Saturday, September 17, 2022

The Engaged Grace of Gratitude

(Annabelle and Jace relax on the couch with full tummies and maybe full diapers.)

“Let us come before him with thanksgiving
    and extol him with music and song.”

Psalm 95:2 (NIV)

Almost every night I enjoy my daily cuddle times with Jace (now two months old) as I watch the CBS television hit, Blue Bloods, on Paramount Plus, starring Tom Selleck as New York City’s finest Police Commissioner, Frank Reagan. Jace now smiles at Daddy with some gentle coos of “Oow’s” and “Awe’s.” Slowly, Jace falls asleep in my arms, and he just so happens to snore with a pacifier in his mouth. The pacifier acts like a musical instrument as Jace whistles a song inhaling through his mouthpiece to then let out a huge sigh through his nostrils. When I embrace Jace in my arms on the couch at this moment, I pause the greatest cop show of all time. Then I imagine the gentle feel of my son’s skin and his stellar small body protected in a moment of solitude. We sit there in stillness with expressed thanks to God for these fleeting thoughts of a young father’s real-time joys.

In the quivers of a woodwind musical symphony quartet, the sounds of a baby’s whispers settle into my own breathing patterns as my heart practices songs of gratitude. There is grace in the practiced presence of stillness that a busy society so often neglects to pay bills, thus orchestrating the false identity that more of everything brings some form of satisfaction (i.e. more money, bigger houses, luxury cars, etc.). This endless pursuit of more busyness pushes the threshold of sanity only to take away from the relationships that bring true sanctity to the meaning of fulfillment.

Children naturally bring gracious moments of gratitude into a parent’s life because these previous memories seem few and far between. I only have time to focus on my two tiny human children rather than the selfishness that pursuits of grandeur usually bring, meaning self-accolades of accomplishment to pat myself on the back. While career goals and the personal achievement of success warrant their own merits of fulfillment, these aspirations compare little to the moments previously described.

I experience gratitude by taking the time to remember the preciousness of today. I seize the moment by sensing where I am when the Spirit moves me to do so. I choose to engage in conversations with my son and daughter rather than typing one more research dialogue that incorporates a reading audience of five people.

In other words, I enhance my feelings of gratitude through the taste, touch, smell, and sounds experienced in the miracle of being alive and knowing I am human right now.

On another facet, if I forget the blessings before me, I make it a mental point to remember previous hardships and how God provided the grace necessary to survive those lowland adversities. By remembering the bad times, I further appreciate and embark on the good times of today.

On a final note, I try to share my gracious thoughts of gratitude with others. By speaking good into existence with familiar friends and family, positive vibes thrive into future positive feelings of remembered and celebrated goodness. That is the true nature of the fall season and the destinations we journey to with our Thanksgiving holidays. Being preemptively proactive to affirm the blessings received, I end this year and begin the new with a fresh outlook that keeps my soul youthful, fresh, and wise.

Jace and Annabelle make me a better person when their needs far outweigh my own. There is no time to complain about the small worries of my own nothingness. There is only time to celebrate the small wins of the present victories of musical snores, sleep, and slumber while Tom Selleck quotes some of my favorite inspirational words of fatherhood in the background.

Below you can witness some of my favorite memories I daily reminisce and dream on.

(Lisa and Annabelle enjoy the high and very long slides at Unity Park in Greenville, South Carolina.)

(Annabelle smiles in the marvel of the splash pad at Unity Park in Greenville, South Carolina.)

(We tried for a successful family portrait of CeeCee and G-Daddy with the four grandchildren, however, Jace snoozed the entire time.)

(Annabelle crashes with cuddles for nap time on G-Daddy.)

(Jace is such a cute baby with those precious smiles!)

(Jace is, indeed, the cutest Tennessee fan of all time!)

#daddydestinations #daddy #dad #blog #family #familylife #sons #DaddiesAndDaughters #destinations #memories #story #narrative #inspiration #JamesCartee #goodness #lifelessons #Jace #Annabelle

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