Ann Voskamp wrote my new favorite book. In One Thousand Gifts she talks about how beauty and blessings are all around us every day. It's not that they are not there. It's that we don't take the time to notice them. She begins to make a concerted effort to recognize and acknowledge all the gifts that she encounters everyday, cataloging them in her journal.
It's not easy for her all the time. She and her husband and gaggle of children (can't remember how many, but a bunch) live on a pig farm in Canada. They milk cows and tend to sick pigs and harvest corn. She homeschools and makes homemade bread and cleans and does piles of laundry. And in the midst of all that, she documents sparkling laugther, freckled noses, full moons, glistening soap suds, healthy children and the presence of a loving God when children are not healthy.
It's really an amazing book. I haven't finished it. To tell you the truth, I can't read more than a few pages at a time without bursting into tears. I see myself in her weak moments. I'm frustrated by the dishes in the sink, but all I really have to do is change my perspective. How blessed am I that I have my family here to use those dishes! How blessed am I that we have food for the plates! And when bad things happen, how blessed am I to know there's a loving God there to lean on.
She says, "The holy grail of joy is not in some exotic location or some emotional mountain peak experience. The joy wonder could be here! Here, in the messy, piercing ache of now, joy might be--unbelievably--possible!" Joy is right where you are right now. All around you. Just look for it. The line that hit me like a ton of bricks in this book is, "The remedy is in the retina."
Habakkuk 3:18 (ESV) reads, "I will take joy." I needed this message so much recently that I made myself a little canvas to hang above my workspace upstairs. I love it. It brings me joy and reminds me where to look to find it. And now I made one as a little thank you note for one of my Facebook friends.
Thanks so much for being on this journey with me!
May the Lord bless you with 1000 gifts every day.