one thousand gifts

A1176e830fadc500e77046d30ff8e7d90191. the book Sacred Marriage for sound marital advice.

0192. gorgeous, crystal blue skies, and chilly mornings

0193. another book to read in a favorite book series

0194. oodles of scrapbooking inspiration

0195. weekly discipline of giving

0196. better days after really good nights sleep

0197. another opportunity to serve

0198. a tentative diagnosis that isn't life threatening and the relief experienced from just knowing

0199. walking without a medical walking boot and back in a steel-toed working boot

0200. the practice, the devotion, the heart-change of the Lent season

0201. the gift of the God of No Limits. an Infinite God.

0202. the gift of the God of Infinite Mystery. an Incomprehensible God

0203. the gift of the God of Infinite Creativity. a self-existent God. a Creative God. the author of all creativity.

0204. the gift of the God of Infinite Provision. a self-sufficient God. This is truly a gift because we are so needy.

0205. the gift of the God Eternal. a God of infinite days.

0206. the gift of the God of Infinite Sameness. an Immutable God. He is the same yesterday, today, and all my tomorrows.

0207. the gift of the God of Infinite Place. an Omnipresent God

0208. the gift of the God who knows, the God of infinite knowledge. an Omniscient God.

0209. the gift of the God who is all-powerful; who is infinite power; who is Omnipotent.

0210. the gift of the God of Infinite Rule. my Sovereign God.

one thousand gifts | warm house


Acknowledging gifts. Turns frowns upside down. Cheesy statement, but changing the attitude of the mind and the heart also changes our actions and reactions. Before gifts, discontentment, heartache, heartbreak, sadness, frustration, silliness, waywardness, ungratefulness. After gifts, recognizing God's hand in each individual act, measure of gift, goodness, blessing changes us from the inside out. Not only for that moment, or moments, but when we reflect, these gifts become like Ebenezer's, stones of remembrance of the goodness, the blessed-ness of God, in His in-fine-ite MERCY.

0173. a new Bible study

0174. declaring the glory of the Lord through giving

0175. beautiful shelves left to be hung

0176. unexpected compliment

0177. the cooler temperatures after a long run of rather warm

0178. being told I was a good Bible study teacher

0179. time, lots of time with the Lord

0180. a mostly clean house

0181. a husband in pursuant of cherishing his wife

0182. listening to a book on Audible - the blessings of technology

0183. cooler temperatures, warm house

0184. empty laundry baskets

0185. successful surgery

0186. recuperation

0187. those things that are saving my life right now, changing my outlook, adjusting my attitude

0188. a busy morning that made time fly

0189. good conversation with friends, laughter, fun, and good food.

0190. a couple good back and forth texts with a dear sweet lady and a new, sweet lady.



one thousand gifts | reconnecting


In my pursuit to give thanks for one thousand gifts, to replace discontentment with contentment, and trials to considering it pure joy, writing down the bones - the gifts that can turn a frown upside down, change a heart...

0151. reconnecting with dear, sweet-spirit, classy, sarcastic, honest, loving, faithful Melanie. I've missed her beautiful soul! This in itself would be 1000 gifts.

0152. the new lamp next to my bedside table

0153. coffee brewed in the morning

0154. that video Brad sent of Samuel crying, crying and then he heard the Gilmore Girls theme song and stopped crying. So funny!

0155. realizing at the end of the day that it had been a really awesome day just because of giving to others and connecting with people

0156. opening up my email to find a post from Focus on the Family breaking down nourishing your spouse - my One Little Word for 2017. How cool is that!

0157. holding a preemie but gorgeous baby and delivering a meal to the family with two sets of twins

0158. a delicious handmade salad

0159. re-arranging furniture and giving a living room new life - in time for small group to regather

0160. Jeff coming home today at a decent hour.

0161. a couple texting conversations that made my day

0162. cool nights for some really good sleeping weather

0163. being struck at the heart after this Sunday's sermon how very much we are blessed as a couple and a family and as a country even, and mostly, that we are on the right track - but we can always do more.

0164. some really good conversation in small group that carried over after they went home into our own conversation.

0165. connected with Stacia

0166. connected with Amy

0167. connected with Jessie

0168. finishing a really good book

0169. uploaded the first video to a new Bible study. Lately, I've been bombarded with the idea - well, truth, in fact - that growth in Christ just doesn't happen with a fresh studying of His Word. One has nothing, absolutely nothing to stand on with His Word.

