I recently ran across a post on another blog in which the blogger writes once a week about things for which she's grateful. It's like the ABCs of gratitude, which is a fantastic idea because anything that reminds of us of how blessed we are is a good idea in my book. So I'll begin with one of my favorite letters of the alphabet (and also the first letter): A
Alaina: My niece is awesome and has been a continual source of joy since she was born. She's such a kind soul and already has such a heart for the Lord and others.
Answered prayers: Even when the answer isn't what I want, there is such comfort in knowing God's will and seeking it---not to mention the comfort of just knowing that God does have a plan for me.
Airplanes: I love to travel, and I'm sure that without the invention of the plane I wouldn't have visited Spain, Costa Rica, or even California.
Anna Begins: one of my favorite songs.
Andy Stanley: I became a Christian while attending the church at which he is a pastor, and his sermons sermons were always incredibly relevant and would keep me thinking long after I left church. His books are good too.
Angie Aparo, Alanis Morissette ("You Oughta Know" couldn't have been more timely in my life), Alabama
Aunt Rene: My great aunt was like a second mom to my sister and me when I was little, and she's the best example I have ever seen of a human's ability to love unconditionally. Even now she writes me each week and prays for me constantly. I don't think she has ever let me down, and she has a rock in my life.
Air conditioning: I live in Macon and cannot imagine life without it.
Appletinis: One of the few alcoholic beverages that tastes good to me.
Aunt Jean: She's dead, but her life is such a source of inspiration to me. She was the most selfless person I have ever met and the wisest, and I'm so grateful for the afternoons I spent curled up on her sofa in college after our lunches at S&S Cafeteria or Shoney's. Our conversations were often so thought-provoking that I would leave exhausted and with a headache, but I love the way she challenged me. She always told me that "If you can understand the conditions, you can understand the behavior," and that quote often challenges me to think on a little deeper level to really understand others. Her impact on literally thousands of lives reminds me that we all have the ability to affect tremendous positive change.
American Express: It's the best credit card I have ever had, even if the fee is annoying (if you call and threaten to cancel, they'll give you about half off). The Skymiles make me feel better about spending money (even if they're a pain to redeem), and I like the pie charts at the end of the year that summarize how much I've spent on travel, merchandise, etc.
Artichoke Dip: This is one of my favorite recipes that I make. I combined several recipes to find just the perfect mix of artichoke, cream cheese, and parmesan. My friend Trisha and I once enjoyed an evening of the dip and peanut butter brownies, and I thought that was the perfect meal.
Please feel free to share some of your "As" too. We're so blessed, and just taking the time to write this helps me remember that I have much more to be grateful for than to complain about.