I'm reading a great book right now, One Thousand Gifts. The author, Ann Voskamp took the suggestion from a friend to create a list of one thousand gifts, or one thousand blessings, that she experienced during her daily living. One thousand things that touched her heart in a simple and profound way, ultimately causing her to recognize the beauty and glory of God, producing joy and fulfillment within her heart. During her waking moments when she was struck with simple wonder or awe at something, whether it be the beauty of grated cheese piled high on a country plate before put on top of rising dough to make pizza for her kids, a windmill's droning in the evening breeze or moonlight on pillows, she would note these ordinary moments that produced gratitude within her heart down in a journal that was always within reach. They were all things that brought her a simple Joy and reminder of the loving Father we have and the world filled with glory He created for us to dwell in.
Voskamp shares some insights on gratitude from Albert Schweitzer:
"The greatest thing is to give thanks for everything. He who has learned this knows what it means to live...He who has penetrated the whole mystery of life; giving thanks for everything."
Voskamp talks a lot about the ancient Greek word eucharisteo, and how within this word three meanings can be found. Charis means grace, Eucharisteo, thanksgiving and Chara, Joy. When we take part in the eucharist (or communion), we break bread and observe God's grace that He gave us through the sacrifice of His only son. Being thankful and the realization of God's grace and love for us produces Joy. Gratitude's greatest gifts are joy and the realization of God's great love for us. How beautiful!
I have written much on the present moment and how transforming it is, but a list like this, I have yet to create, at least to such an extent as I am now attempting. It sounds like something that has a potential to draw one deeper into gratitude's depths and deeper into a more fulfilling life of joy. So, I'm joining my book study group (who I am reading this book with) in trying out this discipline, of recording a thousand blessings...and who knows, maybe I won't stop there! I would love it if you would join me and create your own. Whether you completely contribute and make a list during your day on your own and set your goal (like mine) at one thousand blessings, or after reading my posts regarding Gratitude's Gifts leave a few of the moments that you were thankful for that you remember throughout your day or week, I'd love to have you share your precious moments here as I share mine with you.
So...here's the beginning of my list :)
1. music turned loud while I take a long hot shower
2. fellowship's sweet laughter
3. water running down cliffs lining the trail's edge
4. warm towels right out of the dryer
5. a chorus of birds overhead singing in a new day
6. the river's song as inifinite beginnings of rushing and falling water serenade my soul
7. light filtering through delicate leaves
8. tiny hands clasped in prayer
9. carpets of moss lining the forest floor
10. paint, shiny and wet, thick on my son's hands
11. my daughter reading to me
12. the sun's warm rays penetrating my skin, making me feel alive
13. wind's gentle whisper, causing goosebumps to rise, soul to stir
What are some of the blessings you have discovered today, or in your week? Please share them in the comments section!