Some days I pick up a camera and the lens is my ink, for cameras have sensor eyes, and pixels record.
I slide it into a pocket, a thin point-and-shoot, and find another way to chronicle, to force the lids open; another way to receive the moment with thanks reverential.
When he comes in from the barn, The Farmer Husband finds me with my hammer in hand, leaning over a plate of cheese grated and sitting in sunlight. It is true. I do feel foolish.
I mean, it’s curls of mozzarella and cheddar piled high in a pond of golden day. And I’m changing the settings for to macro, increasing the ISO, pulling in for a close-up frame.
He’s fed 650 sows with one strong arm this morning, flicked on a welder and melded the steel.
It is quite possible that the God-glory of a ring of shredded cheese may be lost on him.
“I like finding you just like this.” He wraps one arm around my bowed middle, draws me close and up into him strong.
“Crazy like this?” I blush silliness, and he brushes close with the four-day stubble. He laughs.
“Perfect like this.” He nods toward the cheese plate. “You being happy in all these little things that God gives. This makes me happy.”
Happy in all these little things that God gives. Ridiculously happy over slips of cheese. That I am, and it’s wild, and, oh, I am the one who laughs. Me! Changed! Surprised by joy!
God gives gifts and I give thanks and I unwrap the gift given: joy.
And gratitude for the seemingly insignificant—a seed—this plants the giant miracle.
Do not disdain the small. The whole of the life—even the hard—is made up of the minute parts, and if I miss the infinitesimals, I miss the whole.
There is a way to live the big of giving thanks in all things. It is this: to give thanks in this one small thing. The moments will add up.
I, too, had read it often, the oft-quoted verse:
“And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).
And I, too, would nod and say straight-faced, “I’m thankful for everything.”
But in this counting gifts, to one thousand, more, I discover that slapping a sloppy brush of thanksgiving over everything in my life leaves me deeply thankful for very few things in my life…
The brave who focus on all things good and all things beautiful, who give thanks for it and discover joy even in the here and now, they are the change agents who bring fullest Light to all the world.
This thanks for the minute, it is to say the prayer of the most blessed of women about to participate in one of the most transformative events the world has ever known.
Mary, with embryonic God Himself filling her womb, exalts in quiet ways: “My soul doth magnify the Lord” (Luke 1:46 KJV)….
And when I do this, give thanks for the seemingly microscopic, I make a place for God to grow within me. This, this, makes me full. I “magnify Him with thanksgiving” (Psalm 69:30 KJV), and God enters the world.
What will a life magnify?
The world’s stress cracks, the grubbiness of a day, all that is wholly wrong and terribly busted?
I snap a picture of cheese.
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Excerpted with permission from One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, copyright Ann Morton Voskamp. Thomas Nelson. Original photos by Ann Voskamp.
As our hearts turn to the blessings of every day and the practice of gratitude, we want to invite you to join us for the One Thousand Gifts Online Bible Study with Ann Voskamp. Registration is now open! If you’re already signed up, come share your thoughts with us on the blog! Have you started a 1,000 gifts list or journal?