0170. the fire-roasted marshmallow scent wafting in the room

0171. rejoicing with friends when 3 of their kids (adult kids) are part of the worship team that day

0172. the answer to anxiety, worry, uncertainty, discontent is always exalt Christ. Give Him your gratitude. Give Him your praise. Bless Him.


one thousand gifts | welcoming a new year


0125. a new year welcomed

0126. a new tradition began. We took the lead from this post and began another new year's eve tradition. At midnight we woke Jarrod (he went to bed early because he had to work New Year's Day) and we gathered around the table for bread and wine (sparkling grape juice) and gave thanks for 2016, remembered Jesus' sacrifice, and prayed for 2017. What a lovely tradition to begin.

0127. a new year's eve tradition kept. We made appetizers to share on New Year's eve and spent the entire evening playing games: Yahtzee, Scrabble, and Monopoly for a wonderful ringing in of the new year.

0128. abundant gifts around the tree

0129. mugs, and more mugs! Just a sweet little crazy collection

0130. a year of intentional gift giving

0131. Compassion International and sponsoring a child

0132. spending New Years morning in church hearing an amazing message grounded in the Word of God

0133. a bubbling pot of homemade venison chili

0134. successful tooth extractions

0135. nourishing learning: practicing Spanish using an online language tool

0136. many books to read

0137. the monthly habit of planning the next month's menu

0138. the bright sun bursting through the clouds

0139. moments of contentment to chase away discontentment

0140. the written word heard loud and clear: the answer to anxiety is the adoration of Christ - ann voskamp

0141. the return of cooler temperatures

0142. new beginnings

0143. the smell of lemon and garlic wafting through the kitchen

0144. the very act of preparing a meal

0145. packing that bag with swimsuit, goggles, and swim cap and the anticipation of dropping in the pool. Too giddy to comprehend

0146. glimpses of fearlessness and peace and the hope for  - less, and more.

0147. one little guiding word that bears repeating

0148. the simple act of service of prepping the coffee pot by my husband speaking volumes to my love language

0149. in reading Endurance the lines on page 94, "When it came Greenstreet's turn, he elected to read Sir Walter Scott's Marmion. And Macklin allowed as how "I must confess I find his reading an excellent soporific." - and when I looked up the word soporific because I did not know what it meant I had a hearty chuckle

0150. handling our finances stress-free 

one thousand gifts | a homemade blanket to give away


106. the Journey is finished for the year and until Christmas 2018. It was an amazing time of serving with a really good bunch of people: for Jim, Marlene, Paula, Yvonne, Martha, Shay, Paul, Hendrick, Heather, and Ricky - you guys rock!

107. homemade Christmas cookies

108. finding my way out of discontentment through giving

109. beautiful skies that bless my heart

110. piping hot and soothing homemade noodles and chicken soup with fresh baked homemade bread. The joy is in rolling out the egg dough for the noodles and adding them into the boiling stockpot of chicken and vegetables and spices

111. the lush, soft, warm fabric purchased on huge sale and made into a blanket in under two hours. It's beautiful!

112. the chilly temperatures for snuggling

113. Jesus

114. His saving grace

115. when Jeff and I are in sync

116. giving me my one little word for this coming year: nourish

117. for nudging me to give more

118. for all the books on my shelves I have still yet to read for hours and hours of enjoyment

119. for Prilosac - it keeps the acid reflux and heart burn at bay.

120. for beautiful red skies in the morning.

121. settling in to a slower, less hectic holiday pace

122. listening to Christmas music and songs while Jeff puts together our homemade pizzas

123. Star Wars - Rogue One. Good movie.

124. reading an hysterically funny book that makes me think of Jeff, and me - and my dad


one thousand gifts | a thrill of hope

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086. The Journey. Compassion Christian Church.

