One Thousand Gifts – Tell me what YOU are thankful for!

As the New Year grins its slightly secretive, mostly extroverted grin, it is a good time to plop into a thankfulness beanbag and meditate on the gifts already in one’s life. It’s a good time to observe blessings and pick them up: like caterpillars on a walk in the woods: think about their many legs, their funny fur, their itsy-bitsy eyes, their specific place in the universe, their unique role in the ecosystem.

Be outlandishly thankful. I once read a quotation that was something like, “If you want to see a promise sprout, bury it in thanksgiving.” THAT is a great image!

Here are some things I am recently thankful for:

1. Hearing a helicopter at night and remembering my time in Baghdad

2. Serendipitously running into a friend and having lunch with her

3. My desk: a friend gave it to me and it’s larger than my last one

4. Having English as my first language: it’s useful and makes me more travel-ready

5. Fingernails. I think my fingers would be able to do a lot less if their tips were more squishy.

6. Having a dishwasher

7. My sister Dori is dating a Palestinian. (It’s so amazing to have the Middle East IN my family.)

8. My sister Dana & her husband work with kids full-time. This keeps them ultra-creative and fun.

9. The internet. I can keep in communication with friends all over the globe.

10. Knowing we are going glory to glory.

11. Hot water

12. The option of buying chemical-free dishwashing detergent.

13. The small tree outside my apartment. It’s sweet.

14. My car. It’s 20 years old and still alive and adventurous.

15. Living near a river.

16. Growing an appreciation for sparkly things.

17. Being able to read Arabic (albeit slowly).

18. Two people this week used their own gift certificates to buy me lunch. The gift that keeps on giving.

19. Being part of pastors’ prayer at my church

20. The archways on my apartment building.

21. Having spent two years in Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. It’s like having learned a new language.

22. Friends who broaden my perspectives.

23. The online catalog of my local library.

24. Freedom.

25. My parents’ courage to support me whilst I go to war zones.

I would LOVE it if you would share 5-25 things YOU are thankful for in the comments below. THANKS!

More thankfulness inspiration here:

And if you want to join Ann Voskamp’s JOY DARE check out January’s Joy Dare

14 thoughts on “One Thousand Gifts – Tell me what YOU are thankful for!

  1. I am making bread this morning and as I was pouring a new 1 lb bag of yeast into the funnel on my storage tin I couldn’t help but be fascinated by how it danced its way through the small hole. This is incidental but a part of what I experience each day… I love to notice the simple; I find God is always pouring His creativity out for us to notice. Even when it is splendid, like a sunrise, with colour and brilliance splashed everywhere, some people still miss it because they don’t look up. I am thankful that my winter rest on the farm with snow set in around us, allows me some be still time, to know that He is God 🙂 and to find His even “little’ yet splendid love gifts.
    It was nice to learn more about you through your gratitude list! God bless you as you travel… Blessed be your feet as they bring the Good News!


  2. 1. I am thankful for Dawn the spirited, Dawn the adventurous, Dawn the faithful, Dawn the wise, my friend who challenges me to open my eyes.
    2. The sound of Vesper’s musical language and laughter, and the way she squints her gray green eyes and throws her head back with delight when she giggles.
    3. The strength and character I have gained and depth of love I know because I am a mother; God is teaching me to be less self-focused.
    4. Literally the best girlfriends a woman could possibly have…seriously, God: How did you introduce me to some of the best women on the planet??? Amazing.
    5. A piano sits in my living room, even now…it was given to us by my brother’s friend who needed to move quickly because he just got accepted into seminary. WOW, God! So cool.
    6. Glorious, 60 degree days in lovely Nashville: skies azure blue, sun intensely warm, rolling hills on the horizon, flowers in January. I am overwhelmed.
    7. My husband just built us a bed; literally, from scratch! I have been sleeping on a mattress on the floor (happily, I might add) for more years than I know, and now I have a “big girl bed.”
    8. My husband, who is gentle, sensitive, servant-like, and loves Jesus.
    9.My home, complete with hot, running water, a dishwasher, heat, air conditioning, and closet space! Also, the newly painted living room. The deep reddish-brown (called Fireside) of the accent wall we finally painted makes me feel warm, cozy, and more at home.
    10. The generosity of the people in my life is enough to bring faith and hope to anyone. God has surrounded me with high-quality, Jesus-loving family and friends.
    11. My faithful old car – 220,000 miles and 18 years old and still running great!
    12. So much beauty all around us: God’s creation (nature, people, music, art, film, food, travel, culture.) So much to revel in and enjoy!
    13. Reading and having access to whatever books I want.
    14. The eternal hope I have in Jesus Christ, no matter the circumstances!
    15. God has shown himself faithful to me in the darkest of times, times that appear helpless to those who only see the temporal. He has held me up throughout Vesper’s illness and enabled me to relish every moment, appreciating the MANY blessings, showing me that all is grace.
    16. I’m thankful for Ann Voskamp who has become a spiritual mentor from afar.
    17. The gigantic, almost wall-sized window in my living room that is flooded with sunlight all day long!
    18. The view of our quiet, woods-framed yard outside the glass doors of my kitchen. I still can’t believe I get to live here!
    19. A job where I am able to walk alongside, listen to, guide, love, nurture, and encourage the brokenhearted.
    20. A job that understands the amount of time I must take off to care for my daughter. A patient and caring boss who is empathetic and allows me to be human.


