This is no ordinary gift list. It's not about the things I want or a list of gifts I need to buy. It is about daily joy-filled gifts. Gifts of wonder and delight that are missing the price tags because they can’t be bought. Money is a man-made system. These are gifts I've received from God. They are there all the time, every day and they’re everywhere. It’s like a treasure hunt where the gift is hiding in plain sight.

 

A little history on how this came to be…

 

In January 2019, at the first of the last year of the decade. I was in a situation that made many of my days at work feel like I was working in Hell. I knew it wouldn’t be much longer though, as God had given me a new opportunity that I was only two short weeks away from. I was grateful beyond words.

 

Before I left that position, though, one of my direct reports shared with me how instead of making New Year’s Resolutions, she chooses a “word for the year.” She explained that she had chosen the word LESS to focus on throughout 2019 – less drama, less weight, less debt, less… whatever. I was outwardly gracious as I listened to her, but I was inwardly critical. What a stupid idea!!

 

Well, shame on me!!! That criticism would eventually change. I began to hear the gentle God-whisper... “Gratitude – choose the word gratitude.” I would argue that I am always grateful for everything I have in life, that I take nothing for granted, that I know I am blessed with being more fortunate than those that suffer in this world every day of their lives, that I know I have it better than I probably deserve. For every argument or period of ignoring what I “heard,” I would hear it again – “Gratitude – choose the word gratitude.” But that’s stupid, I would think, choosing a word of the year (insert eyeroll), and I AM gratefu!.”

 

Or… was I? Was I really? Did I really even know what he meant?

 

It took a while and several connected and confirming circumstances, but he finally got through to me when he led me to a book by Ann Voskamp titled, One Thousand Gifts. Through this book, he began to teach me the difference between being grateful, and having a heart of gratitude. I sometimes – often times – forget, but he keeps reminding me in his sweet, gentle way.

 

This Heart of Gratitude he has taught me about has made a HUGE difference in my spiritual life and the way I view and experience my earthly life. It has brought me to an understanding of what joy – real, honest-to-goodness joy - truly is. I thought I knew. I thought I had it. I did not – on either count – but I do now.

 

I get so excited about this journey of gratitude, of thanksgiving, and ultimately of joy in living fully as God has designed. It is a journey I’m still making new discoveries in, a journey I sometimes get distracted from, but one that has such a positive impact that I want to share.

 

That’s where my Gift List comes in. At some point I will share in greater detail, but basically, this is a list of daily gifts that I began recording even before I started reading the book - half-heartedly listening to him telling me to choose the word gratitude. These are gifts that I have come to notice in the every day activities of life. They’re there regardless of how I happen to be feeling on a given day, but even in the worst of times they’re there and if I step outside of SELF long enough to look, it is in those moments that they have the most profound effect of gratitude, of glory to the Giver of the greatest gifts in life.

Here are a few of those I’ve been recording. There are more I've recorded that aren't here (yet). If you really pay attention while reading the list, you may discover where my list became one of full recognition of what a Heart of Gratitude is and one that was simply grateful. I challenge you to do that and let me know where you think it begins. I will keep adding, so please come back and see what new things I’ve discovered, things that bring joy to my heart, and my heart to gratitude.

  1. Beautiful work spaces

  2. New job

  3. New co-workers

  4. Sunny winter days

  5. Majestic Mt. Rainier views

  6. Peace-filled home

  7. Beautiful sunsets

  8. Jonah's music

  9. That exhillarating post-workout feeling

  10. Ten-thousand steps

  11. Cheerful bus drivers

  12. Singing, dancing-while-she-works Barista Deborah

  13. Comfortable home to relax in after painful days

  14. Sweet, wonderful husband in desktop photos

  15. Reminders of dream-come-true wedding

  16. A new shelf for my desk

  17. Warm, melty, gooey brownie yumminess

  18. Learning about Eucharisteo

  19. Book of One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

  20. Sun shining through blinds casting striped shadows on lace curtains

  21. Room filled with treasured memories

  22. Photographs of loved ones past and present

  23. Collected porcelain bells, dolls and teddy bears

  24. Cross-stitched hearts

  25. The quiet calm of a peaceful home away from home that allows for needed rest

  26. Distant sounds of small private planes that bring imagined beauty that they must see from the air on this brightly lit early spring day

