About the Author

Angie is the proud wife of Todd Smith of Selah, and the blessed mommy to Abby, Ellie, Kate, Charlotte, and Audrey Caroline, who passed away the day she was born, April 7th, 2008. Angie was inspired to write Audrey's story, and began the blog www.audreycaroline.blogspot.com in honor of her. You...

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  1. I love that the word Eucharisteo is tied to breaking bread. It reminds me that as a family we have at least three times each day in which we gather at the table to give thanks and break the bread together. It also brings deeper meaning to the gathering of our larger church family that gives thanks , breaks bread and receives grace together each Sunday.

  2. I want a painting of the three word “constellation”—charis/grace, eucharisteao/thanksgiving and chara/joy to hang on my wall! I just love that picture–living in all three of those words to produce a full light.

    The other thing that really stuck out to me was that “eucharisteo–thanksgiving–always precedes the miracle.” I feel like we don’t hear about miracles enough in our world. But oh, isn’t that what we want? God to enter our space and do something big? And so I love Ann’s example of the leper–that we are all lepers, full of rotting sin–and when we return to Him with eucharisteo He does the miracle—He gives the fullness and the wholeness.

    This was my second read through and I love this chapter even more. Than you, Ann. Thank you, Jess & Angie!

        • Sharon, that is a beautiful and powerful truth you shared: “…the miracle does not have a “happy” or “easy” beginning.” He [Jesus] gave thanks, and he had to die for the miracle to come.”
          I think part of this process of learning eucharisteo is dying to our selfishness and self-focused ways and seeking Him – the miracle worker and witnessing Him working in us and through us.

      • Something God impressed upon me today (and before I realized what I was doing, I spoke it out loud–freaked myself out a little bit LOL) was, “One sin brought condemnation on all, and through one death, redemption came for all.” I kept trying to think of what that had to do with this chapter. Then it hit me. He could break the bread that last night with joy and thanksgiving because He was already looking at the outcome. He wasn’t focused on the death (or the scourging, or the spitting, or the judgment, or the climb carrying the beam, or the nails being pounded into his flesh), but on the JOY set before Him. The joy set before Him was me! It was us! What a thought. And what does He ask of us? Eucharisteo. The recognition of what He did, the way He made, the Grace He extended, the LIFE more abundant that we have because of His obedience to the Father. If that isn’t something to be eternally, madly, crazily thankful for, I don’t know what is.

        • So interesting. I looked at Matthew Henry’s commentary on the phrase “the joy set before him”, and this is what it said,

          “What it was that supported the human soul of Christ under these unparalleled sufferings; and that was the joy that was set before him. He had something in view under all his sufferings, which was pleasant to him; he rejoiced to see that by his sufferings he should make satisfaction to the injured justice of God and give security to his honour and government, that he should make peace between God and man, that he should seal the covenant of grace and be the Mediator of it, that he should open a way of salvation to the chief of sinners, and that he should effectually save all those whom the Father had given him, and himself be the first-born among many brethren. This was the joy that was set before him.”

        • I loved this-the Joy set before HIm….the (insert your name here) set before Him-now that is something to thank Him for. Thanks Lisa for sharing

        • Yes! Amen. Amen. Amen. Thank you for pointing out that I was a part of His JOY! Sometimes I tend to see my relationship with Him so much more personal on the negative side (my sin) but not nearly as personal on the positive side (His love)….for me. Thank you so much, for the much needed reminder. Lord help me in this journey of Eucharisteo to change my focus and see how You love Me and are pouring out your gifts to Me…in a much more personal light… not such a general one. I crave a deeper closer, more personal relationship with You, Father. Amen.

    • Yes Amanda — I hear you on that. My mind is designing a canvas as I read. Your description just added to it. I’m going to have to definitely create one. I’ll figure out how to post a pic if I do.

    • That was exactly what I thought: I want some visual representation of grace-thanksgiving-joy to hang on my wall, some beautiful reminder….

    • I agree. I’m hunting down some canvas to pain somehow these three words to hang on my living room wall as the constant reminder to give thanks.

  3. I have just listened to Chapter Two’s video after posting on my blog about where I find myself right now in a rather unusual life, and this, sweet girls, could have been just for me. Grace. Acceptance. Thanksgiving. Joy. It blew me away. Thank you so so much.
    Oh, the post is here if you have the time to read it. You will see what I mean, I hope!

    http://lindslangdon.blogspot.com/2011/02/answers.html

    • Hello, my friend! Just seeing your name here brought a smile to my face. It’s great to see you here and even better to read what God is leading you to share with the rest of us. I pray that God continues to bless you mightily as we continue in this study/discussion. You are a blessing, my friend.
      🙂

  4. They say that the Bright Morning Star appears in the sky when the night is at its darkness.
    It’s a waxing crescent moon this morning as I’m reading this trionym of thanks/grace/joy.
    We sit in darkness,
    Until the Day Dawns and the Morning Star arises in our hearts. 2 Peter 1:19.
    Your scintillating syntax of chapter two disturbs my decadent dreams over decades
    They were always about my Brother’s Footsteps.
    The washing over me of years of abuse and absence.
    Your rhetoric, Ann, offer a trembling trionym of hope as I face my own torment of terrors in the night.
    Suffocating dreams where the door that graces my miniature home is seven inches wide.
    Once home, I’m trapped in a tomb unable to escape. Psalm 88:6
    He is the God-of-My-Tight-Places. Psalm 46:10.
    I’m named in my coffin-sized domain, “would I ever be enough, find enough, do enough?”
    And am I too much for others? Too many stories. Too many words. Too much pain.
    And, now, my Terminal Nightmare takes flesh.
    I was fine one morning but by evening fall, my walls pressed in
    The oncologist announced Stage Two, Breast Cancer, Lymph node involvement and
    I fell to the wing-tipped tied shoes of my husband and wailed the “c” word—can’t
    I can’t do this, God. You’ve hemmed me in way too close this time, Psalm 139:5.
    The Morning Star is most visible in my darkness.
    My flesh does not want to suffer!
    Deeply long when I read you say:
    “My initial act—turn to Jesus to thank”
    for there’s something worse than cancer and
    It’s the cancer in my soul. “Thank Offerings for Cancer and Crucifixion.”
    Seed: “Yes to Grace” “I will thank”
    Psalm 18:28 My God, turning my darkness into light.
    My flesh shivers but I tremble at His Holiness at the loving footsteps of my husband.
    “The greatest thing is to give thanks for everything. He who has learned this knows what it means to live.” Scraping the bottom of the pit but a little more alive than ever.
    I’m a reader, not a writer, but I find a eucharisteo moment in reading/writing/living this chapter two. Hope you don’t mind that I wrote too much. There’s that naming that I even commented wrong. I cannot wait to read the comments of what Eucharisteo wrought.
    Will wear the mantra of this chapter for it touches deep places in my own eucharisteo trionym of my cancer, my naming, my nightmares.
    A Thousand Thanks, Bev

    • Yes Amanda — I hear you on that. My mind is designing a canvas as I read. Your description just added to it. I’m going to have to definitely create one. I’ll figure out how to post a pic if I do.

      • Your words to me in the chapter one comment were so moving. And for both of us to connect with each other like long-lost friends is just like our Good God. Thankyouthankyouthanyou. My Love, Bev

        • Darling Bev. When I say that I consider you a “gift”, I mean it with all the realness a heart can hold. He placed you here, me here, us together in the same lovely spot in time and space though we live many miles apart and our hands may never touch. I love Him for that. I thank Him with a heartful of joy for His grace that brought us both here at once. Eucharisteo.

        • Bev, I’m not sure if you saw my full blogged response to this chapter. My words to you once again created the base for the entry. For some reason, talking to you about it makes it more real, like we are sitting across from one another with coffee and smiles like we’ve always known one another. Friendship rooted in the soil of thanksgiving. What kind could be better?
          Here’s the entry:
          http://momentsfullyalive.blogspot.com/2011/02/chapter-2-eucharisteo.html
          Smiling,
          Lisa

    • Well I got the wrong post in the wrong place. As for you Bev, you are in my prayers. I was battle breast cancer 13 years ago. It’s a rough ride but you grow a lot. Hang in there.

  5. I read this chapter and wept all the way through it. How did Ann know me? She wrote EXACTLY things I felt, have done, even the Cancer nightmare and the names. The living numb. It uncovered deep raw hurts, that are/were… mine.
    The weeping gave way to weeping from gratitude as I read about the breakdown of the word Eucharisteo and THAT has been life changing.

    “This is why I sat all those years in church but my soul holes had never fully healed.”

    I want to be fully healed. I choose to give thanks.

    Ann spoke about the noise and chaos of the everyday and stopping and giving thanks, I too have found myself doing the exact. same. thing. When my frustration goes up with the kids and they are just being kids, I have to stop myself and find the things that are gifts… they are healthy, they have lots of energy, they are imaginative -hence the “car” noises and the sounds of rockets launching that come from their mouths that seem to sear my nerves… stop and give thanks… and joy is there.

  6. More amazing words here. This constellation is going to light a way in my life that has gone unlit far too long! I am giving thanks, and awaiting the miracle, day by day.

    A friend and I went to see “Eat, Pray, Love” one night thinking while the New Age mumbo-jumbo would be annoying but passable and we’d enjoy seeing the gorgeous scenery. It was so disturbing on so many levels–more than we’d anticipated–but this book is helping me see more clearly *why* . . . there ARE a thousand things to see before you die–it’s true! But here’s the thing . . . they’re all right in front of us, staring us in the face where we are . . . RIGHT NOW. And if we don’t see them, we’re already dead.

    SEED: Thanksgiving precedes the miracle
    I loved the concept (though it stung!) that thanksgiving is the evidence that we’ve accepted and received the gifts God has given. So good.

    WATER: Constantly reminding myself. Muttering the words under breath . . . Thank You, Lord, for even this . . .

    BLOOM: JOY! JOY! JOY!

  7. As John Piper says, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” This satisfaction in God is expressed through our praises of Him and our thanksgiving to Him. When we enjoy God and enjoy the graces that He gives, and we express that joy through our gratitude, we feel the fullness of His grace. We bring Him glory with our gratitude. Our delight in Him fills us with His joy. A joy that satisfies like no other!

