Tuesday, November 22, 2011


I can’t believe it’s already the week of thanksgiving!  How did that time go by so fast? Oh, maybe it’s that I’ve been running a million miles a minute. 

I was so ambitious at the beginning of the thanksgiving season.  All gung ho to get totally into the thankful spirit.  I’ve been reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp recommended by Catherine.  It is beautiful so far and has really sold me on the idea of gratitude.  Gratitude makes you happy.  Period.  Ann Voskamp is challenged to write down 1000 things she is grateful for.  1000 gifts.  When I read that I thought, that’s it, that’s what I’m going to do this November.  I’m going to grasp every good gift in my life, write them down in a poetic way.  Capture them in my heart.  Feel full.

But then things spun out of control (they’ve been doing that a lot lately) and now it’s the week before Thanksgiving.  I’ve thought a lot about blessings.  We’ve been talking a lot about thankfulness as a family.  We have our thankful tree up.  But I haven’t sat down to really reflect and write my blessings at all. 

So, I’m going to bag the totally unrealistic challenge of 1000 and see if I can get to 100 in the next few days.  Now I’m not talking about a one word kind of list.  I could nail out 1000 easily if I was just thinking one word.  Salt, computers, pens, jonny jump up, books, car, friends, air, wireless internet, cell phones, rain, heat, running water.  No, I’m talking a thoughtful list of gifts.  A list that forms images in my head, that helps the beauty of those gifts bring me into the present.  A list that will help me taste the joy of all the blessings that my life is bursting with.  

While I’m far from any kind of poet, I’m going to give it a try.  My list won’t be as beautiful as hers, but that shouldn’t stop me from doing it, right?  So, here goes.  I’m going to write a few I thought of today and then go from there.   I won’t bore you with all of them on the blog….just starting here to keep me honest. 

(and these are in no particular order, except for the first one)

  1. Jesus Christ.  His example.  His influence in our lives.  His atonement.  The spirit that floods our home when we focus on Him and try follow Him.
  2. sweet friendship between Hazel and Charlie
  3. crunching leaves under my feet on a crisp morning run
  4. hearing Hazel gently negotiate Emmeline through getting ready for bed
  5. my children’s examples to me of patience, forgiveness, love, concern
  6. peter breathing heavy on my shoulder, drunk on my milk
  7. emmeline’s expressive eyebrows
  8. charlie’s curious mind, ever asking why and figuring
  9. Hazel’s creative mind.  ever creating and seeing the world in ways I’d never dream of.
  10. Emmeline’s cheeks, red with exuberance for life.
  11. Emmeline’s restless cuddles in the morning
  12. Peter’s easy, sparkly smile.
  13. the sound of jeff walking in the door after a long day for both of us
  14. the ability to video chat with all 9 of my siblings at once over google groups – amazing.
  15. friends who will drop anything to help me
  16. only a few rounds of antibiotics ever in our little families medical history
  17. a crackling fire in the background of an afternoon’s rough and tumble rattle and noise
  18. a body that can stay up late and get up early and still function moderately well
  19. Hazel school, complete with report cards for Charlie and Emmeline.
  20. a church community that helps fill the void of being away from family
  21. shiny house plants that I haven’t killed
  22. light coming in my living room window in the late afternoon
  23. afternoon snack time with hot coco, peppermint Jo Jos and tales from school
  24. friends who make you want to be excellent
  25. the big wide world and all the diversity that it has to offer
  26. Charlie's wide grin when he first sees me at school pick up
  27. the smell of my bed as I sink into it after a long day
  28. peace as I nurse peter in the dark before dawnbreak
  29. hearing only the muffled bedtime silliness of my children as I nurse peter down for the night in the dark quiet stillness of his room.
  30. front row seats to my kids’ daily funky dance concerts
  31. Emmeline’s heavy but searching eyes as I sing her Jesus songs before bed
  32. sleeping children
  33. radiators hissing, pouring in warmth to our little home
  34. private tours through Lego creations, knex carnivals, tinker toy museums
  35. interesting tid bits of information about the outside world from Jeff
  36. being a first hand witness when my children utter the occasional real prayer.  real connection with their Father.
  37. hazel’s piano practicing when I walk in the door from my run
  38. all the minute by minute details hazel gives me about her day
  39. the beauty of a family meal and dinner conversations, even when they derail into silliness. 
  40. looking through old photographs, telling us who we were and are
  41. bed time.
  42. Emmeline’s middle of the night needs answered by Jeff while I sleep
  43. open, inspiring talks on a morning run
  44. mist rising in the cemetery
  45. the soundtrack of baby babbling, screeching and sighing as I make my way through the day
  46. cheerios stuck to little fingers, somehow making their way, without my help, into a little hungry mouth
  47. comments on my blog letting me know I’m not alone
  48. calls from and to sisters and far away friends as I sweep the floor, fold laundry or load the dishwasher
  49. love connections captured by my camera reminding me of all the goodness in each life
  50. the feeling of a warm shower after a cold run

I’m half way there, and I’m just scratching the surface.  Maybe I’ll get close to 1000 after all. 

Gratitude = Happiness



  1. This is SO beautiful Sayds. I am with you on how fast Thanksgiving has come up. It's killing me! One of the things I'm most thankful for though is YOU and our family. SO grateful. Sure love you.

  2. Here's the thing I was thankful for this morning: being so wealthy that I have half a dozen different colors of nail polish to choose from.
    Great list, Saydi. Thanks!

  3. Saydi - I love your list. It's thick with the beauty of your life. My two favorite were back to back: "39. the beauty of a family meal and dinner conversations, even when they derail into silliness. 40. looking through old photographs, telling us who we were and are." You have a wonderful, busy, but happy existence.

    And yes, 1000 gifts for November would be super-ambitious! I think fifty is pretty awesome. I've been keeping a running list in my journal (and on the sidebar of my blog) since September, and I'm only to 148. But I like the slow recognition along the way, the journey of transformation that happens as I begin to see more and more things through the lens of gratitude. (I definitely have days, however, when it's all said and done and I haven't even thought about my list of gifts.) I love you Saydi. Hope you have a happy, restful Thanksgiving. xoxo



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