Recognize. Turn back. Say thank you.


Emily Capes, Director of Youth Ministries, Lebanon FUMC

iStock_000013562031XSmallSaying thank you – learning to savor.

I’ve started to try to remember and then write down everything that I am thankful for. This has become a spiritual discipline of mine for the past couple of months.

Sometimes I miss a couple of days but I definitely take the time to reflect and remember and document. So I don’t forget. So I don’t forget and so I don’t forget to say thank you.

I have a list in a notebook that I keep in my backpack. And I have a list on my ipad.

– The people who come in and out of my life

– The words that a friend shares with me

– Laughter with my youth

– Time to drink coffee and read a good book

– The smell of the trees on a hike in the morning

Experiences. Views. The who, what, when, where and why… Really it can be anything!

Why I started this

I have a dear friend, Val who started this practice in the past year. She read Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts and took on writing out 1000 things she is thankful for. I remember when first I stumbled onto Val’s blog and read through a list of 50 things she is thankful for. It was so random and vulnerable and full of grace.

Reading Val’s list of thankfuls honestly challenged me. I feel like I am someone who is pretty good at recognizing moments as they are happening and maybe even saying thank you as they happen.

But I don’t always. And I certainly don’t always remember them.

I finally started. When I collect 50 different “Savorings”(what I call them) typed up in my ipad then I add them to my blog. Sometimes I can add 50 in a few days. And sometimes it’s over a couple of weeks.

It’s been a humbling experience. I am having a lot of fun remembering as much as I can. And it really doesn’t take a lot to do. But I do have to be intentional to do it.

“One of them turned back when he saw he was healed.

He thanked God with a loud voice. He got down on his face at the feet of Jesus and thanked Him. He was from the country of Samaria.” Luke 17:15-16


Most likely you are a youth leader. You’ve either already led a 30 Hour Famine or you are considering when to do it later this year (right?!). You intentionally take 30 hours(plus) every year to give up food, time, internet, sleep and more so that we and our youth can experience what other children and teenagers around the world go through on a daily basis.

Intentional time. Without.

The 30 Hour Famine experience changes us (youth and adults).

The 30 Hour Famine helps bring changes for them (children around the world).

So what if.

What if we spent intentional time throughout the year to experience and remember what we go through on a daily basis.

Intentional time. To say thank you.

It might be harder. To recognize, turn back and say thank you. EVERY DAY.

But by doing this maybe we can also encourage our youth to be more intentional to recognize, turn back and say thank you.

How could that change us?

How could it bring more changes for them?