Nine years ago, I read the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp and had my mind radically transformed by the power of gratitude. The idea of recognizing, writing down, and giving thanks for the every day, the “common grace,” the taken for granted, the beautiful ordinary – this was one that I embraced without hesitation and started weaving into my routine.
That first year, I faithfully wrote down three things every night that I was thankful for – sometimes following Ann Voskamp’s prompts and sometimes just writing down my own gifts – and I made it to 1000 in a year. There have clearly been days – and even seasons – where I was not as faithful in recording my gratitude (otherwise I’d be at 9000 by now), but the practice has made me see God’s goodness to me in astounding new ways.
In seasons of ease and celebration, there seemed to be an overflow of things I could write down. And then in seasons of sadness and doubt and darkness, I learned to see the beauty of what God was doing, even despite the tears. And I also learned to see that there were daily joys even in the midst of the hardest times.
Gratitude is the most popular, at least in the US, during the month of November as we look forward to Thanksgiving. And I do love reading people’s gratitude posts on Facebook – it’s a welcome relief from the angry political stuff. But I’m grateful that I have learned to make it a daily practice – a rhythm of life to end each day with.
And as I look back through my four gratitude journals, I find that it has also become a snapshot of my days – and the more I re-read them, the more joy it brings me in remembering all of these thousands of blessings.
So tonight, I’m just going to go through them and pull out some highlights from these seven thousand gifts … and who knows – you just might start thinking of a few things you’re grateful for along the way.
7. the curve of the white picket fence in the twilight
22. making celery disappear by eating it while dancing
31. yellow pencil to scribble new thoughts and ideas with.
48. discussion with a dear friend about BBC favorites.
66. that He gives us Mondays as reminders of His gracious second chances.
80. brother’s guitar music wafting into my bedroom
83. faithful, traditional emails with Kel-belle
103. converse shoelaces tied tightly for dancing
115. phone that dies and lets me concentrate on being fully in the moment.
140. dancers’ silhouettes outlined on the floor
160. praying with Emily Joy
165. little moose that hangs on my keychain and always lets me find my keys
183. a dear grandmother’s birthday and the legacy she has left for us to follow
205. sickness that requires me to lean on His strength
237. wee little nap in the library
262. “like a weaned child with his mother” (Ps. 131:2)
301. pizza on the pizza stone with Mama
357. a best friend who calls me Lyddie
389. surprise May Day Bouquet left on my windshield
439. even though being thoroughly exhausted, smiling all the way home because of CYT
452. praying with Jenna in the attic right before the ceremony
459. drive with Karli! And such good talks and such good worship music
462. photoshoots with Gwen … and awkward family pictures
481. walking in heels into Starbucks
511. 50’s music … and a dad who knows
526. nerpiness with Mags
549. talking to Nikki for half an hour while parked in a parking lot
558. at long last … seeing my name on the cast list next to a dream role – what a gift. And with Maggie and Amy and Rick and Beth … ohhh what a gift.
588. words by Charles Dickens that catch me unawares and spring tears to my eyes
1101. screaming and throwing paper into the cold night air with Danika
1292. Bethie and I being twinners
1302. thimbles and happy thoughts
1359. Addie Dibble making my day bearable
1380. tea, Cody Fry, future children’s names, and sweatpants
1545. hearing them call me Miss Kinne [for the first time!]
1739. golden, shimmering summer shadows
1817. yellow gifts for Hailley Jo
1830. when the jeans are 40% off
2127. the beautiful release of lanterns at midnight on a freezing cold night
2141. a mama who can always tell when I need rest
2186. the laughter of family over games (esp. Dad at Scattergories!) and “The Office”
2193. sharing “Saving Mr. Banks” with Joseph
2216. seeing Lisa and Theo at the end of my long day
2232. RSVP pens
2354. Emily Kate Ferguson
2357. sunsets that match with worship songs
2387. right theology – and the pastors who teach it to us
2419. sitting in my Miah-chair just talking to Vicki Ann
2461. the joy of Theo learning to blow bubble gum bubbles
2483. Jessica [Belisle] understanding what my seven years at CYT has meant to me
2497. the way those HYPE kids make me laugh
2584. smashing watermelons and late night conversations
2615. that a little boy all the way on the other side of the world whom I’ve never met would say, “I remember you every moment.”
2629. my BAEs (Morgan, Madi, Alyssa, Anna)
2657. the way Maggie looked as she came down the aisle
2694. writing by the lake
2832. a houseguest named Nikki wo doesn’t mind burned French bread, failed trips to the theater, and trying to put together a TV with a paperclip and a seam ripper
2926. when kids resolve conflict peacefully
3011. the feeling after that last conference was done
3034. frosty walks with sisters
3119. chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast
3194. brother-sister bonds that never go away
3199. a loving community in our college group
3363. how my classroom has come to feel like home
3368. CYT opening nights and all the love
3371. laughter with Emily and Libby
3626. that my Jesus loves me no matter how ugly my heart
3675. saying no to overcommitment
3738. Davis’ peach cobbler
3827. blowing dandelions at sunset with Brittany
3837. broccoli that didn’t taste horrible
3934. old students coming in for hugs
3990. my Edge college ministry people + Fall Retreats
4292. just resting on the couch and letting my tears flow to Jesus
4346. family times at Mom & Dad’s with the Matthews
4464. when the chemistry between Snow and the Prince is just perfect
4483. first opening night as a CYT director
4600. brand new character shoes that come with a snack and a coupon!
4800. when kids get excited about writing
4883. hot cups of tea for squeaky voices
4898. when Mom makes lasagna and we share it with the oldest nephew
4914. friends who gift you a Christmas village for your birthday
5048. learning through writing my book
5101. a hairdresser who understands me
5178. talking with Jerod and Sarah about men’s and women’s roles and their beautiful example
5196. just sitting curled up in a blanket with a cozy dog on my lap, tea in hand, talking with sister Valerie
5199. beach waves + a sister who looks like me + a teahouse + the theater all in one day
5374. being able to remember my childhood so clearly
5489. Lisa calling me in the middle of a funk
5581. the comfort of naps and baking cookies on a Sunday afternoon
5617. holding sleeping babies for an hour
5629. soul sister time with Jessica Belisle
5686. Linda making my tutus for me
5793. messy hair, don’t care
5815. that I’m not homeless
6014. that I still have my job
6129. colorful umbrellas
6427. finding toilet paper at Trader Joe’s
6439. walking + talking with Pam
6572. talking with Joy and having it relieve some of my anxiety
6650. my name on the beautiful teacup
6842. spending time with Jessica and Shalom
6847. a quiet home at the end of the day
7011. the rain and a cozy dog to cuddle with and a movie
7014. routines and vitamins
Photo by Matti Johnson on Unsplash.
2 thoughts on “7014 Gifts … and Counting”
My but you inspire me Lydia ☺️ So lovely written (such bad English on my part just then 😂) Carry on girl! Love you! 😘
Thank you, Linda! Love you, too!