Nov 4, 2013

a heart of gratitude in the emerald city

It's not just a holiday; it's a way of life. 
It's a way of being present in the now. 
It's a way of remembering the little things that bring joy to your heart. 
It's a way of lifting up the name of Jesus.

I have been so very blessed by Ann Voscamp's One Thousand Gifts the last few weeks. It is a book I often saw referenced on other blogs by Christian women or instagramed next to a journal with beautifully scripted words. I decided to buy a copy and dig in. I have hardly read a third of it so far and I am already challenged and convicted of the far too few things I give thanks for regularly. I am realizing that my general prayers of thanks often lack the conviction of a heart truly bursting with joy at the opportunity to thank my loving, unfailing, everlasting God. 

So I am embarking on a journey of thanksgiving, or rather, a journey of eucharisteo.

Ann Voscamp explains in One Thousand Gifts, that eucharisteo is the greek word for thanksgiving, but she digs a bit deeper and explains the root words:
charis = "grace" or "gift"
chara = "joy"

Simply, eucharisteo is joyfully giving thanks.

"Thanksgiving is the evidence of our acceptance of whatever He gives.
Thanksgiving is the manifestation of our Yes! to His grace". {p. 39}

"Thanks is what multiplies the joy and makes any life large, and I hunger for it" {p. 48}

As I was reading tidbits of the many gifts Ann named in these first chapters, I was challenged to be specific in my thanksgiving and to "nail" down one specific gift at a time, as she beautifully writes:

"I , too, had read it often, the oft-quoted verse: "Give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Eph. 5:20). And I, too, would nod and say straight-faced, "I'm thankful for everything." But in counting gifts, to one thousand, I discover that slapping a sloppy brush of thanksgiving over everything in my life leaves me deeply thankful for few things in my life. A lifetime of sermons on "thanks in all things" and the shelves of sagging books on these things and I testify: life-changing gratitude does not fasted to a life unless nailed through with one specific nail at a time. Little nails and a steady hammer can rebuild a life." {pp. 55-56}.

Do you want to have a life of unceasing prayer? Give thanks!

"Prayer without ceasing is only possible in a life of continual thanks". {p60}

So, as I slowly sip my delicious Pumpkin Spice Roobios tea and relax after a beautiful six-day trip to my beloved home-away-from-home, Seattle (nicknamed the "Emerald City"), I want to share some of the gifts I am "nailing" down. (All photos added are taken with my iPhone) 

1. For the grace, love, redemption of Jesus
2. For being called a daughter of the Almighty Creator God
3. For a job where I can be a missionary in my community
4. A warm cup of tea, a comfy couch to sit on, a scented candle, + a warm blanket
this is me right now :)
8. An encouraging, beautiful community of Christian women bloggers. I was so blessed to grab tea and chat with Bailey Jean from Anchored in Love Divine. She has such a beautiful heart.
21. Music that points me to Jesus (I was so blessed to catch JJ Heller in Seattle on Saturday!).
22. Eating and/or drinking with close friends while catching up on what God is doing in each of our lives.
26. "Gaining" an extra hour in my day. Thanks, daylight savings! (Hopefully I will still be thankful for you in the spring)
27. Vibrant fall colors brushed among the many trees of Washington's parks, trails, and highways.
Here are some photos from my short walk through a corner of the Washington Park Arboretum
29. Finding a dress that seems to be made for me. I bought this one today.
32. Warm sun rays beating on my face.
33. The sweet melody of waves against a shore
Golden Gardens Park in Ballard, Seattle
34. French baguettes that are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside (I visited two French bakeries today, La Reve in Queen Anne and Bakery Nouveau in West Seattle. YUM.
35. Adorable stationary shops where I can admire the pretty Rifle Paper Co. and other beauties. This is my favorite shop in Queen Anne.
36. City skylines. 
38. Beautiful architecture in downtown Seattle as I stroll during my lunch break from  my nurse practitioner conference.
Seattle Times Building in Downtown Seattle
39. Visiting Green Lake Park, my favorite place in all of Seattle. I ran, walked, biked, and talked my way around that 3mile trail with myself and others. It's full of beautiful memories from my 5 months living in that beautiful neighborhood.
40. Reconnecting with the best roomies in the world 
41. Fresh flowers as well as macarons from Le Panier (both in Pike's Place)
42. Marinas with sleepy sailboats parked for winter
Shilshole Bay Marina in Ballard, Seattle
So many reasons to be grateful these past six days in Seattle! And so many more to come. I plan on carrying this topic on throughout the month, which will keep me accountable for continuing to count my gifts daily.
* * *
What are some of the gifts you are seeing in your own life?

[check out my instagram if you want to follow along my journey of eucharisteo]


  1. SO MUCH to be thankful for, can't read this and not see the blessings in my own life too. Your photos are just amazing!!! :D

    1. Thank you Erica. Yes, you are right. There really is just so much to be thankful for!!

  2. This is perfect! I NEED to get that book! It's definitely going on my Christmas list. :-)

    1. Yes, it is so good! I follow Ann Voscamp on instagram as well, which is fun right now because she is doing a 30 days of thankfulness for November.

  3. I am hoping to read that book soon! I loveeee JJ Heller! She is my favorite. :)

    1. I love her too!! It was so fun to hear her in person!! I missed her the last time she was in portland, so it was such a fun coincidence that she was up in Seattle the same weekend I was visiting!!

    2. I missed her last time in Portland too! I hope to see her next time she is in town. Fun fact--my husband and I's "song" is The Boat Song. We danced to it at our wedding! :)

  4. Beautiful photos! I definitely agree that thankfulness needs to be an integral part of our way of life!

    1. yes, yes, yes!! It is so easy to forget sometimes, which is why i love this book.


I love to hear your thoughts!

Elle Alice