Last year, on January 9, 2012, I started to write down the many, many beautiful gifts that God has given me. I was in the middle of reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. She talked about her journey as she learned to daily seek the gifts or blessings that were given so freely to her by God. This book was such an encouragement to me. Little by little I began also seeking to discover what God was giving me.
My sister gave me a cute journal with pictures of my family on it. So I began to journal my way through the year with daily blessings. Some were big things that God generously bestowed on our family. Most were little, wonderful things. As I read over my list, I see that God has been so good to me. Most of what I have recorded, I had forgotten. But each was a gift to me. Real and sweet and tangible. Now that they are written, I will never truly forget them. They are a part of me. A part that I can share with my children.
As Ann said in her book, "The discovery that naming offers the gift recognition-that is priceless.
This naming really does call now a gift, a gift from God. I look at a day, a thing an event infront of me, and it may look manna-strange: "What is it?" But when I name it, the naming of it manifests its meaning. To know it comes from God. This is a gift.
In naming that which is right before me, that which I'd otherwise miss, the invisible becomes visible.
Gratitude for the seemingly insignificant-a seed-this plants the giant miracle. Do not distain the small. The whole of the life-even the hard-is made up of the minute parts, and if I miss the infinitesimal, I miss the whole thing. The moments will add up."
I loved how she pointed out that the gift is nothing, until we name it. Once we name it, it is ours. We recognize the gift and can now take joy in them.
So I began to do just that. I named every blessing that God gave me. At first it was just a few words. Simple gifts written out.
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My husbands faithful love.
A whispered "I Love You" from Bekah.
A full nights rest.
Light from the sun on my children's hair.
Little girls laughter.
A good book.
A kitchen cleaned by my husband.
Teaching my girls to love helping others.
First time obedience.
Coconut Ice Cream.
Seeing my friends baby move with new life inside her.
Pine trees-the taller, the better.
Peppermint hot cocoa.
Water balloons in the bath tub.
Getting my face painted by my little girls.
Hannah's bright smile as she sits and enjoys being with mommy.
Snuggling in bed after nap time with my girls-drawing pictures on their backs with my finger.
Hannah saying, "I love you Mommy! I super love you!".
Worship songs from Ross King.
No headache today.
Listening to the girls say their Awana verses.
Rain spitting on my face in the early morning-so refreshing.
Game night with friends.
Holding Chris' hand in the car.
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As the days stretched into weeks and then months, I began to see that the moments with our family and with our friends were so special. Each moment that I cherished them was a gift. How sweet it is to look back on these moments, these blessings that are so freely given. I am writing down the whole experience, which is a gift in itself.
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My husband is a wonderful father and husband. I have been sick for a week. Chris made bread for me and had Hannah help him. It was super sweet to hear him in the kitchen with her.
We are so blessed to have both of us at home with our children. We can enjoy their lives together.
Our friends are such a blessing to us. Last night we went out to look at lights all our friends. What wonderful fellowship!
During the musical house light show, Hannah fell asleep in my arms. What a beautiful picture of a child at peace and sleeping while the world goes on around her.
"When God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables them to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work-this is a gift of God." Ephesians 5:19 Thank-you for giving me a job I love and an amazing family.
Chris went out to dinner with family and took the girls. I wasn't feeling well, so I stayed home. It was so nice to just lay on the couch and read a book.
Hannah did the dishes all by herself. I did not have to rewash any of them. She is just 3 years old.
I went to wake Hannah from her nap today. Her room was flooded with sunlight. She was asleep all sprawled out on the bed wearing her bumble bee dress and Chris' 49'er socks pulled up to her knees. That made me smile.
Bekah to Mommy, "I love you so much. If I find a flower that is not too hard to pick, then I'll pick it for you."
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So I counted and journaled the gifts. Day after day. Week after week. My heart changed as I sought the blessings God gave me and my family on a daily basis. Today, after just over a year of seeking to record the gifts from God, I wrote my one thousandth gift. What a blessing to look over all these things. I am going to continue to seek the blessing of God and write them down. This will be a gift to share with my children as they grow.
Read this book. Be touched. Take the time today to start writing down the many blessings that you receive each and every day.
Have your read this book? How have you been changed?