey, I give.)
  • For the excitement and the risk and the joy of jetting off in two days for the Festival of Faith and Writing: The blogging/Twitter friends who will become real, the chance to fly alone and read a book and take a taxi and take notes…all while not wiping a snotty nose or offering a snack while in conversation or carting around some large and necessary child-supply.
  • For the grace of the “I’m leaving my babies” ache and the goodness of trusting God to supply for them and love them well.
  • For the little boy who wanted his hair cut like Dad’s
  • For chin zits to remind me I’m still young, despite the eye wrinkles that remind me I’m not so young anymore.
  • For food in the fridge, and little tummies fed and the gift of not worrying for the physical needs of our kids
  • For freedom and grace and moments of quiet happiness
  • For boys in the yard kicking soccer balls with their dad
  • For my friend Sarah Bessey’s list of influential Faith Lady-Bloggers. For her courage to honor women and bless the voices out here in our little spot on the Blogville map. (Seriously, if you don’t read Sarah’s blog, today is the day you should start. And then send me cookies for making your life so much richer. I’m not kidding.)
  • For the new book beside my bed that I’m going to start quoting from incessantly and we’re all going to wonder why I even have a blog because really we should just read this book. (But I can’t make that statement yet because I’m only one chapter in.) It’s called: In the Midst of Chaos: Caring for Children as Spiritual Practice. (See, I told you! Just go buy the book and stop reading this blog already!) Listen to this:

“‘Few of the great remembered pray-ers of our tradition were married. Few had children,’ notes church historian Wendy Wright. But this is not all. Many of the esteemed champions of the faith tradition modeled an entire way of life at odds with the life of these church members. They pursued God through the ‘silence and solitude of a hermits’s cell or the mobility of unattached apostolic life’… Limiting spirituality to the ‘inner’ life and restricting theology to the life of the mind ends up excluding a huge portion of the life from both faith and theology” (Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore 5-6, 7).

  • For bedtime snuggles and kisses and “I really love you, Mom” from my growing-up boy. (Who, by the way, has a pretty intense crush on the cartoon character “Isabella” from the show Phineas and Ferb.)
  • For the view of the world from my kitchen window: how blue it is, and green, and alive.


PS  Happy Birthday to my mother-in-law, Basia! Hope your day is full of bright flowers…


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A Very Thankful Poem-a-Day Friday

I’ve missed our Thankful Tuesdays, friends! So much so that my mind has been filling over with thankful bullet points and I keep thinking: Scratch that on a list! It just feels too far away to wait till Tuesday. So…

I’m Thankful for:

  • The gift of walking through Holy Week with all of you
  • Being married to a man whose eyes are always a little red and shiny after Easter services
  • A deck where we can host an Easter meal
  • Easter egg hunts and Easter-clad children in the backyard
  • Eating boiled eggs a bit dye-stained on the white and for how little I mind
  • Happy happy news from my brother-in-law
  • Prayers sweetly answered for friends with health scares
  • My baby’s near running skills
  • Looking from the kitchen sink toward the living room and seeing both my boys on their backs on the carpet, holding their blankets and laughing at each other.
  • A baby who can’t stop smiling even when he’s sick (and making fake coughs and fake nose snorts in an attempt to make me laugh)
  • A migraine Sunday night: The small reminder of the suffering so many people live with in daily life. A husband who stays awake rubbing my shoulders and gets up with the kids.
  • August’s love for gardening
  • The joy of trimming back overgrown plants. (Cutting stuff off and pulling stuff out of the ground! So therapeutic! Even though I have no idea what I’m doing!)
  • Austin in the springtime (It’s really so lovely…I know, I know…summer will be rough.)
  • That feeling when the dishes are clean (no matter that it only lasts three hours)
  • Reading a book with both boys in my lap
  • Windows open, birds singing
  • And this Someecard that makes me cackle (yes, I said ‘cackle’) every time I see it.

And now, a poem from my favorite Jane Kenyon (whose poems I should really just quote here every Friday):

The Suitor

by Jane Kenyon

We lie back to back. Curtains
lift and fall,
like the chest of someone sleeping.
Wind moves the leaves of the box elder;
they show their light undersides,
turning all at once
like a school of fish.
Suddenly I understand that I am happy.
For months this feeling
has been coming closer, stopping
for short visits, like a timid suitor.

