The Gratitude Journal - Finding Contentment in the Everyday

I have been looking forward to writing this post for several days now. One of my anniversary presents from Ben was a book many you of you have probably heard of, "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp (we went traditional this year with paper gifts). When I first got the book I had a hard time not being a little disappointed. You see, I have an Amazon wishlist FULL of books I want to read, I am really quite the book worm, and this particular book was not on my list...or so I thought. Initially I was wishing Ben had bought me a different book. I thanked him, and told him I would bring it on our beach trip. 

Later when we were on the beach I pulled it out, and Ben and I started discussing why he chose the book...come to find out, the book was on my wishlist all along! And wow, am I so glad now that it was. Many of you read me gushing over "Bread & Wine" last month...I am still in love with that book. But let me tell you...this book is topping Bread & Wine. 

The whole premise of the book is the idea of finding what it takes to live a "full life". The author explains that this can only be found through giving thanks...yeah, yeah, we have all heard for our entire lives to be thankful, count your blessings, say thank you, and be grateful for what you have. This book is not talking about that. Ann begins to unpack how we can truly be thankful and she says it is through recognizing the gifts the Lord has given us. 

Thankfulness is not a blanket that can be thrown over every area in our life...if this is what we practice we will find ourselves coming up short, and discontent at the end of the day. Thankfulness must be learned...it is a practice that must be trained into us, day after day, over and over and over again. The way that Ann Voskamp began to learn thankfulness was to write down the Lord's daily gifts to her. So that is the inspiration behind this new project I am introducing today. 

The Gratitude Journal, this is what it sounds like. A journal to record daily gifts from the Lord that I can rejoice in. Part of the book "One Thousand Gifts" talks about how the key to gratitude is in the naming, stopping to take time to name the gift the Lord has given. Like this:

3. The sizzle of thick cut bacon and the smell of strong coffee
5. White clouds that look like cotton
7. The serenity of him sleeping next to me

By picking up my pen and journal, and writing down gifts, I am receiving things that go unnoticed, rejoicing in them, and then awakening my heart to the glory of my Savior. I am nailing out discontentment, and beginning to see the deep love my Heavenly Father has for me. 

It is our natural tendancy to cast out what we label as "small things". We long for better vacations, nicer clothing, prettier houses, and more money...I love this quote by Simone Weil, "Sin is an attempt to flee from emptiness." We deem our lives empty so we chase after more...we are discontent so we complain, covet, and become jealous of others. But what if we were to stop, and reevaluate those small things. 

"Do not disdain the small. The whole of life, even the hard, is made of minute parts, and if I miss the infinitesimals, I miss the whole...There is a new way to live the big of giving thanks in all things. It is this: to give thanks in this one small thing. Moments will add up." - Ann Voskamp

I love this. So rather than continuing to write my thoughts on all that I have read (we would be here all day) I wanted to share a few of my "gifts" that I have written in my gratitude journal so far. I would like to challenge you to join me. Just pick up your pen and start writing. 

9. Flaky white fish smothered in cream and parmesan
10. The smell of summer rain
12. Kissing him upon waking up
14. Children catching fireflies

I plan to write in this journal every day, and I am not planning to stop at 1,000. I want this to become a part of me. I desire to see Jesus and his love for me as his child in every little thing, so that is why I am starting this Gratitude Journal. Will you join me? I would love to spur one another on in this journey towards contentment and joy!