Friday, November 15, 2013

"one thousand gifts"

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope that you are staying cozy and warm as the days get cooler. My mother-in-law (seriously, let's make a new name for these mommas-- extra mom, bonus mom, second mom, mother-in-love, etc.-- because mother-in-law is much too detached) sent me this photo this week because I couldn't find a photo to use for this post. How cozy does her fireplace and coffee mug look!? I couldn't wait a minute longer to share another book in my Library. This book is one that I started and finished a couple of months ago, but I have mentioned it several times since and cannot stop thinking about it. With Thanksgiving coming up, now would be a great time to start it if your schedule allows. If it doesn't, add it to your list of must-reads ASAP! 

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp is absolutely incredible and has given me so much to think about when it comes to being thankful. I am fortunate that my parents raised me to be grateful-- my momma had me writing "thank you" notes as soon as I was old enough to scribble. My daddy made sure I used my manners and appreciated my things. While I have had many learning experiences and times that I have failed to be as thankful as I should be (always a work in progress), having that example and guidance growing up has definitely impacted my daily life in a positive way. Reading this book has added to the foundation they set. 

Ann's book outlines her process of taking the time to physically count and write down the gifts God gives as a way to give thanks. Everything from major life events to seemingly meaningless tasks. The happiest of times, and the darkest moments. By consciously thinking about every moment as a gift, your mindset changes. Research even shows that people who adopt an attitude of gratitude are happier, less stressed, and more energetic. Who doesn't want all of that!? 

More than the personal benefits of gratitude, I have been so thankful to give more glory to God. He so deserves it, does He not? He loves us so & everything He gives is love-- yes, even those difficult moments. One of my favorite quotes from the book was this: 

"Humbly let go. Let go of trying to do, let go of trying to control… Let go of my own way, let go of my own fears… Leave the hand open and be. Be at peace. Bend the knee and be small and let God give what He chooses to give because He only gives love and whisper surprised 'thanks.'"

How often do we try to control our situations? I have confessed that I am a control-freak. We think all of our striving and doing will make things happen our way. Sometimes maybe it does, but when we simply let go, open our hands, and receive God's will for us we will realize He only gives love. Since starting my 1000 gifts list, my heart has grown to know so much more peace and so much more love. When we take the time to actively search for His gifts, we realize that they are all around us all the time. The dishes piled in the sink are evidence of a meal that was prepared and enjoyed. The leaves covering the yard are a display of the Creator's beauty. The good news about a job shows His provision. The moments of weakness and desperation are times when His grace is sufficient and His power is made perfect. 

Ann's beautiful, descriptive writing captured my heart in this book. I could taste the delicious baked goods she described. I could see the beautiful fields she ran through capturing photos of creation, counting them all on her list. I must admit-- some of her vocabulary was so advanced that I had to look them up, but the life-learner in me enjoyed the process. I loved how she constantly used to Scripture to show that giving thanks is essential for worship and our relationship with God. My book and Bible are covered in blue from all of the notes and underlining I did. I love it! 

I do hope you will check out this book soon. Even if you don't have time to read the book, consider writing down the blessings in your life in a special journal or even going through your Bible to see how often "thanks" is mentioned. Our lives and the Word are full of gifts and The Giver is so worthy of praise. 

Have a blessed day & give thanks! 

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