Jane Kenyon, Otherwise: New and Selected Poems, Graywolf Press, 1996


Filed under Poetry, Thankful Tuesday

Dirty House Thankful

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Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what He has done for me. (Psalm 66:14)

  • For the prayer book I’ve been following for the past few weeks (The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle) and its collection of scripture that keeps sticking in my head. Like Psalm 66:14. “I will tell you what he has done for me.” What a beautiful calling to live into…
  • A house littered with toys and cardboard boxes and missing its kitchen table (the weather was so nice we moved it outside): proof of a full, people-filled (anti-task) weekend. It’s nice to have a clean house when Monday arrives, but this weekend was filled with life in the best kind of way.
  • Our friends Kevin and Mindy who we’ve only known for three months but whom we love dearly and who left yesterday for Shanghai, where Mindy will set up the work of an amazing organization called Epic Arts. Epic uses the Arts to engage and offer healing and purpose to people with disabilities. For Mindy’s passion, Kevin’s commitment to her calling, and their willingness to move across the world in order to love well.
  • For a late bedtime Sunday night due to an evening stroll to the park for snow cones.
  • For my little boy who still was in his own imaginary world shooting rockets and slime out his arms instead of running after the ball in his soccer game.
  • For a husband who cheers “Yeah, buddy! Are you having fun?!” when August comes off the field, regardless of his interest in sports involving a ball.
  • For the beauty of a spring that feels like summer, even if summer is going to feel like Mars.
  • For neighbors with sprinklers and kids in their swimsuits
  • For whole days spent outside
  • For friends who come to August’s soccer game
  • For late-night coffee so I can get my blog posts written
  • For my yellow quilt Memaw made me when I got married. (I love a good quilt in the summertime.)
  • For a home that is becoming a place of guests and dinners and late night grown up conversations. For our life in Austin and its goodness and God’s sweetness.

Your turn. What are you thankful for? 


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Good Thankful

  • For a sweet birthday celebration. Look at that guy in his hat! For a backyard and dear friends and good food and all these kids running around who somehow belong to us. How did that happen?
  • For how turning one automatically makes a baby into a little man. All the sudden Brooksie is such a grown up. Yesterday he insisted on walking all the way into August’s school. No being carried for him. So, I held his hand and we walked like snails across the lawn and into the door and down the hall.
  • For August’s love for science and the ten minutes he spent with his dad looking a silkworm through a microscope yesterday evening.
  • For the picture of a volcano my brother took for August while he was in Nicaragua and texted to me yesterday. (So thankful that my brothers love my kids as much as I love theirs.)
  • For thunder storms and a late night dinner date with an old friend.
  • For the goodness of a full day, the goodness of well-deserved exhaustion.
  • For August’s first ever soccer match on Sunday, which he spent running the opposite direction of the ball and “sliming” pretend dragons on the other side of field.
  • For pulling weeds by the root in the garden while my kids play around me. For sunshine and gardening gloves (even though I know nothing about gardening). Weeding is so satisfying! (It’s satisfying for the same reason I like to tweeze my eyebrows. Don’t tell anyone I said that.)
  • I had a moment last night when I realized how much more at peace I am with how God loves me than I was a year and a half ago. It’s making all the difference in how I live and how free I feel from striving. I used to secretly believe that time wanted to hurt me. Now I am learning how to find joy and satisfaction in the daily.
  • For wonderful news: The lab results are back and my mom is cancer free. All the cancer was contained and was removed in her surgery! So grateful!
  • And for more exciting blog-type news which will be shared in its own post on Thursday. Lots of thankful going on around here…


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Thankful Hopeful

  • Living in Texas where sunsets look like this from the back deck
  • Rocking side by side with Brooksie on the front porch swing at my parent’s house, my arm around him, my left hand holding his left, our right hands in his blankey
  • The sweet hope of hearing morning songbirds in March. Spring is coming!
  • The community around my parents that has been bringing food almost every day the past week, and that will keep on bringing food after I leave
  • My boys going to sleep last night when they were supposed to
  • A post-dinner Skype with my cute husband and his new haircut
  • This little veggie garden Chris planted for us on Sunday.

  • Talking to Chris at 11 last night while he was outside watering the brussel sprouts
  • August’s undying love for his year-older cousin, Blythe. We watched her at the end of her ballet class  yesterday and he couldn’t stop smiling all toothy and waving, “Hey Blythe!”
  • Time to read. I finished The Help and I’m halfway through Andrea Palpant Dilley’s Faith and Other Flat Tires. (I’ll be interviewing her around here soon. Yay!)
  • The joy of picking up my mom’s house (granted, it’s mostly my kids’ stuff) and doing dishes when she can’t. I’m thankful I could be here when I needed to be and that I have a job (you know, I’m a SAHM) that allows me the freedom to up and leave for home.
  • An early happy birthday celebration for Brooksie involving his cousins, kites, swings, popcorn and blue icing (in no particular order).
  • A healing mom and lots of hope…

Happy Thankful Tuesday. What are you thankful for? 


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Hard Thankful

“One act of thanksgiving, when things go wrong with us, is worth a thousand thanks when things are agreeable to our inclinations.”

