It’s September in the Coloma Valley. As I walk through camp, the shell beads on my dress make music as they gently clink against each other. Otherwise my dusty moccasins are silent in the dry grass. There is little sound besides the singing of birds in the tall trees, and the splashing of the nearby river on the rocks.  That may not seem unusual, but the fact that the clearing is scattered with dozens of 3rd graders and their parents makes the relative quiet nothing short of remarkable.

Grinding RocksThese adventurous children (led by their even more adventurous teacher!) have come to our Native American living history program to learn about the lives of the Maidu people. Though I was not born into the Maidu tribe, I have a great appreciation for many of the ways they lived and the attitudes they had.

Thankfulness and appreciation are attitudes that – in modern American culture – can be difficult to cultivate. However, for the Maidu here at Rock-N-Water, they are woven into everyday life like strips of willow in a basket.

We worship the one true Creator God, and as we go about our lives hunting, fishing, and gathering food and resources, we give thanks to Him for providing us with all that we need. These fall days are often quiet, but when school groups come to adventure through this history field trip with us, using their imaginations and practicing their “pretending” skills, our camp fills with noise of laughter and fun.

Now the afternoon is drawing to a close, and, as I said before, camp has grown quiet again. We are all spread out across the clearing, sitting quietly, praying, remembering the day, and thinking of all that we have to be thankful for. We remember the words from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

It’s amazing how simply stopping to consider what we have to thank God for enables us to see how blessed we really are. So many little things that we take for granted, like tasty food, a comfortable bed, cool water to drink, people to love…when we look them over, we realize the weight of our blessings.

We wave goodbye to our visitors, tired, dusty, happy. It was a good day. I thank God for the good friends here that I work with; for the dear people that come to adventure with us; for legs to stand on, though I am tired! I have much to be thankful for.

What about you? When was the last time you took inventory of what you have to be thankful for? It’s amazing, if you take some time to stop, sit and consider, what you will find in your bundle of blessings that you didn’t realize was there.