Everyday Gratitude

Service for Twelve
Little Mercies
I don’t love to shop. In fact I don’t even like to shop. When we need stuff, I feel a burden to be a good steward of our resources and make wise choices, but I don’t enjoy the thrill of searching for Just The Right Thing to meet our needs.
So when Rich and I recently decided to replace our everyday dishes, I wasn’t excited about the prospect. The need was legitimate: our previous set was eight or nine years old. The glazing on the mugs had cracked (probably due to microwave abuse) and a dinner plate and bowl had fallen victim to slippery hands at the kitchen sink, so I only had seven complete settings. I had selected the old dishes before I met Rich, and while he was gracious about using them, their style was not to his taste.
Before deciding to replace our set, I checked with Replacements, Ltd. for the cost to replace the cracked mugs and broken pieces. Since the stoneware pattern had been discontinued, remaining stock had become prohibitively expensive.
We resigned ourselves to new dishes and commenced shopping. After a few months of investigating sales and being disappointed, we decided to choose another pattern from the same stoneware maker who’d made our old dishes; other than the abused mugs, the dishes looked like new despite years of daily use.
We settled on a pattern and I began shopping for price. One morning I discovered that the manufacturer was offering a big pre-holiday sale: we could order service for 12 for a fabulous price. I ordered the dishes.
The manufacturer promptly sent me a coupon good for a 20 percent discount on our next order. Rich and I discussed it and decided to order serving pieces. With the sale still running and the extra discount, we bought platters, serving bowls, a gravy boat, sugar and creamer–all the pieces I wanted–for a great price.
We had spent just over $300 on our new dishes. With our growing family, I was pleased to have service for 12 and we were both relieved that the dish-selection ordeal was behind us.
Then it dawned on me. If my old dishes commanded such a high price, perhaps the china-matching service would buy mine? I  requested a quote.
You might imagine our surprise when Replacements offered us $332 for our used, incomplete service for eight (minus mugs) and two serving dishes. We used the boxes, bubble wrap, and filler from our shipment of  new dishes to carefully pack the old. Less than  a week later, we received a check in the mail for the quoted amount.
It’s easy for me to remember to thank God for His big mercies–the arrival of a healthy baby, a healed relationship, a loved one’s protection from harm.
The little stuff comes from Him, too. Little things like socks. And new dishes. His provision is endless.
My gratitude should be, too.
24 I will answer them before they even call to Me.
While they are still talking about their needs,
I will go ahead and answer their prayers!
Isaiah 65:24 (NLT)
Edited on December 5, 2010 to add:
After I posted this entry, its incompleteness gnawed at me, as I’d neglected to discuss the more challenging form of gratitude. I “finished” this post with an additional post, which you can find here.