    Ann’s lesson of noticing the small graces in everyday moments and expressing thanks for them has made a world of difference to me in living out my satisfaction in God. It has put tangible flesh on Piper’s statement. Ann has taught me how to express my satisfaction in God through thanksgiving to Him, and in doing so, has given me spiritual eyes to see more graces of God, more of God to delight in. It’s a magnificent upward spiral of grace, joy, thanksgiving – the constellation of eucharisteo!

    • Thank you, Shelli, for the quote from John Piper. It goes perfectly with what Ann talked about in chapter 2. I copied it into my journal. So much to think about and make a part of me, from this chapter … I want to keep thinking on this. Truths explained so beautifully, and so clearly …

    • Thanks for the reminder of Piper’s quote, Shelli. I am writing it down in my book. How I want to bring him glory in my life and not focus on the selfishness and self-centeredness I tend to retreat to many times! How I want to keep my eyes focused on His grace permeating my life, growing me into the woman He can use for His glory!

      • I love the quote and added to my book. I pray each day that I will live my life in a way that glorifies God- and I need to be satisfied and THANKFUL in what it is- here and now. I love when Ann said that she thinks- what can take now as grace, give thanks for, and experience the joy… I will try to be more intentional in that each so that I do glorify God.

  8. The power of communion really struck me in this chapter. Relationship – communion – community with our God. Grace – his gift to us, Thanksgiving – our reception, and Joy! How lovely!

    I love the phrase “dead-and-risen-again wheat” that Ann uses to describe the “Eucharisteo” bread on page 37. This reminded me of the baking I have been doing lately and reminds me that even in the simple tasks of my day that there is something majestic manifesting itself. If a humble loaf of bread can be a symbol for the most important and beautiful gift of all, how can I not see beauty and miracle in all other things?!

    • “If a humble loaf of bread can be a symbol for the most important and beautiful gift of all, how can I not see beauty and miracle in all other things?!”

      I’d never before considered how absolutely simple and yet elemental to life something like bread is before – and it is used as the symbol for great Thanksgiving? WOW.

      You make a really beautiful, powerful point. Thank you for pointing that out.

  9. Charis, Eucharisteo, Chara…I’ve written these words on the blackboard in the kitchen. Just seeing them up there makes me calm. Thank you.

  10. Reading Ann’s book has been deepening the understanding of what I began to do when I started my list of thanks last summer. Seeing how I am noticing EVERYTHING more…seeing how living the ‘Yes’ and practicing ‘eucharisteo’ really does change you.

    As with the whole book, and her blog, Ann’s vulnerability is also transforming. She gives to us all by breaking the bread of her life–the light AND the dark–and the miracle is multiplied. This integrity and breaking the bread of all of our lives in thanksgiving glorifies Him and simultaneously breaking this same bread before others brings true community.

  11. “born again but still so much in need of being born anew – give me the details of how to live in the waiting cocoon before the forever begins…”
    I love how Ann says “how to live in the waiting”… even when grief brings everything to a screeching halt we can learn to live in the waiting… be born anew, because what was before will never be again.

    Seed: Jesus tells me I am not a “mistake” – I was created deaf “so that the works of God might be displayed” in me. (John 9:1-3)

    Water: Allow God’s words to affirm my worth in Him… He truly loves me and wants to use me, just as I am. Be gracious to those who try to put limits on me, and allow God to be displayed in my life. Encourage those who put limits on themselves because of circumstances… find the eucharisteo of the “flaw” and you will find the glory of God displayed.

    Bloom: God amazes me, time after time, when I do [what I perceive as] the impossible! Be more willing to trust and give thanks ~ BEFORE ~ I do the (seemingly) impossible… eucahristeo always precedes the miracle 🙂

    • “find the eucharisteo of the “flaw” and you will find the glory of God displayed.” Is this from the book or did you write this? This is very profound.
      Everyday, I yearn to see His face in the midst of a huge and painful “flaw”.

    • Beautiful words — whoever wrote them — yes, I am going to have the think on this and ask God to show me thankfulness in the flaw. Thank you for sharing.

  12. “All those years thinking I was saved and had said my yes to God, but was really living the no.” That so deeply touched me.

    I have done gratitude lists before…but, this is different. I am seeing the true eucharisteo now. Thanksgiving to God.

  13. I thought it was a reflexive, that Jesus is explaining that it was the person’s faith that made them well, not only what Jesus did. He always says it, after a miracle, “Go your way, your faith has made you well.” It’s like the seal or blessing that ends the miracle because when the lady touched his robe on his way to Jairus’s house he had to stop and find her and she was scared but he had to tell her “Your faith has made you well.” I think you’re right. You’re pointing out a difference between mere physical healing and the greater blessing of wholeness, wellness of inner as well as outer person: salvation. The example of the man cured of blindness who saw men as trees moving so then Jesus touched him again and gave him understanding. We receive first the gift and then the completion is in the giving thanks. Yes! Because it’s a relationship, loving, not a genie in a bottle or a buy-sell transaction. Thank you. I need to keep writing in my journal; it runs in fits and starts which isn’t good. Oh for consistency in my life, for fruit.

  14. One more thing: my Greek mom taught me to say only a few words but eucharisto was one of them (in modern it sounds like “ef-chah-ree-stoh” with the accent on sto (the verb ending for first person singular)) and we always always said it with “poli” like police without the s sound. Poli meaning very much! It was college before I connected eucharist the English word for communion with the daily efcharisto poli of childhood.

  15. I’ve experienced the power of giving thanks before, but I didn’t understand why it was so powerful until reading this chapter. The breakdown of eucharisteo is truly inspired.

    This chapter was such a joy and healing experience to read. I loved reading everyone’s comments too! Thanks Ann, Jess, and Angie!

  16. I can’t even begin to explain how this book is speaking to my soul. God and I have been distant for a long while. I have chosen resentment for far too long…being angry about what I’m *not* getting (pregnant)…not seeing what HE *IS* giving. This book is changing me. Changing my heart. Helping me to understand. The first two chapters of this book have done something in me that I wasn’t sure was possible. I’m craving God again. I want FULL salvation (sozo). I’m realizing that by giving thanks (Eucharisteo) for the grace/gifts, that is where full joy, full salvation comes. What’s happening inside of me is too much to even comprehend right now.

    I prayed (*really* prayed) for the first time in a VERY long time last night after reading Chapter 2.

    Thank you, Ann. Thank you for submitting to God and writing this book. If no one else (all though I’m positive MANY more), your book is changing *my* life.

        • I am by no means an artist, so am going to have to get some help in designing it! I have always known I wanted a tattoo, but also have always wanted it to be something very meaningful. These 3 words may be the *most* meaningful to date in my walk with the Lord.

    • Ashleigh,

      I’m sort of in the same situation – angry, frustrated at God – and I’m sure that this book was chosen for us for the very reason of bringing us back to Him, but in a closer, more genuine relationship. Does that make sense? I had been going through the motions of being a Believer, not truly feeling or believing anything. So, I decided to take a step back from the way I had been living my life and just see what would happen. What has happened is that the “fluff” is gone, replaced by an empty, pointless feeing. and what I find within me is a burning desire to truly know God in a personal, life-altering way. I think we’re on the right track. I think what we will find in this book study will lead us to a deeper more meaningful walk with HIm.

      • Thank you for sharing, Vicki.

        I could have written this myself: So, I decided to take a step back from the way I had been living my life and just see what would happen. What has happened is that the “fluff” is gone, replaced by an empty, pointless feeling. and what I find within me is a burning desire to truly know God in a personal, life-altering way.

        I believe we’re on the right track as well in finding full salvation, like she talks about in the book 🙂

      • Ashleigh & Vick–How ironic that a book like this can pull us in! I’m right there with you. Vicki, you wrote something that struck a chord with me: “I had been going through the motions of being a Believer.” I have felt that for such a long time. This book & discussion have loosened the chains I put around my heart so long ago… I’m glad we’re in this together.

      • Vicki, what a wonderful, wonderful insight, isn’t it? To see that you’re not living the real life God has for you, extends to you. That desire will drive you to Him! Hallelujah!

  17. Wow…so hard to put into words what I am feeling as I read this book…something Ann said in the video today really resonated with me: “God meets us in the moment”… this is what I must remember in ALL my moments, the happy, the sad, the frustrating, etc. This “eucharisteo” has never been more clear to me since reading this chapter.

    The Seed: After reading the first 2 chapters, I sat & said to myself, “how can I NOT be thankful for everything, for my life, for every single situation, experience & circumstance…my LIFE; Jesus has done THIS for ME! HOW can I not be thankful?”

    Water: I have my journal and am documenting & giving thanks for my own set of 1000 gifts.

    Bloom: A more grateful life filled with JOY!

    Thank you ladies, for doing this study & I’m grateful to read through all the responses here too! Soooo much to process, definitely life changing…just what I needed…magnificent!!

  18. Thanks for this chapter. I have loved the power of echaristeo for a long time, but never really connected it with salvation in the way that Ann did. Thanks for tying it in with grace and Joy and the miracle.
    Seed: I am working more intentionally on having an attitude of gratitude each day.
    Water: I am filled with joy seeing how God is blessing even that small act each evening and encouraged to continue connecting with Him in this way.
    Bloom: A happier attitude toward the day – an expecting and experiencing of joy as I see the life right in front of me.

    here is a link to my seed for this month. http://lynnpottenger.blogspot.com/2011/02/gratitude.html

  19. This is amazing. I can’t get past it. So many times I wake up wanting so much more and not being satisfied in my life. I am always wanting and striving. I am going to stop and give thanks for my life…as it is right now…

  20. I had to rewind several times… as not to miss one precious word… to pen down what Ann said that struck a cord deep within, “What can I take right now as grace… give thanks for it… because the JOY is IN THERE?”

    I am in a stagnant, resentful, existing sort of place right now. I am distant.. I do just as she said, I say yes to my salvation, but I do keep Jesus at arms length. I love Him… but live in the “why.” And I walk numbly… and it is such truth to me, “It’s the in between that drives us mad.”

