Have you ever just needed reassurance that someone bigger and greater and all around more in control than you was really there?

Today was one of those days for me. Part of me awoke this morning with eagerness and anticipation. I relished the opportunity to follow the races, counting votes and cheering on candidates. I debated whether I should write this blog now or somewhere after midnight or maybe even 3am.

The thing is, though, the gratitude I feel at being gifted another day is not contingent upon any race. Not the political one. Not a monetary one. It’s not even contingent on an emotional race. Even when a migraine threatens to leave me in tears and makes the smallest noises seem like bulldozers in my brain, even if I feel like an outsider looking in, the truth is that every moment is a gift. Reminding myself of that every evening focuses my attention on what I have instead what I don’t have and on what really matters instead of what doesn’t.

And, every once in awhile, you get mighty reminders. Every once in a while, instead of getting little slivers of gold specks, you get buckets of gratitude gold.

My list today:

1. The park: we packed a picnic and trekked to a nearby park, the three girls and I. The older two walked the trails, listening to their head phones. The four year old sat in the sandbox and buried herself and newly found best friends. I sat on the grass, thinking about ants, how small they are but also mighty, how they work together because community is more important than the individual. I loved the park.

2. Chatter Chats & Storytime: came back and we played cards and then read classic books together. We talked about Christmas and about random things.

3. Laughter.

4. Daniel: the one from the Bible . So, he is the one that’s famous for being thrown in the lion’s den and being protected because the lion’s mouth was shut. But the first part of his story is more encouraging to me. You see, when the enemies stripped him of his name, he didn’t care. When they stripped him of his outward treasures, he didn’t fight. Because he realized that his life was not his; his life was the tool by which the Almighty was to be glorified. He fought for God, not himself.

5. Stars. If you read yesterday’s post, Day 1, you’d know that I saw 10 stars last night. By the time I stood outside, craning my head back to see, I was exhausted. That migraine? Yeah, like a transformer it had morphed from a bulldozer to the biggest, loudest rocket you can imagine. Rockets aren’t only very loud, being inside one during liftoff is very shaky business. I was exhausted, and hurting. Coincidentally, I’d also just finished praying and asking that His candidate, whoever that is, win tonight because He is smarter than me.

I started counting and it seemed everywhere I looked there was another star. Sixty stars! Mind, blown. I only counted ten last night, and it was about the same time, and in the same location . Tonight, this instantly buoyed my spirits and comforted me. It felt like an answer to a prayer, an affirmation that, yes, He’s got the whole world in His hands. I snapped a picture but the stars were so dim that only Venus can be seen but this moment tonight made me look forward to tomorrow evening, to see how many there are then.

You only see Venus but in this picture there are 60 stars !

6. Writing. Blogs, books, letters—writing makes me feel grateful and hopeful and I am so grateful for it.

I’ve heard it said that gratitude is a choice, but I think that’s not exactly right. Things to celebrate, things for which to be grateful, exist. They exist right in front of us, every day. The choice is not in choosing to be grateful, the choice is in consciously, actively, making time to see those things that are waiting for us to take note of. The choice is in remembering to look for the quiet whispers of grace instead of being locked in the rat race of life.

I am grateful for setting dandelion puffs as wishes instead of weeds, for making time for dreams and for today.