In Everything Give Thanks

“In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

{1 Thes. 5:18}


1,001. Jessica’s words that encourage me to keep counting {A Diamond in the Rough}

1,002. surprisingly lovable llamas

1,003. trail hikes with Carmella and Chocolate Chip

1,004. a fantastic field trip with dear friends

1,005. a special visit by Great Grandma

1,006. hot tea with breakfast

1,007. introducing Great Grandma to our favorite red wagon, Lacie, at the apple orchard

1,008. slices of Sweet 16, Honeycrisp and SweetTango apples

1,009. sips of hot apple cider

1,010. fruit-seekers crunching through the fallen leaves

1,011. tree branches sagging heavy with ripe apples

1,012. little girls happily snatching apples

1,013. chasing butterflies wildly through the vineyard and orchard

1,014. the monarch that finally lets me capture it on camera

1,015. the brilliant display of fall colors in the trees

1,016. rains that rush in just before we leave the apple orchard

1,017. big hats and a fancy tea luncheon with Great Grandma

1,018. the cheery, busy squeak of our apple peeler

1,019. Great Grandma’s help with our pie baking tradition

1,020. the smell of cinnamon lofting throughout the house

1,021. Piper’s free seminar on Let the Nations Be Glad

1,022. God’s promises in the Psalms and in Isaiah

1,023. prayers and praises in the Psalms

1,024. character lessons in compassion, kindness, creativity and courage from Betsy-Tacy

1,025. little girls bubbling with excitement as they share thoughts about the book

1,026. our own little “Sand Store” of bottles full of colorful sand

1,027. a sunny autumn morning at the park with friends

1,028. another hard eucharisteo: the fall that fractures both bones in her delicate little forearm

1,029. the kind, dear friend eagerly helping so many ways — the help that comes from the Maker of Heaven and Earth

1,030. strength and peace that gets us through a traumatic Friday

1,031. words, freshly memorized in Isaiah 53, that help calm her sobs

1,031. medicine that helps manage her pain and the pastor who speaks healing Words to us

1,032. quiet moments in the hospital room, just before her surgery, watching the sun rise and the birds fly in formation and then later reading Malachi 4:2 – “But to you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings.”

1,033. the skilled hands of both surgeons and the kind, familiar face in the pre-op/recovery room

1,034. a real plaster cast for her Girls-n-Grace doll, too

1,035. Debra, Kathy and Stacey, three exceptional nurses on the pediatrics floor

1,036. peace that passes understanding while she undergoes surgery

1,037. the prayers of countless friends and family as we wait

1,038. bendable nails that help keep her bones in place

1,039. her groggy, sleepy smile after surgery

1,040. friends cheering at the curbside as she leaves the hospital — and the sweet little boy who does a “happy jog” of joy

1,041. the soft gray shawl that is just her size and keeps her arms and shoulders warm

1,042. cards and gifts and balloons and callers for the injured one

1,043. homemade soup and bread

1,044. her fearless ambition to become ambidextrous

“Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel,  from everlasting to everlasting. Then all the people said “Amen” and “Praise the LORD.”

{1 Chronicles 16:36}

You’re invited! Check out other bloggers’ posts in the One Thousand Gifts community by clicking the graphic below. Or click here  to check out all previous posts in my “Counting to 1,000” series.

Counting to 1,000 (980-1,000)

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.”

{2 Corinthians 2:14-15}

I started my One Thousand Gifts list back in January with “the aroma of fresh bread baking” as the very first item. Is there a more delicious, comforting smell on a cold winter day?

I pray that my list has also been an aroma of the Bread of Life, a pleasant fragrance of thanks to God.

Second Corinthians 2:15 says, “For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.”

While regularly counting the ways God loves me and thanking Him for each, I have seen God’s character. Time and again, I have seen that God is who He says He is. God can do what He says He can do. I can trust Him.

Daniel 11:32 says, “…but the people who know their God shall be strong.”

Dear readers, I pray that you also know the one true God and find your strength in Him. You can trust Him, too. Just count the ways He loves you. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you.

This week my own list reaches 1,000. I realize how the list doesn’t end there. Once you start, you can’t stop! Endless gifts, indeed, because His love stretches from everlasting to everlasting.

“Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel,  from everlasting to everlasting. Then all the people said “Amen” and “Praise the LORD.”

