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“The secret of happiness is to live moment by moment and to thank God for all that He, in His goodness, sends to us day after day." -St. Gianna Beretta Molla

It was a last-minute decision. The weather forecast looked good with clear skies and a mild fall day. Paul and I had a clearing in our work schedule. We seized the opportunity and we both took a personal day off work. I packed up my photography equipment so we would be ready for our early departure the next morning to catch the sunrise and fall colors. With our warm weather gear in hand, we left our house at 6 am, drove 45 minutes to our destination. I had been to this state park several times and knew a perfect spot by some waterfalls. When we arrived, my plans were dashed. The current drought dried up the waterfall. It was still dark. With our flashlights, we searched until we found a spot on the lake. After a little while, I wasn’t satisfied with our location and we moved to a higher spot in hopes there would be more fall color. We were moving quickly so we wouldn’t miss the sunrise. To my surprise, clouds moved in. It gave me more time to get set up. As I was waiting for the clouds to break, I wondered if we would even get to see the sun. Disappointment started to creep in - so much for that clear weather forecast! Eventually, the clouds broke for just a few moments, and I clicked away. It only lasted a short time and then the clouds rolled back in. I was grateful God blessed us with that brief moment!

We decided to move to a different state park about 20 minutes down the road. I was hoping the cloud cover would buy us a little time to still be able to get some shots before it got too bright. When we reached the second location, the fall colors were brilliant. I hadn’t taken photos at this park before so I wasn’t familiar with where I needed to be to catch good light. We happened to drive by this little brick cabin and I saw this gorgeous sunlight. It had been so cloudy. It came out of nowhere. I quickly jumped out of the car and got set up just in time to see this sunlight pour down on this bench. It was like God was inviting me to sit and rest in His light, His love. I felt the sun’s warmth on my cheeks after the cool fall morning. It truly was worth the early morning drive and frozen fingers!

That sunlight lasted only a short while before the thick, gray clouds came in for good. As I reflected back on that moment, I realized how much that relates to our life. That morning, as much as I was prepared, by checking the forecast, pre-packing all of the equipment and warm clothes, knowing the perfect spot to get a great photo at sunrise, nothing went as planned. It was out of my control.

When we moved to the second location, I had no expectations. I wasn’t super familiar with the location and it was getting later in the day. I wasn’t prepared. I was certainly keeping my eyes open but didn’t have a plan. It was in that moment, God blessed us with that beautiful light and I felt His presence. If I had not been looking for it, though, I would have missed it. It reminded me of how many times I miss God’s gifts because I’m not looking. I’m not spending consistent time in prayer. I’m too caught up in myself, focused on my to-do list or distracted by worldly things. It reminded me of the importance of keeping my eyes and focus on Him. While the rest of the day was cold and dreary, that moment I happened to catch was my gift as I felt God’s presence and my heart was full of gratitude for God and His great love.

This Thanksgiving, I invite you to take time to slow down and focus your eyes on Him. Take time to pray. It’s through prayerful contemplation and listening that our eyes and hearts are open to see His many graces. Prayer always lends me to being more grateful and joyful as I further experience God’s selfless love that He bestows so freely!

Finally, I would be remiss to take this opportunity to thank YOU! Thinking back on this year, I feel an overwhelming amount of gratitude! This ministry would not be possible without you. Thank you for your support and encouragement. Purchasing the Sacred Beauty prayer cards, reading the blog, sharing your stories, commenting and sharing feedback, reading my emails, it all means so much to me!

Thank you for supporting this ministry so together we can help each other encounter Christ and grow in His love.

As a token of my thanks, I am offering special pricing on the Sacred Beauty Prayer Cards. From now until Dec. 2, you will receive $5 off! You can get your cards here.

Be assured of my prayers for you and your families this Thanksgiving season! Thank you!

Reflection Questions

Spend time in prayer today reflecting back on the year and thanking God for the gifts you have received from Him. If you are experiencing hardships and suffering, sometimes this can be extremely challenging. I will leave you with this quote from St. John of Ávila: “A single ‘Blessed be God’ in adversity is worth more than a thousand acts of thanksgiving in prosperity.”

How can you better keep your eyes open to recognize God’s gifts in your daily life?

About the Author

Darcie Tallman is a child of God, a daughter of loving parents, a wife to an amazing husband and a mom to four precious souls. She has a passion for prayer, photography and being surrounded by God's beauty. With God's help and guidance, she created Sacred Beauty Prayer Cards, a prayer resource that incorporates photography, Scripture and storytelling.

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