Small Graces – Celebrations of the Ordinary

Small Graces – Celebrations of the Ordinary

I must confess to you that the practice of gratitude has changed my life.

I focused on gratefulness previously, but it wasn’t until I met Ann Voskamp—years before her book 1000 Gifts was published – that I committed to keeping a list.

I began reading her blog when my editor, Mick Silva, introduced me to her in 2008 and she challenged me to name three daily gratitudes. I sometimes posted them on FaceBook, or wrote them in my journal.

Funny how one simple little change changes everything.

Reminds me of a quote Fran Lankford found years back that guided us in writing Thresholds and Passages:

When you are stuck in a spiral, to change all aspects of the spin you need only to change one thing. ~Christina Baldwin

Naming life’s daily small graces is such a habit that I find myself looking everywhere for things to thank God for. I set a goal last year to name 1000 but I only got to 753. This year I’m on target for 1000. Gonna do it!


Because God said to in his Word – over and over and over. It’s way of seeing him in everything. But also because it ends up changing my mood, my outlook on life; it’s a way to celebrate the ordinary. Besides, it’s fun. IMG_0453

…in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.                    ~1 Thessalonians 5:18

Here are a few categories to get you started.

 Make a ceremony of ordinary moments

  • Ritual of morning coffee – thanks for the day, the beautiful cup, the aroma of fresh coffee
  • Preparing dinner – slicing orange carrots, chopping onions and mushrooms to top the steak, a full refrigerator
  • Turning down the bed – clean sheets, evening prayers, peaceful sleep

Observe things in nature – on your morning walk or drive    images

  • An osprey with a catch of fish in his talons
  • Morning mist on the lake
  • A brown hare with the whitest cottontail

 See people differently

  • Those who challenge my thinking and opinions
  • The voice of a loved one
  • Irregular people God uses as sandpaper

 Receive love gifts from God

  • An unexpected compliment
  • A surprise visit from an old friend
  • God’s direction from his Word

 Recognize opportunities to trust

  • Disturbing news
  • Negative circumstances
  • Losses

These small graces are everywhere, little burning bushes we miss if we don’t decide to turn aside and notice them.

Sometimes, in the midst of the worst scenarios, there comes a love gift from Jesus that clearly says, “I’m here and I know what’s going on.” Got one of those today!!

Knowing I needed and wanted to be by my daughter’s side after extensive surgery but understanding I couldn’t afford airfare, a friend bought my ticket as a gift.

Today, as we chatted on the phone she told me she’s flying to Arkansas the same day I’m flying to California.

“Where do you change planes,” I asked.

“Dallas,” she answered.

“Me too! What if we’re on the same plane?” I said.

So we checked our notes and guess what? We’re flying from Ft. Myers to Dallas on the same plane.

I choose to see that as a little love tap from the One who coordinates the details. A God-wink.

Gratitude #571 – Flying to Dallas with Erma.

Might you be willing this week to keep a list of three daily gratitudes?



  1. Fran Lankford

    What an extraordinary blog my girl! Well done. These graces, they’re everywhere, they’re everywhere! Simple to ignore, but life changing to acknowledge. It is such a gift to live with a grateful heart and to be filled to overflowing with the joy that can surround us. You put it beautifully Cathee and isn’t it grand to recognize the “love gifts” from Him? Thrilled for you and Erma to fly together. I remember how fun to sit next to you on the plane, how exciting it can be! Fill one another up so when you part, each of you will be used to minister at your destination. You will need the time together. Bless you both.

  2. I thank you for reminding me how important is it to be grateful for all things. At my doctor’s appointment the other day, she told me I need to learn to breathe. She said she never saw anyone breathe so lightly and it’s true. I need to learn to suck air as if it were my last and what a perfect time to so do in just taking that time in being grateful. So here is my first for the day even though it is almost over: I’m grateful for a such a friend as you to remind me of how much you love me and I love you! Now for 999 more!

  3. I wish everyone I know would read this. I’m especially inspired by your outlook on ways to be grateful for the less than pleasant things. To me that’s a sign of a close walk with Jesus. Gratitude seems to be a path that always leads back to him. More, please, Lord. Enjoy your journey, Cathee. You are such a treasure.

    • If everything matters, then even what we call the “bad things” have a place in shaping us. I’m not always thankful for the circumstance, but I can be thankful “in” the circumstance. Love your comment, Sue.

  4. After 40 years wandering in my own personal desert, I have learned this art. Every little thing simply thrills me and I view them all as gifts from my Lord and Savior. Sometimes we need to live without so that we recognized how wonderful the simple life is. In the midst of utter chaos, you allow us all the opportunity to consider our choices. We can choose to be grateful.
    PS. When you recommend a book, it always changes my life in profound ways. Is this one that will do for me what Mark Batterson did?

  5. I’m grateful for you, my love, a thousand times over. It has been a joy to see the changes in you through recognizing and listing your gratitudes. “Little things mean a lot.” So the song writer had it right.

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