    Praying to find the braided triplet word in my life… through this study… and praying that the paralzyed parts of me… will start to walk… and feel… once again.

    Beautiful book… beautiful study. Thank you.

    • Thanks for being so honest. I think it can become easy for all of us to become stagnant at some point in our walk. The hardest part is being honest and recognizing it. God Bless!!

    • Taking Heart:

      Yes, I too am there. I am stagnant, but saying yes. “Keeping Him at arms length” is a good way of putting it. I do believe, though, that He has us exactly where He wants us, for to really, really know our need for His grace in our lives, maybe we need to be right here –in the *pause* from it all , the just “existing”– to realize it fully. I have grown tired of “playing church” and I want to know Him like I’ve never known Him before. I want to get past this numbness and really FEEL a passion for Him. I’m praying for you and for myself, that through the searching this book study is encouraging, we will say “aha!” There is the JOY! vmason232@gmail.com

  21. The living in the NOW. The seeing of God all around us and not waiting. I think that I’ve lived life in stages…when I get to college, when I get married, when I have children, when they get older, when…when. I was taught a few years back by my preschooler, none the less, to stop and see God’s beauty in the things we SAW. (deer crossing a field, a sunrise, a flower, etc.) I still do not think that I have gotten the full context of living in the NOW until I read this portion. I began my list, and I am beginnning to see the grace in all things. I am becoming thankful in all things…good, bad, indifferent. I am on the search for a live of joy! “Be JOYFUL always; pray continually; give thanks in ALL cirumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Isn’t that what this verse teaches us?
    Thank you Ann!

    • Thanks for sharing Sallie. I can identify with living life in phases. I’m in one right now living in the basement of my brother’s house while our house sells and trying to find a new house here in a new location. I feel like our lives are on pause as we really don’t have a space of our own and can’t have people over, so it’s hard to connect with people outside of our family. Oh and I’m pregnant (due 5/23) with a toddler already so I really hope this phase changes SOON. 🙂 (God will provide.) Anyways, like you said we need to live in the NOW. Be thankful for the Lord’s provisions NOW. Even in our current living situation that tries my patience daily I need to give thanks and take joy in the fact that God has provided a place for us to live, etc.

  22. When I read this chapter, I highlighted the words, “In everything?” (p.40)
    They made me stop and ask, “How can I give thanks for the death of my husband?” I mean …. really, truly give thanks. How?
    I can certainly thank him for the years we had, the children we have, the love he gave me and the wonderful relationship we had. I can even give thanks to him (now, after 3 years) for the good I see him doing through me, because of Jim’s death. I can thank him for the vision and the passion he’s given me to connect with other widows and people in grief.
    But to thank him FOR the death of half of my heart? I didn’t know how. AND …. I didn’t think that he truly expected that of me. Not that.
    But after watching the video and re-reading this chapter …. I see that that is exactly what he expects of me. And my heart wants to thank him ….. but it doesn’t know how. Yet.
    Seed: thanking my loving Father for the death of my best friend/husband.
    Water: Continuing to ask him to bring me to that point …. to grow me to that point. I know it’s near …. just around the corner. I can almost taste it.
    Almost.
    Bloom: the joy in knowing that he truly does use everything for good and that I WILL get there …. sooner rather than later. And the joy of seeing and knowing that my husband’s death, and my subsequent new, “after” life and my grief ….. were not a waste.

    • I wish you could feel what I’m feeling right now, in my heart.
      THANK YOU SO MUCH, “Taking Heart” for posting these words of Ann’s:
      “What can I take right now as grace… give thanks for it… because the JOY is IN THERE?”
      That did it for me. That was all I needed. That. Blessed. Me.
      I don’t have to look at the entire event …. I have to look FOR the joy to be found in the event.
      And the joy that I now have …. that I now claim (even though I knew it before, but have never been able to give thanks for it) is this:
      My wonderful husband is, right at this very minute, sitting with Jesus!! How much more joy could there possibly be for someone? To be THERE, living, learning, loving AND touching Christ!!!
      Thank you, thank you, Father, for taking Jim to the best possible place he could go.
      Thank you for all that he is experiencing with you and everyone else up there.
      I can’t wait to join all of you.
      And thank you, again …. “Taking Heart”, for allowing God to lead you to write that post. I pray that he blesses you hugely today.
      🙂

      • Janine, I am so sorry for your unbelievable loss of your best friend/husband. Cannot fathom what you face. May I just say, the fingerprints of your childlike faith (Matthew 18:1) are all over your comment. Like a little child who is dependent for everything with such capacity for Immense Joy! You make Bold and Beautiful assertions of Truth in the hardest of days for you (Matthew 14:25—the fourth watch of the night). You must delight Him so! What beauty!

        • Thank you, Bev. I must say ….. I feel so very far from “childlike” in my faith. I’ve known Christ for longer than I knew my husband (we were together 27 years). He died suddenly, one week before Christmas, leaving my 6 children and I utterly destroyed. I have been through hell and back, literally, over the past 3 years. The “head knowledge” that I have of God’s love for me is the only thing that could lead my heart …. to keep telling my heart that I would survive. My heart was shattered that my loving God would choose to ignore my (and thousands of others around the world) cries of agony and pleading to heal Jim ….. to not leave me here without him because I would not survive. It’s hard to trust in a God who seems to turn a deaf ear. And it’s very difficult to feel His love when you yourself are wandering through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Literally. But …. I did, and do, move forward. Not every day, but more and more days.
          Yes, I have been knocked to the ground, left with nothing ….. especially hope. So I had no where else to turn and no one else to follow except Christ. And slowly my trust started to grow. Some days it’s still not where it once was, where it should be, but it’s so much stronger than it was in that Valley. And God has been gracious and loving and faithful. He’s given me a vision and a passion and a new ministry …. one I never, ever wanted ….. one I never dreamed I be in, but here I am. And I’m excited about it. And loving God so much more deeply than I ever had. Because now, really …. other than my children who are growing and flying out of the nest …. He really is all I have.
          And I’m good with that.
          Finally.
          So thank you again for your loving words. I do hope that He delights in me …. and in who I’ve become in my “after”.
          🙂

          • Amazing, isn’t it? Because my own mind can’t even go there . . . as you say, you “to not leave me here without him, because I would not survive . . . ” Yet you have! You do! You are here blessing us with the example of your faith and courage. Wonder of wonders, this grace. Blessings and hugs to you. Thank you for sharing, and may the God of all comfort establish your heart so strongly in Him . . . perhaps that’s what He’s up to . . .

    • Thank you for sharing this glimpse into your heart, and to the hardest of all things to thank God for … your writing and your thoughts here are so beautiful. And such an example to us who have not lost our best friend/husband. This truly is at the heart of living “eucharisteo” … to thank Him for even the hard, hard things. Thank you … may God give you joy overflowing …

      • Thank you, Cherry. It’s been a very long road for me …. and one that I hope none of you ever, ever have to experience. I realize that this is a useless hope, but I still have it. I wouldn’t wish this experience on the most hated person on earth.
        It really has been only in the last few months that I’ve been able to see God’s vision for me and for what he’s calling me to do. It’s only lately that I can feel my trust in him growing stronger. In the words of Ann in the first video, “How can I honor a God who didn’t honor my prayers?” And as horrible as this may sound, but it’s honest …. there may be times when you just can’t. But I think that He’s ok with that. He’s patient. And He’s always there, even when I never felt Him, waiting patiently. And loving me oh so much. Again, I couldn’t feel that love, but my head knew it was there.
        Learning to thank Him ….. even, and especially, in the bad ….. is a long, painful and very lonely road. But I’m making it. And He is giving me joy again. The feeling of that joy in my heart and soul is like tasting cold water after wandering in a dry, lifeless dessert with not one drop of water ….. for 3 years.
        So thank you again for the blessing of Him giving me joy overflowing. I think that He will. It’s just beginning ….. and I can finally say that I am grateful.
        God bless you, too, sweet friend.
        🙂

  23. I really like what Ann said about the names that we call ourselves. The running commentary in my head can slap me with all sorts of degrading labels, but could it be that thanksgiving is the key to stopping that destructive soundtrack? Perhaps if I’m focused on what I’ve been given, I won’t think so much on all that’s wrong with ME.

    • Kate, I recognize you from posting a comment on my blog.
      I shared with my daughter today-
      You are who God says you are, not how you feel or think. Believe.
      Who does God say that you are? His Beloved, His Inheritance, His Daughter to only name a few.
      Post a name on your mirror and ask him to begin to change the way you see yourself. It has taken me years to realize how He loves me from His heart, not because of anything I have done or not done. I am only just beginning, too.
      This book is certainly timely for many of us.

    • What if we replace the negative names/signs with words like Thankful & Joyful. Give ourselves positive labels and then live our lives accordingly! 🙂

  24. I’m sure there are many readers who like me cannot imagine the pain of those who have suffered loss, trauma, abuse, betrayal, wounds that won’t heal. So it seems awkward to me to say that it feels as if my thanklessness is the greater sin because I have not suffered much and therefore have so much for which to be thankful.

    I wonder how many readers might feel as I do: So, why is there still an empty place in my heart that says, isn’t there more? Isn’t there more to life than this? My life seems to be less meaningful than before, empty, pointless. It’s hard to feel the joy in life because it’s just the same day after day after day, repetititive, mostly predictable, unfulfilling, unchanging, mediocre…..

    For those of you who feel you don’t have a “Story”, I understand that. Life can still be dark even though there is not the searing pain of loss. Even the darkness can be a kind of pain. At times it seems feeling a little pain would be preferable to feeling numb.

    I hear you, Ann, and I’m so thankful for this word! The answer is indeed in the eucharisteo – the giving of thanks. Seeing the gifts in the everyday. I stopped looking, so I stopped being able to see God.

    “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for me with all your heart.” Jer. 29:13

    I want to know what it is to search with ALL my heart. I think it begins with having a heart of gratitude.

