Thankfulness Journal Highlights God’s Faithfulness

I’ve been thinking about thankfulness a lot lately.

First, it was because Thanksgiving was coming, and, well, what else are you supposed to think about before Thanksgiving? Then, it was because of Christmas, and all the many aspects of this holiday that I love so very much.

North Dakota barn

With all those thoughts swirling around in my head, I imagined it would be fun to go through my thankfulness journal—a record of 1,000-plus blessings that took me more than three-and-a-half years to complete—and make a top 10 list.

My thankfulness journal is precious to me. Several weeks ago, right before the hard drive on our personal computer bit the dust, it was the only file I sent to my internet email account just in case Randy’s multiple backups somehow didn’t work.

I do most of my writing on our laptop, but the PC holds thousands of pictures, videos and other documents we’ve collected for more than a decade. Many of those are priceless, too, but the document titled “1,000 Gifts” is the one I was sure to save.

Intentionally noticing and then writing down the things I’m thankful for is a comforting and settling practice. It’s not just the discipline of doing this that is so beneficial, however. It’s also a huge blessing to have a written record of God’s faithfulness during years of great change and sometimes even turmoil around and within me.

I must admit that there were months on end, during those three-and-a-half years, when I didn’t write down a single thing. But rather than focus on the blank spots, I love to read what I actually did write—recollections and details that would have disappeared from my memory forever had I not recorded them.

I didn’t stop at 1,000, by the way. Once I hit that milestone on Aug. 18 of this year, I decided to keep going, and I have no plans to stop anytime soon.

Choosing 10 favorites seemed like a quick and easy idea for a blog post, during a season when quick and easy is just what I need. So I opened up the Word document that contains my list and started browsing. And it soon became clear that this wasn’t going to be as easy as I expected.

A few trends were obvious right from the start.

It seems I derive great joy from noticing the first shoots of anything sprouting out of the ground in the spring. Daffodils, lilies, peonies, Siberian irises—you name it, I’m thankful for it! Cardinals (the aviary variety) show up rather frequently (there is a story there but we’ll save that for another day), as do affirmative answers to prayer and (sometimes halting) thanksgiving for prayers that were not answered how I had hoped, but clearly were answered nonetheless.

Some entries in the journal are a few short words, while others are more lengthy. I wasn’t looking for items of any particular length, but as I read, I did notice that many of the most meaningful ones have a back story. In current form, they wouldn’t make sense to anyone but me (and perhaps Randy).

I figured that prefacing each item on the top 10 list with an introduction would completely ruin the effect (not to mention negate the “quick and easy” thing I was after), so I decided to discard the entire idea of writing a blog post based on my 1,000 gifts list.

Then something happened late last week, something that resulted in several journal entries that actually do tell the whole story. It’s as clear in my mind as it was the moment it happened, and because of that, I want to share it with you today.

On  Dec. 5, 2014, here’s what I was thankful for:

• That the crossing guard at Molly’s school takes her job very seriously, especially since someone crashed a vehicle into one of the traffic lights at the crossing a few weeks ago, disabling all the signals at the intersection until a new one can be installed.

• That Molly was the only child with the crossing guard when she crossed the street to meet me after school yesterday.

• That because she was the only child there, Molly was able to hear the crossing guard when she shouted—very loudly—at the truck driver who had ignored the guard’s stop sign and was driving straight through the intersection where Molly was crossing.

• That when she heard the shout, Molly stopped suddenly, halting her progress directly into the path of the truck.

• That Molly’s birthday is Monday, and she will be 10 years old.

Lois Flowers

P.S. Thankful to be linking up this week with Jerralea at the Loft.

 Photo by Claudine Flowers

12 Responses to Thankfulness Journal Highlights God’s Faithfulness

  1. I love the idea of going through and finding your top 10 blessings. I’m going to do that!
    I’m glad I found you on The Loft Linkup!
    Blessings to you and yours as you continue to shine your light!
    Beckie from Spotlight,

  2. Jerralea says:

    Thanks for sharing, Lois, about your gratitude journal AND Molly’s story, at The Loft today!

    Your story about Molly proves why a journal is so beneficial. I have a Blessings journal that I kept up to #1500 or so … I feel the need to continue it now that I’ve read your post.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Jerralea, I think I kept mine up to about 1,200 and then got distracted and stopped doing it (despite my best intentions to keep it up). I think I need to start it up again too … there are so many good things that happen, and I forget them so easily if I don’t write them down!

  3. ~ linda says:

    Grateful for God’s intervention in Molly’s crossing that very moment, that very day. Praising Him. And for so much else that we can be grateful for. I am pondering the very small things I see and hear these days. Feels good too!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Oh Linda. Do you know that every time I read what I wrote about Molly, it makes me just a little bit sick to my stomach and so very grateful, all at the same time? I totally agree with you … finding those little things to be thankful for does feel wonderful!

  4. Robbi says:

    Love this! I have a blessings jar, but I really like this idea. To be able to put them into context. This would be something fun to do for each of my kids, and I can give them it when they grow up. Thanks for sharing!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Collecting “gifts” that pertain to each child is a great idea, Robbi! And wouldn’t it be interesting to see how many of the things that meant so much to us as moms were even noticed or remembered by them? 🙂

  5. I’m reading your words and thinking that I need to take some time over Thanksgiving weekend to go back and re-read some of the highlights and some of the mundane listings in my five years worth of gratitude.

    It’s really life changing to take that time each day to record the things that bring joy. Thanks, Lois, for this challenge to sit with the memories a bit.

  6. Grandma Claudine says:

    This made me cry. Just the thought of a world without Molly is too sad to even think about. Grandpa Biff and I pray every day for our grandchildren, and for their safety. I am thankful that God hears and answers. (I also keep a “Gratitude Journal”, and I will be sure to include this in my writing tonight.)

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