"Too often I miss Him, oblivious, blind. I don't see all the good things that He is giving me, gracing me with, brushing my life with. True, He is everywhere, always. But maybe, before The Gift List, I thought of Him as further off, not so close. When I started to see all the things that I love bestowed upon me, I started to see Him as near, present, everywhere, showering me with good things. Seeing the things I love all around me gives me eyes to see that I am loved, that He loves me."--Ann Voskamp of Holy Experience

"As the moments slip down the hour glass of time, I am scratching down the gifts---just as they happen, as they arrive, as they are unwrapped---that He has given that make my life grace, the daily graces that He gives in an infinite number of ways, that stir me...Yet my list is different than another's for a reason: God has made me uniquely me. The Gift List is about gratitude... but it is more. It is about what defines me and my own personal identity. Reflecting on The Thousand Gifts List... "...cracking open a new book... pushing children on the swing.... old men looking at cards in the stationery aisle..." I am thankful for the things on it, yes, but I am also thankful that He has given the gift of me; that God made me who I am and I am one who sees and experiences the world in a way uniquely her own. The Thousand Gifts list is about the gifts Abba gives this child every day... and, ultimately, about the very gift of self, life as I know it."--Ann Voskamp of
Holy Experience

"If God has come in the flesh, and if God keeps coming to us in our fleshly experience, then all of life is shot through with meaning. Earth is crammed with heaven, and heaven (when we finally get there) will be crammed with earth. Nothing wasted. Nothing lost. Nothing secular. Nothing absurd…. All are grist for the mill of a down-to-earth spirituality.” --Paul Stevens

Last year I had a dream (detailed more in a previous post). But the gist is this: I dreamed about a woman who kept a journal of all the little coincidences and gifts and miracles in her life, the sacred in the mundane. Really simple seemingly small silly mundane stuff--a leaf she'd found, a pain or relief in her body, something someone said, a dream, the play of light that morning, a lament, an answered prayer, a surprise. She knew as she was writing this stuff that it would "stand witness" later, for herself and those she loved, when she or they went through a "dark night of the soul". It would stand a witness to say GOD WAS HERE, look you can see it! And a deep reminder that He's STILL here.

That dream never left me and I started journaling and living that way, noting the daily miracles. The dream had happened on a trip to Canada and it was over there that I took it to heart and lived that way. But bit by bit it slipped away, I have been getting so enmeshed in the stresses of my life I've been forgetting to open to the little miracles each day, the knowing he is HERE. And I want to change this so deeply. So today when I came accross Anne Voskamp's
One Thousand Gifts challenge my heart kind of jumped. I'm not into lists so much, but i can't resist this one. Maybe a bit smaller list to focus on, 100. And then the rest not as a list so miuh but more of an unfolding maybe. God's "more into small steps" I feel, like this qoute mentions, "Sometimes we are too easily overwhelmed. Sometimes we believe that because this world is into high-speed, microwave living, that God is, too. But from what I've seen, He's more into small steps... Small, unforgettable steps where His steps matched ours--and left us hopeful and changed..."(from As I see it Now) . And I ask you my Father to please guide me here. Please help me open my eyes to Your love and Your precious gifts and guidance right here in my own life, in my very own hours and nights and days. And my Blessed Mother Mary, I ask you to please help soften my heart so I can truly let these gifts in. Please help me deepen my gratitude and my peace, knowing I am not alone. In Jesus's name, Amen

Wendy's One Thousand Gifts:

1. Dreams! Lord I thank you SO much for the gift of dreams! I feel You here almost more deeply than anywhere, it makes me feel I am loved and guided and not alone, that even in my sleep I am held and loved and protected and guided by You! Thank You Lord for my dreams!

2. My Partner Joseph! Lord thank you SO MUCH for Joseph (Prince Joseph as I call him). He has utterly changed my life and it is through him more than any other that I have seen Your love coming through.

3. Food! Seriously Lord, I thank you so much for food! I need that taste, that warmth, that pleasure, that fullness. How gracious you were to give us this rather than another less nurturing way of nourishment. Thank you for our the daily miracle of our daily bread, and for the deepest bread and miracle of them all, Your very self, the Bread of Life.

4. Home! Oh Lord, thank you so much for our homes, our beds, our tables, our doors, our hearths. Thank you for our homes here and also for our heavenly home. Thank you as Eve's daughter for our home in Adam's sons (thier ribs) and thank you for both of our ultimate Homes in YOU!

5. Headship! Oh Lord thank you SO much for headship! For heroism! For leadership and love and providence and protection! Headship from the men close to us who love and take care of us and from our mutual ultimate Head in YOU!

