I dare you to look into a dog’s face and not find joy.

I don’t know what it is, but when I look into the face of my dog she seems to always be smiling—part of that might be because she’s a lab—but some days I just really need to see that smiling face.

I started reading a book called “One Thousand Gifts” along with watching the accompanying DVD session series this summer. Ann Voskamp, the author, was challenged by a friend to write down 1,000 gifts or blessings. She accepted the challenge without knowing what it’d really do—it’d change her life. She began seeing things, really seeing things. As she gave thanks, her world was transformed through the lens of the Word and of the beauty of Christ.  Over and over again she referred back to eucharisteo—meaning grace, thanksgiving, joy. Less than twelve hours before Jesus died he “took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them…” (Luke 22:19 NIV). “Gave thanks” reads “eucharisteo” in the original language. Because of God’s grace we have gifts. And as we send praises up to heaven, joy is always possible. We can always have joy because we can always give thanks. Ann encourages us to live fully, right where we are, with hands wide open, ready to receive the gifts God has for us.

Ann made it to her list of 1,000 gifts, and then some. The book inspired me to do the same, although I’ve barely hit 100. I’m keeping my five senses and IPhone ready to type more. It’s amazing how much my perspective of my circumstance can change just through counting my blessings and giving thanks. Scrolling through my list always makes me smile—especially when I see that smiling, happy dog face.


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