  3. 1- My five senses!
    2- God’s faithfulness to His Word and Promises to never leave us nor forsake us and to draw near to us as we choose to draw near to Him!
    3- HOPE and Joy!!!
    4- Traveling as often as I do. I LOVE adventure!
    5- Growth! Thriving without striving!
    6- Being the first student from Lebanon at Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry – what an honor to be here!!
    7- Good coffee
    8- My computer – it is my brain’s best friend! 🙂
    9- Good books
    10- Dreaming big with God!


  4. 1. My peaceful, happy, healthy kids!
    2. God’s word which distinguishes right and wrong
    3. Your newsletters which challenge and inspire me!
    4. Kris Vallotton’s sermons
    5. My smartphone is awesome
    6. My house is awesome
    7. A set free heart
    8. A warm bed
    9. Friendship with God
    10. Vision, goals, dreams, ideas


  5. I am thankful for:
    1. Losing and keeping off 19 lbs in 2011.
    2. Confronting my finances, seeking assistance from a professional (a humbling and difficult experience for me) and though the journey is a long way from over, at least beginning to bushwhack a path
    3.Flourishing youth ministry programs at my church
    4. The honor of leading a teenage girl to Christ this fall
    5. Opening myself up to trust others and gaining new friends in the process
    6. My Cat – she keeps my feet warm at night 🙂
    7. My old and “dying” car still running!
    8. A mild winter that has meant not needing as much oil, or spending as much money on said oi.
    9. A Serious decrease in Fibromyalgia pain and fatigue!
    10. Increased Immunity


    • Cassandra, you saw massive amounts of breakthrough and freedom established in your life in 2011! That’s beautiful! I am thrilled for the unveiling of God’s dreams for your life. It’s going to be infinitely better than you could imagine! hooray!


  6. 1. God showing me that he just LOVES me, period. … even though I should have known that all along.
    2. My husband who loves me, supports me, believes in me and gives up most of his spare time to join me in all my crazy schemes.
    3. My two young boys who have shown me love that I never thought possible.
    4. Internet, iphone, etc…. that keep me in touch with the people my heart is connected to, despite having moved all over the place.
    5. My home. I love love love my home.
    6. Grace – from God, from friends, from my family, even from my dog.
    7. Seeing more and more of God’s plan for my (and my family’s) life….
    8. … And the blessing of being used in unique ways.
    9. Financial provision – we’ve seen a lot of ups and downs and turns in the road… yet God has always blessed us with a home, paid bills, and nutritious food.
    10. Your prompting to make this list… thinking through these things has really blessed my heart.


    • Jen,

      Thanks for joining the thankfulness brigade. Two things stuck out in your list: “crazy schemes” and “I love love love my home.” I know these things to be true of you and I am positively thrilled you are living a life that is uniquely and powerfully YOURS. I am glad you are married to a scheme-ster like Jon and I am glad your home is your wonderland. You are a great homemaker in the TRUE sense of the word. Your sons will be famous for creating places of safety and creative expression for others. They are learning that well from you.

      love ya.

      – Dawn


  7. The Gratitude of Gigantic Proportions Arising Within Me Falls Into a List Such as This:

    1. For the Father of all Perfect Gifts and His Lights
    2. For the gift of Dawn Richardson, my fiancee & future wife!
    3. For Life — true and abundant and resurrected-life-LIFE
    4. For Kamlesh (my dad) and his joyful, perseverant commitment to family.
    5. For Hemlata (my mom) and her sweetness in life and her pursuit of the deep things of God
    6. For Shefali (my sister) and her forerunning in our family of knowing God, in the face of Jesus Christ.
    7. For Arun (my brother) and his mantle of wisdom, and for his forging a way out west to the riches of His glory.
    8. For the stars and how they twinkle from afar
    9. For the sun and how it lends warmth and health
    10. For the moon and how it aids us in knowing the season and the times
    11. For the bliss of the secret place and hiding therein
    12. For the stillness that paves the way for abounding sounds of celebration
    13. That I can truly See when I close my eyes
    14. That time and space can be transcended
    15. That skies await for us to ascend with wings and without
    16. That Elemental Chiropractic is a vehicle for His Glory and riches
    17. That the nations await for us to awaken them — and we will!
    18. That He has given us the globe (and beyond) as measures of our stewardship
    19. That I have friends who care deeply about me and will be with me all the days of my life.
    20. That God has given me Dawn and that her family has accepted me with tremendous love and richness.
    21. For Dawn’s smile that sends high the internal kite of my heart
    22. For Dawn’s passion and joy and light and “wow!”
    23. For Dawn’s love of the stars and space and dances and glances — and for the endless romance that we’ll share across many expanses (nations, planets, waters, and skies)
    24. For her unashamed abandonment to seeing people and places and nations and faces all arise to the Light of the Son
    so that they may shine in resplendent, splendorous unison.
    25. For you, Dawn, simply for you: The Greatest Gift from Him I’ve Ever Been Given.

    Thank You Father, Spirit, and Son!

    Here’s one from the list in my mind:

    1000. For the day Dawn and I first set foot (together) in Iraq!
    (p.s. this list goes on into infinity 🙂


    • Wow. I feel like this list grabbed a hold of my heart and hugged me! This is powerful, true, and inviting. I love it. Thank you, Sir Neel, for your expansive love for me and toward me. Your transforming nations by loving me so well.

      AND yes! I am preemptively thankful for our footprints in sweet Iraq!

      And also in precious Israel! Oh the places we will go!


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