6. Cooking! Thank you Lord for pots and pans and stoves and hot simmering bowls of soup and fresh baked bread! More on this one later I'm sure, becuase I am so deeply grateful for this gift of food and cooking Lord!

7. Sweeping! Well I know it sounds silly Lord but truly I thank thank you so much for sweeping, and also in general for the ability we have to clean and to create peace and order in our homes and places!

8. Our Curses, God thank you for our curses! The curses you gave Adam and Eve and we their children. Thank you becuase I know in my heart they are not petty punishment but rather healing discipline, meant to heal us! Thank you Lord for loving us and guiding us so deeply!

9. Fire! Thank you Lord for the warmth and comfort of fire, in our sun, our hearths, our candles! And thank you Lord for the inner fire of being passionate as well!

10. Water! Thank you Lord for the cleansing and comfort of water, water of our streams and oceans and and dew and of our tears, and our simple glasses full!

11. Earth! Oh God thank you SO much for our precious earth! For her oceans and her trees, her mountains and volcanoes, her dew drops and tender shoots and flowers and blades of grass and precious animals! I hug this gift of earth Lord and thank you so much, it shows me just how kind you are (earth is kindness), just how precious you are (earth is precious), just how miraculous you are (earth in miraculous), just how majestic and tender you are (earth is magestic and tender). I love her rocks, her leaves, her wet ground, her wind, her rain, her sun, her snow. Oh thank you dear Lord for our earth!

12. Air! I thank you dear Lord for our air, air of breath, air of sky! For clouds and stars and moon and sun, for rain and dew and snow and hail. For snowflakes! For rainbows! For dewdrops! For birds! Oh thank you Lord for air!

13. For fairy tales!
14. For books!
15. For computers and internet!
16. For ospreys!
17. For sparrows!
18. For bears!
19. For octopuses!
20. For wolves!
21. For dolphins!

22. For my family! Lord you know Ive had my issues there. But I do thank you for my family...

23. For my mom holding me as a baby, and cooking her famous lasagne, and her love of fairies and angels and fairy tales and nature that shone through, and her eye for cozyness and beauty.

24. For my little brother's sweetness growing up and his courage (he's in the military now) as he got older.

25. For my other little brothers patience as we were growing up (I used to dress him in ribbons poor thing!) and as he grew his simplicity.

26. For my youngest cousion's very deep kindness and thoughtfulness and gift of wonder. She is amazing!

27. For my other cousins' (as well as my younger cousin's too) love of fairies and nature when they were growing up

28. For my uncle's heroic presence in my childhood, even though he left the state when I was young.

29. For another heroic uncle who used to send me letters and gifts pretending he was my favorite character "puff the magic dragon".

30. For another uncle's encouragement of my art, and his own artisticness.

31. For my grandmother's soup when I was sick, and vintage books she used to share, and praying the rosary with me, and her love of Little House on the Prarie and all that stood for, and the wonderful things she used to sew for us. I still remember a little red riding hood cape that she made for both me and my doll. I still remember sitting in her lap watching Little House on the Prarie. And I still remember her passion and energy and strength that I looked on at wonderingly because I lacked.

32. For my grandfathers charm and some of his old fashioned values. And for his letting me do silly things with him growing, up like "doing his hair pretty".

33. For my other grandmother's bubblyness and courage and generousity and creativity and kindness. I'll never forget this silly little gingerbread plaque that I made for her that she kept right up on her living room wall till the day she passed on. And am deeply thankful for her amazing relationship with my grandfather. I'll never forget the walks they took each dusk in the mountains together.

34. For my grandfather who took those walks with her, his calmness and depth and thoughtfulness, his love of ancestry, his wisdom, and his very deep love of my grandmother.

35. For my father and his love of learning and his openmindedness and thoroughness of work and thought. For his answering my childhood questions on philosophy and such seriously rather than taking them lightly as the other adults around me were. For his encouragement of my study and writing, and his own deep gifts there.

36. For my aunt's openmindedness and intelligence and sense of style.

37. For my great grandmother so involved in the "20's hollywood" scene who still never lost her innocence or kindness or sparkle in her eye. For the surprises she used to give me growing up, and her letting me play with all her special "pretty things". For her amazing sense of joy and wonder. And for my other great aunt her twin sister, whom I wish I had known better, and for the amazing Italian dinners we used to have there each Sunday (REAL Italian dinners!).

38. For my first great grandmother above's husband my great grandfather who was a silent movie star and yet never stopped cattle ranching because he loved it so much. And for my second great grandmothers husband my great uncle who was keyly behind those Sunday dinners!

