Welcome: An Introduction

Sharing the insights I discover as I explore and experience the mystery that is our reality. Join me in my journey and share yours.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Gratitude's Greatest Gifts

When we show gratitude to God for the gifts he gives us, joy begins to blossom within our hearts, drawing us deeper into richer and more fulfilled living.  Part of the process of recognizing the gifts that abundantly surround us, but all too often go unnoticed, is consciously naming those things which we feel thankful for. Those things that cause us to pause and take a breath, savoring their simple existence. Oftentimes, it's the things found in the simplest moments of the present which bring an internal awareness within us of our loving Creator.

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!


  1. my sister's arrival
    a loving and fun-filled week with my nieces
    days together as a family
    rest from work and the net
    a call from india
    our website's launch
    a hold of our dummy journal

    i thank the Lord for every single day that He keeps me out of my sick bed jessica... for the days i could breathe in air and feel the warmth of the sun... for the quality time we spent as family... issues we are able to resolve within the day... for all those times we are able to let go of our stresses at work... and hug each other at the end of the day... for all the people i meet each and every day...

    thanks for this wonderful post jessica...i was able to count all my blessings ;)

  2. I'm reading this at 6:40 am. This is a great reflection to start my day. Your lovely list is inspiring! :)

  3. Hi Jessica -

    My 2 boys
    good health
    loving parents
    waking up early in the morning
    writing stories again
    and poems
    making people laugh
    laughing at myself
    snow fall
    spring flowers
    cold water
    helping others
    lifting weights
    nice smile from pretty woman
    God's love
    God's forgiveness
    toilet paper

    I can go on forever. Thank you Jessica. Happy weekend to you :)

  4. Being thankful (for anything) is a gift in and of itself. It's sister to acceptance and can carry us much farther than any material possession. In fact, the less we have in life the less our gratitude will be watered down, and the happier we'll be for it!

  5. My daughter’s recovery and healing
    God’s grace that kept us through that long dark night of suffering
    The cool rain today refreshing the earth and my soul
    A long-stem rose and a quart of strawberries from little Seth & Sam
    Lily’s love of music
    Time to contemplate and commune with God undisturbed
    The Dallas Mavericks’ win
    Anne’s inspiring book, One Thousand Gifts
    Sam’s 8th birthday celebration
    Freedom to grow and learn together as a family

  6. Melissa, thank you so much for sharing your many blessings, they are beautiful!!! I was blessed to read them, they brightened up my morning!

  7. Samantha, I'm so glad you enjoyed this post and my list, may you have a blessed day! Thank you for coming by and sharing your thoughts :) ~blessings

  8. Books,
    Jesus (probably should've been first!!),
    Church family,
    I could go on...

  9. Hi Jessica, when I read your comment on the "Friday Moment" yesterday I was wondering where you will be able to find 10,000 things to be grateful for. In fact I was thinking about my own list and it seemed almost impossible to fill in all the blank spaces. But now I know 10,000 things to be grateful for is not impossible at all :)

    God bless and have a great weekend.


  10. Charles..great list..I particularly like the part about the toilet paper..what would we ever do without that!?! ;) Thanks for stopping by. ~blessings

  11. Justin, your words always carry wisdom :) The writer of the book shared some similiar thoughts regarding acceptance, saying that gratitude was accepting what God gives us in life. Thanks for visiting :)

  12. A list full of beautiful and simple treasures..thank you Debra. Those strawberries sound refreshing, and what a lovely atmosphere when eaten in the company of roses. And Ann's book is a blessing indeed! Have you read it? Thanks for stopping by :)

  13. Mike, isn't it awesome that our God is so great that we could just go on and on and on with our lists? A God of infinite wonders! Thanks for visiting and sharing some of your blessings :)

  14. Nelieta, amen to that! May we all open ourselves up greater to see the abundant gifts that surround us. I loved your moment by the way :) Thanks for coming by :)

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  16. Hi,

    I've been enjoying your blog. For this reason, I have given you an award, "The Versatile Blogger Award".

    Please collect your award at http://psychicquietsound.blogspot.com Blessings, Quietsound

  17. This is a beautiful idea. This morning (mother's day) some of the things I was thankful for:
    1. mothers
    2. daughters
    3 grandchildren
    4 birds
    5 everything in bloom
    6 attention received
    7 great food
    8 LOVE

  18. I love this simple and yet beautiful idea :-)

  19. Yaheu, thank you for stopping by...I will be visiting yours shortly! ~blessings

  20. Quietsound...thank you, I feel very honored! I stopped by and left a comment on your awards post. I look forward to visiting your blog more in the future! ~blessings :)

  21. Beautiful list Carol! I love everything on it, the "everything in bloom" I can relate to this moment for I just got inside from a walk and I was struck in awe by so many of the flowering trees that had flowers already open and buds nearly bursting out with life. Life is beautiful :) Thanks for stopping by :)