A few years ago my grandparents gave me Ann Voskamp’s gratitude journal that accompanies her much-acclaimed book One Thousand Gifts, which inspires readers to see God’s miraculous work and care in even the teensiest of life’s details.
Within the journal are Bible verses, quotes from One Thousand Gifts, places to add pictures, journal-prompt pages, and 1000 lines to record blessings. As I wrap up the 1000th item, I’m enjoying looking back through the pages to see what memories and beautiful moments earned a spot in our family gratitude journal (unfortunately the lines are short, so we had to be concise, but in its own way, that helped make the memories/blessings even more beautiful). For instance:
#3. Cotton-candy sunrises
#6. Glittery ice crystals
#48. Sun shining through pine trees
#52. Looking at the stars with Clara
#165. Sleeping by the Colorado River
#233. Dreadlocked Walmart employee who told me, “You’re a pretty cool mom.”
#244. Dewdrops on a goose feather
#321. When Walker said: I want to carry a big lumberjack ax when I’m older.
#428. Heavenly newborn scent
#481. Dandelion bouquets from the kids
#802. Kelty and Walker laughing so hard at the hopping toad
#871. Comforting smell of Grandma’s house
#958. Sleeping under the stars
It’s very satisfying to focus on the blessings, big and small, that our family receives. There’s so much negativity in the world that it’s easy to feel bogged down, and I’ve found that working on a gratitude journal helps my thinking transform from, “All I do is clean! We should move into a yurt!” to “Aww, sorting these tiny socks with the sun shining through the windows is such a beautiful opportunity to serve my family.”
Truthfully, complaining is easy. It’s easy to do, and an easy habit to slip into. Thinking positively takes a lot of willpower, but it makes life so much more enjoyable for us and those around us! The Bible speaks often of giving thanks, and it’s no secret that grateful people are healthier and happier than their perma-grumpy peers.
Naturally, people often discuss thankfulness around Thanksgiving. It’s also great to keep up the pattern of thanksgiving all year long. Over the past few years of jotting down quick thanks in this journal, I’ve learned to try to always be on the lookout for the beautiful moments.
Rereading our family’s list has been as much fun as initially journaling them. It’s sweet to remember the fluffy down feathers on our baby chicks and how the kids giggled at their peeping, and to remember seeing a miniature beating heart on an ultrasound screen. I’m convinced that these fleeting moments are some of the most significant moments of life.
What seemingly insignificant moments of beauty catch your attention? When and where do you see God’s handiwork? I love your positive comments.