I don’t know if you have read the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, but if you haven’t you should. It has been on my books-to-read list for a while and I was thrilled when I got it as a present for Christmas. I bumped it to the top of my pile immediately because of the subtitle…a dare to LIVE FULLY right where you are. I know, kinda obvious. I feel sure when William picked it out those two words jumped off the shelf at him too. My life’s motto right there on the cover in all caps. I couldn’t wait to see what she had to say. Pretty close to the beginning of the book, the author describes with realistic accuracy a nightmare in which she is diagnosed with cancer. Hers was a dream, mine was reality but the effect was the same…questions. How can I live my life to full measure? Where can I find joy and how do I embrace life both good and bad of life with a thankful heart?
I am not finished with the book yet, but I am in love with it already, because I know its premise is true. To live fully, to be fully live, and to find joy in everyday life… thankfulness is the key. Cancer taught me that long before I found this wonderful book that expresses it in such a beautifully poetic way. But what I love about the book is the list that the author makes of one thousand gifts she sees as she walks in her everyday life. I have always written important things down, be it an event or some new revelation, but what I most appreciate about her list of gifts is that it creates anticipation. Committing to write one thousand gifts reminds you to always be on the lookout for something to add to the list. It inspires you to look for the good in every situation. Being thankful in all things then becomes a habit and life slows down to take on a joy that cannot be explained. Noticing the leaves or the moon, or the way the dog’s tongue hangs when she runs in abandon (even if it is away from you 😉 ) are the little things which days of busyness and bad news try steal from us. Making note of those things is like capturing joy on paper. The power of writing yields to the power of reading your own words. And when grateful moments are written by your own hand, they trigger memories of simple joyfulness which multiply.
This book has inspired me. I love the simplicity of two or three words for each item on the list, so much so that I am going to create a new category on my blog. I am going to call it “One Thousand Moments” and I will post them periodically as I become intentional in thankfulness to God. I would love for you to join me and add your own thankful moments in the comments section. (If you want, you can subscribe to the blog so you won’t miss any.) I think in a world where good news is getting harder to find we could all benefit from sharing reasons we are thankful. Don’t you?
- Colorful birds in barren trees.
A cardinal bright as holly berries flits from tree to tree and glides in front of my car when it pulls into the driveway. My eyes try to track it, but it moves too fast. Getting out of the car, I stand, waiting silently. There is a flash of red in my peripheral vision. I turn and it is gone. Then on the other side, blue. I freeze in place, waiting. Among the tree skeletons I see them and it appears they are playing hide and seek with me. I lean back onto my car and gaze up, staring ahead trying to rest in the moment, to slow my frantic attempts to “catch” them and allow them to come close. They do not disappoint. A blue jay and a cardinal. Others join them at a distance. The trees look as if they are frozen in time. No movement, only dark arms stretching to the sky. The birds know this and come to sit on branches, scouting for winter food. I watch thinking that in this barren winter landscape a brush or two of color makes all the difference. God always provides color, even in the most drab of places…and for that I am thankful.