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It's Five Minute Friday - a blogging flashmob of writers all over the internet joining together to write for five minutes (no stopping, no editing!) on a prompt provided by the lovely Lisa-Jo, then linking up and sharing some comment love. Head here for more details, more posts, and to join in!

So, since last Thanksgiving, I've been counting gifts. Three a day, every day, and I've almost reached five hundred. It's nice to turn the pages in my little red notebook and see how many I have to pass over in order to find an unfilled one, and it's encouraging to look back and see how many weekly gratitude posts I've published between then and now. But the best part is when I see changes in my attitude and outlook. Change happens so slowly that it can be hard to spot because we acclimate to it as it happens - but every so often, I startle myself by reacting in a wholly different manner than I would have six months ago.

For example, Tuesday was a wonderful day - I got to spend an hour walking and talking to a friend (I've never been surrounded by a circle of girl friends, so the conversation was a refreshing rarity, as was finding someone who was willing to meet on a trail instead of in a coffee shop) and spend a few minutes with Adam (who was supposed to be 150 miles away, but had to give someone a ride back to Little Rock) which was so encouraging, and I was happy and spontaneous and decided to splurge on a not-half-price-for-Happy-Hour drink from Sonic... which I dropped all over my car, myself, and the ground as soon as I got home. I stood there looking at the cracked and crumpled lid, the shattered styrofoam cup and the ice sparkling in the sun, with sticky Coke dripping off my elbow, and after a brief moment of sadness, I was able to see the beauty in the wreck. I sat Brooklyn down on the front seat of my car with the keys to entertain her, dug my camera out of my bag, and took a picture that will last a lot longer than my drink would have. There was plenty to be grateful for that day - not only did my spilled soda not quench that, I was able to find joy in that, as well.

But what's really brought that change to my attention has been resistance. Every Thursday I link up with a couple of other ladies to write about that week's gifts, and highlight either a specific gift or a lesson in gratitude learned. Yesterday's post fought back. I had a picture, I had a plan, it was mostly written in my head so all I would need to do was type it out... yeah, no. My thoughts were scattered, and a hard-fought paragraph in I took a break and an afternoon nap while Brooklyn had her afternoon nap and the soothing rhythm of much-needed pouring rain darkened the room and deepened my rest. When I woke up I scrapped everything I had written and wrote a completely different post (inspired by the same event). It ended up being a lesson-learned post instead of a something-that-happened post, and I'm grateful even for that resistance that forced me to change, because it would have been shallower otherwise.

So today I have, perhaps, an odd gift to add to my list: I'm grateful for gratitude. For the choice given to me to praise God in His sovereignty for everything that happens, whether I see it as "good" or not. For the cause-and-effect that that choice has, of gratitude leading to joy. And for the weight of small changes, adding up to a greater affect that shows how the slow erosion of consistent gratitude can soften and reform even my stone heart.

If you've read One Thousand Gifts and/or been counting gifts, have you noticed a change in your outlook? (If you haven't read the book or started jotting down gifts, I highly recommend it!)


Ruth said…
I have kept a gratitude diary before now myself - I think it was the year before last. Even noting one thing a day at the end of the day makes such a difference! Thanks for sharing your gratitude-adventure with us today!

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31 Days of Unraveling Designs

It's that time of year again... the 31 Days writing challenge starts today! Bloggers from all over will be writing every day of the month of October on the topic of their choosing. This will be my fourth year participating - the first year I did 7 for 31, and spent a month going through Jen Hatmaker's book 7. The second year I did 31 Days of Sustainable Dwelling, and wrote about local and fair trade living. Last year I was busy but still wanted to participate, so I went the easy route with 31 Days of Everyday Beautiful.

This year I'm diving into my greatest passion: knitting! I'll spend this month looking at past designs and talking about the inspiration behind them, so there will be plenty of regular life mixed in with the stitching - and there may be discount codes for the patterns that I write about. You'll just have to read and see!

Pattern index:

Pageturner Mitts
Hogwarts House Tie
Urban Artemis
Graffiti for Humanity
Love Out Loud
Strange Jacket


In order to change your knitting, you must first change yourself. I've lost track of how many times I've said that, or how many people I've said it to. Frustrated new knitters wondering why their work is loose or tight or uneven or really anything less than perfect. But something I love about knitting is that it's a record of your inner dialogue. That swatch knit at the yarn store table with a cozy cup of coffee and a helpful (and more experienced) knitter nearby is going to be a lot more relaxed than the sweater begun a week later while sitting next to a hospital bed - just like the knitter.

Unfortunately, this also applies to my own knitting. For years, I was apparently unaffected by the shifts and turmoils in my own life, so I assumed that I was exempt from the rule - when the reality was, in fact, that I wasn't really experiencing any of those on anything deeper than a surface level because everything was deadened by depression. When I finally started to really…


A few years ago, I was introduced to the concept of replacing the traditional list of resolutions with a single word. It appealed to me - I am not a big list person, but I love language and words and meanings and etymology and metaphor and... ahem. Ennyhoo. I liked the idea.
I've never chosen the word. It's always presented itself to me - and last year was no different. Pacific was very insistent, even though I tried to argue with it. Pacific? What does that even mean? What am I supposed to do with that?
But I accepted it, and I'm glad I did. I learned about depth and calm, about storm and nurture, about faith and adventure - and about the unstoppable ocean of God's grace, that overwhelms to fill and cleanse and bring blessings unasked.
So I'm bidding pacific a very fond farewell, and welcoming spark and whatever lessons it would like to bring. I invited it in with a copper wire punctuated with tiny lights and wrapped around my mood board, and I've got an empt…