In reading Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, I along with two friends have embarked on our own journey to take note of and catalog one thousand gifts and graces in our everyday lives. Read more about our journey and how we got started here.
The smell and anticipation of coffee on an incredibly sleepy morning.
God’s faithfulness to me, even when I’m so very not.
Strong and capable legs that carry me through a workout.
Books on CD, allowing me to be an avid reader and a college student at the same time.
The long and lovely procession of food from a collection of ingredients to a cohesive dish in the slow cooker.
Time to prepare a meal.
The glow of a nearly full moon on a wintertime lake. The delivery driver from Luigi’s who always wishes us God’s blessings and cautions us to hold the box straight so the cheese doesn’t slide.
Good and healthy options available at the school cafe when I run out of time at home to pack a lunch. Perforated edges on notebook paper, and lab manual pages, so I can easily get rid of those fringies!
Professors who are respectful of their students’ time.
My ability, with God’s amazing grace, to push forward and carry on in the face of overwhelming-ness and anxiety.
The sounds of my hubby in the other room making the bed on my most busy day of the week.
My friend Emily, who knows me well enough to read the slightest changes in me and understand what they mean.
My professor Becky, who is understanding, forgiving, and accommodating in ways that, to my mind, are beyond the “call of duty”.
It may have been too cold to sit outside, but I still enjoyed some time reading by the lake this afternoon! The river way.
Sara and Alyssa for sharing this journey with me, their willingness to be transparent, and the chance to get to know then both so deeply when before they were simply acquaintances.
Culver’s hot fudge sundae with chocolate custard!
Living along Lake Michigan.
A hot mug of Vanilla Bean tea.
Seeing cards and flowers scattered around Mom & Dad’s house, signs of their love and affection for each other.
The feeling that I can’t put words to, of coming “home” to Mom & Dad’s. Total release from responsibilities and pressures, if only temporary.
Laughing with Mom.
The satisfaction of deleting homework items from my calendar (my version of checking them off the to-do list!).
A husband who misses me when we’re apart.
Mom standing outside her house, watching me drive up the driveway as I head back home.
Fun colored pens, which make long dragging classes at least a little more tolerable!
Coffee’s restorative powers.
My big blue blanket and the comfort that’s wrapped up in it.
Alyssa!) An immune system that kicked my cold really quickly!
Seriously fantastic snuggle session with my lovey.
The ability to say “no” with discernment.
Overhearing a laugh that sounded like the Cowardly Lion!
My husband, safely driving me home through a blizzard.
My husband, getting up to shovel us out and clean off my car!
Courage to walk up to a stranger at church, invite her to sit with us during service, and ultimately make a new friend.
Date nights with my lovey!
Birdsong, and a flock of birds fluttering together around trees.
Seeing my husband pull into the driveway after a
long day of work. A truly blessed Rock the Lakes meeting at church.
A beautiful blue sky with scattered fluffy clouds.
In general, a winter with much more blue skies than normal.
A comfortable friend with whom to workout without feeling foolish or less than.
The chance to teach a nutrition lesson to Hailey’s girl scout troop, and the lasting memory of it for both me and for her.
Waking up without cancer.
A huge, beautiful orange moon guiding me home from Green Bay late at night.
My church family.
The more immersed I become in Jesus, the more I feel separate from the world, and shocked by the world when I find myself face to face with it.
My husband’s vulnerable moments.
The safety and security of my Character Development small group, where I can share without restriction the yuckiest parts of me and my life, and in return be loved and fed.
The freedom of resting in Christ, and the reassurance of knowing that I can make that choice again and again after I fall away and He’ll be right there every time.
Sitting by the lake, eating yogurt and granola.
Leaving the gym dripping sweat and feeling like jelly.
Sharing my heart with my grandma. Apologizing and hearing her forgiveness. Relationship taken to a different level.
Courage to follow my beliefs; to hear God speaking and obey.
Courage to walk through the world each day, in the world but not of the world.
Cheese and crackers.
A breezy doorway in which to sit.
Grace. In all things. Even the sucky ones.
Being comfortable outside without a coat.
Filling the house with fresh air through open windows.
Fresh, new notebooks.
Terry outside mowing the lawn; the security of him helping to care for our home.
My Character Development group. Amazing, amazing women who bring blessings upon blessings into my life.
The simple, reliable, and comforting process of transforming ingredients into whole and wholesome food.
The intoxicating smell of fresh-pressed garlic, sautéing.
The attention-holding task of constant, continuous stirring.
A breath, a sigh; comfort well-earned at the end of the day.
