Counting Gifts and Collecting Words

By Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Gift [noun]
1. something given voluntarily without payment in return, as to show favor toward someone, honor an occasion, or make a gesture of assistance; present
2. something bestowed or acquired without any particular effort by the recipient or without its being earned

These are two of the definitions for “gift” on Over the last month or so, I’ve started “counting gifts.” Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts, is the inspiration behind this practice that I and many others I know are attempting. Her point is that there are gifts in every moment of every day. Gifts are all around us if we would just look for them and pause to reflect and thank God for them. I’ve found that it’s true. Too often, I think we focus on what’s wrong or what we wish we had instead of being grateful for what we do have. As I’ve begun looking for gifts in the routine of everyday life, I’ve seen the small changes in my mindset. Even on more difficult days, there is something to be thankful for. You just have to look for it! The smallest things can become the sweetest delights if your focus is on giving thanks. I’m currently at 190. We’ll see how long it takes me to reach 1000. :) 

12. Fitness class soreness 
13. Fresh watermelon 
14. Cinnamon apples
15. Pride and Prejudice movie 

57. Chapstick
58. Not being sick 
59. Shade outside
60. Cute bookmarks

113. Foaming soap 
114. Satire 
115. Carpet marks on my knees 
116. Kind, earnest voices 
117. “God Moves in a Mysterious Way” 
118. Crisp, clear, autumn air 
119. A cheerful whistle 

184. Making a Christmas list 
185. Patter of rain against the windows 
186. Amazon Instant Video
187. Pancakes in the morning

I’ve also recently begun a collection of words. If you’ve looked around much on my little blog here, you know that I love words. I love to use them, read them, and analyze them, and I believe they’re a powerful tool. So I’ve started collecting any that I find funny, encouraging, intelligent, or any words that simply speak to me at the time. I look for them in my reading, watching, and anything else. I’ve written some out in my journal, but I also have a running list in the notepad on my phone if I want to record it quickly. Here’s some of what I’ve collected over the past few months.

Activity suggests a life filled with purpose. –Captain von Trapp, The Sound of Music (1965)

If you feel your value lies in being merely decorative, I fear that someday you might find yourself believing that’s all that you really are. Time erodes all such beauty. But what it cannot diminish is the wonderful workings of your mind, your humor, your kindness, and your moral courage. These are the things I cherish so in you. –Marmee to Meg March, Little Women (1994)

Trust me, you have a talent that none of the rest of us have. Just find out what it is and use it. It’s doing nothing that’s the enemy. –Lady Sybil Crawley, Downton Abbey – Season 2 

The loneliest moment for an atheist is when he is filled with gratitude and has no one to thank. –G.K. Chesterton 

Where people are really attached, poverty itself is wealth. –Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey 

I cannot speak well enough to be unintelligible. –Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey 

Knowing God’s will is secondary to simply knowing God. –David Platt 

Every noble ideal – justice, fairness, equity, compassion, charity – all of it, all of it, is grounded in the notion that life, human life, has intrinsic value. Not value according to its usefulness, or value according to convenience, or value according to how enjoyable it is. Value. –Matt Walsh 

Surely you and I are beyond speaking when words clearly are not enough. –Edmund Bertram, Mansfield Park (1999) 

When virtue and modesty enlighten her charms, the luster of a beautiful woman is brighter than the stars of heaven, and the influence of her power it is in vain to resist. –Akhenaton

Enjoy your Tuesday, friends! And by the way…it’s FALL. That’s a gift if I ever saw one! :)

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