{1 Chronicles 16:36}


980. trees ablaze with a brilliant display of color

981. the smell and crunch of dry leaves

982. the neighbor kids raking leaves into pile

983. the linden tree that’s grown strong enough for her to climb

984. her first and last carmel apple for a while

985. her big, beautiful smile that’s a little more shiny

986. the sweet family that hosts our church’s Fall Festival

987. an afternoon hayride pulled by their Allis Chalmers

988. how they love to wear boots and hats when they visit the farm

989. fellowship around the bonfire

990. finding hay in her boots

991. the silver-sliver moon that reminds me of the night my youngest was born

992. their open Bibles at the breakfast table

993. learning about El Elyon, God Most High

994. reminders about quietness and trust (Isaiah 30:15)

995. Isaac’s baptism

996. her birthday countdown and uncontainable anticipation, and all her six years

997. the movie that encourages men to be Courageous

998. true friends who share life with us, feed us pizza and cookies, know our imperfections and love us anyway

999. jars of her apple pie filling, apple sauce, tomatoes and hot pepper jelly

1,000. the boldness to fiercely trust God

You’re invited! Check out other bloggers’ posts in the One Thousand Gifts community by clicking the graphic below. Or click here  to check out all previous posts in my “Counting to 1,000” series.

Counting to 1,000 (960-979)

“Giver of every breath I breathe
Author of all eternity
Giver of every perfect thing
To You be the glory”

{lyrics from “All Because of Jesus” by Steve Fee}

Over the weekend, I was among a crowd of 370 women singing “All Because of Jesus” during chapel at a women’s retreat. What a memorable way to praise the Giver of every perfect thing! That retreat was indeed the perfect gift given at the perfect time. To God be the glory! I so needed that time of refreshment with ladies from church!

I am still adding gifts — from the Giver of every perfect thing — to my One Thousand Gifts list, which continues this week with items 960 through 979:

960. little boys in sweatshirts and vests, all eager to play outside

961. the itsy-bitsy Keen boots and the ticklish little feet that wear them

962. a tall, tall tree to climb and hug

963. more lessons in wisdom from Proverbs and from this sermon in James 1

964. six great ladies rooming with me in “Cinnamon Bear” — a cabin full of bunk beds and smiles

965. a dear friend who encourages and inspires me

966. brightly colored leaves on the birch trees

967. the refreshment gained through retreating with 20 wonderful women from church

968. forgiveness (Psalm 103:11-12)

969. lessons in faith, hope and love

970. brightly colored fingernails painted by Ivy

971. wind rushing through the tops of the birch trees

972. the smell of horses and leather as I take the reins, riding tall on a trusty but slow little horse named Sultan

973. mingling on horseback with seven deer as they slowly cross and re-cross our path through the woods

974. singing joyful praises to God in the chapel with 370 women

975. the clash of the symbols — praising Him

976. quiet moments resting in the top bunk

977. lessons in true friendship and stories that evoke riotous laughter

978. being welcomed home Sunday afternoon with tight hugs and blazing new maple trees just planted in the backyard

979. the kind crew that will carry our care-package for Dawit to another hemisphere

You’re invited! Check out other bloggers’ posts in the One Thousand Gifts community by clicking the graphic below. Or click here  to check out all previous posts in my “Counting to 1,000” series.

Counting to 1,000 (935-959)

Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.

-Revelation 7:12 

My One Thousand Gifts list continues this week with items 935 through 959:

935. how the autumn sun casts shadows of dancing leaves on the kitchen wall

936. sailing wing-on-wing across the lake on a gusty Sunday afternoon

937. sharing life with new friends

938. the quiet pitter-patter of ballet shoes slipping across the wood floor

939. how passionately she participates in her first ballet lessons

940. the helpful pharmacist

941. piles of piano books

942. the tap dancers’ uncontainable energy

943. holding sweet little Dorothy during the entire lesson

944. family devotions on Elohim (with Sally Michael’s fabulous new book: God’s Names)

945. how the horse eagerly eats an apple from my hand

946. rides on Chevy the Horse on a crisp, autumn morning

947. little girls in boots, all smiley on the platform of stairs

948. how they all line up to feed Nana the younger horse

949. Chevy’s clever tricks and kisses

950. new space for art class and the amazing teacher who likes it despite the dead frog that somehow landed on her head

951. the orange sherbet moon melting into the cloudy night sky

952. six sweet girls who listen and read and play together

953. how the young artist takes her lines for a walk and then colors a rainbow of chalk

954. lessons in longitude and latitude and all things geography

955. small group Bible studies overflowing with participants

956. how colorfully she wears her passion for the backyard swings

957. how she blushes when I catch her belting out tunes into her jump rope “microphone”

958. homemade chicken and dumplings, Gramma-style

959. the little ears and hands that somehow find the notes on the violin

You’re invited! Check out other bloggers’ posts in the One Thousand Gifts community by clicking the graphic below. Or click here  to check out all previous posts in my “Counting to 1,000” series.

