You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance. Psalm 65:11 NLT
I am a Bounty Hunter. Well, I am learning to be a Bounty Hunter. Not the kind like Dog, the Reality TV celebrity and not the kind that looks for quicker-picker-upper paper towels. Of course, by “bounty” I mean
/boun(t)ē/. noun: generosity; liberality, abundance; plenty.
It all started one quiet morning when the kids had all left for school. I was reading a book that my friend recommended, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. The book describes Voskamp’s transforming experiences as she rose to her friend’s challenge to name one thousand blessings–one thousand gifts. She likened her experience to a hunter that is not looking for animal flesh but for Beauty Meat.
I began to reflect and noted that in the Spring and Summers of my life, I didn’t have to hunt as God’s marvelous bounty of beauty was obvious and easily captured . It was all around me. Shamefully, I admit, it was not always treasured nor did it direct my praise to Him who provided it as it ought to have. It was mostly taken for granted as it was easy to be found.
Yes, there were times in my past when I had “hunted” and successfully seen God’s bounty, (RECLAIM! REFRAME!) (THE WILDERNESS WILL REJOICE AND BLOSSOM) but this book was referring to a way of life. Sadly, there, I came up lacking–particularly in the Winters of my life. Like the winter solstice when the axial tilt of Earth is farthest away from the sun, God, in my Winters had seemed so far away.
I have observed that praiseful Bounty Hunters who daily find God’s goodness in even the little details of Spring and Summers go on to do some of their best hunting in Winter. Sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch have been developed so keenly during the good times, that when Winters approach, their sharpened senses and spirit easily capture the bounty lurking in the cold sunless barren wintertime. I have seen them “bag” their biggest goodnesses during their Winters of imprisonment, grief, illness, poverty and disappointment.
Oh Lord, make me a hunter of your bounty. Everyday, may I see your generous beauty. Especially in the Winter, when the blizzard wind tries to blind me from the Bounty-Beast that we are promised is there. (Psalm 65:11 NLT)
I am inspired by the words of Brother Lawrence, from the book, The Practice of the Presence of God. “How happy we would be if we could find the treasure of which the Gospel speaks; all else would be as nothing. As it is boundless, the more you search for it the greater the riches you will find; let us search unceasingly and let us not stop until we have found it.”
As a newly determined Bounty Hunter, I set out each day to capture the beauty that is all around me and offer it up as a sacrifice of thanksgiving.
The photograph my middle daughter snapped of her baby sister’s chocolate-covered jubilant smile as she licks the brownie batter from a mixing bowl.
Awakening to the sensation of warmth I feel when my husband unexpectedly takes my hand into his in the middle of the night as I lay sleeping.
The daughter-made crocheted blanket lovingly created from the softest yarn available this side of heaven that envelopes me with kingly comfort as I read a favorite book.
Watching video feed of my wheelchair-bound twenty-year-old son pedaling a bike for the first time that has been messaged to me directly from the phone of his rejoicing Physical Therapist.
The last spurs me on to pursue with diligence the more arduous Winter Bounty Hunting, honing skills that I know will bring spiritual profit. I set out on expeditions sometimes armed with just my iphone. Other times I bring the “big guns” like my pocket or DSLR camera. Adrenaline pumping from the thrill of the hunt, my eyes scan the terrain in front of me roving back and forth. To my surprise the bounty is everywhere! EVEN in the middle of winter! I am not disappointed.
These days, I start my mornings with the first prayer I memorized as a child,
Bless us, Oh Lord,
and these thy gifts which
we are about to receive
from thy bounty,
through Christ, Our Lord.
… although it is a mealtime blessing, somehow today it seems extraordinarily appropriate! LH
(The following photos are Winter Bounty! To see more, follow BetterOffRead on Flickr or Instagram. If you have “Bounty Hunting” photos of your own that you would like to share on Flickr or Instagram, tag them #betteroffread or #bountyhunters.)
An orchard a few blocks from my house. PHOTO SOURCE
Southern View from Badger Mountain of nearby Vineyard. PHOTO SOURCE
Taken while on a walk with my husband. PHOTO SOURCE
Taken near Goldendale, WA on Hwy 97. PHOTO SOURCE
Taken near Goldendale, WA on Hwy 97. PHOTO SOURCE
Taken in my backyard on Thanksgiving morning. PHOTO SOURCE
PHOTO SOURCE: by Dr. David Willis at Yosemite in January 2014.
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