How Could Something So Utterly Simple…


…make such a difference?

I’m part of a small share group/book club on Facebook. We’ve studied One Month to Live–Thirty Days to a No-Regrets Life, by Kerry and Chris Shook,

A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, by W. Phillip Keller,

and One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp.

All three books were amazing!

I’ve gotta tell you about One Thousand Gifts. A friend challenged Ann Voskamp, the author, to write down one thousand things she was grateful for.

I didn’t see how jotting down a list of thank-you’s could be all that important, but I bought a little green journal anyway.

Then we studied the book, talked about it in our group, and I began my list.

Boy, was I wrong.

Daily gratitude brings me out of myself.

It’s a discipline.

If I let a few days slip by without adding to my little green journal, it shows. I start…

Doubting God.

Having a yucky attitude. (My grandmother was right. Nothing beats an attitude of gratitude.)


Focusing on me, myself, and I. 

Almost all the things I’ve written down are ABC-123 simple

#6 Cows mooing (I’m serious. This is my number 6.)

#20 Two doves at the bird feeder

#79 Hawk sitting on the telephone line

# 300 Porch party in the rain

# 315 My polka-dotted rain boots

# 402 Homemade Brunswick stew without a recipe

# 411 Kissing my husband goodbye before work

# 584 The garden is coming up!

# 591 Seeing three horses in the back yard

# 646 The kind phone call from the vet just now

# 660 Holding hands in church last night

Maybe praising God restores my simple childlike faith.

Do you keep a gratitude journal? What are you thankful for today?






  1. No I do not. But I have a brand new journal and what better way to fill it up than with a list of gratitude! Thanks Julie and I want to read the one month to live book too. I bought Ann’s book but have yet to read it…thankful for books (now I need to read them)!

    • No better gift (for me) than a brand new journal!!! I have stacks of ones I’ve filled over the years

      Happy Writing, Tom.

  2. We are soooo on the same wave … this week on my walks I’m listening to One Thousand Gifts AGAIN (I bet I’ve read/listened to it 15 times now) I’m amazed that every time…every time God shows me something I need for the moment. I’m back at me gratitude journal with a passion…it’s therapy for me. It reminds me…TRUST Robin…you can TRUST.
    love u

    • Can’t believe you’re listening again. Yes I can. I should get it on audio too. I love just going back through my underlined parts of her book. Smiley-faces, hearts all over the place.

      Thanks for telling me about this book, Rob. A life-changer.

  3. I started a gratitude journal years ago when Ooprah suggested it, but got away from it. I also keeep mening to get that book and read it so now I will get it and 30 day to live too. Thanks, Julie. I am grateful for SO many things. I never dreamed I would have such a wonderful life. #1- the best FRIENDS anyone could ask for. XO, Pinky

    • I did the Oprah things too, Pinky, and just like you, I quit. Something about the challenge of making it to 1,000, keeps me jotting things down in my little green journal.

      Amen to friends!!!

  4. Marie says:

    Loved that book–got me through last fall when my father was very ill. I totally get you and the cows mooing. Some in my book, Ring around the moon, Salt trucks (I live in Illinois!), Red bud trees, Yard full of cardinals, Song “Blessings” by Laura Story, and …..Coffee!

    I hope by the end of the day, you’ll have lots more to add to your journal. 🙂

    • Marie, I feel like we’re sitting in your den looking at your journal!! Thank you for sharing. I love your “things.” I never thought to put songs in. FANTASTIC idea. Oh, yes, coffee. Coffee, for sure.

      Going to my journal now.

      Thank you so much. Such an inspiration with the songs. Love it!

  5. Anna Haney says:

    Amen and amen! That is one thing I really miss about being an elementary teacher. Those children find so much wonder and delight in the everyday things. As adults, we miss out on so much. I had a greater appreciation and understanding of childlike faith when I was a teacher. Thanks for this, Julie!

    • Anna, you’re right. It’s a “child-thing” for sure. And we adults hurry and flurry around so much, we miss beauty in seemingly small things.

      xoxo thank you!

  6. Brenda Greene says:

    Ah Sweet Friend, one of my all-time FAVORITE daily practices before I fall asleep is to write in my gratitude journal. When I’m having a “ho-hum” day just re-reading entries (for four years now) is guaranteed to lift my spirits. Recent gratitude? Random petunias! Inspired by a brave little petunia peeping out from the tall grass at the end of our porch, dug around it, found others randomly growing in odd places in the yard. Brought them all together in one place with a rock edging and a beautiful mini garden greets me every morning! Oh…on some days when life’s been stressful and I’m having trouble remembering a gratitude, “bedtime” works! Excited to read the books you suggested…a “treasure chest just waiting to be opened!” Gracious thanks and gentle peace for sharing so much of your heart! Brenda

    • Brenda, I smiled all the way through your respnse. Randon petunias! I love that. My mother told me to buy “waving petunias.” Not sure what they are, but she’s in love wit hers.

