We are doing the One Thousand Gifts challenge, Cana and I. Finding One Thousand things to be thankful for. Ann Voskamp wrote a book about her own attempt, it made the New York Times Bestseller List, and, more importantly for me, it won my own Book of the Year award last year.
Everyday,after we’ve read a bit of whatever it is we are reading together (just finished Little White Horse by Elisabeth Goudge and starting on White Boots by Noel Streatfeild) we think about the things we are most thankful for. It probably makes very boring reading, our shared talking and writing, but it’s a fun thing to do with your children. We only started last week so here are our first twenty-five… only, erm…nine hundred and seventy five to go…
Weds, Feb 5th
1. I am thankful today for snuggles with my son in bed this morning, his sweet curly head tickling my nose.
2. I am thankful for my big girl who reached silently over and took my hand in her slim, brown one. She told me afterwards she was praying for me.
3. I am thankful for my three year old who prayed for her godmother today who is very ill in hospital, “Thank you for Auntie Sue to get better again – no Jude, don’t interrupt me – in Jesus’ name, Amen.”
4. As I walked past the reservoir tonight in the wind and the twilight, I saw that the water was covered with white gulls which rocked on the waves and wheeled in the air just above the water, their white wings changing to black as they swooped above the skyline and were silhouetted against the dark grey sky. The wind was too loud in my ears to hear them at first, but as I stood and watched them I could just make out their faint calls, wild and free in the half-light.
5. And for old friends who care about my children and send them parcels in the post.
Thurs Feb 6th
6. I am thankful for muffins and strawberry jam
7. And ice-cold milk which tastes so delicious with muffins and strawberry jam.
8. For Mama because she is the best godmother in the world.(Cana)
9. For the warmth of distant friends and their kind words online.
Fri, Feb 7th
10. I’m thankful that we don’t drink dirty water like the children in some other countries.(Cana)
11. I’m thankful for Christian’s nice warm back in bed, last night I dreamt I was lying on a bench with my back tucked up against the back of the bench, it made me feel all safe, and when I woke up the back of the bench turned into Christian’s back, solid and warm against mine.
12. I was so thankful today at the park to see some crumpled leaves bursting out of the end of some bare twigs like flames of green in the bright sunlight. I could suddenly believe that Spring would come, not yet, but soon.
13. It’s a lovely feeling, when you discover a book you haven’t yet read by a favourite author, for that I am thankful indeed!
14. For the ‘mothers’ I have been given in my life (Debs and Vonny), who are grandmothers to my children and who bless us so often with their practical love.
Sat, Feb 8th
15. I am thankful, that on this cold, windy day, we have a deliciously warm house to come back to. Having lived in a few large, draughty houses, our snug little dwelling seems an especial blessing on a day like today.
16. I am thankful for my husband and children on a rare family evening together watching a film.
17. I am thankful that I met another new neighbour at drama today.(Cana)
18. I am thankful that we can choose whatever we want for tea, it feels like a luxury.
Sun, Feb 9th
19. Every night, before I get into bed I have the delicious job of going from bed to bed to check on each of my sleeping children. The oldest lies like Sleeping Beauty, her face serene in the lamp-light, breathing lightly. My boy is always twisted up in his duvet, I have to excavate him, unearth his tousled head from under piles of pillows. He is always, unsurprisingly, flushed with warmth, his long dark lashes fanned out on his pink cheeks. The little one is usually in my bed and she always lies sideways so that she takes up the maximum amount of space and normally in an unnaturally contorted position – her back arched and her arms flung out on either side. In sleep she is immovable, her chubby little body planted on the bed, a dead weight to move. If you shift her to make room for your own body, she moves back and lies against or on top of you, heavily. How blessed I am. Every night I get into bed, smiling a little and feeling incredibly rich.
Mon, Feb 10th
20. I am thankful for our new rocking horse, Periwinkle. She rocks better than any other horse I’ve been on. (Cana)
Tues, Feb 11th
21. We are thankful for snow this morning, well, not my husband because he works for a travel company and the British Transport system is renowned for being throw into chaos by a millimetre of snow, but the children and I. We were woken by squeals of excitement this morning.
22. I am thankful for the sound of running water, which was everywhere in the park this afternoon as the snow melts into the swollen stream.
23. I am thankful for bright winter sunlight that dazzles the eyes, sparkling on the water drops on all the twig-tips.
24. I am thankful for Vivienne’s delicious cake at Cake-church. (Cana)
25. I am thankful that mummy let me take my Spider Man to cake-church.(Jude)