    • Vicki, Whether you realize it or not, you DO have a story. Everyone does. And you cannot compare your story, your pain, or your loss (whatever or whoever it is) with anyone else’s. You are a light for Christ. Never doubt that. Pain is pain …. no matter what form it comes in. And you are an example that more people can connect with … you are dealing with the pain, and guilt, of looking past your story for something more “worthy”. There’s no such thing. Continue doing what you’re doing …. being a light in the darkness. You will be surprised at how many people will connect with your darkness and then look to follow you for the way out.
      God bless you mightily for wanting to search with ALL your heart. God will honor that. And you’ll continue to be a light for Him as you bathe Him in your gratitude.
      Keep seeking, lovely, loving woman. You will be mightily blessed by Him as you bless others.
      WIthout a doubt.
      🙂

    • Vicki, I just wanted you to know that I can relate to your thoughts. I experienced a major loss at 16 years old when my mom was killed in a car accident. Though that loss continues in some ways to color “My Story”, I’ve also led a “charmed” life since then and have experienced the numbness that sets in when you don’t have to deal with major trauma. I’ve often wondered what God is preparing me for. It just becomes so easy to take His grace for granted. I’m ashamed to even write that statement amongst this audience, but then I guess that’s what Ann is teaching us … to come alive to His grace in every moment … good, bad, and just plain normal, if there is such a thing.

      I just couldn’t resist saying I feel your “pain.” Janine is right in that you DO have a story. God can and will use it because He is the One writing it. Keeping our eyes on Him will show us His ultimate plan. Right now I’m hearing He wants us to not look ahead, behind, or at others but to look for His grace for the place we find ourselves in today,

      Blessings on your journey!

      • Thanks Lori ! I needed to hear that! “He wants us not to look ahead, behind, or at others.” I am looking for His grace in my today! Blessings,

        Vicki

  25. I just read an excerpt of that book today on Crosswalk.com. What a beautiful testimony your book is! I cant wait to purchase it now!

  26. Wow…that is my word for this chapter. Ann lays it out so beautifully…”joy is dependent on the depth of my thanks”. My husband and I have been praying that our house would be filled with joy. When we were entering in to 2011 it seemed as we talked about what we wanted for our family this year…the word Joy kept coming up over and over. His Joy…not cheap joy that lasts for a moment only to be replaced by negativity when things don’t go as planned. I had been trying and yet failing…why? Because I did not connect the Joy to my thanksgiving….WOW! That is my Ah ha moment for this chapter. I love when she says “As long as thanks is possible, then joy is always possible. Joy is ALWAYS possible” I began reading this book as my family entered into a 3 week stint of being sick…first one son…then the other….then me. This would have normally squelched my joy…but I kept my journal close by…and the thanks began to come: 5. Sweet tea on exhausting days 8. Extra bedfellow in the night 9. Five fingers reaching to find mine under warm covers 12. Antibiotics 16. Kleenex with lotion in them
    21. Classic coke and saltine crackers The list continued and my thanks continued and my Joy was intact. Perspective is changing….Life is changing.

  27. Thank you Ann for explaining eucharisteo on the video. I thought I had picked it up from the book, but hearing you explain it just confirmed that I had. I kind of think of it like a sum God’s gracious gift + our thanksgiving = joy – and dare I suggest for Him and for us.
    I have been asked to speak at our ladies meeting next Wednesday and I have already prepared the talk on being content and thankful in our here and now … and I intend to mention your book… I just hope and pray that the paper copy will arrive so that the ladies can look at it for themselves!

  28. Great chapter. I loved the “triplet of stars…constellation” of grace, thanksgiving, and joy. I’m going to try to implement this thinking into how I approach my daily life. However, to be completely honest, I know I’m going to struggle with being thankful for the “bad” in life. I hope this doesn’t sound too horrible, but when bad things happen, what do we have to be thankful for? (After re-reading my comment, I realized that maybe it’s not about being thankful for the circumstance but being thankful for who God is in the circumstance).

    My first baby, Connor, was born at 24 weeks, lived 33 amazing days in the NICU, and then passed away from an intestional infection (NEC). Now that it’s been 1.5 years since this all happened, I can look back and see good things that have happened. I know people have come closer to God after witnessing our family’s faith and Connor’s fight…our family was showered with prayers and thoughts and food and all kinds of help from our church family and even complete strangers…I felt God’s presence when I’d cry out to Him when the pain and heartache was just too much to bear. Good has come out of this horrific loss. So maybe that’s it, that’s what I have to be thankful for…the good that God brought into our lives after the passing of our son.

    Also, I’m afraid that being thankful for the “bad” (the loss of my son) is saying that I’m glad it happened. I just can’t bring myself to do that. Maybe one of you has gone through a similar situation and has felt these same feelings. If so, any advice would be appreciated as I really want to grow even closer to God and be free from any lingering resentment I have towards God for allowing this tragedy in my life.

    • Lynsie …. Please look above your comment for mine (I have 2, back to back). I understand. Not totally because each loss is unique. But I understand that place of inky blackness, despair and pain that is too much for one person to live through. I’m praying for you.

      • After posting my comment I went back to read the other comments posted before mine and saw that your comment was so similar to mine. Thanks for sharing your story. I will be praying for you as well:)

    • Lynsie, thank you for your honesty. I have a son Jacob who lives with brain injury from a near-drowning accident, and for years I struggled with understanding how this could be God’s will for his life. Like you, I saw the good that was happening and all the lives being touched as people entered into our story, but I still couldn’t see how this could be good for Jacob. A big turning point for me happened one day when I was particularly sad and praying for understanding. I felt like God asked me what I most wanted for my children, and I answered, “When they stand in Your presence, I want them to hear, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.'” Then I felt like God said, “Look at him. Everyone who sees him is drawn to me. He is my faithful servant.”

      I can’t say I was never sad again after that, but I did reach a point of acceptance. What I consider a “good gift” or a “meaningful life” or “success” or even “healing” isn’t the point. God created a breakable world on purpose, and He provided a Redeemer before Adam took his first step in the garden. There are mysteries we will never understand this side of eternity, but we can know that God is bringing His purposes to pass. He created your Connor and my Jacob for his own pleasure and glory, and He will see to it that not one word He’s spoken concerning them will fail, but all will be brought to pass. And as for our aching hearts, He holds those as well. Until we see all things clearly, we can have eucharisteo grace, thanksgiving, and joy in this.

      Much love to you.

      • Jeanne…thanks so much for your encouraging words. I know that God will heal my heart in time…guess some days are better than others…and I realize it is a slow learning process for me but I’ll get there eventually. Thanks for your support:)

        • Lynsie, You are already ahead in your progress by knowing that God will heal your heart ….. “in time”. I always tell grieving people that there is NO time limit on grief. Your grief is your grief. It cannot, and should not be compared to anyone elses. God deals with you on his own time table. For some it may be a few months. For others it may be a few years. Please do your very best to be patient with yourself and know that you will grieve as long as you will grieve. No shorter, no longer. Just what is good and right for you. Just face one day, one moment …. at a time. One day you will wake up and turn to look behind you. And then you’ll be amazed at how very far you’ve come …. in your own time.

    • Lynsie, your comment stuck with me overnight so I came back to send some love your way. Janine has lived this so beautifully. Words fleshed out by His grace. And Jeanne was so beautiful in her story—their words come from holy places. I can’t add anything but just want to say: I lost six children to miscarriage. Your loss is huge. God permits but doesn’t stamp “approval” on it. He is horrified over the boys that raped me and left me for dead. He is so grieved at Lazarus death, your baby’s death. One day Justice will stand up. Meanwhile, I Pet 2:19-21 we endure sorrow, to hardships we are all called, living in a fallen world, groaning under the weight of a curse. In everything, give thanks, not cause it happened. IF God being good means getting rid of all sin, C.S. Lewis says he would have to get rid of the sinners. No curtain closed on suffering here as He gathers us up to Himself. I will think of you when I read I Pet 2:19 – you are mindful of God in your sorrow. He is so moving in you.

  29. Jesus calls me His beloved, His bride. But those voices that tell me otherwise are loud! Yet I am finding that giving thanks for all of God’s gifts, somehow quiets those voices. Thanks drowns out the world, and brings God close – brings joy close. For me, too, seeing the connection between viewing all as a gift, giving thanks for those gifts, and feeling that crazy joy as God invades each moment….life-changing!

    I love hearing Ann talk about her book – it adds such a depth and richness to the words she has written. Thank you for this!

  30. I know I am not the only one who feels this way, as I have seen these very words, but it is as if this was just for me. Ann you are amazing, God has blessed you with the words to speak to a soul, weary of going thru the motions, all the while wanting more, the ability to meet God right where I am, and be all there, no matter the circumstance, seeing God’s grace, giving thanks, and finding joy. What a blessing your book has been. I, like Jess, found after reading your book that I must get a journal and write out my gifts. Thank you Ann for writing this, you have put words to the feelings that have been burning deep in my soul, God is using your writing to bring clarity, and joy to me, and I don’t doubt so many others. I am so thankful I decided to purchase this book.

  31. I appreciated this chapter as everyone has commented but for me, it helps to not reach out and to not look for the joy elsewhere. I don’t have to search beyond what I already have. I don’t have to be in a certain place to feel the eucharisteo. I don’t have to be someone else or something else….that the names which I have called myself and perhaps others have thought of me – are not His image of me. Love it. Thank you beyond measures!

  32. OH WOW! This book keeps getting better and I really feel like Ann is writing parts from my story.

    I have an 18 month old miracle… and with the first chapter, I found the pain she describes as my own pain… pain from a hard pregnancy… pain from a tumultuous birth… pain from 5 months in the NICU… pain from multiple surgeries… pain from the wants of motherhood… it was all there. Now, in this second chapter, I feel that she is talking about what saved me in the midst of the pain… was that I HAD to look at each day with my daughter, each moment with her as a gift. I found my salvation through giving thanks, and therefore I had joy in the MOST terrible places.
    I cannot begin to express how much this chapter resonated with me. It gave words to my core beliefs as a Christian. I am thankful for this book and the message it is bringing… and I am thrilled to continue this journey! Hearing Ann’s take on her words is such a delightful bonus as well.
    Thanks!