Being mentioned on
someone else’s blog. Like, someone else who I don’t even know in real life. Legit.
A freshly-opened jar of almond butter. Birdsong.
Being able to go to class in pjs, and earn my education.
A chance encounter in the middle of the day with Terry!
A weekend getaway with my husband. Fresh air, nature, rejuvenation.
A husband who cares about investing into our marriage.
Brand new friends, who feel like old friends. Instant clicking.
Sharing souls and stories with said new friends.
Adventures with new friends.
The mess in the kitchen, the overwhelming “stuff” everywhere that I have no time to pick up.
One beautiful rose. I can’t, but You can.
One foot in front of the other… Getting through.
The beautiful knowledge that in 1 hour, 24 hours, 1 week, whatever I’m stressing over will be completely and forever in the past.
Eternal thinking ~ the things I worry about so often really do not matter at all.
Fear of an unknown future.
Simply, perfectly, a beautiful day.
The knowledge, the blessed assurance, however fleeting it may be, that I am not, in fact, less-than.
Terry and I, individually and as a couple, are surrounded by a truly fantastic and amazing group of supporters that we are blessed to call friends, to call family. So grateful to have champions in our corner, walking through life with us and fighting our fights with us.
A super tough week going by really quickly.
A home-cooked meal made by a fantastic friend.
Grace that humbles me to accept help.
Cozy, cozy candlelight. A spring rainstorm at midnight ~ a special gift that I would have missed if not for being unable to sleep!
Waking up to four deer in the field at the edge of our yard.
My life does not suck.
Breathing in and out.
Sun on my skin.
Breeze all around me.
Laughing with new friends.
Mid-day snuggling with my love.
The empty slate ahead.
The choice that I always have, to choose to empty myself and thus let God fill.
The learning curve of “growing up”.
Not hesitating to call a friend in need ~ possibly the first time ever.
Coming home to boxes on the stoop. Looking ahead to a weekend filled with plans with friends.
Safe-to-drink water, flowing freely from the tap.
An orangey slivered moon.
The first blossom making its appearance on one of my day lily plants! My own willingness to be vulnerable in a group of women and share with them the grossest parts of me and my sin-life, and my ability to simply sit in that “ick” in front of them.
The willingness of my
Character Development group to let me sit in an uncomfortable, introspective, just plain hard situation without coming to my “rescue”. Their understanding that it’s better for me to sit in that place. Nine months of my amazing Character Development group feeding into my life and letting me sharing my story with them.
Nine months of those same incredible women sharing their stories with me.
Seeing T* break through more than once during small group time ~ a rare, special gift from her.
My life is different now than it was before. Changed forever.
An amazing, amazing mission trip team meeting tonight. Finally feeling like the kids accept me as part of the group, and feeling like they want me around.
Grace that I could be in a position to lead, when I am so very, very undeserving and unqualified.
Grace that He can do whatever I can’t.
Digging in dirt with my hands.
Planting tomatoes and lettuce, with my own hands, at my own home. A day of feeling like a “normal” person. At least more like a normal person.
The laying of hands and the nature of prayer lifted up purposefully, as a group.
Our amazing, amazing, amazing church family.
Evening drinks and appetizers; time spent with my lovey in an outside-the-norm way.
My very first day lily, brave enough to bloom.
Well-earned exhaustion at the end of the day.
tiny deer running across the road in front of me! My cafe au laid with a crunchy, caramely crust of raw sugar on top.
143 Terry coming home from work for dinner before he has to turn right around again and head back to work.
My lovey working hard at paying our bills.
A sudden, overwhelming sense of being right where I’m supposed to be. Belonging with my church family.
Watching a sunset out the right set of airplane windows while it’s pitch-black and city lights out the left.
Travel delays. So many unexpected opportunities.
Flying in the stars.
Discovering that there is
so much room in my heart for these kids that I used to barely know. Friends to borrow stuff from. Simply putting out the call and friends responding. Humbling and overwhelming.
Incredible, incredible friends-turned-family.
The absolute open welcoming of strangers-turned-friends.
The space in my heart for so very many.
The space in their hearts for me. Help me to believe it.
Independence Day: a mid-week “free” day. Mid-morning breakfast with close family friends, followed by an afternoon up to Door County for a senior portrait session. Our one little plan for the day turned into an adventure lasting late into the night. So much welcoming, open arms and hearts.
The perfect, intermittently stormy summer day.
The smell of rain.
Running into Alyssa at the Farmer’s Market, nearly immediately after wishing I had texted her to invite me.