087. the tender hearts serving the special needs table at the Journey

088. hearts of sons - who serve

089. much needed rain

090. relief from toothaches

091. a thrill of hope; a weary world rejoicing

092. pre-lighted Christmas trees

093. a box of ornaments (some tattered and torn) reflecting years of Christmas joy

094. a concerned doctor who seeks to heal not just relieve symptoms

095. voices that sing a cappella

096. homemade Christmas cookies

097. and the memories that go with them

098. creamy, delicious eggnog

099. the prayers of saints praying for you when your sick

100. 'when I saw your name on the list that we'd be working together I was excited'

101. the Son given

102. a morning of low ceilings, low visibilities, light rain, heavy rain showers, thunderstorms and lightning, fog to keep me busy at work and make the time fly by

103. my grandson asking his mom to text me a picture of the sky and ask what kind of clouds; it meant he was thinking about me

104. those with the gift of words

105. carrying us through our exhaustion


one thousand gifts | grace and thanksgiving


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0071. grace upon grace

0072. the promises of God of who I am in Christ

0073. the book Unashamed written by Christine Caine

0074. Prilosec that drives heartburn and acid reflux away

0075. colder temperatures ushering in winter

0076. seeking God and finding Him

0077. a long cup of coffee laced with French vanilla

0078. the truth of God's Word over the facts of my circumstances

0079. snuggling under a mound of covers

0080. the scents that say fall: pumpkin, cloves, oranges, cinnamon, pine

0081. the sun peeking through the overcast of stratocumulus

0082. a supermoon gracing the sky

0083. a book I read recently, Unashamed, that changed the focus of mind, the direction of my mind from the wrong road to the right path

0084. the return of the ducks to the ponds near work

0085. the words of Abraham Lincoln spoken 153 years before I was born to a war-torn and divided land, are applicable for today and can offer hope to our once-again, troubled, torn, and divided country,"The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.”


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one thousand gifts | 30 Days of Thankful


To begin, One Thousand Gifts continues...

0047. the same family that Jeff and the boys helped cut down a tree that was threatening their barns and equipment and livestock fencing after Hurricane Matthew recently gifted us with 80 pounds of venison for our family to feast on.

0048. for the long, exhausting hours cutting and preparing the deer meat for freezing.

0049. for the old, but still keeps on freezing, free-standing freezer to store all the meat.

0050. for the delicate tenderloin medallions of venison we shared for an evening snack the other day.

0051. a well-written novel

0052. those books on the shelf I want to read again

0053. our sermon series in the book of Daniel

0054. remembering that time John and Jarrod shared the book of Daniel to their grandmother, chapter by chapter.

0055. a call back job interview for John

0056. homemade pizza and family movie night

0057. making up after a why-are-we-fighting fight

0058. Cracker Barrel maple syrup. Divine.

0059. a sky dressed clear blue

0060. the sun peeking over the horizon.

0061. my 30-oz Yeti thermos of steaming French vanilla-laden coffee

0062. the views from the 6th floor of the tower

0063. Mrs. Meyers Clover hand soap.

0064. a friend's face lighting up when she recognizes me

0065. an old friend (couple) stopping by, reconnecting, and knowing it won't be our last time together

0066. a crockpot full of venison sausage chili to share with friends

0067. a new mug holder of my growing mug collection

0068. a meat grinder, a really good knife, and a food saver vacuum sealer

0069. the heart-wrenching, gut-wrenching acts of hardship and goodness posted here and there on the internet.

0070. Proverbs 31:10,25


This year for my 30 Days of Thankful album I've created a 4 x 4 album template. Reminiscent of Paislee Press' This Day in December journal cards I made a 4 x 4 template, one for each day of November, same fonts, same look, for the right side. The left side is a 4 x 4 white framed photo template. Simple. Sweet. I am using this 4 x 4 We R Memory Keepers Instagram-sized album. And, I'm stoked. 

I knew preparing the templates was going to be key to me accomplishing this album amidst - life.

Find all my one thousand gifts.

one thousand gifts | after the storm


Trees fell in our neighborhood. A few fell and missed houses and cars. One did not miss but dropped onto a roof. Water surged in from the Atlantic flooded this street but not that one. Power flashed in this neighborhood but in this one electricity has been out for days, even a week. The country of Haiti: devastated. 

I don't have any answers why some were spared but this friend, eleven trees fell, several destroying her house. Or, that friend who didn't even lose power. No answers.

But, I do know this: God is good all the time. Even in the storm. And, I will praise Him before the storm, driving away from our home after offering it in to God's hands; I will praise Him in the storm when I am dry, safe, and secure in a friends home; and I will praise Him after the storm when the clean up is hard and dirty and long. 

one thousand gifts...

0026. the airfield manager making a decision to close the tower and radar, thus closing the weather station in time enough before the storm hit.

