Tuesday, March 4, 2014

1,000 Gifts, Page Two

Somewhere along last October, I stopped counting.

Those months, all those wonderful, delightful, surprising, sometimes ridiculously ordinary things I could have jotted down in my One Thousand Gifts list slipped under the bridge and away on the current of never ending ripples. Gone.

Did you ever play Pooh Sticks? Two buddies each drop a stick off the upstream edge of a bridge, then run to the other side to see whose stick crosses by first. We still do it as adults (or adult sized bodies, anyway) whenever we're on a walk and cross a bridge over a stream. Grab sticks, toss them in. Debate whether it was the current or the weight of the stick or a superior toss that created the fastest stick. While the sticks float on downstream, beyond us.

In January, starting up the list again was my number one to-do. My mom gave me a slim little journal for Christmas, and I decided it was perfect for a fresh start with my list. A fresh start, with an open heart, a hands-out welcome of life's events and beauty and emotions floating by.

My goal is to write at least three each day. Normally, once I start, more ideas come, the gratefulness flows.

In hindsight, it is with great effort that I attempt to remember. I think part of the reason I let it go for so long,  I felt I had to catch up. To remember all that I forgot to remember. That did not happen, of course. I finally realized (yes, I am slow) that I needed to start today - that day. To write down the day's gifts, to pay attention today, to unwrap the blessings and joy and moments, small and great that reveal the Lord's love for me, for those in our home and family. Today.

"There are a hundred touches of kindness that come to us every day to tell us that we are not orphans or outcasts upon the earth. Every trace of order, every gleam of beauty, every provision of bounty in the natural world is an evidence that  it is God's house."
                                                                                    The Friendly Year, Henry Van Dyke

I want to feel and understand and see the moment before it slips under the bridge, downstream, out of sight, beyond memory. This is how I want to live.

For Christmas, our daughter made me a gratefulness scarf. She took a lightweight white scarf, pulled up my list from the tab at the top of this blog, and with a Sharpie, copied items from my list.

When I put it on, it is like wrapping myself in a prayer shawl, in a visual reminder to see and listen and understand and pay attention. A reminder of all the wonder in my life. And I need those reminders.

To see my new list click on the tab at the top, 1000 Gifts - Page Two. If you notice a discrepancy in the numbers between the two lists, I have not updated the first list from the first book I used. But I am putting it out there anyway. One of these days I will finish typing those on to the computer. I needed, this time, to start where I was and move forward from here without procrastinating any longer, waiting until things were perfect and complete. Not going to happen in the near future around here. This moment, now, it is good to be writing the list again.

Pooh drawing from The World of Pooh, by A.A. Milne, illustrations by E.H. Shepard - a much used, worn out family classic.
The concept of a gifts list is from Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts, A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, aholyexperience.com. Thank you, Ann!


  1. This post warms my heart like none other. What a treasure that scarf is! And what a creative daughter to think of it. I've also been learning to stay in the moment of today. Can't do anything about what is passed. As I spend more time being grateful I have less time to worry. I learn slow :) And I've read Ann's book twice! Maybe it will stick one of these days. Thank you for a wonderful post, Maueen. Hope you don't mind - - I shared it on my Facebook page..

  2. From a fellow slow learner - yes! Better to take today and move forward than wallow in all the mess behind us...it really is a daily, moment by moment choice, isn't it? No problem sharing the post, thanks!