I am a huge believer in the discipline of gratitude, and have even made it a “required subject” in our academic day, the last two years. The boys have special notebooks that they make short, daily short lists in, of how God has blessed them, individually. It is so heart-warming to flip through those books and see, in boyish scrawl things like “hot cocoa with mallows” — “library books” –“my Dad”. I am saving them as special reminders, when they are men. For me, or for them? We don’t know, yet! But gratitude isn’t natural to us, and needs to be taught. an antidote to grumbling, and a balm for bitterness
I have enjoyed Ann Voskamp’s blog “Holy Experience” for years and so it’s strange to me that I am just now, finally, (after considering it so many times!) becoming part of her Gratitude Community. I have read along with others lists, and been appreciative of Ann’s gentle reminders to count the gifts but…I think I am a pretty grateful person already. Does that stink like pride to you? Yeah, me too. I have had a gratitude journal since 1998 ( the last entry date was in August) and feel enormously grateful for my life. Most days, I pinch myself with amazement that this life is actually mine. But gratitude changes things, and only for the better. One of the things I learned through the marathon training this summer? Is that “wanting to” isn’t enough to get you to do what you know is good for you (even if you enjoy it!). Sometimes, a little accountability is also helpful in applying a discipline. And trust me, gratitude (even for a pollyanna like myself) isn’t natural-we are sinners to the core-easily frustrated, often grumbly, impatient, and quickly forgetful of His goodness towards us.
So I’ll be posting, on Mondays, My List of 1000 Gifts. No set amount, just whatever I think of–it’s a good way to start a week, don’t you think?!
1. the hum of the dryer.
2. a fat gray squirrel, pulling at the birdfeeder and making three boys laugh.
3. White Elephant gift parties at Christmas.
5. It’s a Wonderful Life every year, and fresh tears.
6. standing on the step to kiss John goodbye in the morning.
7. the boys reading the scrapbooks overandoverandover.
8. everyone at the post office, so friendly in the long lines-smiling at each other, patient to crowd together and wait.
9. new Christmas cards from friends and family each day.
10. the cat curled up in front of the heat dish.
11. eggnog in my coffee.
12. cinnamon candles burning.
13. a church we love to worship at.
14. the new pantry.
15. love, covering a multitude of sins.
16. stacks of books to read.
17. a secondhand white bookshelf-that just perfectly fits the spot- to pile them on.
18. Savannah’s joy, and her chubby baby hands clapping at herself last night.
19. candy canes.
20. chickens who keep producing through the winter.
21. O Holy Night, sung slowly.
22. Caleb’s crooked grin.