  33. I really loved the quote on pg. 31,

    “Do we truly stumble so blind that we must be affronted with the blinding magnificence for our blurry soul-sight to recognize grandeur?”

    I am one who loves to travel – I’ve seen the cold Alaskan frontier, the balmy sunsets of Key West, and the magnificent view of Mount Washington. I am amazed at the wonder of it all, yet I thought I had to “go places” to find God’s beauty. I am going to purposefully seek to find the grandeur in His creation around my own home. Thank you, Ann, for sharing this book with us!

  34. “There are things you can know for years, but like the sunrise, you must be fully awake or you miss their glory. You know the ache, and you know how wrapping words around it somehow transforms it into a soaring thing. Into worship. But it’s all like pieces of an unfinished mosaic, each piece a shimmering jewel bringing delight, the whole yet to be revealed.

    And then, one ordinary day, you see.

    I’m reading this book, and it’s explaining me. I don’t know how else to express it. What I’ve known without knowing. What I’ve done without design. The pathway brokenness takes to become beauty. All the pieces are lining up, and the picture — so profound in its simplicity (ah, the foolish things of God!) — takes its rightful shape. ‘God is good.’ I’ve declared this to hundreds. Thousands? ‘Everything He gives is a gift.’ I’ve repeated it again and again. I’ve declared the fact, but have I encouraged the response?

    Gratitude. Not just felt, but expressed. Named. Practiced.”

    I wrote those words a few days ago in a blog post (part of Ann’s weekly One Thousand Gifts: Multitudes on Mondays), and my thoughts returned to them after watching today’s video and reading the post and comments. (Such humbling, beautiful comments!) I don’t really struggle with a taunt of names, but I have struggled with discontent — wanting what I didn’t have, and not wanting what I have. I’ve believed God’s goodness in the main and even tasted deep joy in the moments. I live with a walking miracle. But I haven’t fully understood the power and importance of eucharisteo until now.

    There were a lot of people who witnessed Lazarus rising from the dead, but the miracle did them no good. They saw, but they didn’t enter. “A miracle is something only God can do.” (First grade Bible class definition.) God is here, now. Eucharisteo is the doorway into what only He can do. I choose whether or not to open it and step inside.

    The seed: Live awake and aware.
    The water: Practice thanksgiving in everything. Then practice some more.
    The growth: Become part of the miracle.

    Thank you, Ann and Jessica. Such grace. So many lives will never be the same.

    Love, Jeanne

      • Thank you, Janine. Your comments about your husband broke my heart and blessed me at the same time. I know God holds you and will meet you in each rolling wave of grief. So thankful with you that He is meeting you right now in this remarkable book. Much love to you.

  35. This chapter hooked me for the rest of the journey. Years ago I used to read books by Karen Mains. This is so reminiscent that I am going on a hunt to see of I still have them.
    For me the words- Grace, Thanksgiving and Joy in that order
    and the scripture from Psalm 50- “She who sacrifices thank offerings honors Me. She prepares the way that I may show her the salvation of God.”
    Seed: That scripture
    Water: Praying that scripture everyday and blogging about the things I love
    Grow: God’s show & tell- I am seeing His love in unexpected ways.

  36. I chewed on this quite a bit on the concept of ingratitude – “discontent with what God freely gives” – being at the root of the fall… cosmic or daily. I thought about how he gives me TODAY, but I sometimes drive myself so crazy trying to figure out TOMORROW that I forget to live fully in Him where I am. *sigh*

    I am intentionally picking up that pen and paper right now, and moving forward by His grace.

    Thanks, Ann and Jessica. 🙂

  37. Only have a few moments, as my 2 1/2 year old daughter is sitting on my lap as I watch the video and write this comment. Even in this moment, I have let go of my disappointment at her not sleeping and all that I’d planned for this time. I am instead enjoying the sweetness of her breath, her whispy hair tickling my face, the gentle rise and fall of her voice. I’m watching her sort through supplies on my desk, seeing this wonder as she touches and moves each piece. Jesus, you are here.
    One of the seeds for me is, like you three lovely women have shared, recognizing that my perfectionism, my feelings of inadequacy, my feeling that I’m missing something to cross the gap from falling short to success — these all speak of not only my need for my Jesus, but also the good gifts He has given me in this very place. He invites me to partake with him in this joy, this thanksgiving, this recognition of grace. Eucharisteo is such a powerful concept. I am chewing on it and taking it in in new ways each day. I am reminding myself of how much I am loved, and this changes everything. May I be a joy-maker and love-giver more and more as I see the beauty here and now.
    Thank you, Ann, so much for sharing your journey through this beautiful book. This is not about speaking good as a determination not to feel or see the pain, but to experience and recognize God in the midst of it. For this is where we most need Him. Thank you, too, Jessica and Angie, for facilitating this gathering. I am blessed!

    • Ashley, there is something wonderful in you sharing what you are enjoying with your daughter, even in your disappointment that things did not go as you’d planned.

      SUCH a simple thing, and yet so profound. Thank you for showing us simple ways in which we can intentionally live lives of eucharisteo.

  38. The whole of Chapter 2 resounded with me. So much so that I’ve read it twice, and will do so a third time later today. SEED: The realization that for so long I’ve found myself not living fully, and I’ve often wondered where that childish vibrancy went. I’m ashamed that most of my adult life has been spent living half-heartedly. GROW: I realize I must change that so as to fully embrace God and enter into communion with Him. This is something that has been amiss in my adult life. Almost like I’ve been awake, but not fully. Ann talks about training ourselves in this new practice of giving thanks for all the beauty and joy and grace that He rains down on us EVERY DAY. In order to BLOOM, I must practice this eucharisteo.

  39. This word sounds so beautiful and eloquent ~ eucharisteo ~ thank you for this book, Ann! It is so rich and beautifully written. I realize that my life was a blurr of motion. Not remembering details of my days. All mixed together in a flurry of appts, work schedules, chores, Reading through your book I am noticing a change taking place. I’m waking up to life and all the moments are becoming gifts, trying to find thanksgiving even in the bad and ugly things. I too am starting to record my 1000 gifts. Loved this chapter and have read it over 3 times!!

  40. I lost my newborn son several years ago and clung to my Savior who held me so close during that difficult time. I struggled to see it as grace but God spoke some very real truths to my heart at the time and showed me that it was grace. This book, this chapter, so confirmed those beliefs for me. Out of my thanksgiving and sharing about God’s grace in my life I received not one, not two, but three more miracles in the form of perfectly healthy children (making a total of 7 for me). The sad thing to me was that I got it with the big thing that happened to me but I failed to see it in the small things in life. In my busy, sometimes overwhelming life I felt suffocated and struggled just to survive. I believed the labels and was giving them to my children too. I am so grateful for the revelation of eucharisto and how it has begun to change my life!

  41. Okay, on ch 1 I did not break down my answer. I am in a simple. Very private. Don’t share too much information place. Today, I share:
    My seed: Remembering what my name really means and what He says about me.
    My water: Knowing He is more than enough and I can rest in Him.
    My growth: Trying to know His love–perfected love that casts out ALL fear! ALL that is false!

  42. This chapter is beautiful. The braid of thanksgiving, grace, and joy is what my heart desires. I’ve been living and struggling in the “in between” and I want to be full. I want to give thanks for the small, the challenging, the beautiful. I want thanksgiving to precede miracles in my life. I love that chapter one taught me to choose my reaction, and this chapter has taught me to choose to give thanks. I’m learning so much 🙂

  43. “Thanksgiving—giving thanks in everything—is what prepares the way for salvation’s whole restoration. Our salvation in Christ is real, yet the completeness of that salvation is not fully realized in a life until the life realizes the need to give thanks. In everything?” (from page 40) YES! in everything!
    As Ann shared that she said “Yes” to Jesus in this area and that, but not in all, and then writes here of “salvation’s whole restoration”, I am turned upside down as the truth of this rains down upon me. Salvation is not whole for me until I am can give thanks for EVERYTHING…the feelings of failure, the look of seeing myself in the mirror as other than how my husband and God see me, the doubts, those hard things…God gives me His grace. Why should I NOT thank Him for all gifts? His grace is sufficient. I can thank Him for roses, for blue skies, for unexpected provisions, manna for today, for love from my husband. Those good and beautiful things are the easy thank yous.
    I want my salvation to be complete, full. Until now, I never realized I am living half empty. Can salvation be anything less than complete and full?
    I sense the grace. I sometimes have been able to be thankful, other times those words must be forced (and then “Do I really mean this?”). Joy is there when I am grateful to God. I am up to 800 and something in my gratitude list. How many of them have I forced? How many have I meant?
    God, I desire the gift of Your salvation to be complete in my life. Your grace is sufficient. I pray my thanksgiving be from my heart to yours. I ask that You show me how to be thankful at every turn of the road. Fill me up with joy as gratitude becomes real and realized. Amen.

  44. This giving thanks in the day-to-day, receiving everything from the hand of God as a gift, is such a new discipline for me. I may have known that it was important or even essential to my faith, but I had lost track of it in the trials of the journey. My family is in the midst of almost 20 months of unemployment and I have been really wrestling with God’s goodness, faithfulness, notice and care. I have almost drowned in the doubt, even though He has been faithful to provide for me, my husband and 3 children. Thank you Ann for articulating these truths. I have begun to try, in the hard moments, to give thanks, not asking for anything to be different. And I have started my list of 1000. And I feel like I’m breathing some fresh air.

  45. I have only recently begun reading/following Ann’s blog, and I can’t remember know how I came across it, but it was also how I found out about the book. It couldn’t have come at a better time in my life – when I renewed my commitment to God. In this chapter, Ann’s epiphany became my epiphany. How could I experience chara/joy, when I wasn’t returning eucharisteo/thanksgiving to God? Just as was said in the video, I had been giving thanks sometimes and in generalizations. But focusing more on giving thanks for things in the moment, and returning thanks for the many blessings I have, THAT is making the difference. I’m just inside and seeing the chara/joy, and my heart is already so full it wants to burst open! I am so thankful to have come across the blog, the book, and this book club at such a perfect time.

