Monday, January 28, 2013

Begin with thanks

I'm beginning 2013 with thankfulness.

I'm being very intentional about thankfulness this year after having read a wonderful book called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. Hers is a story of growing from bitterness to joy through giving thanks for the gifts she found around her in everyday life. She says, "A friend dare me to start counting one thousand things I loved. I took the dare, acepted the challenge, kept track of one thousand things, one thousand gifts - a thousand graces - on a quiet, anassuming blog. Before I knew it, thankfulness to God began to fully change me."

I found this a really inspiring story and a great challenge. I have so much to be thankful for. It's not hard to find things, small and great, every day, that I can give thanks for, even in the midst of frustrations, struggles, or even pain and tragedy. In fact to focus on those gifts really does change my reactions to the hard things of life. There is always something to give thanks for and Ann's book and her journey show that it is so often through gratitude that God can do a wonderful work in our lives. I've taken up the challenge to write down a thousand gifts over the coming months and am already finding it an attitude changer.

This month I've had the perfect opportunity to be thankful as I've just returned from ten days in Cambodia and this has heightened my awareness of how gifted my life here in Australia is. We spent time in a small village which our church supports and I found the people in that seemingly deprived and poverty stricken place, really do understand the graces of God and truly appreciate what we would see as small, almost insignificant gifts.

Happy children despite having so little
Three generations in a country where this is rare

Being with these people was truly challenging and inspiring. So what can I do but humbly give thanks and pray we all have a year of seeing the grace of God in all things.

Carol Preston has written a series of historica novels, based on her family history.
The fourth book in this series, Truly Free, will be released in March this year -
for which she is TRULY THANKFUL.


  1. I agree Carol, it's so easy to whinge and not look at all the things God has done for us. I wrote about this in a blog for ACFW called "what is your song?" We as christians have so much to be thankful for

  2. Great post Carol. It's amazing how a trip like that can change your perspective. It's so easy to feel we're hard done by, when we really have nothing to complain about. I also really enjoyed the book "365 Thank Yous" by John Kralik. His life wasn't going so well, so he set himself a challenge to write a thank you note to someone each day for a year. It took him about 15 months, but it was life-changing for him and the people around him. Just a little gratitude can go such a long way. Thanks for sharing and good luck with your 1000 list.

    1. Thanks Jennifer and Nola. Yes, a trip to places where life is really hard all the time is a great reminder to be thankful.

  3. Thanks so much Carol. I do agree that thankfulness is something that should undergird our Christian lives. We do have so much to give thanks for don't we? And yes, I can well understand how a trip to Cambodia would have opened your eyes even more to the blessings we enjoy here in Oz.

    I have dubbed this year as my year of worship (last year was my year of love) - so constant thanks and praise and worship is what I am setting out to do. Love the concept of finding a 1000 things to thank God for. I will certainly take up the challenge.

    Thanks for opening our eyes to it.
    Bless you for your trip to Cambodia and for the difference you must have made in the lives of the children you met there.

  4. Thanks for this reminder Carol, it is so easy to take our blessings for granted.

  5. Good reminder, Carol! I have just written my own blog for this week about taking things for granted, so sounds like God is waking a few of us up to open our eyes, see how blessed we are and be thankful.

  6. What a eonderful opportunity to be with those people.
    Yes, to be thankful gives joy to ones heart everyday.

  7. Thanks ladies. Today I'm hearing about those affected by floods here and there are still those affected by fires so there's always some hard things in lives, even here in Aussie. I guess the challenge is to still find those things to be grateful for, even in the midst of struggle. I think that's what the people in Cambodia showed me most of all.