1000 Gifts

April 27, 2008

Ann Voskamp, Abba’s daughter and gifted writer, just finished her own list of 1000 Gifts. I had followed her list since she began in November of 2006. And now, I want to begin my own.

In her introductory post, “The Thousand Gifts” Ann quotes John Milton: “Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.”

Godliness with contentment is great gain; seeking Him and recognizing all He is and does. These are my goals. There will be so very many obvious blessings — I *love* celebrating these! But I am really excited about those seemingly imperceptible delights, the unexpected gifts I’ve not consciously recognized until now.

Without further ado, the list.

1. God the Father

2. Jesus our Hope

3. The Holy Spirit who comforts and reminds

4. The Word of God, my cornerstone

5. My Darren

6. My LittleBit

7. My LittleMan

8. An amazing heritage

9. A Mama who loved me to Jesus

10. Grandmother who ate pineapple milkshakes and laughed with me late into the night

11. Favorite Aunt who is also my dear, dear friend and confidant

12. Favorite Uncle who married into our mess and loves through thoughtful action

13. My best friend from college who taught me that living for Jesus wasn’t a put-on-your-game-face occupation and praying for parking spots was genuinely ok.

14. My best friend now, Mommy-of-Many, who is iron sharpening iron, speaking truth in love; if I’d had a sister, I don’t think I could have loved her more.

15. For a chat at youth camp that marked the beginning of our acquaintance; rain coming down, decisions to be made, kids to pray over and for, it all began at the altar.

16. For perfume in the middle of the night at a primarily middle school girls’ retreat that sealed our friendship. For being able to laugh as soon as we closed the door.

17. For a great album title that totally fits those lines and makes me — and M.o.M. — laugh out loud.

18. My best friend’s husband, Daddy-of-Many, who is not only my husband’s prayer warrior, but extends the servant leadership of his own house to ours while Darren is on the road.

19. For D.o.M.’s loyal love of NASCAR.

20. For the night my 3 y.o. daughter announced, “I Wuuuuvvv Nayascahr!”

21. Bubba teeth that delight small children and send grown women running

22. “Do you have your sunglasses?”

23. My sistah, BraxMom, and her husband, BraxDad, whom I can call and pray with at any time, for any reason

24. Basements and playdates

25. Kitchen table laughter after the late shift

26. My children as a duo; the joy of them together

27. “Dacie” and “Sahmo”

28. “Deeeeer Jeeesus, pweeze bwess Dahdee ohn duh woad”

29. Counting sleeps

30. Praying for sirens

31. “Hear O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is One”

32. The privilege of homeschooling

33. A dear friend who didn’t give up on me when I tried to talk her out of homeschooling

34. Living in the greatest nation in the world

35. Freedom to worship my God

36. Freedom to homeschool my children

37. The protection of an amazing and constantly sacrificing military

38. Freedom to express my views politically

39. Freedom to write and speak and think and believe as I am led

40. The utter grace and privilege of having a solid roof and comfortable bed

41. The privilege of three full meals a day

42. The privilege of public education

43. The privilege of health care

44. The privilege of buying what I want, not only what I need

45. The privilege of fast food, stocked grocery stores, convenience and plenty

46. The privilege of having seen what life is like without other privileges

47. The gift of Meshuko, our World Vision son

48. World Vision

49. The 30-Hour Famine and how it changes my students and me more each time we do it.

50. My fabulous school

51. The beautiful journey our school has been on, so very marked by His Name

52. My students, past and present.

53. The friends I work with — people who would (and have) given much to bless me and my family

54. Going to prom on a Thursday and dancing

55. A school where I could bring my babies to work and my students would rock them to sleep while I lectured; a “family” of families whose children I taught and whose children poured into mine

56. Only three weeks of school left and it seems like it should only be November.

57. Our house; there is no where more comfortable, everything we ever wanted and more

58. Our home; it is wherever we are

59. Favorite Aunt & Uncle’s house in the mountains

60. Homeschooling on the porch overlooking the mountains

61. God’s Truck that takes us there and everywhere else

62. The people and way God chose to give us God’s Truck

63. God’s Hemi that provides D a living and makes me laugh when D steps on the gas

64. LittleBit and LittleMan’s giggles in the backseat of God’s Hemi, bouncing around like wiffleballs

65. Working with Daddy at the Yucky House

66. Bedtime prayers and marking cities on a map.

67. The sparrows who come every morning for breakfast

68. Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal who come skittishly but consistently throughout the day