Counting to 1,000 (905-934)

“Sing to the LORD with grateful praise; make music to our God on the harp.” -Psalm 147:7 

My One Thousand Gifts list continues this week with items 905 through 933:

905. how she clamours with excitement anticipating the first day of Kindergarten

906. lessons in wisdom from Proverbs

907. big smiles and nifty new lunchboxes

908. snack time

909. snuggling up on the couch with books that take us around the world

910. their prayers for the homeless

911. 11 girls and 4 boys in our new Sunday School class

912. how quietly they sit and how closely they pay attention

913. the faithful teachers who serve

914. Psalm 96 and Psalm 47 — Let the nations be glad!

915. how she signs to me from the other room and blows kisses

916. two students so eager to learn

917. mountains of laundry overflowing the basket

918. the freedom to homeschool

919. City Square Park for recess

920. the neighbor friend who wants to play, too

921. her passion for swinging

922. new jump ropes — just like I had in P.E.

923. freezer meals

924. smoking BBQ in the backyard with new friends

925. a gusty afternoon of sailing and conversing with new friends

926. her generous offer for free babysitting

927. Spanish lessons

928. their kind thank-yous

929. live jousting, crazy log wars, elephant rides, glittery fairies, daring flame jugglers and kind harpist who lets them strum the instrument

930. exploring a fascinating festival with very dear friends

931. happy, dirty feet because we walked far with friends beside us

932. a gift of fresh cucumbers from the garden of a new friend

933. friendships characterized like Proverbs 27:17

934. lessons in contentment and friendship

You’re invited! Check out other bloggers’ posts in the One Thousand Gifts community by clicking the graphic below. Or click here  to check out all previous posts in my “Counting to 1,000” series.

Counting to 1,000 (869-904)

“I will give thanks to the LORD because of His righteousness;
I will sing the praises of the name of the LORD Most High.”

-Psalm 7:17

Giving thanks as my One Thousand Gifts list grows ever so close to the goal. Here are items 869 through 904:

869. giggles and silliness with “chin men” faces

870. a building to borrow for homeschool classes

871. a tiny butterfly hiding in the bright orange mums

872. teamwork within the church

873. two full days devoted to school preparations

874. the thoughtful, fun daddy who takes them on a day trip to St. Paul

875. his strong hands strumming the red guitar he built himself

876. road-tripping to Northfield with a dear friend

877. relaxing hours spent chatting and catching up with girlfriends at Goodbye Blue Monday

878. a steaming mug of Mexican hot chocolate

879. the princess picture she created for her little sister

880. ice cubes to numb a fat lip

881. frisbee fun in the backyard

882. reflections in the bird bath

883. bumblebees hiding in the hostas

884. the growing little maple tree she inadvertently planted

885. an end-of-summer teddy bear tea party

886. dear friends for my daughters

887. bear brownies

888. raindrops sparkling like jewels on the windshield

889. a bookshelf full of new books

890. bulletin boards

891. new school supplies

892. a freshly re-organized school room

893. fun geography ideas shared on Pinterest

894. the smell of hot dogs and burgers sizzling on the grill while the cicadas sing the song of summer’s end

895. hands ready to minister to a newly single parent

896. a full roster for my “Girls of Character” study

897. how gently she holds the egg that didn’t hatch

898. Jamie Grace pounding out “Hold Me” on her guitar

899. their kind, encouraging words

900. the broken dryer and piles of dirty laundry

901. the smart husband who knows how to take the dryer apart, fix it and put it back together again

902. the beautiful hummingbird that perches long at the feeder

903. the 108-minutes-and-31-seconds phone conversation with my big brother

904. my nephew’s 4 years and the sound of his sweet little voice on the other end of the phone

You’re invited! Check out other bloggers’ posts in the One Thousand Gifts community by clicking the graphic below. Or click here  to check out all previous posts in my “Counting to 1,000” series.

Counting to 1,000 (838-868)

“Every blessing You pour out
I’ll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name (Jesus)
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name”

Matt Redman

We sang Matt Redman’s song at Sunday worship yesterday. It has long been one of my favorites. But after a week of taking my oldest daughter to and from Spanish immersion VBS, the song lyric that is stuck in my head today is “Yo tengo tanto, tanto, tanto para agradecer!”

