Simple Abundances…

The other day I thought it would be nice to surprise the kids with a special trip to the ice cream shop. I picked them all up from the sitter’s after doing a couple of office hours at church and told them I was taking them for a treat. The older two bantered back and forth about where we were going. The zoo? The park? Elliot, a very obvious 2, was cantankerous and whiny and couldn’t care less about our secret trip. Zach was just hanging out.

We got to the shop- a little old-fashioned place that we frequent weekly during warmer months- and everyone jumped out of the car, full of the energy that comes from the first few weeks of warm weather, before the heat overwhelms.
They all chose their ice cream, we sat on the benches, I licked any drips from Elliot’s that threatened to fall and shared mine with Zachary. After a few minutes, the halos started to fade. Elliot dropped his cone and didn’t understand why he couldn’t finish it. So I gave him part of mine. “Part” wasn’t quite good enough. Maddy finished her cone and began whining that she was till hungry. Then a firetruck pulled up and four firefighters came to get ice cream. Unfortunately, the fact that we were getting ready to leave and not climbing onto the firetruck to check it out sent Elliot into a full blown tantrum.

Where was the gratitude? Where was the satisfied and thankful brood of sticky, sweet-mouthed children, ready with hugs for the mom that so generously took them for a surprise trip to the ice cream shop?

Nowhere to be found. I was frustrated and wished I had never taken them.

It is part of the task of parenting to be taken for granted

Gordon Neufeld

Does God know this? What am I saying, of course He does. He’s frustrated with me and my lack of understanding and gratitude for all of the simple abundances he sends my way daily…hourly even. I’m sure He often shakes his head in disbelief that I can find something to complain about even in the face of a surprise treat directly from His hand to my life. I’m ungrateful, pure and simple. My kids come by it honestly.

Today I am beginning what I should have begun long ago. I am starting my list, following in the wise footsteps of a friend. I am turning from my unthankfulness and running to hug the knees of my Father, sticky hands and all, the taste of the treats He has given still lingering on my tongue.

1. First and foremost, I am thankful for mercy in advance. Father, come running…

2. The first tinge of sunburn, crinkling my nose to enjoy the tightness…


3. Fresh-baked strawberry bread and the mouths ready to taste…

4. The sound of the dishwasher running and clean countertops…

5. The laugh of my husband from the other room…

6. Endless possibilities for dinners as I flip through new cookbooks…

7. Days upon days of windows open, breezes blowing, ceiling fans on, and playing outside…

It took me too long, but I’ve begun. Have you started your list yet?