The book, One Thousand Gifts, made a huge impact on my life. A year ago, I wrote the following post and decided it would be a great addition to my 30 Days of Thanks series. So, I’m re-posting it below. Please let me know what you think.
from July 2012
Last week I mentioned the book, One Thousand Gifts. It was one of my readers’ favorites from 2011, so it had been on my list to read. I started reading it a few days ago. I’m half way through.
To be honest, it took me awhile to get into the book. The style of writing is a little different, a bit stream of conscience & I wasn’t really getting it.
Until I started to see a pattern. A pattern of giving thanks.
Wow! That’s what I’ve been doing with my gratitude cards. Since July 1, I’ve sent a daily card of gratitude to someone I know.
Now, Ann Voskamp (of A Holy Experience) is sharing her story of thanking God for all the things in her life, which means seeing the good in a bad situation. Ann’s friend challenges her to find 1000 things in which to thank God.
Spending your year looking for 1000 things to give thanks.
Let’s face it, this can truly be a challenge. I’m in the middle of 30 days of gratitude and for some 30 days is a challenge. Here’s what one person had to say:
Around the 11th day of this challenge, I clearly understood why this was considered a “challenge.” Some “not so favorable” events occurred in my life right about then and I began to find it a “challenge” to be grateful. I truly believe had I not made the commit to this daily activity to focus on gratitude, the negative emotions I was battling could have resulted in some bad decisions, making things worse.
“Things are not falling apart. They are really falling into place.” My experience with participating in this activity is “a calmness, a quiet joy” and improved immune system. This new habit is now a “lifetime” gratitude challenge for me!”
I am truly excited about both of these challenges and started this month. Yep, it’s mid-year and I’m starting on my 1000 gifts, as well as continuing my 30 days of gratitude. Here’s how I’m doing it.
At the beginning of July I started my 30 Days of Gratitude Challenge. Each day I send a card telling someone why I appreciate them. This has stretched me outside my comfort zone at times. If I have photos of the person’s family, I include that on the card cover so it is special to them.
Besides simply saying I am thankful for this person, I am letting that person know “why” I am thankful for them. This challenge is encouraging me to think about the words on the inside, rather than simply making a cool card for them. Believe me, it’s the words that touch a heart.
I was keeping a list of people on my gratitude challenge. That is, until I started reading One-Thousand Gifts. I’ve decided to transfer my list to my calendar. Every year I make a photo calendar for my mom. I have extra copies printed for my kids & myself. I am going to use that calendar to record who I send a gratitude card each day.
1. Sick friends who I can help
2. Chocolate mint cookies
3. Air-Conditioning (if you live in Texas, you understand)
4. Public library with books I can read (for free)
5. Denny’s waitresses who already know my order each week
6. Place to eat breakfast with my daughters each week
On top of my “list of 3”, I have the name of my “Gratitude Card”.
Both of these challenges force me to find positive things in my life. They encourage me to turn aside from the negative, the difficult situations in my life, and thank God for the good things & people He has given me.
By sending the cards, I not only thank God, but I tell others why they are important to me. I am not waiting until my family & friends are gone to celebrate their lives. I am telling them right now . . . and thanking God for these people in my life.
It is a lofty challenge, but I believe I might still list 1000 gifts by the end of the year. I’m sitting at Denny’s after our weekly mom-daughter breakfast and just did some calculations. I discovered that I need 5 items daily to reach 910. So, I’m increasing my gifts to 4 or 5. When I add the person of gratitude each day, I will easily top 1000 by December 31.
I made it to 1000 gifts this past year. See . . .
Thanksgiving Activities for Kids
Take what you learn from this post and share it with your kids. Depending on your family, you might have different ways to apply it. Here are a few.
- Let your kids each start listing what they are thankful for in a journal
- Have them send 1 card each day to express their gratitude
- Send 1 card each day to say “thank you” to someone in your child’s life.
- Use Thanksgiving Heart from The Ultimate Christian Living Bundle to develop a thankful spirit in your kids.
Question: What did you add to your list of thanks? To whom did you send a card today? You can leave a comment by clicking here.