  46. There is so much to think on from this chapter, and I know that I will be coming back to it over and over again. To let it sink in deeply and completely. I have been a thankful person as a whole (even for hard things that we have experienced), but these words are making their way into an even deeper part of me. Giving me a clearer understanding of why a thankful spirit is important (love the meanings behind the word eucharisteo) … of what comes as a result (JOY) … and also, giving me a deeper understanding on how we can truly have thankful hearts for even the difficult things. Oh, so much to think on … and so life-changing. Thank you …

  47. So excited to begin my hunt for God’s everyday, always available beauty!!! So encouraged by JOY always being tangible and near. Striving to be more thankful everyday, receive his grace fully and savor the fullness of my salvation. Thanks Ann and Bloom members.

  48. Seed: Thankfulness precedes the miracle.

    Water: Really embracing the thought of a thankful life and being thankful for everything intentionally and consciously

    Grow: Working on living this truth and doing it every moment

  49. Just got the book and have read the 1st 2 chapters – what an awesome book! I am behind on this site, but just watched the ch. 2 video…love it. Has opened my eyes and given me a more positive outlook – be thankful, don’t always be in a hurry but live in the moment, and always know that God has a plan.

  50. I had never before understood the scriptures where Jesus had healed someone and said that because of their faith they were healed. I felt like “what am I doing wrong here?” “I have a ton of faith, why didn’t you heal my brother? Why are you not healing my son?”

    Too many people believe if you or a loved one is not healed it is because you do not have enough faith. I knew that had to be wrong but I just couldn’t figure it out!

    Then I read the part of the lepers being healed. It was because of his faith he has salvation, was made well, healed, not physically but spiritually.

    There are no words to express the relief of my burden. It is not because of me and my faith that my son has not been healed from Muscular Dystrophy.

    Thank you, Ann for being obedient to your calling.

    • Tracy,

      I understand where you are coming from… I was born profoundly deaf, and when I became totally deaf I received a cochlear implant. It allows me to hear in a different way – it’s not “natural hearing” but I do very well understanding things around me.

      Someone once told my husband, “If Susan truly believes, if she has enough faith, she will be healed.” I confess I was hurt by that remark – I never saw my deafness as a curse, or even a lack of faith. A few months later, a precious 5 yr old came up to me and said, “Aunt Susan, I been prayin’ for you – that God let you hear.” I responded, “God must have heard you, because I can hear you.”

      At that moment I understood – God may not answer our prayers the way we expect, or want – but His plans for us are beyond our ways and understanding. My faith has made me well… healing of the spiritual helps me to give eucahristeo in the physical. I never saw my deafness as a curse, yet I never considered it something of worth. Only in my wholeness could I remove the stigma of a “flaw” and see the true worth of who I am… just as I am.

      “Relieved” with you…
      Susan

  51. I LOVE this book. I read straight through, which was REALLY hard to do. But I was able because I knew I would be going back reading it again slowly. Every chapter is so full. I have bought a dozen copies of the book to give as gifts as God has laid people on my heart to gift it to. The gift comes with the book, a box of tissue and the link to these videos. I’ve read chapter 1 ten times and chapter 2 three times and I still can’t get through without crying – because it is so beautiful and because God is using it to change me. Thank you!
    I’m looking forward to camping out in chapter 3 for awhile, and hearing you girls talk about it – absorbing what God wants me to absorb, and letting Him change me more.(But first I think I need to go read chapter 2 at least 1 more time.)

  52. Ever learning to hush up the name-calling voice, and welcome the One who calls me by name. Beloved. Precious. Talitha – Little Girl.
    Each day, stumbling, the name-calling taunts. The power of Words, His Word inside my head, rescues me.
    So. Grateful.

  53. Oh, how I want more joy, real joy, in my life and in my family’s life. God continues to show me how I have developed a habit of ingratitude. So many times today, He has made me aware of my thanklessness. God–forgive me and help me choose to live a grateful life.

    Seed: Why do I choose to focus on the disappointing things instead of the magnificent? Why do I live as though the “taunt of names” is truth, rather than living as though God’s Names for me are Truth?

    Water: I must choose thankfulness, no matter the circumstance. Even in the minutia of life, I must exhibit grace and thankfulness. Practice gratitude.

    Bloom: I believe that the fruit borne of my grateful heart will nourish my family and spill over to them.

  54. Thanksgiving always precedes the miracle. That one is working its way down deep into my soul. I love that Jesus also gave thanks so often, and in so many horrible situations – its not like he just expects us to do something he didn’t do himself. He is so ‘with us’ – Immanuel – in this…

    • Yes, the roots of the word ‘eucharisteo’ was very interesting to me as well. And the mention of Jesus being within 12 hours of his own death, stopping to give thanks.

  55. This chapter resonated with me so very much. I’m sure part of that was because I have always, since I started going to church as a 12-year-old, been absolutely spellbound by the Eucharist. There was always something about that moment of communion with God and others that strengthened me.

    At church, once we have received the Eucharist we say “Heavenly Father, you have graciously accepted us as living members of your son, our savior, Jesus Christ. You have fed us with the spiritual food, in the sacrement of His body and blood. Send us now into the world in peace and grant us strength and courage to love You with gladness and singleness of heart…” And I guess, for me, I always really relished in giving thanks to God for that moment – for the moment when I felt that we were all, at the same time, giving thanks for the gift we had just received.

    This chapter (and its introduction to ‘eucharisteo’ really hit home for me, because I have completely experienced the feeling of Thanksgiving, Grace, Joy in one, but have never even attempted to keep that going throughout my whole life; it makes those moments where you already feel so much communion and strength that much more powerful when you are enveloping your whole life in that way of thinking, living, LOVING, is it not?

    • Love this, Grady~
      Ann is so inspired by our Triune God. She sees and teaches us things in His Trinity pattern. Thanksgiving is Communion that we as His children experience His grace
      which should result in pure joy!

      So glad God told your mother to name you Ann. (hugs and a big THANK YOU~)

  56. Watched both videos , Ann.
    As you know I felt the only way ,
    was to start giving thanks , to not feel forsaken,
    but to see life.
    So completely speechless that our paths have crossed, still.
    I am trying to decide how to move forward and embrace the care that my mother needs now . It will not be easy. But I am grateful. I am.
    love to you.

  57. Eucharisto … such a powerful word. What stood out to me was how the thanksgiving kept coming up. That thanksgiving precedes the miracle … we need to give thanks to God in everything. Thank you.

  58. Focusing on the last three pages of the chapter:

    I believe that much of my Christian walk has consisted of my ignoring most of what God has tried to tell me. When I do acknowledge Him, most times I obey begrudgingly, even murmuring under my breath (isn’t that any self talk about it that is not directed at him?) I behave like a 7 year old that knows they need to obey their parent, but does it with a scowl and a stomp.

    When my children behave like that I become very upset. Why? Because they are not recognizing me as the authority in their life. They are not grateful for the roof we put over their heads, the meals on their plates, or the clothes on their backs. It’s like they are blind to every blessing we give them.

    When they react this way, so many times I respond “I am your mother that *loves* you… you can’t do this one thing for me without an attitude?”

    I am taken aback… isn’t this exactly how I live out my relationship with God the Father? Forgive me Lord!

    Seed: Live the Eucharisteo by naming the moments so that I am in the position to obey with gratitude.

    Water: “As long as thanks is possibly, then joy is always possible. Joy is always possible. Whenever, meaning – now; wherever, meaning – here.”

    Grow: Keep my 1000 Gifts journal nearby at all times. Choose joy Now and Here.

    http://www.onedaycloserblog.com/2011/02/one-thousand-gifts-chapter-2.html

  59. I, too, love the picture of the 3 stars, constellation in the dark. I can so relate to the messing up, the failures, not doing it right, but it’s in those moments that the Light, the Morning Star can shine. We can see another aspect of who God is. Thanks for sharing. I also enjoy the practicality of finding and naming the gifts of God.

  60. I want to add to my previous post – just this morning I was delighting in Whose I am and rejoicing in the freedom that brings. It hasn’t always been so and it continues to be a journey, something to continually remind myself of. The names, the messages we hear are there, but even more present is Jesus. I just need to look and listen.

  61. This book is definitely giving me much food for thought.
    It is always hard to give thanks in times of trouble. Because of sin our lives will always be filled with trial and heartache, but let us not forget that God is always working for the good of those who love him (Rom. 8:28). It is in that “working for good” that we are able to thank him for all that he continues to bless us with. I also want to add that we have complete salvation because of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this not of yourselves, it is a gift from God, so no one can boast. (Eph. 2:8-9) And it is for this that we give thanks. We are nothing of our own effort. But in our weakness, God shows his glory.

  62. “Family crier” is a name I was called and even called myself, and I have believed it to be true my whole life. It IS true, in fact. But it says more than the words alone say.

    “Very minimizing,” a wise counselor once commented, hearing me say it. Very minimizing indeed.

    It says “weak one.” But in the face of voices raised and fists thrown and words launched like spears, when I, little, withdrew to my room and cried, yes I was the family crier, but what’s weak about it? In the face of sad things, someone ought to grieve. Too long have I been embarrassed by being sensitive to the hard things of this world because of a label placed on me young. One ought to grieve over grievous things and not be ashamed or feel weak for having a heart broken by what breaks God’s heart.

    • Marilyn, I have had the same struggle my whole life. I’m in my 50’s and cry so easily. I still struggle to be thankful for it when it is very public and seems to need “explanation” but I recognise how God has used my sensitivity to bless. I’m going to begin today to thank Him for my abundant tears. Care to join me?

      • Oh, I definitely do, Diane. In a world that is often hard on people, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, to be moved, to have compassion on others. It was quite eye-opening, though, for me to see the subtle minimizing message, to acknowledge it. I had not seen that before and Ann’s memory of names laid on her reminded me of it.

        • I’m a crier too – frustration, sadness, and joy all result in tears for me. I didn’t used to be – only in the last 2-3 years. Providentially, that happens to be the time frame that I have really drawn closer to God. I don’t think it’s coincidence – I think that as God softens our hearts, and makes us more sensitive to His leading, in some of us, that will manifest itself in a softening of our hearts and emotions in dealing with situations/events in our every day lives as well.

