Lately I have been reading a book called One Thousand Gifts. My sister gave it to me, and again she is right: it is great, provocative, potentially life changing. It is not fiction; I guess I would label it a memoir or maybe devotional. Ann Voskamp, the author, shares her journey from overwhelming grief to a life filled with thanksgiving and appreciation, a life—for her—that leads back to God. What initiates her journey is her journal where she records 1000 items that capture her attention and her thanks. It does not have to big things like world peace—just the day-to-day details and moments that often go overlooked.
For example, Ann’s list includes the following items:
- First frost’s crunch
- Kettle whistling for tea on a cold afternoon
- Mama delivering chicken soup to the back door
- Toothless smiles
Her gratitude makes sense to me, in part because I already note the items of nature that capture my eye and heart. But I never thought about keeping a catalog before of those items as well as of the daily occurrences that are easy to overlook. Her book suggests that slowing down to notice and appreciate these items can help set an attitude of gratitude for life. It’s the mindset that makes the difference. Ann starts realizing the power of her journal when a friend questions her about the change that is becoming evident: “Yes . . . you’ve changed.” Ann goes quiet, pondering how to respond, since she had not realized the change she was feeling was becoming visible.
Her thoughts capture her quandary: “I don’t say it, but I am thinking she may be right and I had felt it for months, the maturing, the swelling, the something different that had begun to happen. But I had thought the re-creation was still embryonic, a bud of hope. I hadn’t thought it had fully bloomed. I hadn’t thought that anyone could see the light in the eyes.” Her friend suggests the change is a result of the list she’s been writing. Slowly, Ann offers her answer, “’Yes . . . “ There. A moment. And yes. ‘It’s The List.’”
Since I had been thinking about writing my own list, this week seemed an especially good time to get started. After all, I had a special experience I could add to the list. No, I am not listing that I was freshly pressed—although that was terrific! I had already shared in an earlier posting that the sense of audience inherent in keeping a blog is powerful. Therefore, getting close to 1400 views in one day, almost more than I had received since I had started my blog months ago, was overwhelming. But my appreciation is being recorded for the sense of community that became real to me through the feedback provided by others. Some “liked” what I wrote, others left comments, and a handful subscribed.
It was the camaraderie, the shared experience that stays with me. To extend the connection, I have visited the blogs of those who stopped by—and was rewarded with wondrous entries that made me laugh and cry, took me to new worlds, or suggested new ideas to ponder. I collected book titles and recipes and travel destinations. It’s nice being a member of this blogging community—and that is what I am thankful for!
The other items I catalog as I start my list I share with my readers as a way of saying “Thanks!” Thanks for your feedback. Thanks for making me feel part of this blogging community. Here’s the start of my list—maybe you will find something here that you appreciate as well:
A sister who loves and supports me, and who I could always count on to play (as kids and adults)!
Being part of a blogging community
Roses in all their variety and splendor
Wind rustling through the trees unexpectedly about 3 am, catching my attention and then lulling me to sleep
The laughter of my neighbor’s kids as they run in from the pool
Snuggling under a blanket on a chilly morning
A cat’s ability to hide in plain sight
Seeing a wolf at Yellowstone, even though it was too far off to capture a picture
The satisfaction of finishing a novel that has kept me up all night
Catching glimpses of birds darting across a field, daring anyone to identify them
Dogs—mine from long ago that I still miss at times and any others I am lucky enough to meet along the way
Bringing a bit of spring indoors
So, THANKS, readers for being part of my blogging community. What are you grateful for?