faith

My 50 Day New Life Challenge List

Fifty days ago it was Easter Sunday. Shortly after that I wrote about the bluebonnets, inspired by a trip across Texas where the bluebonnets and their friends were in full show-off mode. I wrote, the bluebonnets are a tangible sign that we cannot only survive hard times but possibly come out of those times even brighter.

I was so excited about all that new life that I issued a challenge for the 50 days between Easter and Pentecost so that we could practice the discipline of gratitude. I reminded us all that Easter wasn’t just a day, it was a season so we had more than one chance to practice new life. We’d collectively been focused on counting darker things in the months leading up to Easter, like numbers of Covid cases and deaths, jobs lost, election numbers and all the other tough things in those months. Why not count signs of new life instead?

I know some of you did the challenge with me, you told me so. Some may have started and forgot. I had a couple of days where I missed a day and had to think back about what I’d seen the day before.

Here is my list:

  1. Bluebonnets and friends, radiant and in show-off mode despite the earlier deep Texas freeze.
  2. Baby River, our grandson, rolled over. He is our pandemic baby who is one big sign of new life/growth.
  3. Bluebird right outside my study window, so close I could see a tiny checkerboard pattern on his wings.
  4. Baby River’s smile and twinkling eyes after I had not seen him for a week.
  5. Bright sliver of a moon when I walked early one morning.
  6. Gorgeous sunny spring weather, blue skies, tiny breeze, high in the 70’s day.
  7. Flowers planted along a storefront…yellow, pink, purple.
  8. Baby River’s kisses. You know the kind where they just open their mouth and slime you?
  9. Spring rain, gentle, hydrating.
  10. My patio with pots of flowers, green everywhere, a fountain gurgling.
  11. Our two older grandsons riding their scooters into the sunset.
  12. East Texas pine trees creating a cathedral reminding me to look up.
  13. Spring green after an all day rain: new, vivid, lime green.
  14. Early morning birds’ songs in East Texas.
  15. Sunset through the pine trees followed by the moon and stars.
  16. Refreshing feel and smell of a spring cold front.
  17. The smell of freshly cut grass.
  18. A bright pink Bougainvillea a friend gave me.
  19. More soaking, soothing rain.
  20. Tiny spring flowers in small vases inside my home.
  21. A radiantly sunny day with lunch outside.
  22. Baptizing an infant for a family I love.
  23. The pink super moon.
  24. Listening to baby River sing and coo.
  25. Soft rain, hearing it; door open, smelling it.
  26. Our 3 grandsons sitting together in two chairs pushed together; a makeshift container of new life.
  27. Green, green, green, everywhere.
  28. Golden yellow wildflowers lining the roadway, filling whole fields.
  29. Birds singing in the dark, just before dawn.
  30. Open windows and doors, our house filled with fresh air.
  31. Reading outside in surround sound nature with panoramic view of spring.
  32. A red bird drinking out of my fountain.
  33. A pink and purple sunrise.
  34. An orange sunset with a vivid silver lining.
  35. A sunny day for a Mother’s Day brunch outside.
  36. More cool rain, changing the atmosphere, feeding the lakes and ground
  37. Low thunder with a hard rain, door open, who cares if it rains in, nap on the couch.
  38. That baby’s smile again.
  39. Writing in my study with the window open.
  40. Our four year old grandson picking me a one tiny purple/pink flower, his proud happy face.
  41. On a porch with the birds singing at the top of their lungs as the sun rises pink.
  42. Early morning drive with dark clouds on one side and a golden sunrise on the other.
  43. A mockingbird nest on the corner of my son’s new home…a new home on a new home.
  44. A gray day capped off with the sun out just at dusk
  45. Iced tea with fresh mint I grew.
  46. A patio lunch (in person!) with a friend under a covered shade while it gently rained.
  47. A tiny yellow finch outside my door.
  48. Our first homegrown red ripe tomato of the season.
  49. A barely there creek promoted to a rushing river.
  50. A yellow butterfly.

The debrief:

I found this more challenging than I expected, especially because I wanted to notice something a little different every day and because I seem fairly good at forgetting my own challenge.

It is easy to let the days go by and NOT notice anything. What a shame that is.

50 days is kind of a long time.

-During these same 50 days some really tough things happened as well as some emotional milestones and just about everything in between. Life is always so mixed. It would have been easy to be swallowed up by the dark and difficult, all the more reason to notice the good.

Gratitude does take discipline.

-God supplies a countless parade of gorgeous, colorful, amazing glimpses of resurrection if only we will look/notice/worship/respond. From Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, Search for deep treasure as you go through this day. You will find Me all along the way. (May 23 entry)

I wonder what this season of Easter was like for you? Reviewing my list and sharing it makes it even more stunning and beautiful I think. Email me (drcindyryran@verizon.net) your list of 50 if you want to share it or post it on Facebook. I’d love to see what God showed you during this Easter season.

Today is Pentecost. It is the day we celebrate the empowering/birthing of the church by the gift of the Holy Spirit. What a great and amazing follow up to Easter.

I’ve been so troubled in the past months by the continuing division in our country and community around so many issues. I was reminded this morning by Richard Rohr’s writing that Pentecost revealed that we really are all ONE and that the day of Pentecost brought people together while retaining their differences. He writes, We aren’t looking for everyone to be the same, uniform, alike in belief and expression of belief, rather, we seek the hard fought and much deeper unity of the Spirit which was given us all to drink. (1 Corinthians 12:13). Here we must study, pray, wait, reconcile, and work to achieve true unity…. Can we live into our Oneness in God now? Until we do, he writes, we are all lost in separation. (Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation, May 23, 2021)

God invited us in this Easter season to pay attention and notice the new life treasures hidden in each day. God delivered.

Today God invites us to hold on to our beautiful diversity and yet be One. God has promised the Holy Spirit to help us with that, filling in all the gaps with grace. May it be so.

Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, wife, mother of three, breast cancer survivor and Mosa to Keller, Pace and River. Go to http://www.drcindyryanblog.com for more blogs and other news. This Tuesday will be the last Jesus Calling Prayer Call for a while so be sure and call in at 7 a.m. CST or listen to the recording. Dr. Ryan will also be sharing her last Inner Circle Top Ten email on June 1st before a summer break until August. Sign up by 5-31-21 to receive it. Dr. Ryan is also taking a break from blogging for two months in order to relax, refuel and refresh.

2 thoughts on “My 50 Day New Life Challenge List”

  1. Hooray for summer break! After a challenging last summer and school year I am embracing mine w gusto!!! I know you will too. Miss you.

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