0027 friends opening their home to us when we evacuated

0028 and feeding us

0029 and their neighbor offering a box fan

0030 Jeff, strong and patient, and giving and serving and hardworking through the entire storm and evacuation

0031 a home to return to, still there, undamaged, and dry.

0032 a home paid off

0033 Jarrod having a job and figuring out how to save for college

0034 all the crews that arrived, no flooded, our area to clean up roads, restore power, assess damage after Hurricane Matthew 

0035 the money needed to replace food we lost from the power outage

0036 jobs to return to and jobs that served us through the storm: Jeff's company owner allowed plenty of time to take care of families, my company willing to pay overtime when I had to close and open the station

0037 Jeff riding with me when I had to open the weather station, us finding our way through back roads and getting through those police manned roadblocks

0038 my team at work all okay, safe and sound

0039 Jeff's strong work ethic carrying him through cleanup

0040 seeing and hearing of compassion by so many

0041 crisp cooler temperatures ushered in after the storm

0042 gorgeous cloud formations; a solid layer of cold air stratocumulus - the first of the season.

0043 more pain-less days than pain-full

0044 a gift basket sitting on the dining room table waiting to be delivered to the dear people who took us in from the storm

0045 the easy drives back home after the storm, calm spirits, no traffic

0046 the hard, solid, good work done upon our return and the benefits from a kept yard and house

Praise You, Lord, in the storm!

one thousand gifts | a table of thanksgiving


I have been reading Ann Voskamp's exquisite prose , A Holy Experience for quite sometime. I have gone and come - and back again. I've read her book, One Thousand Gifts, with mixed feelings of awe - and concerns (or misunderstandings). But, as I've continued to read her poetic works of art she shares at A Holy Experience, her gift to speak Truth in love, is beauty redeemed. Her words are a table of thanksgiving. A holy gift.

At the beginning of the year when I decided to forgo a 52 Gratitude's project for 2016 like other years (2013) (2014) (2015) I knew I was making a mistake. While it is true these projects were part creative exercises (I made a mini album of my gratitude's), they also served as accountability to acknowledge, weekly, what my God has done, acknowledge just one gift a week how He has blessed me.

I have missed out.

He has blessed. No doubt about it.

Occasionally I have acknowledged Him for these gifts. 

Now, I will sit down at His table and offer my thanksgiving. 

One Thousand Gifts.

That is why I've come today. To offer my gifts at the table of thanksgiving.

One Thousand Gifts  |  gifts 0001-0025

0001 After a couple years of difficult, hard, pressed down, shaken up, sad, we are in a different place. Better. Different...and for God.

0002 Facebook. Photos of my grandkids posted to Facebook. My grandkids.

0003 The intense joy and happiness I experience when I hand deliver scrapbook page-photos I have lovingly created over to Maggie made for her of her twins. It is more of a blessing to give then to receive - Acts 20:35 Truly, it is.

0004 My nineteen year old sons giving me goodnight kisses - or kisses when I come home from work.

0005 Rays of the sun bursting through a broken deck of stratus clouds

0006 The glider in our front yard under our burgeoning oak tree beckoning us to take a breath - and rest

0007 That pungent smell and sharp spicy taste of garlic. 

0008 Nursing a 30-ounce Yeti thermos filled to the brim with coffee and French vanilla creamer

0009 Words, painful and to the quick, finally said; better for having said them.

0010 Spending hours digging deep in the Word of God

0011 Books. And more books.

0012 Books arranged by color.

0013 The hurricane fan at the foot of my side of the bed blowing cool air directly on me

0014 Texts from Hoosier Man of Good Morning, Gorgeous!

0015 Taco (with Parent sauce) nights

0016 Warm, homemade chocolate brownies fresh out of the oven

0017 the gold band that was my dad's that I wear on my right hand as a reminder of him

0018 the widest-acclaimed dessert of small group: Aunt Shirley's Carrot cake recipe

0019 Emoji's, especially the sneaky monkey

0020 a growing collection of mugs

0021 coffee ready to be poured when I awake

0022 French vanilla creamer

0023 The front porch steps lovingly built by my husband's hand that say, "I care. I don't want you to struggle when you climb the steps to our home."

0024 Awaiting the raft of ducks are the cattails and pond rushes and lily pads gracing the pond and marshlands; the first signs of the flock appear in the early fall as they make their way for my visual delight at the end of the north runway

0025 work that provides, meets our needs, and gives us fulfillment.