In March 2011, inspired by Ann Voskamp's book, One Thousand Gifts, I started a gratitude journal.
I continue the journal to this day, jotting down little and big gifts that I am grateful for. It is a sign that I do not do it often enough that it is only number 398 that awaits my pen's next recording.
But it is a habit that I love, even though imperfectly practiced, and every now and then I look back through the entries in the little book bound in green satin and embroidered with a merry riot of red, orange and lilac flowers.
And when I do, I am reminded again of past occasions for gratitude. I smile and am grateful again for these things and so glad I recorded them. In a way they are more than mere recounting of things to be grateful for; they trace a life blessed by a Giver of good gifts.
Here are a few entries and their numbers:
44) Sky pink reflected on snow at day's end.
46) Two grandchildren who play with bowls of dish soap bubbles for more than an hour, happy to stir and pour.
49) A crescent moon smiling in a deep blue night sky
74) For freedom when agenda's and self will are surrendered
83) For a mother-in-law with whom I have sweet fellowship
87) Early mornings when the world is just waking up and I am among the first (a rare occurrence)
89) A first spring walk with Molson--lots of mud, but he was so happy!
90) That I get to work with Iris, Susan, Frank, Greg, Lori Lei and Terry
101) Books--the possibility of opening one and entering another person's experiences or thoughts--or another world, in story
105) Hope beyond what we see now
107) For friends who call on Saturday morning to talk
110) For the peaceful ticking of the clock and the sun through the window warming the room
122) For the morning coffee pot--the hissing and spurting of hot water and the trickle of the delicious amber brown into the bowl of the coffee pot
134) Vision--seeing everything--stars, grass, people, movies, photos to be snapped
150) For second, third and fourth chances
175) For the privilege of writing the article, Faith, Freedom and Fealty, with Dave
176) For the honour and gift of meeting Sue Mosteller
195) Possibilities--the fact that life is not fixed or frozen--we grow--or we can. Yes, we grow older, but we can also grow wiser; learn; become better; kinder; more effective in our lives
212) For the late in life learning of how to bite my tongue, and the wisdom of doing so
243) A gruff heart opening a little with an unexpected expression of kindness--well, the heart may not have been gruff, but the expression of what is there has been blunt, and harsh, often. Then suddenly a sweetness and gentleness. Dear Lord, thank you. Please bless that one and protect the tiny flowers budding in her heart garden. Don't let them be nipped by frost or in any way stunted
244) For those who tell me my faults. For the Holy Spirit who then compels me to acknowledge them
366) Watching God at work in a situation; offering ourselves as instruments that do not know the way ahead--and seeing him take us and use us. There is nothing more exciting
397) For very precious friends
And the last one includes you!
I recommend Ann's book and this practice of gratitude.