  63. “The blood of Christ is constant evidence that I am of the greatest worth,
    apart from anything I am, or can do.”

    – Unknown

  64. SEED:What does Jesus say about me ? That I am beautiful… Do I believe it, oh that’s the
    Struggle….
    WATER:His Word, His Truth. I Am clothed with Strength and Dignity.
    GROWTH:SEEING IS BELIEVING !!!

  65. I need to be made well. That’s the cry of my heart.

    And it is so good to meditate on eucharisteo – grace, then thanksgiving, then joy. In that order.

    I didn’t fully understand the “in between” until watching this video, but that is EXACTLY where I am – I know there’s so much more, and I get glimpses of it, and I just haven’t really gotten there. And I think my heart is being broken and my eyes are being opened!

  66. I am enjoying the book and the online discussion immensely! Normally when a book is this good I just cruise through it and often forget half the stuff I read but with this book I am taking my time reading and re-reading everything, underlining, note-taking. God sends me a message through this book every time I pick it up! Thank you Ann for writing this!

    On page 40, the line that says, “Thanksgiving –giving thanks in everything — is what prepares the way for salvation’s whole restoration.” really made me open my eyes to to the fact that that we can’t comprehend and experience the immensity and fullness of God’s ultimate gift while we continually take for granted the small gifts that He blesses us with each and every day!

    In the video Ann says, “It’s not always the beautiful things that we see right away, the bad things can be gifts too.” Oh how true is this!? In a moment of suffering we don’t realize that God wants nothing but the best for His children and no matter how badly we desire something if it is not the best for us, although it hurts Him to see us suffer, He will not give it to us.

  67. There’s so much in this chapter and I re-read it often. First read through as my heart was in pain over the “gift” I’m living in with my marriage and the names I hear inside in regards to it. To get to the end of the chapter and finally be able to give thanks for “this” as hard as it was that hour. It was so timely…God knew. To now give thanks over the brokeness, the crumbs and to not brush them aside, but to give thanks over them. Thanksgiving always preceeds the miracle! YES!!

    Seed: God gave me a new name of how He sees me… my Papa is PROUD of me. In the midst of the pain and disappointment I feel He’s PROUD of me.
    Water: Reminding myself of this when I hear the other names taunting.
    Bloom: Finding myself stopping my mind/thoughts and choosing to ‘break the bread, collect yes, even the crumbs’ and give thanks. Even though today it was with tears and clenched fists…not all days will it come naturally or easily. Accept that too.

    So good…thank you Ann.

  68. At the end of all her prayers, my 5 year old niece always says “Thank you for Jesus dying on the cross”, even at meal time. I’m not sure where she picked this habit up, and neither is her mother, but it is something that my husband and I now say at the end of all our prayers. This book talks about naming you gifts, and being ever-thankful to God for them, and it just struck me how a 5 year-old child can have this figured out before myself. It’s such a simple, beautiful statement that keeps me fully aware of the ultimate gift that God has given us. From the mouths of babes…
    The only kind of faith worth having is child-like faith. Thank you for your Book, Ann “full of grace”. It was a wake-up call.
    Katie

  69. What struck me is that we do not fully receive God’s gift until we give thanks for it. What an epiphane! Looking for the beauty in my every day life, instead of seeing it as a string of tasks that need to be accomplished, and taking the time to give thanks… not only does that acknowledge the gift, it IS the gift!

  70. As a photographer I tend to see the beauty and what God’s given the world on the big scale, it’s the small scale, at home, that I tend to not see things. I mean really, where is the beauty in a sink and counter full of dishes? Oh yeah, that we have food to eat. Or when I hear “No mommy, I don’t want to” and then sit and wait for, sometimes hours, for it to get done. Yeah, there is something God-given in that too.

    Another thing that stuck with me is the aspect of giving thanks leading to joy. When we don’t give thanks, we are kind of taking for granted what we have and all we see is what we don’t have. This, for me, kind of tied in to the last book we read because taking Sabbath time once a week gives us quiet time to really reflect on what we have. Seeing and giving thanks everyday is the next step. It’s not easy by a long shot but the past two days I haven’t really done it and I’ve noticed a difference. Life is so much more stressful when you don’t take that step of thanksgiving.

  71. what a wonderful chapter…so much to think about. I was so excited to see you use the story of the leper that returned to Jesus as I had just taught this to my Sunday School class and marveled at the “2nd” healing. I too want to be fully healed (sozo)! I think I’ve tried so hard to “find joy” instead of receiving joy or even seeing joy or being filled with joy. Unfortunately, I looked in all the wrong places, even spiritual places, and I just couldn’t find it. My resentment grew and I’ve wondered why He made it so hard to find. I’m beginning to see…through mistrust, fear, pride, (and the list could go on and on)….that I am not returning thankful for what I’ve been given, even though I say I am and sing that I am every Sunday…deep down I want more (sozo) but I’ve been looking in all the wrong places and now I’m going to run to Him!

  72. This chapter was again my Bright Morning Star piercing through the darkest night to show me an amazing Truth!!
    Seed: “Thanksgiving is the evidence of our acceptance of whatever He gives. Thanksgiving is the manifestation of our Yes! to His grace.”
    I have been living the “no” and not experiencing all that is mine in Christ. Not experiencing the fullness of my salvation…that I already have!
    Water: Say “yes!” and remind myself of the Truth and retrain/renew my mind in this practice of giving thanks.
    Grow: Writing down those thanks, sharing it with others. (that reinforces it for me and plants a seed for someone else)
    Bloom: Can’t wait to see what this does!

  73. The revelation of Eucharisteo and how it’s broken down is so life-giving. A real epiphany, as Ann says!
    I was shopping for a copy of “One Thousand Gifts” for a friend of mine this past week. As I was reading the reviews – there were a few that actually had negative comments!! – there was one person that was talking about approaching our lives with this type of giving thanks in every moment was a way to set ourselves up for failure. I felt sad that this person didn’t get it. Another person in my life wanted to remind me that seeing all the precious gifts in our everyday lives and living in constant thanksgiving was not the only aspect of Christianity…that we have spiritual warfare and intercessory prayer to do as well.
    But as I was considering both of these comments I thought…No, it’s not the only aspect to Christianity…but it’s an absolutely vital part of our living the fullest life, our “fullest salvation in Christ”.
    The example came to my mind of playing piano scales. Growing up, learning to play the piano…scales were necessary exercises to make my fingers nimble and strong. No, scales weren’t the only part there was to playing the piano, not by a long shot. But it was a very important foundation for the rest of my performance on the piano.
    That’s the way it is with giving thanks, noticing the everyday moments that are gifts, seeing the blessings in the everyday. If I can do that, like practicing scales, then it becomes woven into my everyday life and makes my life as a Christian that much stronger and more powerful. There’s so much more JOY when I choose to recognize the grace and choose to find the thanksgiving!! After all…isn’t the JOY of the Lord supposed to be our strength?
    This week has been more of a battle for me – an in between time. I look forward to when this “exercise” is ingrained more soundly in me….and it’s my first response to life’s everyday moments. Right now it seems more like a jerking, stuttering, learning how to drive a clutch for the first time, kind of response. But I’m learning. Maybe that’s where the grace comes in. :o)

  74. My daughter, Emma Kate, is living proof that eucharisteo always precedes the miracle.

    I have PCOS and endomteriosis, which has led to major fertility problems. After 3 years of struggling with infertility and watching (what seemed like) everyone else we knew (including my younger sister) get pregnant, my husband and I finally came to the point where we could thank the Lord for all He had given us, rather than focus on what we didn’t have…a baby. I vividly remember falling on my knees one night and telling God that I would love and praise Him even if He never allowed me to have a child of my own because I had come to the realization that my salvation alone is worth a lifetime of gratitude!

    Little did I know, I had conceived my sweet daughter, Emma Kate, that very night! Although we had to wait over three years to meet her, and she had a rough start (17 days in the NICU for meconium aspiration), she was worth the wait and truly a miraculous gift straight from the Lord!

    • That “I will praise you in the storm” point occurred for me shortly before becoming pregnant for the first time after several years of infertility as well. Although both that pregnancy and the one following it resulted in miscarriages, I have hope because I know that God carried me through those storms and he will continue to carry me, whether it’s through the storm of infertility, the storm of a third miscarriage, or the incredible gift of a healthy, viable pregnancy. He is faithful.

  75. First I want to say the videos are much of a help. It’s like they help me to see things in an even bigger picture.
    One of the things that hit me the most was on page 40 “I would never experience the fullness of my salvation until I expressed the fullness of my thanks everyday”
    WOW to know that I missed out on so much because of my unwillingness to give thanks, that hurts. Now I’m learning to live everyday with thanks giving.
    Holly
    http://startingovermovingonat48.blogspot.com/

  76. “It’s the in between that drives us mad.” … this spoke so deeply to me. I feel like I am living the life inbetween. For some reason this season for me feels less like living and more like waiting. Waiting for the someday. Waiting for the next thing. Waiting for the old things to be made new. Waiting for one redeeming moment…

    But over time I think I’m slowly realizing that it is the thanksgiving that redeems the moments… not waiting for something to happen, but acknowledging that the right here, now is already redeemed. I just need to reach out my hands and hold it. Name it. Speak it.

    “Thanksgiving – giving thanks in everything – is what prepares the way for salvation’s whole resotration.” (p. 40)

  77. seed: to find the magnificence in the here and now, to see everything that comes as coming from His hand and be ththankful.

    water: eucharisteo always precedes the miracle – I keep repeating, this will be the water to my seed

    Grow: my joy, my peace, His glory within me (my hope)

  78. When she described not seeing the jade-green Li river in China, I wept. I had the awesome privilege of seeing those fishing cormorants and ballooning over the karst formations. I lived an exciting life in China for almost 3 years, and had that wonderful dream shattered by divorce and family commitments. I feel a bit shallow that I’ve grieved for the past year for the end of a way of life that I loved. I guess I figured I had paid my dues with breast cancer several years prior.
    I NEED Eucharisteo. I am so thankful to be reading this with everyone else here. It really puts it all in perspective.