39. For my other great grandmother who braved deep poverty with such grace and faith.

40. For my other great grandfather who used to come home from working so hard and later hold my young grandmother in the rocking chair and sing to her.

41. For my "best freinds" in grade school. For the sweet little things we made each other, and the silly notes or deep conversations, and the walking to school or to play through the mountains.

42. For my teachers, those that reached out. And there were so many who did! I can still remember the encouragement there, encouragement I so deeply needed.

43. For the "crabby" librarian-nun in my grade school who I found out was an amazing person and slowly became friends with. I'll never forget how she "broke the rules" and let my mom give me my favorite book from the library (a really precious vintage book on St Therese the Little Flower) for my confirmation.

44. For a deep and generous college friend who reminded me how to be silly again and used to do "happy dances".

45. For men I dated before who helped me open my heart in various ways

46. For the many cats in my life! From childhood, from college, from housemates, from my yard. For their purring and their kisses and their waiting patiently at my door to rush into the room when I got up. Even for their "insolence" (queen and kings of the realm don't you know) and their sweet warm fur that got into my computer for their hanging out on my desk.

47. For my precious dog growing up, who used to let me ride her (poor thing!) like a "pony" when I was very little.

48. For stones! For the deeply precious ones I have here with me now, my "bird rock" and "fish rock" and "heart rock" and all the other precious treasures. For knowing as I hold them how ancient and how slow and how pateint they are. For the deep deep healing that all brings!

49. For feathers! For the giggly excitement at finding them large and small, and the deep breaths of awe they make me take when I see them--these things have FLOWN! Holding them in your hand is enough to take anyone's breath away.

50. For icons. Sacred images, secular images, any image that reaches your heart and opens you to God and to wonder at His heart and creation.

51. For rhythms...

52. For breathing in and out

53. For day and night

54. For sun and stars and moon

55. For sunrises and sunsets

56. For dew

57. For waking and sleeping

58. For breakfast and lunch and dinner

59. That my partner isnt averse to cooking

60. That someday I'll know how to cook!

61. For yummy Cozy Shack pudding (been living off it after the surgury)

62. That Oregon has such great health care

63. For the sound of rain

64. For the smell of rain!

65. For breezes!

66. Especially ocean breezes!

67. For oceans!

68. Saltwater!

69. Sand under my toes!

70. Seashells!

71. Snow on the beach!

72. Snow period!

73. For my partner's patience

74. For woodstoves

75. For my partner's care

76. For his being a truly good steward

77. For cool thrift stores

78. For used books

79. Especially vintage books

80. For libraries

81. For Burts Bees lip balm

82. For natural products in mainstream stores finally

83. For Trader Joe's

84. For my partner's taste in vintage books (he just got me some today, it's been like Christmas)

85. For warmth--of covers, of fire, of sun, of....warmth

86. For prayer. Even internet prayer (I love the online daily liturgy)

88. For the Catholic faith I was raised with

89. For the Orthodox faith I am also exploring

90. For fairy tales! And For the LIVING Fairy Tale of Christianity!

91. For Shabbat!

92. For fresh hallah and garlic butter and homemade chicken soup (yummm!)

93. For old churches

94. For little chapels

95. For awaesome cathedrals

96. Especially for those i saw in Germany (in person) and France (from the train)

97. For history....the ice age, the middle ages, the thirties. Thank you Father for the gift of time and place, the charm of differnce there...and yet the interconnectedness of it all.

98. For nature always being there, where ever i move to. Be it waterbirds, or owls, or squirrels....always always nature is here.

99. For the "palette" you give us....dreams and seasons to live by, food ingredients to cook with, prayers to pray with. Thank you Lord for not making us create out of the blue, but giving us your precious palette.

100. For the creative spark you give us Lord, i thank you so much. For that longing for order, for beauty....for sewing and writing and baking and more....for that longing inside to bring more and more of your order and beauty into the world. Into YOUR world.

101. For the longing to travel, to....pilgrimage. You gave us this longing oh Lord. And you gave us this life as a pilgrimage. Our precious home here, and our heavenly home...in between them is the "leaven", the precious stones along the path, the things we "ponder in our hearts". It is...pilgrimage. And at any point in this precious journey, in You we are...HOME.

102. For the gift of touch Lord, i thank you. The way you touch us, the way we touch each other...kindness, care, impact...touch of hand and touch of heart. Thank you Lord for Your own hands...and how You have made us to be Your hands for one another...

(Images from
Julie Ann Warth-Brown (of Chant Art) and Pam Garrison (of One Woman and Her Crafting Tales)

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