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Counting Gifts and Blessings

Have you seen the cartoon of a family gathered around a dining room table that’s laden with a Thanksgiving dinner, a perfectly browned turkey and bowls of sides?  A little girl, whose chin almost rests on the table’s edge says, “Shouldn’t we be thankful more than one day a year?”

            Yes, indeed, we should.  A habit that helped me during the pandemic was writing in a gratitude journal that I began years ago.  There’s something about listing and numbering blessings, using a favorite black ink pen on lined spiral-bound paper, that is calming. That reminds me the greatest blessings are gifts of my every day, ordinary life. 

            I credit Ann Voscamp’s books, One Thousand Gifts and One Thousand Gifts Devotional, for prompting me to keep an ongoing list.  Before reading her books, I mentally noted blessings and prayed thanksgivings, but I took Voscamp’s challenge to put pen to paper.  Actually, Voscamp writes that her cynical friends challenged her and her change in attitude led to her books.  Could I list 1000 Gifts? 

             My list began with people.  All those I love most, family and friends.  Then the comforts often taken for granted:  a warm house, food, clothes, car, the freedom to worship, running water.  My list became more specific. Micah, with open mouth and arms, runs to me.  Doing chair yoga with Sheila’s CD. Catching lightning bugs with Lucy.

            Looking back, my journal reads like a diary.  Medicine to control vertigo.  Swimming at the Y with Grands.  College girlfriends come to spend two nights.  Tommy Sue cleaned up my kitchen mess.

            This week guidepost.org posted an article entitled “Gratitude Makeover” which includes tips to stay present and uplifted.  1. As soon as you open your eyes in the morning, say “thank you.” 2.  Start a gratitude journal. 3. Live in wonder. 4. Take a new path. 5. Keep an “attitude of gratitude.”  I’m not surprised that a gratitude journal is number 2, and I’m convinced it leads to number 5.  Doesn’t gratitude create attitude?

            Hot bath.  Warm, comfortable bed.  Cardinal at the birdfeeder.  All Grands gathered around the dining room table to play Bingo. Annabel and Elsie climb their magnolia tree.  Sunshine through the kitchen window.  Fresh strawberries.

            Voscamp’s writings aren’t always comforting.  “Counting 1000 gifts means counting hard things, otherwise I’ve miscounted.” I struggle counting hard things. Holding Joe’s hand as he lay in ICU. Brett undergoing heart surgery. My hand surgery.  Why be thankful for sickness?  For pain, physical and emotional?  Yet, blessings surface even during stressful, difficult times.  Minister prays for healing hearts.  Doctor’s assurances.

            Especially during the past nineteen months, I’ve counted technology blessings:  Zoom, FaceTime, email, and texts.  Even when I couldn’t visit with family and friend in-person, we stay connected.

            This week, I wrote #5099.  A safe walk to my Grands’ house.  Some days, I don’t write in my gratitude journal and other days, my pen almost runs out of ink.   #5100 Being able to write a weekly column.            

‘Tis the season to be thankful. 

One Response

  1. Thankful for our friendship 💕

    Kat Rust Bobkatsr@gmail.com

    >

    Like

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