Tag Archives: gratitude

8 ways to make Thursday better.

1. Put down the mouse. Pick up the keyboard.

2. You don’t get replies if you don’t ask or say something.

3. Gratitude takes actually noticing someone else.

4. Out of all the possible things to do, you have to actually pick one and do it.

5. Humans can get used to lots of things. That isn’t exactly positive.

6. Cynics have feelings, too.

7. The chorus isn’t the lead, but all of them are on stage.

8. Okay. Can we try that again? I think I see what I can do to help you this time.


something to stand on – generosity 2

Saturday, I used an antique. Last week, I used it, too. (That is, if nearly 50 years old counts as antique.)

When I was four or five, my dad used some plywood and made a stool. He drilled fingerholes in the top and a larger hole at either end. If I remember right, I probably played more with the little “wheels” that came out of the holes than I appreciated the stool.

I have no idea where the wheels ended up, but I know exactly where the stool is. It has been several different colors. It has lived in three apartments and five houses. It is now in the downstairs bathroom, except when it is in the garage or the living room or wherever else I need a 12″ boost. Saturday I used it while installing a track for new folding doors. I used it in the garage to plug an extension cord in an overhead outlet.

Dad made other stools for my sisters and our children. They are all fancier, smoother, stained rather than painted. Mine was born of utility more than woodcraft, though the cutouts and the design and the durability suggest that dad was putting into it the basics he learned as an architecture major.

What he gave me in that stool is something simple and solid to stand on. He has given much since then. One of my parents’ primary ways of saying “I love you” is with gifts…small (and sometimes not small) tangible objects. But I think that of everything I’ve gotten, it all is summed up in that stool.

A simple gift to a young child. Something to stand on.

I’m curious. What useful gift were you given as a child that has followed you to adulthood?


This post is part of Robert Hruzek’s group-writing project.

My silver seminary – WILF 1

Michael Sampson decided I needed an ipod. I’m not sure why, but he did. He knew he couldn’t afford it. He was buying a new computer for work. He put his name in a drawing for a new ipod. He won it. He sent it to me.

I knew none of the above, however, when I got a package from New Zealand one day in late December 2006. I just knew that Michael was sending me something.

I had started using our son’s old shuffle for listening to seminary lectures. It was a pretty frustrating process, but it was much cheaper than tuition would be.

I opened the package.

I was dumbfounded, caught between tears and exhilaration. It was a gift that was beyond expectation, beyond anything I could have imagined. And yet I immediately knew how it would benefit me.  Since then I have listened to lectures. I have listened to sermons. I have listened to a handful of songs over and over and over. I call this my silver seminary.

I was working on a painting project on Saturday. I was feeling pretty apathetic. I put in the ear buds and started a song about legacy. And immediately I realized where I needed to start my posts for December in response to Robert Hruzek’s writing project, “what I learned from the generosity of others.”

Michael’s gift was over-the-top, perfectly-timed, and in response to a thought that both he and I had had. “Jon needs/I could use an ipod.” Neither of us prayed. We just thought.

But it counted as prayer.

And I am grateful.


Advent calendars start today, December 1 and so does my ebook. It is available as a FREE downloadable pdf, advent2008 (Right click on the link to the left and save the file to your computer).

8 ways to be thanked.

I was going to be cranky when I started writing this post and then I thought, “just be self-serving.” So, in the spirit of the week, here are 8 ways to make sure that someone tells you thank you this week.

1. Someone cleans the bathroom where you live or work or buy coffee. Thank them. (If it’s you, look in the mirror and say, “Jon says thanks.”)

2. Meet your paper carrier at the door and thank them and smile (especially if they *always* throw the paper in the wrong place.).

3. Hold a door open for someone you don’t know. (Bonus points if you hold it for three people. 1000 bonus points if you have to run to get the door for someone who can’t get it for themself).

4. Write an actual email instead of a comment to a blogger who has mattered to you in the past month. Say more than “nice post”. Tell them HOW that post changed how you think. (You lose points if you send one to me.)

5. Show up early (if you are always late). Show up ready (if you never do). Show up awake. Show up with coffee for the other person. Show up smiling. Show up not complaining. Maybe just show up.

6. Someone in your past changed your life. If you have never told them, tell them. This week. Really. (With Google, you should be able to find them.)

7. Tell God that you are trying to figure out whether He’s there.

8. Pick someone that you care about, look them in the eyes, and say “thank you.” and when they say, “for what?”, have a specific reason. (I don’t know what it is. But you do. Right?)


Other posts on gratitude

things do not make my heart feel loved

Others in the 8 ways series:

To increase your stress
To lose your faith
To make yourself angry
To make yourself jealous
To make yourself depressed
To ruin your marriage

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