Here is the vase that she gave to me this week...
and the one that I gave to her.
Obviously, we could each have simply gathered our own cut flowers, but we would lose the gift of other-ward intentionality and lose its deep soul benefit, too.
Thus, "I think I'd like a vase of flowers on the table," becomes "Her in-laws are coming. A vase of fresh flowers would be good for her right now." In this way, having a vase of flowers becomes an act of receiving rather than an act of gathering. Giving a vase of flowers becomes pure grace, for it costs nothing and invites a return in kind.
They are small things, but they are the stuff of a blooming soul.
Do not disdain the small. The whole of life--even the hard--is made up of the minute parts, and if I miss the infinitesimals, I miss the whole. These are new language lessons, and I live them out. There is a way to live the big of giving thanks in all things. It is this: to give thanks in this one small thing. The moments will add up.
I, too, had read it often, the oft-quoted verse: 'And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ' (Ephesians 5:20). And I, too, would nod and say straight-faced, 'I'm thankful for everything.' But in this counting gifts, to one thousand, more, I discover that slapping a sloppy brush of thanksgiving over everything in my life leaves me deeply thankful for very few things in life. A lifetime of sermons on 'thanks in all things' and the shelves sagging with books on these things and I testify: life-changing gratitude does not fasten to a life unless nailed through with one very specific nail at a time. Little nails and a steady hammer can rebuild a life..."
--1000 Gifts, Ann VosKamp