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A Celebration of One Thousand Gifts {and Counting}

Last January, Ann Voskamp in her book One Thousand Gifts, challenged me to not only strive to live a life of moment-to-moment awareness, but to also see the world through the lens of intentional gratitude.  To not just make sweeping generalizations about being thankful, but to open my eyes to the specific beauty in each moment.  Then to partake in the discipline of writing it down, counting these gifts to 1000.

 And so it began.  I started my own journal.  My journal of beautiful moments.  I began counting.

Counting my gratitude for the seemingly ordinary.

#56 - Birds singing outside my window
#74 -The sunlight streaming through bare tree branches
#283 - Fresh air through open windows
#375 - The smell of freshly cut grass

My gratitude for things that are beyond ordinary.

#47 - New life growing within.

Gratitude in moments that might otherwise frustrate.

#32 - That rubbing alcohol removes permanent marker from computer screens
#896 - An overflowing toilet means we have a toilet
     #897- that normally runs well
          #898- and running water!

Gratitude in the moments that are difficult.

As we waited in the ER to find out if our baby was still living after some first trimester bleeding~

#265-  The calming presence of a doula sister
#268 - Lavender essential oil
#273-  A smiling nurse
 #277- Seeing that beating heart (!)

In this, in all of this, I began to see that all really is grace

Lavish grace.

I've now reached 1000.  But stop counting, I will not.  The more I search for the beauty in the moment, the more this way of seeing the world becomes my new way of being.   When there is no pen or paper at hand, I take a deep breath and pause, if just for a moment to give thanks. Thanks silently offered up from the quiet chambers of my soul.  Thanks that somehow ricochets back to me in the form of deep peace and joy.  It's funny how it works like that, isn't it?  Thanks is something that we give, yet it gives us so much more.

This practice is far too beautiful, too life-giving to stop.

{For a brief yet stirring introduction to Ann's thoughts on mindfulness and gratitude, this video is a great place to start.}


  1. Good for you! I am glad you finished and thrilled you found it to be as rewarding as Ann did. I have to admit, I stopped at like #35 because I couldn't get the rhythm of it.....I'm not at ALL detail oriented, so the small stuff slips by- once I ran out of broad brush strokes, I was all done. WHICH probably highlights my need to do this all the more.

    Hhmmmmm......resolve....wherefore art thou?

    Maybe once I move in my new place, I can begin again!

  2. I remember well when you first made mention of this on your wonderful to have this accomplishment and beyond that, a new sense of peace, calm and appreciation within noticing the blessings of everyday life.

    I don't ever seem to finish a journal, beyond those that I feverishly wrote in during our 2 journies ~ one for Lauren and one for Tyler. Maybe that's how its supposed to be for me....but like you I strive to truly take note of the splendor of each both the big and small moments that make life so messy and equally amazing!

    So tickled to hear that all is well in your corner of the world....I needed to see that both you and baby are healthy. :)

    Thinking of you...and Rachel, your sewing projects, those shared below, are gorgeous!

  3. Such a beautiful thing. I too am still counting, and always will. I haven't typed them to 1000 yet, but I now count gratitudes in my head and heart all the time. Life giving, indeed.


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