  27. A Heart of Gratitude God is creating in me

  28. Bare feet

  29. Wind chimes singing with the breeze

  30. Warm, lightly moving air dancing across cheeks and arms as I stand briefly with my face to the sun

  31. Comforting warmth of my dog lying next to me

  32. Silky soft doggie ears sliding thru fingers and palm

  33. My husband's hand in mine as we sit side by side, reading

  34. Two year old grandson hugs, "I love you" and blown kisses.

  35. The same grandson who, when asked his age, says, "I'm do!" (2)

  36. My 90 year old father-in-law admiring our jigsaw puzzle work

  37. Watching my husband honor his elderly parents by trying to fix, then calling and paying for someone to fix, their thermostat without being asked or expected

  38. An honorable man to share life with

  39. Steam rising in swirls from morning coffee cup

  40. My husband's "latent heat of vaporization" remark in response to my mention of #39. "Thanks," I say. "You're welcome," stated seriously, yet humorously.

  41. A husband who makes me smile... every day he makes me smile - even when I'm in pain.

  42. Eagles soaring in spirals over barely green Wenatchee hills

  43. Glassy stillness of the Columbia River with mirrored clouds from airy heights

  44. Rivered valleys with snow-draped, tree-sprinkled mountainous backdrops

  45. Cross-steepled churches

  46. Barren fruit trees lined up in rows, waiting patiently for new Spring life to emerge

  47. The dimples Eric brings out in my cheeks when he points to a row of tractors next to an orchard and states, "I want one of THOSE!" :)

  48. Travelling with my best friend, listening to music in the background that pulls youthful times and bygone eras from memory banks.

  49. Hearing Eric's almost 30-year old daughter say, "Hi Daddy!" (It's only a good dad who gets called daddy when his children are grown.)

  50. Puffy, sunlit clouds on an expansive blue background

  51. American flags pitched high and billowing

  52. Cargo ships in the bay, piled high with containers

  53. The warmth my heart feels when my husband holds my hand.

  54. Morning husband kisses

  55. Warm, soft and sleepy doggy head to pet as I awaken

  56. Clouds illuminated with magenta and gold-kissed horizon skies upon sunrise

  57. Cool breaths of Spring deep in my lungs

  58. Twin tugboats dressed in hues of blue and gold, accented in black on the Duwamish

  59. Music in my ears, reminding me of the power of God's love and how His mercies are new over and over, even when I'm not well

  60. Buildings that have displayed beauty over decades and decades of time

  61. New hanging flower baskets on the sides of Pioneer Square buildings

  62. Sun on my face during bus-commute mornings

  63. Spiraled evergreen plants at work's doorway

  64. Work days that end at 2:30, even if it is for a dentist appointment!

  65. Dark quiet before the dawn

  66. Witnessing the city come to life on a sleepy Saturday

  67. Misty gray skies and watered ground

  68. Rain splattered windows

  69. Tears of joy

  70. The adorable-ness of doggie-tail-chasing

  71. First morning coffee sips

  72. Soft textured blanket beneath fingers

  73. Quiet moments spent with God

  74. Pitter patter of puppy paws

  75. Tears of gratitude

  76. Xavier kisses to the cheek

  77. Sunrises with backlit mountain sillhouetes

  78. Quiet moments with God (as I copy this from my list I see that I already listed that on a previous day, but I guess that just shows how much of a gift it is).

  79. Coconut flakes and mango

  80. Notes received, recognizing my work last week when last week was soooo difficult! :)

  81. Darkened skies transitioning to sunrise of orange, purple and grey

  82. Late afternoon breaks at work

  83. EVERYTHING! - when everything feels happy and good and "right."

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