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Sunday, January 1, 2012

One Thousand Gifts- A Guest Post

     I was leafing through some emails- Things I Knew I Needed to Get to- when I stumbled upon my friend, Carmen's guest post submission.  In one giant sweep of emotions, I knew without a doubt, that this needed to be my first post of 2012.  
We've got plenty of time to catch up on my blogging hiatus (everything's fine) and Life Lately.  
Thank you for this post, Carmen.  Happy New Year to you all.  
This is a Guest Post as part of a series on Good News here at yourstrulyh. Please email me at if you are interested in participating.       
       Good news. I’m so glad that Holly picked this as her guest posting series because, doesn’t the world deserve more good news? Isn’t the world starving for good news? I’d say so.
     I blog at Life Blessons, where I’ve tried to make it part of my mission to take time to share more of this good news, whether it’s celebrating what I’m learning in my faith, what I’m mixing up in my kitchen, or even just taking a leisurely stroll with my husband through the woods near our house where we say naught a word but simply drink in the scenery.
     So as I contemplated what to write for this series, I started thinking about the fact that good news is all around us—if only we have the eyes to see it, to notice it, to embrace it. 
     It reminded me of Philippians 4:11-12, where Paul writes, “I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation…”
     The fact is that Paul had to learn these things. They do not come naturally to any of us. If we want to find joy in our life—to see the good news swirling all around us—we have to learn how to do it. 
     In the book One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp decides that the way she is going to learn this is by keeping a list of all the things she’s thankful that God has given her each day. His little gifts of sunshine and a warm griddle and the dancing moonlight. Little things. As I read through this book and her list, I kept waiting for the big stuff she’s thankful for. The revelatory ones. 
Honestly, I started to scoff a bit at all the little things that made her list.
     Then I read this: “The miracle of eucharisteo, like the Last Supper, is in the eating of crumbs, the swallowing down one mouthful. Do not disdain the small. The whole of the life—even the hard—is made up of the minute parts, and if I miss the infinitesimals, I miss the whole.”
     Learning to seek out an attitude of gratefulness in even the smallest of things… I hadn’t realized how important that is. Because there are always small things for me to be thankful for: the artwork on the wall that makes me smile, the healthy pumpkin-oat muffins I made for breakfast, the cardinal that skips along outside the window. We need not wait for the big things to give thanks, to see that there’s good news waiting for us at every turn. 
     It reminds me of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas story, when it says, "The Grinch's small heart grew three sizes that day."
      Yes, seeking out the tiniest of details and seeing them as gifts from God and thanking him for them helps my heart to grow bigger, each and every day. 
Joy is always given, never grasped.
God gives gifts and I give thanks and I unwrap the gift given: joy.
— Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts

Carmen lives with her husband in Georgia, although she misses home-sweet-home Ohio and all her dear best friends there, including Holly! She chronicles what’s going on in her life—the lessons and blessings of it, what she likes to call her “blessons”—at Life Blessons.

Love and anyone who uses the word infinitesimals is okay in my book,