Gifts & Graces: April 2023

Gifts & Graces

It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.

Lucy Maud Montgomery

Here’s my random gratitude collection of mostly small but sometimes large things that helped make April better.

Photo by Ekaterina Astakhova on

An Open Window. It’s too early in April (in New England) to open all the windows, but I’ve enjoyed having one open an inch or two while I work on the computer. The room gets some fresh air, and I get to listen to the birds. Either they are not as vocal in the winter, or I can’t hear them with the windows closed up tight against the icy outside, but hearing them makes me know it’s spring. Unfortunately, I also experience my neighbor’s lawn care service doing spring cleanup with loud leaf blowers and other equipment. But it’s all part of the suburban rites that announce the arrival of spring.

Dunkin Cold Brew.

Cold Brew Coffee. Cold brew is one of the best all-time coffee “inventions.” This stuff is incredibly smooth and is the only coffee I can enjoy drinking black (although a slug of Trader Joe’s Brown Sugar Oat Creamer takes it to a whole other level). It’s also a rite of spring for me to start interspersing the occasional cold coffee with my usual morning mug of hot coffee.

Photo by Jess Bailey Designs on

Picking a Seasonal Reading Theme. I can easily fall into a rut reading only spiritual non-fiction and mystery novels. So I like to choose a reading theme for each season to remind myself to branch out a bit. My theme for spring is science fiction and fantasy books. I’ve already enjoyed researching and making myself a reading list, and now I get the double joy of reading and checking books off my list!

A closing prayer

Dear God, please help me pay attention to the many gifts and graces You bring to my life. Let me gratefully acknowledge the people and things that fill my days with joys that range from small comforts to immense love. And thank you, God, for being with me each day. I am humbled and inspired by how Your Spirit works through the actions of so many people. Amen.


  1. Hmmmm….hate cold coffee….hate science fiction… an open window (and sleep with one open year round, pretty much). I ran relate to one of three! But, to the larger point you are making, it’s the small things in life, when noticed and appreciated, that make life joyful. I love your Gifts and Graces blog bc the things you choose to acknowledge are always so unexpected. (loved the line “suburban rites that announce the arrival of spring” — your word choices are just brilliant! Vastly intelligent!)


    1. And you make the important point that what is precious and wonderful to me isn’t necessarily even tolerable to someone else! We all have our own set of small things that make our life beautiful. But I bet there are some science fiction books that you would like – they aren’t all the same, my vastly intelligent friend.


  2. Cathy, I love an open window and birds chirping and flying above. Love cold brewed coffee too! I read so much non-fiction now and can’t stop! I’m a list maker and love checking things off my list! Whenever I find a parking spot, receive a kindness, a smile, see a child’s inquisitive look I thank God for these gifts. Thank you for reminding me to think about these things! Deb


  3. Hi Cathy and All! Greetings on this Spring day when sunshine unexpectedly fills the outdoors. Thank you for sharing your reflections. I, too, have been reminded in this Easter Season of the fact that gratitude lends itself to enhancing my appreciation of life and the faithfulness of the Holy One through its daily ups and downs. So fortunate to be able to enjoy the growth and beauty of nature!


    1. Spring does seem to make it easier to appreciate all the goodness in the world. After a long winter, it’s awe-inspiring to see nature burst into such a dramatic growth cycle.


  4. Amen to the wonderful blog and heartfelt comments! I am grateful to the Holy Spirit for somehow reminding me most every morning, walking with the small brown dog, to remember how truly blessed I am, and to say “Thank you God for all the wonderful ways you have blessed me!”. Sometimes the Spirit uses my favorite small tree illuminated by a nearby street light to remind me, today it was a small azalea bush that had dropped all its blossoms to form a wonderful pink carpet around its base. Thank you God for always loving us!


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