with thanks

During my accountability group the other night, while we sat soaking in the hot tub, one of the girls in our group of four said, “Let me tell you about this book I’ve been reading.” She shared with us how she started reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp and she’s enjoyed it. I’ve had that book on a shelf for almost two years so I thought I’d finally get down to reading it and not just owning it.

It’s a beautiful book. Voskamp has a lyrical writing style – and while this annoys me sometimes because she has a tendency to complicate the simple, as well as break every single rule of grammar in ways that don’t always seem right to me, it is still very powerful. It’s one of those books where there are lines that you have to read a few times to make it seem to make sense.

While I’m not sure how much I agree with (or fully understand) the theology she presents in her writing, I love that she focuses in on the act of thanksgiving as being central to the life of a Christian. Too often I am thankful for the big things I get – “Thank you, God, for my car and the money to fly to Missouri in July and for being able to buy all the new jeans I need when I need them” – and not for the small things. I love that Voskamp does this. Unless I get a big thing, I often feel like God has not given me enough (which is never truth – He has given more far more than enough). Voskamp so beautifully says this: “Though I can hardly whisper it, I live as though He stole what I consider rightly mine: happiest children, marriage of unending bliss, long, content, death defying days.”

So to be grateful for it all, I am making my own list of one thousand, beginning here.

1. the small, stearling heart ring I wear on my right hand, reminding me of Love
2. a message on my phone in a sweet little voice saying “Hi sissy, it’s me, Goosie”
3. the snore of a black dog, the licking of a wheaton dog, and the cuddle on my pillow of a yellow dog
4. cold, sweet air after a good rain
5. a pile of blankets clipped to and wrapped around chairs in the form of a falling-apart fort
6. piles of asymmetrical pancakes on a paper plate, shiny with melted butter
7. days warm and breezy enough to leave the doors open in the early morning
8. bright colored pens that annotate and highlight the pages I read
9. piles of books from the used book store at the library piled on my dresser waiting to be shelved
10. a second cup of coffee, browned just right with creamer, on an early-wake day
11. birds coming through the open windows as they talk to each other

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