69. Family worship at breakfast

70. Our amazing church

71. Our very gifted pastor and his wife and son

72. Our church staff that stays on its knees

73. The “launching pad” heart of our church; go where He calls, invest where you are, love Him and love others, HE is your great reward

74. Our youth ministry

75. The privilege of substituting in a ladies’ class filled with women who truly love their Lord.

76. Answered prayer.

Edited to add some more before I go to sleep. Specifically, people and things that make me smile (or laugh).

77. BraxMom’s ingenious invention of the “house uniform”

78. Sitting in M.o.M.’s driveway from 11pm when we get back from Target until around 4:30am when we finally stop talking

79. From M.o.M. & D.o.D.’s daughter, “Why does Miss Sarah stay here on the weekends? When does Mr. Darren come home?”

80. From M.o.M. & D.o.D.’s son, “Geesus wuvs me, ‘dis I know, for my daddy telled me so…”

81. From my daughter, “Mommy, I just don’t want to get big and leave my room and leave Daddy and leave you…”

82. Yellow fuzzy socks given to me by two of my favorite former Sunday school girls when I was expecting LittleBit

83. Thinking about all God is doing through those girls right now.

84. Our paint colors and our kitchen table & chairs, all of which our favorite designing friend helped us choose

85. Watching our kids play with that designing friend’s son and hanging out with his wife at Chick-fil-A

86. Design friend’s sister and the Jedi Council

87. H&C

89. C&A&B

90. M&M&J&R&Z

91. J&M&J

92. M&R&L

93. “All the guys”

94. The relationship I’ll get to have with LittleBit when she’s a teenager, in college, and then a wife and mommy herself

95. The relationship I’ll get to have with LittleMan when he’s a teenager, in college, and then a husband and daddy himself.

96. Looking at myself in the mirror the morning after I’ve forgotten to take my makeup off.

97. Playing the “don’t you smile” game with LittleBit and LittleMan

98. Playing school with LittleBit and LittleMan (where LittleBit is the teacher)

99. Listening to my children pray; praying with my children

100. Worshiping with my children; doing ministry with my children; “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the Truth.”

101. Date nights with Darren

102. “I was just trying not to make her laugh.”

