Learn Something New Every Day!


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?

Comments on: "Saying THANKS" (32)

  1. To live a life of gratitude each day brings me closer to God and makes me value and appreciate things that before I took for granted. That was a very good book you shared and I’m sure that via your post, a lot of hearts will be touched. great post.

  2. Wonderful, sensitive post! You capture so many of those special moments that are so easy to overlook in the rush of the day. I spent a day appreaciating just yesterday…sitting by the ocean with the wind blowing the waves watching gulls and a comorant. Thanks for sharing and helping me appreciate those moments.

    • WOW. I have not been to the beach in some time–but I am already processing so many memories that I know my next visit will generate tons of items on my gratitude list. Like Walt Whitman I just love the soothing power of the waves! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Beautifully written. I appreciate this line – “slowing down to notice and appreciate these items can help set an attitude of gratitude for life.” Oh there is so much out in front of us each day to notice, but we are blind in our haste.

    One thing I’m thankful for is my positive, even-keeled nature, which makes the day so much easier because I don’t have a constant burr in my shorts.

    • I wish you could bottle that attitude for everybody! Most of the problems in the world–small and grand–would probably not exist if those involved shared a calm attitude. Thanks for sharing. I will be trying to keep the burrs out of my shorts too!

  4. Deborah the Closet Monster said:

    Wha?! I didn’t notice you were Freshly Pressed-congrats!

    Things I’m grateful for right now:
    * It’s a beautiful Friday
    * The lack of severity of last night’s car accident
    * The way my son keeps demonstrating new words and knowledge every day. (This morning, he proclaimed the dog gate “stuck” though it was in fact closed!)
    * I got to spend a few hours alone with my S.O. earlier this week
    * One of my mom’s favorite songs playing on the radio right now
    * The My Little Pony dolls on either side of my monitor. I may be at work, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be silly, too!
    * Your entries, which always make me smile and reflect on just how good I have it

    • Aren’t you sweet? I always look forward to your posts–they are fresh and engaging. And I am realizing I can add the adventures of Lil’D to my list–I do not have a youngster inmy day to day life these and truly love hearing about his adventures into the world. Thanks for sharing.

      • Deborah the Closet Monster said:

        I’ll be posting a few pics (and another vid) of our Colorado trip on Monday, so hopefully that’ll earn another smile or two!

        That’s not the heart of the comment I want to leave, though. I’m having the hard time finding the right words for a simple message, which is that I love your words . . . but I love this comment especially, for some reason. I’m going to print it out and carry it with me.

        I’ll do that sometime after I’ve gone to sleep and awakened again, because the amount of time it took me to type that means it’s clearly bedtime!

        Thank you for giving me something else to look forward to 🙂

  5. A thankful list! I like the idea. Maybe I will make another page on my blog just for that and do it daily. We all could add some thankfulness to our own world and the rest of the world could benefit!
    Congrats on being FP!

    • Being FPed was great–I am still feeling the benefits of that exposure. I am keeping my list daily now, but had not thought to make it a daily item on my blog–interesting idea. I expect I will post on it occasionally, but thus far I am only able to post a couple times a week.

      • Update! I started my page and gave you the credit for my idea! I will see how it goes.

      • Thanks. I am new to this social network experience, so being cited it new! An item for my gratitude list. I am keeping my own list but not blogging it yet. I will check in on your site soon and see what details and comments are being shared.

  6. Yesterday morning was the graduation ceremony at my high school. (I’m a teacher.) That gave me something big to be thankful for. Several things, in fact: my students, my school, and the upcoming summer vacation. The weather was perfect, too.

    • Thanks for the memories. I used to teach English at a community college and each year’s graduation was a treasure as the students walked across the stage, stepping out into their new lives. Thanks, too, for working at the high school level–the challenges there take a special kind of person!

  7. skippingstones said:

    A very nice post! I love Harold’s idea of a Thankfulness Page – I just may steal that idea. And maybe if a few of us do that, and our friends, family and fellow bloggers read these pages – think of the positive effect we can have on each other, not to mention ourselves.

    See, look at the changes you’re creating already.

    • Thanks. It is always great to hear feedback that something makes sense. And I like your idea that as we each appreciate more, deliberately, that we will infect others with the positive thankful attitude. I am adding your bright outlook to my appreciation list!

  8. Deborah the Closet Monster said:

    A couple of the comments that have come in reminded me of my (now quite old) “Things I Can Groove To” list:

    Something I’m grateful for right now? In my efforts to find that link, I just found something I had to have written at least 12-13 years ago–since that’s when I last touched the webpage!–but which is startlingly, wonderfully applicable today:
    In looking at who I was in the past, it’s sometimes hard to reconcile that memory with who I am today – and yet, without the things I once did and the ways I once was, I would not be the person I am today. In moments of pain and moments of joy alike, I have no complaints about who that person is. That’s not a start. That’s home.

    • Very profound. . . and rings true for me as well. I think I have been authentic to each self in my past, even as I have now grown beyond them. They are still there as remnants or echoes of who I am today–a reminder that as we grow and elvolve we may shed out skins but still stay true to our core self. Live and learn–great concept. Thanks for sharing. You have been sharing a lot lately on your blog–with courage and insight. Thanks for that sharing too.

  9. So, I created my Thankfulness page, if you’re interested: http://steadilyskippingstones.wordpress.com/thankful/

    I linked you and Harold!

    • I am! Thanks for the update. I will check out your page today. I am keeping my list but not posting it everyday. Your once a week idea sounds more to my time frame.

  10. […] Patti @ Learn More Everyday writes with a keen eye toward what is beautiful and worth giving thanks for […]

  11. […] in June, I talked about my plan to start a list of 1000 things I am thankful for—and I have been working on that ever since.  […]

  12. […]  I’ve learned about whales and elephants on her site, too.  Plus she started me on my Thankfulness journey.  For which I’m […]

  13. […] when Patti did the post for saying thanks, it really opened my eyes to the fact that…and not that I haven’t been told these things […]

    • You have always been so honest and open as you shared your gratitude journal, you have been an inspiration. Thanks!

      • Thank you for saying that, Patti. I know my post was long, but I was overdue for an update :). Time goes by so fast! I guess that was part of the difficulty with keeping a daily update.

      • I hear you about the time factor in keeping the gratitude journal, just in posting to the blog. I have only committed myself to posting a couple times a week and have not kept to that. I keep the gratitude journal but I do not share it very often. Keep doing what you are doing!

  14. […] my thanks and appreciation more consistently and more often.  It is not a new focus as I have talked about gratitude several times in the past.  My problem is that lately I’ve been noticing pet peeves more and […]

  15. Wow! Patti, that is amazing that we wrote along the same lines and referenced the same book. I will definitely be keeping up with your writings. Any secrets for getting so many views in a day? It is so much fun to feel you can share some encouragement with others. My dream is a published work. I consider you a new friend and I’m always grateful for new friends!

    • Grateful for new friends, indeed! Thanks for stopping by. I have been drawn to quite a few blogs that focus on gratitude periodically as well. I have no advice on getting viewers–dumb luck of being selected for fresh pressed, when there does not even seem to be any criteria. Otherwise, just keep writing. It amazes me when I have not written in a while that readers still stumble upon my site. The blogging community is great. Another thing to be thankful for!

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