I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

One Thousand Gifts--A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

It started as a dare.

Could Ann Voskamp--an author, farmer's wife, homeschooling mom to six children, who was dissatisfied, even ungrateful, with her life--count her blessings all the way to 1,000?

She took the challenge, recording blessings each day in a journal she kept on hand.

Not only did she discover thanksgiving--Eucharisteo--but she got a New York Times bestseller along the way.

Pretty nice.

But the thing is, Voskamp would probably say that discovering joy in the moments at hand was by far the more valuable.

Voskamp laments never getting to accomplish her Bucket List like seeing "black-haired boys under straw-brimmed hats fishing" on China's jade-green Li River. Then, she realizes the beauty and wonder all around her. She learns to be content in every circumstance. (Phil. 4:11-12) She begins counting her blessings.

Items from Ann's list:

#1. Morning shadows across old floors
#16. Leafy life scent of the florist shop
#54. Moonlight on pillows
#119. Still warm cookies
#343. Clean sheets smelling like the wind
#362. Suds . . . all color in sun

In her lyrical, fragmented writing style, Voskamp's book isn't a quick read. Her words are meant to be savored, peeled back onion-style, layer by layer, though others may find her choppy style difficult to digest.

Some readers may find the last chapter of the book disturbing as Voskamp describes a love relationship with God using sexual language. Though poetic and metaphorical, it's a bit over the top. Still, Voskamp has inspired me to write my own list and to become more intentional, living fully in this moment.

What blessings will you count today?

~Roxanne Sherwood


  1. It's so easy to fall into the habit of complaining, of not being grateful. When I find myself doing that, I start with the alphabet, first finding a letter that describes God. As in A=Almighty, then something that I'm grateful for: A=Amazing grace. By the time I reach Z, I'm usually laughing as I search for the perfect Z word. For God, it's easy: Z=Zealous--He's zealous for us. For what I'm grateful for? Today Z=zzz--I slept last night.
    Great post, Roxanne

  2. Pat, I love your idea of going through the alphabet describing God. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Pat, I love your list too. :) I've written down and pondered the attributes of God (especially when I'm having a hard time falling asleep), but I hadn't thought to find things to thank Him for with those letters. :)

    Roxanne, I so appreciate the way you've shared about One Thousand Gifts. I've begun it, but I'm not very far in yet. Too many other things I'm reading at the moment. :) I'm looking forward to learning more from her book over Christmas break. :)

    Let's see today, I'm thankful to be pain free (unlike last night), and for God showing me His faithfulness in my life, yet again.

  4. Some of the bleakest moments we encounter actually turn into the most cherished and brilliantly colored tapestries hanging on our walls. Looking back, we could never part with any of them! Too bad we missed extra joy from the beginning ~ if we had just been more thankful. So grateful for my friend Roxanne.

  5. Jeanne, I'm grateful you're pain free today too! Even if it takes you a while to finish One Thousand Gifts, you're on the right track with a thankful heart. :-)

    Cindy, How are you? Send me a FB message with an update. Are you writing? I'm finally in a good place, wonderful time in my life, but it's hard to schedule everything, isn't it? Thanks for stopping by with your comment. Yes, some of our toughest times turn out to be our sweetest memories.

  6. Beautiful. Thanks so much, Roxanne, and may even more blessings be yours! Delores

  7. Roxanne,
    I started reading One Thousand Gifts this summer while on vacation. Found I couldn't read it quickly ... Ann Voskamp has a lyrical writing style ... and I took time to soak up her insights.
    What blessings am I counting today?
    1. Hot showers
    2. The encouragement of friends
    3. The laughter of my daughter and her friend on the way to school

  8. I have the book on my nightstand, but I haven't read it yet. I need to start. I've heard a lot of great things.

    Today, I'm thankful for my Little Darlings because it means I have a job, interviews to finish for my blog tour because it means my dream of being a published writer has been accomplished, and I'm thankful for a messy kitchen because it means we have plenty of food to eat. We have a lot to be thankful for.

  9. That sounds like a fun book. It's really pretty amazing when you step back and count your blessings. God is so busy blessing me I forget to notice sometimes. Thanks for reminding me of all the little things, Roxanne!

  10. Beth,

    I love the things you're thankful for today, especially remembering when you came to MY house for that hot shower when you had plumbing problems. ;-)

    Lisa, I love your list too, especially that you and Beth both gotten contracts this year. Yay!

    Amy, You earned your Ph.D. this year, huge yay! But your biggest blessing is yet to come...in Feb.! :-)

  11. Sounds like a must-read, Roxanne, especially this time of year! Things I'm thankful for at the moment:

    -Fleece pants
    -Ice cold water after a good workout
    -Writing friends! :)

  12. Melissa,

    I can't believe you mentioned ice water, not Coke with lime. ;-)

    I'm thankful for your friendship, and for all God has done for that cute nephew of yours, Ollie. What a sweetheart!