103. Playing air hockey as a family

104. Ironical

105. Watching my husband when he’s “in the zone” at work

106. Watching my son as he tries to imitate his daddy “in the zone”

107. Sunday afternoon family naps

108. Sunday morning values, Saturday morning fun

109. Taking each child by him/her self for a day with Mommy

110. Hearing each child talk excitedly about a day with Daddy

111. Meeting Darren at the bus after a long run

112. Watching my children in a bunk

113. Sleeping in a bunk where it’s completely quiet and I’m all by myself but surrounded by friends

114. Watching my son “haul gear”

115. Watching my daughter (and sometimes my son) ride on gear

116. Using words like “line array” as though I understand fully what they are

117. Steam cleaning my carpets

118. LittleBit and LittleMan cleaning the bathroom

119. Working together to clean up their rooms

120. Vacuuming all the red dirt up

121. I love the feet that track in red dirt

122. The “battle scars” (like red dirt and chipped paint) in our house that say it is well loved because we are

123. Friends who blog or journal or write in some way their thoughts and chronicle their journeys

124. Friends I’ve never met but feel closely akin to

125. Friends who will talk on the phone for 2 hours and then call back that evening

126. Friends who love me enough to not talk to me so I can focus or talk to me so I can get my mind off something

127. Oh! Friends who will talk to me while I clean the kitchen because they it’s not my favorite

128. Friends who forgive

129. Friends who trust me enough to tell me their dreams

130. Sounding cheesy when I’m truly thankful and laughing at what I write

131. 36 hours at home with Darren

132. Books from Favorite Aunt

133. Red dirt between fingers

134. Sand between toes

135. Coffee at the table before His Word

136. The “soccer field” in our backyard

137. The smell of pine in the fall

138. The smell of wood burning in the winter

139. Pumpkins growing out of the burn pile

140. Jumping out the wigglies

141. Dancing in the living room

142. Singing opera in the car

143. Listening to LittleBit and LittleMan make up their own worship songs

144. Singing with LittleBit in worship service

145. Memorizing Scripture with my children

146. Lullabies and Psalm 23 before bed

147. The word “ironical”

148. Friends with whom you can be silent

149.  Hearing my daughter quote Psalm 23 from memory, without us ever “working” on it

150.  Finally getting all of Psalm 91 memorized in order for myself and not switching verses around

151.  God’s forgiveness

152.  My children’s forgiveness

153.  My husband’s forgiveness

154.  God teaching me how to forgive

155.  Pop tarts

156.  Mountain Dew

157.  Broccoli

158.  The card my aunt received from her aunt years ago, and now she’s sent it on to me

159.  Provision.  Miraculous, extraordinary provision

160.  Finding something I’d been missing for two months

161.  Pictures of LittleBit’s first Christmas

162.  Seeing my former students get married and have children of their own

163.  2 jars of peanut butter — one for other people and the family jar we all use for spoonfuls

164.  Family worship time

165.  The hope in homeschooling this year

166.  Sleeping in

167.  Making wish lists together

168.  Watching HGTV and Food Network with my kids

169.  The Art Studio (formerly known as the dining room)

170.  Podcasts from pastors and authors who encourage and exhort in the Word

171.  Abba holding my hand when I’m alone

172.  Abba holding me when I don’t understand stuff

173.  Math with my kids

174.  Reading lessons with LittleBit and LittleMan

175.  The privilege of homeschooling (may have said that already)

176.  The new life growing within me

177.  Picking out names and praying over what they’ll be called

178.  A husband who makes me laugh

179.  Watching my children worship at home

180.  My friend who loved me enough to celebrate my pregnancy first

181.  Alaska

182.  Each village we visited

183.  All God is doing in Alaska

184.  Awaiting God’s direction for our part (if any) in Alaska

185. “Keep me also from willful sins, let them not rule over me.”

186.  The personal nature of Scripture

187.  Simple prayer

188.  The sufficiency of Scripture to provide prayer cover for things I don’t understand

189.  The sufficiency of the Gospel

190.  The sufficiency of Jesus

191.  Friends who love me enough to speak TRUTH to me

192.  Our church

193.  Our life groups

194.  Iron sharpening iron as we “forsake not the assembling of yourselves together”

195.  My son’s smile

196.  My daughter’s laughter

197.  D home on Valentine’s Day

198.  Students who trust me to pray

199.  Talking to God about my children, my students, my friends, my husband, the world

200.  Hearing God through His Word

201.  The baby girl who changed everything and yet it was as if she’d always been a part of us

202.  The ache for one more

203.  Friends who follow God to foreign countries even when it doesn’t make sense

204.  God restoring and redeeming lives & loves

205.  God using the pain of losing my mother multiple times to bless others around me

206.  My Mama’s smile on my daughter’s face

207.  Tears stored in His bottle

208.  Tears that *will* be wiped away

209. LittleBit and LittleMan praying for BabyGirl of their own volition

210.  The word abstemious as pronounced by S.S. and my lit class

211.  Prom every year

212.  Friends who love my children as though they’re family

213.  Friends who eat together, fellowship together, are real together, pray together

214.  Loving other’s children as though they’re family

215.  C.C. who has taught me what it is to see a home as pure stewardship and about hospitality as an act of worship

216.  Songs that express so very, very much

217.  Coffee. Seriously.

218.  Chocolate. Ditto.

219.  Homeschool projects e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e. in my house

220.  Marker on my walls

221.  A BabyGirl who uses a baby wipe and helps clean marker off the walls

222.  Big kids who help clean marker off walls — and laugh doing it

223.  Friends from high school who know they can call on us

224.  “Dandy-downs”

225.  Seeing our kids in outfits that remind us to pray for the kiddos of dear friends


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s