So after the 50 Day Giveaway I received many “thank yous” from people who received a gift. But two of them stand out from the crowd and essentially they are both from children.

Take a gander at this homemade card from my niece Katie (shhhhh, She’s my favorite–don’t tell her brothers and sisters) after she received my stuffed monkey hand puppet on day 34::
The Front:

And on the back it reads:

Dear Uncle Mike,
Thank you very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, (that’s 11 verys for those keeping score at home) much for the monkey, (who she named) Charlie. He’s so cute. I think he really likes wearing funny glasses. I think my other monkeys will like him very much. Thank you sooooooo much. =) Love, Katie and Charlie

Now my niece is extremely polite but I didn’t expect to have a card waiting for me when we got back from the party that we had for her sister and brother that day. I walked into the house and she ran with glee to give me that card which sits firmly mounted on my office door.

“Unless you become like little children….”

Katie reminds me that sometimes my gratitude is rather sedate and it should always be completely filled with joy. We should be elated at even the tiniest of gifts and yet we are often spoiled by our abundance.

The second child is the son of my friends Joe and Tatiara. They recently adopted him from the orphanage that we all visited together in Nicaragua. Moises was a really cute kid and they decided that they would make him their own. He’s a special needs child and they’ve worked hard to give him more than he could have gotten medically in his own country.

We sent them a children’s book on adoption. And Tatiara read it to him the other night. Just read the reaction and I dare you not to tear up:

Just wanted to say thank you for thinking of us and our family! Moises LOVED the book. We told him the little baby was him and changed a few things in the story to make it his own personal story. After I read it he hugged the book and took it to his room to sleep. The next morning I peaked in on him at 5:30am and he was sitting in his bed trying to read it to himself and saying that it was him in belen (the name of the orphanage) and Mommy and Papi came to get him on the plane and we were all so happy. It was really sweet and meant a lot to him and us!! We will definetely try and put a life book together for him. Thank you for being a good friend! Hope to see you soon.

Pure gratitude! For a family of his own…something I often take for granted.

What are things that when you deeply reflect on them bring you lasting joy. St. Ignatius reminds us to look for those things with care. He found that joy in emulating the saints rather than being a brave and gallant soldier. Perhaps we are missing some things in our lives that are truly moments of great joy.

Lastly, my dog gives me a final reminder with regards to gratitude. I turn my key in the lock and off he runs to greet me at the door. Just the mention of the word “food” and haze contorts his body with glee. (Are we that happy to have even the blandest of food available to us? Especially when 2/3 of the world goes to bed hungry at night!).

I think that great creative genius Charles M. Schultz got it right when he gave us a wonderful description of what gratitude should look like…and it is delivered to us by that famous beagle, Snoopy: