Daily Grat: Fresh Blueberries

I’m gonna try something new today.

I’m gonna try something new every day for the next year, actually.

I’m calling it “My Daily Gratitude.”

One of my core beliefs is that thankfulness always creates more thankfulness. The more I stop to take note of the things I am grateful for in life, the more things I am likely to find to be grateful for in the future.

It’s not that gratitude ever magically wipes way life’s challenges, failures, or pains. It’s more a theory that each and every day we have far more to be grateful for than we ever consciously realize. Even when things are going horribly wrong…even when the macro-level events of life are out of control…there are smaller miracles, moments of beauty, and connections with people that can bring incredible depth and purpose to life, sometimes with surprising power.

The Buddhists call this “mindfulness.” Jesus spoke of it, when he encouraged us to “consider the lilies of the field.” (ie, don’t just think about them, be grateful for what their beauty teaches us…)

So, each and every day for the next year, I’m gonna attempt to list a “Daily Gratitude.”

Daily Gratitude #1: Fresh Blueberries
I’ve been eating blueberries in my oatmeal every morning for about the past eight months. I cook the oatmeal in apple juice, and mix in a little more than a cup of the fruit. The taste is unbelievably sweet…like a blueberry muffin in a bowl.

But, man, are fresh blueberries amazing. When they’re fresh, mixed in the oatmeal, they have this incredible juicy warmth, but the skin it taught and sometimes they pop right in your mouth. Wow.

What a gift each morning…what a gift.

So, today, I am thankful for fresh blueberries.

(During this year, my goal is to find something new to be thankful for every single day, and to add that thanksgiving as a blog entry, under the title “My Daily Gratitude.” I started this kick back around Thanksgiving, and it’s already resulted in a favorite new song of mine. The goal of this ongoing spiritual exercise is to see if doing such a thing might inspire even more gratitude within me, and to foster general awareness of life on a deeper level.)

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He has been Senior Pastor of Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas since 2001. During his tenure, church membership has grown almost 30 percent, and a completely new church facility (sanctuary and education building) has been constructed. Northaven is a leading progressive Christian congregation in the Southwest. Northaven is an eclectic collection of gay and straight families, artists, musicians, theater folks, academic theologians, lawyers and judges (go figure), socially conscious community activists, people who don't "check their brain at the door," and a wide array of others who either see it as their "last chance" inside the "institutional church," or their first trip back in decades. Eric is an avid blogger and published author.  Eric is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, who performs throughout Texas and the Southwest. He's an engaging live performer whose first CD was released in 2000. His songs have won honorable mention in both the Billboard and Great American song contests; and he's been a finalist in the 5th Street Festival and South Florida Folk Festival songwriter competitions. Eric is also a leader of Connections, a unique band comprised of United Methodist clergy and layfolk from throughout North Texas. Connections performs "cover shows" of artists like Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor and others. Their shows draw crowds of between 300 and 1,000 fans, and they have raised more than $240,000 dollars for worthy charities. Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He's a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named "best judge" by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County. She was re-elected for a third term in 2010. They have the world's best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. (As always, if you like this post, then "like" this on Facebook by clicking the box below, so others can see too...)

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