  79. Oh Ann,
    I love the word-within-a-word-within-a-word of the eucharisteo/charis/chara connection and how in triunity they flesh out our pistis (faith).

    Pg. 27 “I wake to the discontent of life in my skin. I wake to self-hatred. To the wrestle to get it all done, the relentless anxiety that I am failing. Always, the failing. . . . Would I ever be enough, find enough, do enough?”

    How well I know that feeling from the inside out. For me, I’m not even sure it’s self-hatred as much as it is this wretched, deep disappointment in myself for never being enough. I know all the Christian answers, and even have moments when I get ahold of the truth of those answers–I wrote recently about this common thread of feeling not enough that seems to be nearly universal to women–http://upthesunbeam.blogspot.com/2010/11/daughters-of-eve.html

    I am really excited to walk forward with this new connection of eucharisteo and seeing His grace as the ENOUGH I am not.

    Thank you Ann–you are His grace to so many!

  80. Have been feeling quite lost for a while now. The following part really spoke to me: “I’m struck, a comet blazing across the empty dark of my life. All those years thinking I was saved and had said my yes to God, but was really living the no…This is why I sat all those years in church but my soul holes had never fully healed.” I desire to live the FULLNESS of my salvation…not this emptiness that I’ve been avoiding for a while now. Thanks, Ann, for being so open with your own journey toward truth. You have touched my life. 🙂

  81. I am so enjoying watching & listening to you three lovely ladies talk about this wonderful book. What a revelation of ‘Eucharisteo’ – saying yes to his grace, bringing thanksgiving for the gift and receiving the joy that comes from it. Wow! What a way to live in the fullness of life that God intended for us as His children. I am made for praise! I am so challenged and encouraged by what I read and so thankful for what Jesus is – THE GIFT – where all other gifts flow from. I am enjoying writing my list of one thousand gifts and am asking God to open my eyes even more to his grace and beauty around me. Looking forward to chapter 4!

  82. My husband overheard some of the videos and wanted to know if you’d considered using a low key sort of mike to help with the sound? I did have trouble understanding/hearing some portions of the videos–like there were some distracting sounds in the background of the video et al.

  83. Yes, I want my identity to be in Christ, the real me, not the fake, “fleshly” me, that keeps sinning even when I don’t want it to, but the inner me that Christ gave me, the new me. And the way to get there is to believe that I am who He says I am. He can and will make me alive again, but only through His grace.

    And, I’m really glad that I watched this video. I was a little confused by the book, and a bit worried that you (Ann) were saying that you weren’t really born again until you learned to give thanks in everything. I didn’t want to go there (because that would be adding necessary works to saving faith), and I’m really glad that’s not where you were going. Thanks for making the distinction between being saved and living out the fullness of your salvation.

  84. Welcome to wherever you are! Chapter Two was quite an “aha!” moment for us. There’s so much “self-help” stuff out there lately, about learning to “be in the moment” – but the concept of eucharisteo is so much more! We should not only be in the moment, but but give thanks for it, and then we find true joy! We grow closer to our Lord and Savior! What could be better than that?
    I opened with “Welcome Wherever You Are” because that is a song by my favourite band, Bon Jovi. I remember the first time I heard this song when the album, Have a Nice Day, was released. I was immediately touched and tears streamed down my face. It has since become a favourite song that uplifts me when I need it on a bad day. You can check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3zcypsjO8o and tell me what you think … I just felt that it went along with Chapter Two so well … Wherever we are – welcome it and give thanks! God makes no mistakes.
    Looking forward to Chapter Three!!

  85. The raw beautiful honesty of this chapter. Some of these words cut me so to the core. They could have been my own words. Words I stuff down deep. Thoughts I’d rather not admit to thinking, but somehow I have the courage after reading Ann’s bold proclamations.

    “For years of mornings, I have woken wanting to die….For years, I have pulled the covers up over my head, dreading to egin another day I’d be bound to just wreck. Years, I lie listening to the taunt of names ringing off my interior walls, ones from the past that never drifted far and away:…..(insert various names here)…I wake to the discontent of life in my skin…to wrestle to get it all done, the relentless anxiety that I am failing…always the failing…..I live tired. Afraid. Anxious. Weary…Years I have felt it in the veins, the pulsing of ruptured hopes. Would I ever be enough?”

    I live less than I’m meant to be…everyday.

    “It’s the life in between, the days of walking lifeless, the years calloussed and simply going through the hollow motions, the self-protecting by self-distracting, the body never waking, that’s lost all capacity to fully feel…”

    The above would be the seed. The realization that those words describe me. So distracted, I’m missing it. Missing the gifts before me. Missing the living of this life…fully.

    My water: “As long as thanks is possible, then joy is always possible.” It’ s in the gratefulness for right now…the fully living of this moment.

    Grow: Soaking in the gifts of right now…searching for God in every sweet moment.

  86. Beautiful!!! It is a whole thought process shifting when you think of the grace, thanksgiving, and joy even in the bad. The good, and the bad. I think it’s such a powerful and positive way to live how God intended, to relish in each moment instead of focusing on the bad that life gives. Beautiful, and full of grace!

  87. This chapter blew me away. I have cancer. I finished treatment in October and didn’t handle it very well. When I found out the treatment didn’t cure the cancer, I felt like I wanted more time. I wanted to live! There had been a long period of my life when I wanted to die or wished I have never been born. When you are faced with this reality it changes you. I have become closer to God than ever in my life. This list has made me wake up to all the awsome things in this world that God has given us. I am amazingly blessed!!

  88. I really liked the way Ann said it: “Take everything God gives as grace. Give thanks for it. There is joy.”

    That’s easy to do when we’re talking about happy events, but when a loved one dies? a miscarriage? takes me years to see the joy, it’s hard to take it as grace. Didn’t she say somewhere that it’s a choice?

    http://purplemoose.wordpress.com/2011/02/19/1000g-chapter-2/

    BTW–didnt they say they’d post one video a week, on Sundays? Why are they posting 2 a week? I feel like I’m behind!!! 🙁

  89. Always behind.

    My take-away is the simple question in which I fully relate: “Would I ever be enough…?” Feels good to know I am not alone in asking it, feeling it. It’s the wallpaper in my mind most days as life swirls like a carnival ride around me. Four babies – 14 years to 21 days old… homeschooling near teenagers and trying to keep up with my two under two. Sometimes I ask myself “What in the world am I doing?”

    The thing that keeps me going is knowing that God would trust these kids to a woman like me… that he makes no mistakes… and can use broken vessels.

    I’m trying to find things to thank Him for. Even with the cracks and bruises. Your discovery of the trinity of thanks/grace/joy… it is an epiphany life-raft for so many. I’m so glad He used you, Ann… and that you were willing to peck out the lessons in the dark.

    Love you,
    Heather

  90. What a chapter, and hearing Ann discuss it brought more clarity!!
    I have kept various gratitude journals for well over ten years now and have gradually learned to thank God in all things. That was put to the test almost three years ago when I suffered a miscarriage that sent my life into a tailspin and had me questioning everything. But from day 1, I knew God was working on me and I handed it over to him!
    Since then, I have truly “woken up.” I am a new woman now! I am not perfect, by any means….but I have overcome fears and learned to trust God more fully and the list goes on.
    Now I am about to launch a ministry to help other women who have experienced miscarriage or other “bumps in the road” on the journey to motherhood. I want to help them live this way, too, the way of thanksgiving. This chapter made me realize that my miscarriage was a true WAKE UP call…and now my calling is to wake other women up to what God is trying to do in their lives.
    Seed: acknowledging how God has shown me how to LIVE in gratitude, accepting ALL things as gifts.
    Water: how can I pass this knowledge on to other women, especially in the rhealm of baby-making?? Identifiy the major blocks I overcame and how to help other women do the same.
    Grow: Quit trying to please EVERYone and just do MY job.

  91. So much to glean from this chapter:

    The braid – the bread – of Eucharisteo – that blew me away. In my mind, it’s like a beautiful loaf of challah, golden and waiting to be savored, to melt on the tongue. A beautiful picture, not just of the path to recognizing fullness in Christ, but of the Trinity itself. Amazing.

    “Eucharisteo always precedes the miracle.” I need wall-art of that. Reminders.

    “It’s not always the beautiful things that we see right away. The bad things can be gifts too. Jesus was breaking himself and seeing it as grace and a gift too.” Blew me away. I know dark times, bad times, can yield growth and draw us closer to God. I know it in my head, but my heart has a hard time thinking of them as blessings while in the midst. The parallel to Jesus giving thanks, taking bread, breaking it giving it to his disciples, as a picture of what he would be suffering 12 hours later, “for the joy set before him.” Hallelu Yah.

    LOVE the videos. They bring the book to life for visual learners like me. Hearing the inflection in Ann’s voice brings the true meaning and heart of the words to life.

    The “1,000 places to see before you die” are here. The beauty is here. I have always believed in blooming where you’re planted, but I haven’t always lived out full DELIGHT in being where I am.

    The epiphany – the seed – was the scripture Psalm 50:23, and the idea that “”If we can take everything God gives, grace, and give thanks, Eucharisteo, there is joy.” Looking at EVERYTHING that God gives us, which is all grace, and give thanks, we can achieve the fullness of joy in Him. I want that.

    The water: I think it’s time to start my 1,000 gifts journal, but even more than that, to verbally voice my thanks. My pastor has said that ‘Words are eternal.” Once spoken, they exist forever. They don’t go away. They are part of God’s universe. I want my thanks to be eternal, to be an unceasing prayer of thanksgiving. Do more than “bloom” where I’m planted. Delight in it. Rejoice. I live in the most beautiful place in the world, I think. I have a blessed life. Part of this life is pain, and to experience this life fully, pain will be a part of it. I want to get out of the “in between,” the “madness” and into the land of joy and delight and that has begun today.

    Bloom: Make thanksgiving, Eucharisteo, part of the “motions.” My default. Envision the bread, the braid. Embrace and accept the grace and the gifts, pleasant or painful, and give thanks.

  92. Even though I am way behind, I am thankful that these comments are all still here for me to be blessed by. God calls you all Precious!