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Isn’t it funny how when you’re learning something in life, you seem to find little hints of the lesson everywhere? It seems I have one of those lessons in front of me. The lesson: thanksgiving. Between conversations with loved ones, church small group, personal experiences and work, I find this subject coming up everywhere! I have been most challenged by the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, in which she documents her journey to finding true and lasting joy. The secret? Eucharisteo. Eucharisteo is one of those words that is packed full of meaning and requires multiple English words to describe. It means thanksgiving. At its root it means grace and joy. In one word there is the action of thanksgiving and the effect of grace and joy! In the Bible when this word is used, those who gave thanks experienced grace and joy, even those who have seen and experienced great hardship. Scripture says to give thanks for everything and this book gives a beautiful picture of how to do that. Since I have not given the book justice, I suggest you take the challenge and read it too!

I almost don’t feel like I deserve one thousand blessings but if I can come up with that many, surely I will be convinced and full of grace and joy! What I loved about the book is that the gifts she saw in her life were not all monumental or life-changing in themselves. Yet all the little gifts together led her to a lifestyle of thanksgiving and joy. Here are a few of my gifts and even some pictures to bring them some life!

1. Sleeping babies

3. Super comfy running shoes

4. Dark chocolate so dark it almost tastes like coffee

5. Coffee 

7. Finding a baby okra amongst my big daddy okras

9. Finding my baby boy buried under my baby girl’s books

10. Finding my little girl in my high heels

12. Hugs from Taylor before work

15. Wes’s dimply creases he gets when he smiles (I know if any of my brothers read this they’ll be gagging right about now)

As I have been writing down my gifts I keep thinking of someone that I just know would want to hear all about my gifts. She has been on my mind a lot lately because the date of her passing is coming up in March. My grandma, Miriam Louise Mann, is probably on a lot of people’s lists of gifts as she exuded so much grace and joy. The more I thought about her, the more gifts I thought of…hot oatmeal rich with cream and brown sugar, baby kittens with tiny paws, the smell of the forrest on her farm, her laugh that we always mimicked…the blessing of legacy, heritage. I wished I could name a daughter after her but Louise Lewis sounded like a little too much 🙂 Instead we gave Taylor the middle name Anne, which is the middle name my mamma gave me, and part of the name my Granny gave my mom. Pictures? Of course!

These small gifts and memories bring light to my days. Now that you’ve seen and heard some of mine, what are yours?