Sunday, January 6, 2013

Change of focus...

The other day I spent a couple of hours at a park on the nearby Columbia River.
First, I had fun with my camera, taking various shots of this and that.
Then, I sat in the car, the heat full blast,
 warming my frigid fingers and having some Jesus time with my Bible and journal.
When I loaded the photos from the camera into the computer, 
I had a bit of an epiphany that has to do with my gathering gratitude in my journal, 
counting my blessings.
In the photo above, with a little manipulation by the operator, which in this case was me,
the camera is focused on the thorns, making them the focal point of the photo, 
instead of the beautiful, majestic Columbia River.
Suddenly I realized how easy it is to do just that in our daily life.
In this beautiful life God gives us, how often do we focus on the thorns, 
causing us to lose sight of the beauty and the blessings?
Since the autumn of 2009, I've been counting my blessings filling up one gratitude journal, 
and now onto filling up the second one.
It's a simple shift of focus with life-changing results.
It certainly does not mean that life doesn't still have plenty of thorny moments.
But, just as the river is vastly larger, more powerful, more beautiful, than the thorn bush,
so the blessings far outweigh the thorny times.
All it takes is a simple change of focus to notice.
In 2012 I followed the prompts in Ann Voskamp's Joy Dare in counting my thanks.
In 2013 I'm going back to the way I did it in the beginning,
just noticing and recording the many extraordinary blessings in my ordinary life.
And so I continue to count my thanks
piling up gratitude day by day
in my little black journal.
(and capturing some of them via my iPhone)

-New Year's Day Thai curry made by friends 
-looking forward to really running again once my foot is completely well
-looking forward to spending time at International House of Prayer next week
-coffee in my favorite Good Morning cup, snuggled under my favorite wool quilt
-the house all quiet while I have my devotions
-God's provision
-my home office
-oldest granddaughter and only grandson in their new school uniforms
 on their first day at their new school
-waking up to blue skies on a cold clear day
-signing up for the Jumping Tandem retreat
-back to healthier eating after the over indulgence of the holidays
-a walk and even a wee bit of jogging, after a bad foot sprain a few weeks ago
-cold, clear sunny weather
-Camas Antiques and my favorite tomato basil soup with a friend from church
-taking pictures at the river and figuring more things out about my new camera
-a warm, wool, designer brand coat found on after season clearance for only $59
-a sweet, slow morning off together
-walking around our favorite fitness trail together
-seeing the grandkid's new school and meeting their teachers 
-yummy tortellini soup
-finding out the price on my wool coat went down another twenty dollars and getting my $20 back!
-warm, wool socks
-belly laughs
-hot coffee
-a great morning at church
-the Hubs picking up KFC takeout for dinner afterwards so I wouldn't have to cook

Gratefully yours,


  1. Be blessed as you are away this week, my friend. You - and your Gratitude List - are always a blessing!

  2. What is it they say, Dear Elizabeth? Something about life's being like licking honey off a thorn...

  3. Love your "change of focus"! I need to remember that so often. And maybe it's because I haven't eaten yet, but those soups really look great!:)

  4. It's sort of like deciding how happy you want to be. Isn't it? Changing focus. Life is hard for everyone. We've got to seek out the good stuff and focus.

  5. I love the lesson on focus. I have felt the same about the "zoom and crop". It's really a matter of where you look, isn't it?

    I was going to email you, but I will just shout out here since you mentioned the retreat. I actually DO want to step out and attend a retreat this year. For monetary purposes, I'm trying to find one closer to home, though. I'm on the hunt for one within (fairly) easy driving distance.

  6. I really liked that point of change of focus. It reminds of a picture I saw once and if you stare at it-it can look like a witch or you can look at it again and it looks like a pretty woman.It was an optical illusion. I think Satan is great at illusions and your point of choosing to focus on the blessing is a great one, thank you for that.

    1. Thanks so much. I've seen the witch/beautiful women drawing before. satan certainly is the great deceiver and would lies to us continually that God is withholding good things from us. Counting our blessings fights this lie.

  7. I love this! That is something I'm trying to do more as of last year...and you put it into words so eloquently. I'm trying to shift my focus from the thorns to the beauty. Because the Lord always gives us beauty! Praying for a vision change.

  8. I needed this more than you know yesterday. Thank you for following your Jesus heart and living it right here every day.

  9. Your photos and thanks are beautiful!!


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