      I adore your idea to write in your journal just before you go to sleep. Surely that brings good dreams.

      Thank you so much for writing. And like you, sometimes I go back and re-read just to remember. Which is another form of praise, I think.

    • Jan O says:

      Random petunias happen even in Wisconsin. Refilled a big pot last year with offspring from the year before, for free! And strayed across a courtyard at the nursing home where I used to tend the outdoor gardens. Smiles!

  7. What a beautiful idea, Julie! I’m going to start one right away. 🙂 Thanks, my friend.

  8. An attitude of gratitude is vital for a healthy and happy self. Thanks for sharing about the journal and the three wonderful books!

    • It’s the ONLY way to live, isn’t it! Thank you, my friend B.J. I think this truth rests in your heart.


  9. Great reminder, Julie. I do a gratitude journal every November, but have never attempted to list 1000 things I’m thankful for. Do you list a certain number per day, or just list them as they come to mind? Definitely something to consider. Thanks for sharing it!

  10. Vonda, the list-maker in me tells me to come up with a certain number. But, ahhhh, the creative part won out! No specific number at all. Some days I go to town with it, and fill a page. Other days, one or two.

  11. I bought “One Thousand Gifts” after reading about it on Robin’s blog, All Things Heart & Home. It is a life changer, isn’t it??? I had attempted a “gratitude journal” several years ago, but let it fall by the wayside. I think it is because it was inspired by a book that was, perhaps, not totally Christ-centered but somehow more focused on inner self. However, the motivation in keeping a list of gifts as outlined and detailed by Ann Voskamp, is completely and truly focused on the Giver of the gifts. Her book is just beautiful to read, her prose nearly poetic in style. I don’t have a pretty little journal, but a stiff-backed spiral sits on my bedside table, awaiting my entries at the end of the day – or, sometimes, during the course of the day. Between listing gifts, a daily Bible Study that arrives on an app on my I-Phone and the devotional book “Jesus Calling”, I seem to be able to stay more in touch with God as I have my quiet prayer and Bible time. I truly think these are “tools” He has provided for us to grow in our daily walk and relationship with Him!

    • I know, Jane–Ann’s writing is so gorgeous, and I’m calling her Ann like I know her, but her writing gave me the feeling that I do.

      “Jesus Calling”….that sounds really familiar. Who wrote it?

      One of these days, I’m gonna have to get a smart phone. 🙂

      Thanks for your sweet comment! xoxo

  12. Hello there,
    Found you through a friend. . .
    I read her book over a year ago and thought the same thing, but I love a new read so bought the book. I was captivated and started my own journal. I’m now at #1105 🙂 And I was asked to be a speaker at my church for a womens group of 100 speaking about my experience with the book and journal. . .I just love it! #1106 just might have to be this new blog I found 😉
    I’ve been curious about the One Month to Live. . .may have to go get that one.
    Keep looking and counting 🙂

    • Hey Kristin,

      So nice to meet you. 🙂 Ohhh, you made it to OVER a thousand!! Congratulations. I love going back and remembering what I wrote–how I thanked God for the seemingly small things, which really, are huge things.

      I’m thrilled for you!!!! Speaking about all of this. Blessings, my new friend, and thank you again for finding me.

      One Month to Live isn’t about someone dying, just in case you might think that. It’s about how we are to live, really live.


  13. ugh! Just the remedy for my current discontent, I suppose…
    I’ll bet it’s impossible to complain “I wish I had ______” while keeping a journal of ♪♫…Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!♫♪

    • I know, Melody. So simple, and it works. I don’t see how. xoxo

      Singing now, your hymn you wrote in your comment. 🙂

  14. Melba Fletcher says:

    Julie, I am ordering the three books you wrote about. They sound so interesting.

    By the way, I have almost finished reading “Leaving vanGoth”. I love it, but it is so tragic, and so close to home.

    I love you, and I love reading your blog. I think I will make reading your blog be # 1 of my 1000 gifts.

    • Leaving Van Gogh–yes, bittersweet, and hit so close to home with me.

      Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, you made me cry (again!). Making my blog your first gift. xoxo

      Thank you, my precious friend.

  15. Sandra Walker says:

    Thanks for reminding me to get back on track. The Lord and I have been doing a “heart renovation” and developing some things in my heart – one being a grateful heart. I had done a list each day for a while but got sidetracked. Here are some things on my list: my 90 year old mother who is still doing well for her age, a good report for my husband (a cancer survivor), a good time with family over the
    Memorial Day weekend, your blog, Beth Moore’s blog, a new chiropractor that is really helping my crooked back, a fun book to read, my grandchildren saying I love you over the phone without being
    prompted to do so, a new pair of pretty shoes!

  16. WONDERFUL Sandra!!! I love your list…and with me, the thing is I’d miss sooooooo many blessings if I don’t take time to jot them down. And I believe it honors God. It softens my heart, for sure.

    Your list makes me smile. 🙂 Hallelujah about your husband’s good health. Thank you, Lord. Thank YOU.



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