I grew up in the village of Brumunddal, Norway. I moved there when I was four years old. I have so many fond memories of that little town, two and a half hours north of Oslo. That is where I learned to speak Norwegian. That is where I began to attend the primary school known as Fagerlund Skole. I had the most amazing teacher, Fru Mørland.
Deep Memories of Washing Powder
One of the memories that stands out to me from that time is that when my Momma would do the laundry, she would use OMO. No big deal really, it is just the laundry detergent that she used. The look of the box stuck with me.
It was very cold in the wintertime in Norway. Mom would do the laundry downstairs and hang it up to dry in the “fyr-rommet” (furnace room) since it was dry and warm there. We had no dryer.
OMO in South Africa
When David and I with our four children moved to Johannesburg, South Africa in 1995 to work in a church-plant, I noticed in the shops that they had OMO!!!!! Wow! That was like so cool. I recognized the box and memories flooded my mind of Mom using that laundry soap. You may say, who cares? Well, I did. With everything all around me being so new, the little box of washing powder helped me. It gave a connection. It was a gift from the Lord.
Searching for Simple Gifts
Thinking thanks in your life makes you look for “gifts.” We are so battered by the tyranny of the urgent, our focus yanked to and fro by a thousand happenings – at home, at the office, at school, in the news, at the doctor’s, in the weather, on social media – that we don’t stop to look at any one thing, to ponder its virtue, to formulate thankfulness, and to express it. That’s the essence of being th(i)nkful – we must stop and think first, focusing on even a simple thing that we can be th(i)nkful for. These little joys are all around us, but we need the heart and the eyes to recognize them.
A friend of mine, Pastor Dick Hester, recently wrote:
“Let your heart be like a magnet, sweeping over our days, collecting reasons for gratitude. ‘Thank You, God!’ Our lungs inhale and exhale; our eyes read these words; our hearts beat regularly; our brain works; I put peanut butter and jelly on my bagel this morning. The sun reminds us of God’s love; some men and women don’t cheat on their mates; kids decide not to be disobedient to their parents. ‘Thank You, Lord!’ Gratitude gets us through the hard stuff. “Thank You, Lord” acknowledges not only the good gifts, but the Good Giver. Gratitude helps to burn off my dross and anxiety.“
I wonder what gifts you have discovered today?
- Maybe it is realizing that the headache you had yesterday is gone.
- It may be a text you receive from a loved one.
- It may not be recognizing an OMO box from your childhood, but maybe it is sensing the supernatural peace from Philippians 4:7 after you have prayed for every concern with supplication and thanksgiving.
- It may be strength to “power through” a hard challenge facing you.
- It may be the privilege of eating good food that satisfies your body.
- It may be a portion of Scripture that fits perfectly for what you need.
- It may be attending a funeral that helps you realize how fleeting this life truly is and that you need to live accordingly.
I’ll conclude with some words recently written by my friend, Nicole DeFord, illustrating the virtue of finding God’s simple gifts:
There’s just something about looking out a window and seeing sunlight filtered through the raindrops clinging to the panes. Everything can be an absolute mess all around you, but when you let yourself get pulled into that moment and the beauty in such a small thing … you can breathe. In such moments, I am always reminded that God gives opportunity for us to stop and appreciate Him and everything He’s given us ALL THE TIME … it’s up to us to take those opportunities, catch those little breathers, be amazed at the world around us, and be thankful for what we have. #thinkful #hygge #canon6d #itsthelittlethings #rainyday