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It's that time of the year when people seem to become a bit more intentional about counting their blessings and naming things they're thankful for. A time when people gather together from near and far to share a special meal around the table. A time when people google things like "how to cook a turkey" and "watch macy's parade online" (No? Am I the only one?).

Maybe it's the time of year, or maybe it's a response to the chaos of life the past few months, but I find myself needing to take a step back, needing to create space for thankfulness. Eugene Peterson said it best:

"We stop, whether by choice or through circumstance, so that we can be alert and attentive and receptive to what God is doing in and for us, in and for others, on the way. We wait for our souls to catch up with our bodies." -Eugene Peterson, The Jesus Way

Five things I'm especially grateful for this year | @ashleydanyew

Here are a few of things I am especially thankful for this year:


For shelter and warmth, yes; but, also for a place to feel safe and protected. For our new (old) home and the opportunity to care for it. For a place to offer hospitality to others. For a place to be ourselves - a place to belong. For a place to rest.


For freedom to worship as we please. For community and friendship and caring. For opportunities to minister in God's name. For the gift of music and the privilege of leading God's people in song. For the power of prayer and joy and peace.


For legs that walk and eyes that see. For hands that make and serve and touch. For breath and the natural rhythm of life. For lips to speak, for the gift of encouragement and kind words. For strength and wellness.


For those who've gone before, for bravery and faith and love. For my grandparents, both now gone from this earth, who would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary tomorrow, on Thanksgiving Day. For the gift of legacy, passed down to us.


For love that never fails. For confidence and fear and the strength to embrace both. For a hand to hold. For times of strength and weakness and learning to lean on each other. For kind eyes, smiles, and unspoken understanding. For the joy that comes on the journey.

5 things I'm especially thankful for this year | @ashleydanyew

This week, I'm pausing for a few extra moments of thankfulness - breathing in the chilled air of a new season, marveling at the cotton candy skies, and gazing with wonder and excitement at the first snowfall of the year.

With thankful hearts, we'll gather tomorrow - our first Thanksgiving in our new home! We've planned the menu, fluffed the pillows on the guest bed, and hung a boxwood wreath on the door ($10 at Trader Joe's. Go. Run.). We bought a roasting pan and cooking twine and are attempting to cook our first turkey. Life is sweet and good and abundant. What a gift. May we never lose sight of how much we've been given.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends.