I Just Want to Say: Thank You

Every once in a while, I like to take a look back at the not so distant past and see how far I’ve come, appreciate the growth and also the way I’ve handled struggles. I’ve done this in different ways, from writing myself letters to be opened at a “distant” future date (something I started in college) to simply looking back at my journal from a year, or six months before.

In the summer of 2011, I read a book that presented an idea I wanted to try. It was Ann Voskamp’s 1000 Gifts and the idea is as common now as it seemed new then: write a gratitude list. The idea was that in the midst of hard or commonplace things, you would look around and notice things that brought you joy, that made you thankful, that lifted you out of feeling sorry for yourself or thinking your life was small or bleak. I didn’t love the book, but I latched onto this idea. I knew that I could stand to say “thank you” more. I haven’t been terribly consistent, but I’ve kept it going now for over a year.

It’s been fun, lately, to look back at what I wrote, at what made my day, on the days when I had only one thing I was thankful for (newly shaved legs, that must have been a tough day!).

I’ve always loved the way that things come around again. Each year brings the same seasons, both in the world, and in the church. All of this is designed to remind us of what we know, but we’ve nearly, almost, not-quite forgotten.

I’m as bad as anyone else when it comes to this. I’ve been known to write almost identical blog posts, thinking my thought is new, and I’m always forgetting what I know to be true. I set up reminders for myself, I surround myself with people who know and love me and remind me of these things. My gratitude list is one of my ways of reminding myself of what is true, that I am blessed beyond measure and that the best response is to be grateful.

Here are a few entries off my list:

118: sequels

121: inclusion

140: live music

143: Irish accents

145: supportive and loving parents

148: remembering how fun it is to cook with a friend

150: Dad teaching me how to grill

154: reading books in the sunshine on my couch

157: laughter shared with friends

158: a day where I felt the grace of God very strongly as I walked through

161: finding the right parking spot

163: finding new things in books I’ve read before

174: how friendship can not only encourage you, but challenge you

175: playing pretend with one of my littlest friends

181: getting approved for a vacation I didn’t think would work out

183: rocking a baby to sleep

191: good friends: engaged!

195: having the courage to do something that scared me

201: meeting new interesting people

204: the beauty of snow at night

210: the simple pleasure of having my ipod on shuffle

219: fresh spring flowers from a good friend

229: long-anticipated books

232: things to look forward to

240: vanilla coconut tea

249: the fact that God is in control

266: opportunities

270: Ginger Rodgers

What are you thankful for?