-St. John of Avila (via Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts)

My brother Brooks’ lifelong friend died Sunday night. He had brain cancer. Jeremy was a groomsman in Brooks’ wedding. My brother loved him. Brooks has been in Haiti, working with some orphanages. He left last Wednesday knowing that his friend could pass away before he returned home. He’s supposed to speak at Jeremy’s funeral. He recorded his message ahead of time just in case.

I haven’t mentioned this on the blog yet, but my mom has been diagnosed with cancer. It seems so personal that I’ve held it close, I guess. My mom’s more private than I am (obviously, this blog will attest that I’m not so private), so I’ve also felt a little quiet about sharing it with you. (And, honestly, I haven’t liked the thought about seeing “my mom has cancer” in print.) But, today, she will be in surgery. It’s possible that they will remove the sick thing in her and that will be the end of it. Or it’s possible that more cancer will be found and we will have to face the possibility of chemo or radiation.

Today I’m on a flight home with my two boys to stay with my parents for the week, help care for my mom.

It’s Thankful Tuesday.

So, yeah, sometimes my Thankful Tuesday posts are probably the kind that make you feel like my world is all glitter and musical numbers. And, honestly, sometimes it is. But the hard Thanksgiving is found when there’s sacrifice in it. Today there’s sacrifice. Because I’m broken-hearted for my brother and for Jeremy’s family. Such loss. So unfair. And I’m hurt for my mom. I don’t want her to feel afraid. I don’t want her to face any kind of physical pain or heavy illness.

But sometimes being thankful is the sacrifice. That’s what Psalm 50 calls it: a sacrifice of thanksgiving. I don’t have to be thankful for my mom’s illness or for the terrible loss of my brother’s dear friend. Death is always Christ’s enemy. We should be outraged over it, because it is wrong, because death was never God’s intention. But I can be thankful that there’s grace in the horrible. There’s always grace. There’s always God’s good presence.

Yesterday morning, while I drove August to school, we had the radio on and news broke in to mention the school shooting in Cleveland. I realized what they were saying and that my boy’s ears were listening and I went to change the station, but it was too late. I looked in the rearview mirror and August wore the look he saves for serious questions.

He said, “We should pray for those people, Mama.”

Sigh. Yes we should.

Here is my sacrifice of Thanksgiving:

  • Bright red Texas sunsets and a backyard deck to watch them from
  • Coffee dates with my college girls, getting to love them and know them
  • My baby’s first steps! And how proud his little face was (and is).
  • Airplanes that can get me to my family in 45 minutes
  • The sweet sticky smell of springtime rain (yep, it’s springtime around here)
  • My friend Emily’s new baby girl

Will you join me in praying for my mom today? Please pray the doctors will remove all the cancer and that she will be healthy and encouraged by God’s nearness. I’m thankful for this community and all the encouragement you all bring to my life.

What’s your thankful?


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Fat Tuesday Thankful

  • Writing posts two nights in a row at 11 pm because I spent the evening with friends.
  • My husband’s heartbreaking skill at searing and roasting a pork chop.
  • Creating a Goo Goo Dolls station on Pandora while our friends were over last night. Wow, 90’s music was the best.
  • The “Hoe Cake Hoe Down,” my dear church’s version of a Mardi Gras party, a pancake dinner and country dancing. It was last Friday night, a day I spent feeling crazy emotional, with snotty crying children who couldn’t get outside because of the rain. And at 5 pm, I couldn’t imagine discovering enough energy to get my people and myself dressed and into the car by 6:30. But we made it, fed our children pancakes, received lots of hugs, and spun around in red cowgirl boots (ok, I’m the only one in my family with red cowgirl boots…but I spun around). August and I have some mad dancing skills. What better way to celebrate the coming season of Lent?
  • Tea and scones and clotted cream yesterday afternoon with my San Franciscan friend Cecelia who was in town for the day.
  • Brooksie’s first step yesterday. He had been making some valiant attempts for the past couple of days, but yesterday evening, he stepped and stuck the landing. Oh boy.
  • Candles flickering on the mantle
  • A day so full I was never online from morning till 11 pm
  • Bath time and clean boys and cozy jammies
  • Realizing on Saturday that my hair has become “wavy” since having this last child. How?! I have always had stick-straight fine hair. Ladies and gentlemen, there is now a wave. (One wave.) And it is miraculous.
  • Laughter and cloth napkins and frozen chocolate covered bananas
  • Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. Last week my baby turned 11 months old. A year ago on Ash Wednesday I was a massively with child. Now I have a little boy who has taken exactly one successful step in his life, who leaned in this afternoon and kissed my lips over and over (with his mouth wide open), who responds to a dinosaur name. How good a year can be???

It’s Thankful Tuesday. It’s the day before Lent begins. Be thankful. And tell us about it.


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