Snuggling in bed, watching the lightning show.
Super sleepy, big body, tiny baby sighs.
The smell of freshly ground coffee.
Preparation of coffee at night, in anticipation of the morning.
Completely unexpected friendships.
Brand-new, all-encompassing love.
Longing for a country that I never really even considered before.
True friends. Friends that give selflessly, generous with no strings attached.
Coffee with milk and sugar. Made by a friend.
He holds my heart, and I don’t even know him yet.
My sweet one.
My Grandma, and her ability to simply know. How does she see me that way?
Terry and I, holding court with my Grandma and her friends at the nursing home.
Friendship that has grown ~ started with admiration and a desire to know, and grew upon mutual goofiness and Jesus-love.
Bringing my sister to her first-ever Christian concert!!
Generous friends, amazing connections, getting backstage. Huge family love.
Sloppy, messy, happy tears.
A sweet, bouncy puppy; endless energy. Saturday morning visits, as if it’s a totally normal thing we get to do all the time.
Giggling like girls and huge belly laughs.
An unexpected reunion.
Blast-from-the-past memories; nostalgia.
New(ish) friends that are family.
Sweet children that welcome me in, no questions asked.
A dinner attempt that is not so successful.
My hubby asking if I mind if he makes himself a peanut butter sandwich.
Friends to report the unimportant news of the day to.
The miraculous technology of Skype.
Sharing fun news, over and over and over.
The uniting power of the exciting news.
The world around me becoming smaller.
So much family, that loves big and doesn’t judge, understands and doesn’t question.
Open, excited curiosity.
A surprise visit from a (best) friend.
Eggs, fresh from the farm and hand delivered. 30-minute foyer chatting.
A new recipe, much better received! Returning to cooking after a far-too-long hiatus.
Choosing health and wellness.
Ladies lunching. Growing up, in a very good way.
Ability to share, both successes and “yuckies”.
French onion soup and caprese salad.
The shared joy of people who truly understand.
Branching out, making the effort to have a fulfilling and meaningful social life.
Sweet toddler boy snuggles.
God calling me to pour into teenagers lives, calling ME because He wants ME. Because He knows that I have something to offer.
The painful truths of being teen.
A most unlikely friendship, with a boy from another world. Driving silent over snow-covered street, occasional elbows touching. Hoping to have an impact.
Locally made butter.
Cheeses without any dyes.
Watching the scene outside my window turn my world into a giant snowglobe.
Braving the weather to share news with family.
Feeling |mentally| healthy. Or at least on the way there.
Choosing to go off my meds, because I believe it’s the right time. Choosing to do so under the care of my doctor, and slowly. The right way.
Sending personalized, thought-filled gifts through the mail. More visiting!
Fantastic neighbors, and unbelievable sweet strangers helping me get my VERY stuck car out of my snowy driveway.
The realization that “only having one phone cord” is a pretty ridiculous problem to have.
Reading on the couch, in a relatively clean house, with fresh rainy air blowing through open windows; the smell of dinner cooking and the sound of the dishwasher running.
Allowing myself the time to relax and read, especially while Terry’s home and busy working.
Terry spending time at home, cleaning in the basement and grilling burgers.
Falling asleep with skin that smells like chlorine.
Watching lightning over the lake toward Sheboygan.
Hailey staring through the 2-way glass at dance, with no idea that I’m right on the other side. A home filled with teenagers.
To be looked up to; to be able to mentor. Having anything at all to offer.
A sunny day after days of dreariness.
Comfortably warm inside while its oh-so-cold outside.
Eternal hope within me.
The opportunity to discover me.
My husband, who loves me more than I can fathom, and definitely far beyond what I deserve.
Perspective gained with age.
Coffee. Knowledge and learning. So many resources.
Being Mara’s Auntie Katie.
Christ in me.
A husband who forgives much. Jesus, who forgives infinitely more.
Six Thursday mornings spent with the most loving and generous group of women. Older women to speak into our lives, share their wisdom, and just love us completely, and my peers to soak it in with me. New friends, who are good friends.
Deep friendships that love big and don’t mind messy.
The special, special bond between the “older”, who so appreciate having their wisdom sought after and cherished, and the “younger”, who so desperately long to be noticed and loved.
The different, wonderful opportunities to at times be the “older” and at other times be the “younger”.
To be thought of.
I NEVER CAN. GOD ALWAYS CAN.
favorite verse is on my heart, and then I open my Bible app and it’s the verse of the day. When my husband seeks my counsel as he makes a big decision.