For a few years now, I've been all about gratitude. I'm even midway through presenting a series on gratitude at church (started in the spring and will pick it up and finish some time this fall), using the One Thousand Gifts DVD study (see below).
It first really made its mark on me when I discovered Ann Voskamp's blog "A Holy Experience". Then I finally read her book "One Thousand Gifts" and it was like a door opening wide for me.
The basic theme is this: giving thanks to God for all the blessings in this life. Ann's way is to write them all down, including taking photos where possible.
2012 was the year I wrote down over one thousand gifts that I'd noticed God had sent my way, from moments of natural beauty to moments where life got hard. I started to do this again in 2013, but dropped out a few months ago because I found I wanted to stay in the moment of receiving the gift, not rushing to add it to a list or take a photo of it. So I stopped writing them down.
So was does an evangelical (I think) farm wife have to do with Judaism?
Just this: again Christianity is drawing on an older tradition.
In Judaism (drawing with broad strokes here), one is supposed to say at least 100 blessings a day. That's a lot more than Ann's three a day to reach 1,000 a year! The Reform siddur (prayer book) has a number of these in their services: to give thanks in the morning for a functioning body, to give thanks for the gift of a soul, etc.
And all these prayers start the same way ...
... we'll talk about that tomorrow.