I do have so much to be thankful for! And compiling my One Thousand Gifts list is a regular reminder to not just watch for the blessings God pours out but also turn each one back to God in praise.

Here are items 838 through 868 in my list:

838. singing along with the kids to fun praise songs in Spanish — “Yo tengo tanto, tanto, tanto para agradecer!”

839. how Spanish immersion VBS ignites a passion for the unreached people in Peru

840. God’s faithful protection over my cousins who survived being hit by a drunk driver

841. her winning four free State Fair tickets and getting to pass them along to a neighbor

842. his winning free tickets to watch the Twins play the Yankees at Target Field

843. how she taps his leg gently and how he kindly cracks open each peanut for her

844. how happily she exclaims “It’s a doll hat!” as she examines the plastic miniature baseball helmet full of ice cream

845. singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during the 7th inning stretch — a song I remember from my tee-ball days

846. picture-perfect sailing weather and three pleasant evenings on the lake with friends

847. playtime in the pool with dear friends

848. a potluck pool party with new friends

849. lessons in Job 1:20-22 about praising God when He gives and when He takes away

850. their prayers for my cousins

851. new acquaintances who surprisingly turn out to have mutual friends

852. how they all bounce together in celebration of her 4th birthday

853. how much the littlest of five has grown since I held her last month

854. the teens who serve up pizza and tacos to raise money for their Jamaica mission trip

855. their lengthy search for the lost library book — still not found

856. a lull between loads of laundry

857. a breezy picnic lunch in the shade on a grassy hilltop at the Arboretum

858. a family bike ride to Target for a treat

859. meeting baby Annie and seeing the sweet smiles of her big sisters

860. the big brown eyes and shy smile of a 15-month-old

861. how the youngest brother throws back his head in roaring laughter as he helps steer the boat

862. her homemade zucchini bread

863. more hummingbirds at the patio feeder

864. God’s mercy on us

865. words about His gracious giving (Romans 8:32)

866. Matt Redman’s song “Blessed Be the Name of the Lord”

867. loads of wet towels and swimsuits

868. the happy news that she’s home from the hospital

You’re invited! Check out other bloggers’ posts in the One Thousand Gifts community by clicking the graphic below. Or click here  to check out all previous posts in my “Counting to 1,000” series.

Counting to 1,000 (814-837)

“Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
They cannot be numbered!

I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!”

Psalm 139:16b-18a (NLT)

I’ve counted well beyond 800 now in my One Thousand Gifts list, and now it seems like I have enough moments recorded to make a book. But the truth is my list is but a tiny, tiny snippet of what God has already recorded in His book.

As Psalm 139 reminds me, I can’t count all the moments, all the ways He loves me and all the thoughts He thinks of me because His precious thoughts outnumber the grains of sand. Oh, what a truth to ponder!

Here are items 814 through 837 in my list:

814. putting a hand of blessing on the head of each dear member of my VBS crew

815. a chance to “be the gift” — they even gift wrapped me in paper and bows!

816. warm hugs from new little friends

817. their whistles, quacks and baaas as they talk to the animals

818. remarkable cows and refillable milk cups for 50 cents

819. pig races and familiar faces at the county fair

820. courage to ride the ferris wheel

821. close encounters with exotic animals

822. his passion for funnel cake

823. carefree leaps into the pool

824. food and fellowship among church friends

825. lessons from Esther

826. how God cares for His people

827. the kind worker who gives us an impromptu tour of the local food shelf

828. how the sunshine dances on the waves and the reeds

829. the peaceful sound of the waves gently lapping against the boat as it glides across the water

830. unexpected goosebumps on an August evening

831. sunset on the lake

832. how she bounces happily through the grass, chasing butterflies

833. meet-you-in-the-middle hugs given with a running start

834. giving lessons in how to drink Coca-Cola from a glass bottle

835. strong, confident legs that pedal the bike and pump the swing

836. her request for “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus” as a lullaby

837. fishy faces

You’re invited! Check out other posts in the One Thousand Gifts community by clicking the graphic below.

Counting to 1,000 (784-813)

“Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex!”

Psalm 139:14a (NLT)


This week is Vacation Bible School at our church. God’s goodness and love have followed me there, and I have the joy of leading a crew of half a dozen 3rd graders from praise and worship to games, crafts, Bible lessons and snacks. Last night I fell into bed exhausted in such a soul-satisfying way. Where else can you go to wear panda ears, hear “God made us!” proclaimed and repeatedly shout “Thank You, God!” in response? Better is one day in His courts than a thousand elsewhere, and for that I am thankful.

I am complex and tired, too, but best of all I am truly loved by God. You are, too.

