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When everything seems to be going wrong, the best thing you can do is write a list of what’s going right. I’m a great fan of gratitude lists. After reading Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts, I decided to take on her challenge of keeping a dedicated journal where I number and count my “thank yous” with the aim of reaching one thousand.

What’s the reasoning behind a list of 1,000 rather than the usual list five things?

I believe the cumulative impact of noticing and writing and reflecting on this growing list of 1,000 instances of gratitude that you have created over time will help you understand that you have more blessings in your life than you realize.

Starting this project does not require:

Waiting until New Year’s Day . . . I started on August 8th.

Purchasing a fancy journal . . . I’m using an old blank notebook.

The burden of writing a certain number of items each day, or even writing every day . . . I forget to write some days. When I do write, I might list 2 items or 10 items.

I found an old, dusty, blank book among things that were going into our garage sale. I wrote the date on the first page, turned the page, and began numbering and writing the things I was grateful for in that moment.

On some days, I’ll write ten things quickly. On other days, I can only think of two or three. I don’t think the number matters, or even if you’re doing it every day, although I’m guessing that over time is will become something I look forward to counting and writing.

I started a month ago, and I’m closing in on #100.

A few thoughts on what I’ve found so far . . .

I’ve discovered that if you can express gratitude on a day when everything seems to be bleak and horrible, you’ll find yourself feeling better when you put down the pen. There seems to be real blessing in the effort it takes to consider what you are still grateful for in the midst of a bad day.

Gratitude can be found in the things that surround us. As I sit in my reading space, I lift my pen from the page and look around the room. I’m incredibly grateful for: Henry, my beloved first Newfoundland dog sleeping at my feet. On the little table next to me: my Bible, my journal, and the assorted devotionals, each a form of prayer that has drawn me closer to God.

A list of 1,000 may not be enough. I honestly believe that I once I write that one thousandth item of gratitude, I will want to keep going because the blessing isn’t in the counting, it’s in realizing how filled with blessing our days have become.

Will you join me in starting your own gratitude list of 1,000?

I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.

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