Two Unexpected Gifts from Gratitude

When I bought my GRATITUDE JOURNAL  a couple of years ago, I wondered if I’d ever fill it up. Would keeping a journal like this really make a difference?


 A few of my entries…


# 416. Thomas doesn’t have CELIAC. (My son Thomas and his girlfriend Brittany below.)



# 585. Katie’s perseverance. (My daughter Katie doesn’t give up.)



# 787. The way You blend the colors of the sky.



# 95. Laughing with Jamie. (My daughter Jamie isn’t afraid of anything or anyone!)



# 136. The sunrise–oh, the sunrise!



# 400. Laughing with B.J. last night.


# 211. Talking to Lynne and Kellie.



# 345. I’m not afraid! You’re with me wherever I go.



#1545. Lisa and me … praying for each other.



#667. Going to Lisa’s cabin today! (Friends Leigh Anne, Dayna, and another Lisa.)



# 1544. Robin. She understands.


# 503. Sweet talks with my sissy (Jennifer) and Mother.



# 580. DiAnn’s honesty. (She’s just as kind as she is honest.)



# 1165. Roses from Mother’s yard.



# 1190. The tiny sound of  Kitty Thelma drinking water.



# 1466. Still being in love after all these years. (35 in December!)



# 1331. My blog readers and their precious responses. This means you! Each one of you! I’ve written about you so many times, I started my second journal. 🙂


Writing down things I’m grateful for like Ann Voskamp does in ONE THOUSAND GIFTS changed my life in two unexpected ways: 

1. Re-reading my thoughts brought a second wave of gratitude even bigger than the first.

2. Whatever I choose to focus on–good or bad–seems to grow.

If you have a gratitude journal, share some of your entries. I’d love to hear about them.

My friend’s sites:









The Wonderful Wisdom of Baby Chicks

Saturday, the Julie-I’m-Becoming had an idea. I wanted to be on the lookout for new ways to praise God. As I poured another cup of coffee, my 21-year-old son came inside from feeding the chickens. “Mom, I think I heard baby chicks.” Thomas’s announcement made me smile. After he grew up, he stopped saying things like, “Look, Mom, come here. You gotta see this!”

If Thomas was right, it would be the first chicks born in our coop.

He went back outside and sure enough–he heard them again. We let Mama and the babies get settled in on Saturday, but Sunday morning, I couldn’t wait any longer. We walked down the path through the woods.

Here she is, doing her job, keeping her chicks warm.

 Guess what happened when we tossed in some breakfast?

While Mama ate, her babies scurried along after her. Wherever she went, her chicks followed. They didn’t leave her. Not for a second.

These mixed BANTAM chicks were born knowing Mama is…

Their comforter.

Their protector.

Their provider.

They trust her. She’s everything to them.

They just look so grateful, don’t they?

After seeing God’s newborn creations right in my own backyard, I added three more entries to my GRATITUDE JOURNAL. 🙂

April 21, 2013

#1402. Thomas telling me the news.

# 1403. Two chicks born!

# 1404. The wonderful wisdom of baby chicks.

Lord, I pray “my soul follows hard after You” just like these baby chicks. Psalms 63.8

Have you discovered something new to praise Him for lately?

P.S. My word this year is “FOLLOW.”






















Sure Fire Remedy for Stinkin’ Thinkin’

Last week, my stinkin’ thinkin’ crept back in. If you’re familiar with Al-Anon or AA, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Stinking thinking means allowing thoughts that used to boss us around to return. To have their way. To do us in. My struggle isn’t with alcohol, but to worry, obsess, fix, and try to control–as ugly as it sounds.

I’ve been working my program for years, but Thursday stinkin’ thinkin’ tried to tie me in a tizzy.

And then the gentlest most obscure thought tiptoed in.

Why don’t you try to get to number 1,000 on your gratitude list?

Because I’d have to come up with sixteen things. Five is the most I’ve written in a day.


After reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp last year, I started listing things I’m grateful for in a little green journal.  With 984 gifts already noted, I decided to give it a shot.

I grabbed my journal and started snapping pictures.

#985. Clyde and Levi (our daughter’s Lab) having fun.

#986. Mounds candy bars. (I have Celiac Disease. Can’t eat wheat or gluten but Mounds are just fine!)

#987. Crunch of  fall leaves.

#988. My walking path.

#989. New copy of To Kill a Mockingbird.

#990. Summer slipping into fall–my favorite season.

 #991. Sweet aroma of the tea olive tree.

On a roll! Having too much fun to worry. 🙂

#992. Front porch gardenia is still thriving.

#993. Candlelight at my desk. Lord, You’re the Light of the world. And my heart.

#994. My novel characters and what they teach me.


#995. Ferns made it through October.

#996 One more pepper in the garden.

 #997. Laughing at our porch party this morning.

#998. Log parakeet house Rick is building in the backyard.

#999. Acorns falling at my feet.

and finally….

oh finally…..



Number 1,000. When someone asked my opinion, I spoke the truth in love. 🙂

Gratitude delivered me from my stinkin’ thinking.’

I’m on my way to number 2,000!

Has gratitude ever changed your outlook? I’d love to hear!





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?