Counting the ways He loves me keeps me thankful; here are items 784 to 813 in my One Thousand Gifts list:

784. creamy, frozen peanut butter pie on a hot evening

785. girl talk over Mexican food

786. the cheery buzz of the otherwise anonymous cicadas, hiding in the trees

787. the 20 cents she spends buying her big sister a green lollipop, a special surprise

788. how grown up she acts carrying that sparkly pink purse on her wrist as we stroll down the sidewalk

789. new little friends chatting about scrapbooking and quilting in the back of the mini-van

790. a tea luncheon with one spunky 5-year-old, Raggedy Ann, Fancy Nancy, a black gorilla named Licorice, and a dozen blueberry muffins

791. the happy clang of the garage door opener, signaling his return home from work

792. celebrating the big question popped and the saying “yes” 16 summers later

793. the man who comes home with a fist-full of flowers, happy to whisk me away for dinner

794. how mindful he is as he tells them stories about their Great-Great-Grandma Alice

795. the smile on her red Kool-aid stained face as she proclaims “I feel like I’m eating humming-bird food!”

796. the close parking spots and the rainstorm that lets up while we’re running errands

797. the unexpected joy of teaching them how to bounce-pass a basketball

798. the sweet 2-month-old who snuggles in close to her mom

799. how her big blue eyes sparkle with excitement as we enjoy the “best lunch ever” at Antiquity Rose

800. shopping with an 8-year-old who finds me the perfect tea party hat

801. how she adores clay camp

802. all her 80 years — and how she loves her great-grandchildren

803. curling up on the couch with him to watch Flywheel

804. the breeze that finds its way through open windows

805. the air conditioner repair man who decides to drop the extra charge for a Saturday service call

806. lessons on prayer and righteousness from Nehemiah

807. the passionate youth pastor who presents Already Gone to our Sunday School class

808. the lovely dwelling place where one day is better than a thousand elsewhere (Psalm 84)

809. making new friends in the parking lot after church

810. a divine grocery store appointment with a sweet friend

811. his fajitas and the salsa that tastes just right

812. making new friends at VBS

813. singing praise to Him and loudly shouting together “Thank You, God!” over and over with the VBS crew

You’re invited! Check out other posts in the One Thousand Gifts community by clicking the graphic below.

Counting to 1,000 (752-783)

When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the LORD, as prescribed by David king of Israel. With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the LORD:

   “He is good; 
   His love to Israel endures forever.”

   And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.

-Ezra 3:10-13

Are we taking our places to praise the Lord today? Are our shouts and weeps of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord being heard far away?

My list of One Thousand Gifts continues this week as an intentional way to proclaim that God is good and His love endures forever.

752. playgroup at the park and the chance to fellowship with other moms

753. tender hugs from the sweetest little boys

754. chatting with my fun friend Alice at the beach while the kids frolick in the warm water

755. sand between my toes

756. how she helps me cut fresh hydrangeas for the blue vase

757. making popsicles and watching puppet shows on hot days

758. the baptism article that runs word for word in the newspaper

759. how she thanks me for helping clean her room

760. wise words to remember when dreading Mt. Laundry

761. empty sketchbooks full of promise for art class

762. one-year-olds toddling through the waves

763. giant cardboard boxes decorated to become a playhouse “lodge up north”

764. the washing machine that keeps up with all the sandy wet beach towels

765. smart, passionate people to serve alongside

766. lessons in faithfulness and sacrifice taught by missionaries

767. how we laugh about kids being kids

768. the happy big camper who heads off to the campground with two little happy campers

769. their happy leaps and hugs as I pass out Dilly Bars to little girls with lake-soaked jeans

770. how confident she is riding her big bike around the campsite

771. all smiles around the campfire as they sink teeth into “doughboys”

772. my dear friend Jonda who celebrated her birthday this week

773. nifty new lunch boxes

774. words of wisdom from a 92-year-old widow

775. little girls star gazing, sleepless in the big red tent

776. tired campers napping the afternoon away

777. chips and salsa

778. monarch butterflies dancing through the hydrangeas

779. the freedom to forgive and be forgiven

780. exploring part of the mysterious ghost-town on the island

781. a cook-out picnic with family friends and their boys — one hanging upside down from a bent tree and the other hanging fish on his line

782. three hours just lingering in the lake, talking with a kind friend and watching the kids jump off the boat — all happy and wet

783. soft beds on which to rest swim-tired bodies

You’re invited! Check out other posts in the One Thousand Gifts community by clicking the graphic below.