Gratitude Day 26: Mornings
{early morning light in my daughter's bedroom}

For the last few months I have been on a personal journey. I've realized this is the only real 'goal' I want to carry forward going into the new year. Not because I don't want to accomplish other things or better myself but because this one thing has the power and capacity to be the catalyst for everything else. I have already seen it beginning to change me. It feels good!

And I want more.


Giving thanks, thanksgiving, eucharisteo.

Ann Voskamp writes, in One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

"The root word of eucharisteo is charis, meaning "grace." Jesus took the bread and saw it as grace and gave thanks. He took the bread and knew it to be gift and gave thanks.

But there is more, and I read it. Eucharisteo, thanksgiving, envelopes the Greek word for grace, charis. But it also holds its derivative, the Greek word chara, meaning "joy." Joy. Ah...yes. I might be needing me some of that. That might be what the quest for more is all about--that which Augustine claimed, "Without exception...all try their hardest to reach the same goal, that is joy."

IMG_8689 - playing a matching game
{Matching colorful wooden mice to their families and home}

I've begun keeping a gratitude journal, numbering the daily gifts from God. President Henry B. Eyring has been keeping a gratitude journal for years. He would write a few lines every single night. Of this experience he shared, "Before I would write, I would ponder this question: “Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?” As I kept at it, something began to happen. As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not recognized in the busy moments of the day. As that happened, and it happened often, I realized that trying to remember had allowed God to show me what He had done.

More than gratitude began to grow in my heart. Testimony grew. I became ever more certain that our Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. I felt more gratitude for the softening and refining that come because of the Atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ. And I grew more confident that the Holy Ghost can bring all things to our remembrance—even things we did not notice or pay attention to when they happened."

Gratitude Day 16: Bread dough
{kneaded with lots of love}

This one question “Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?” is powerful. The answers even more so. Why?

"To name a thing is to manifest the meaning and value God gave to it." (Alexander Schmemann)


Naming the blessings helps us see ourselves and those around us as God sees us. Giving thanks, counting my blessings, has changed my perspective, my focus. I no longer look inward. My eyes are drawn outward, upward to God.  In that drawing I am able to see the needs of others around me. In my limited realm of experience I have learned that in giving thanks I want to give. How can I not when I see how much I have truly been blessed? It is a natural God-intended consequence.

Giving thanks, thanksgiving, eucharisteo.

It is changing my life.

P.S. I will be chronicling some of my daily gifts through pictures on my photography blog, Montserrat Photography. Come, feast with me.

P.P.S. This post is a re-written one of a guest post I did for Carrie at All That is Sweet in Life.
Cocoa Signature with Candy 2 © 2007-2011 Chocolate on my Cranium, LLC all rights reserved


  1. This is wonderful! Although, I think you are already one of the most thoughtful and gratitude- filled people I know. You have uplifted so many through your blog and emails alone! I am very grateful for all you do.

  2. One of my all time favorite talks. FANTASTIC photos and great post.

  3. What a great and usable resolution! Thanks for the uplifting post. It's certainly making me think....

  4. This is so beautiful. Thank you!

  5. I read this book early last year and have been amazed at how my life has changed as I sought for and found gratitude in everything. It's a great journey!

  6. I wonder if the root of the word charity also comes fom the greek root "chara". I have been trying to focus on increasing my charity and reading your post i realized that the same things that result from being grateful, the desire to want to give and feelings of abundance, are also components of charity. I have tried to keep a gratitude journal befor but did do so well, maybe i will give it anoher try. This was a beautiful post.

  7. I love this idea and can't wait to implement it. Thank you so much for sharing.

  8. New WORD!!!! You are attempting to make me smarter.

    I love gratitude. I need to follow your journaling council.

  9. This idea is beautiful, thank you for sharing. I'm going to print these out for the girls in my church small group.

    I also loved the wooden mouse matching game in the picture above. Do you know who makes it/anything about it? I'd like to track one down for my son.


  10. @Kate - my mother-in-law bought them from Constructive Playthings. She says they go on sale every four months or so.

    Mouse Matching at Constructive Playthings

  11. Yes, this is so true. I wrote something similar today.
    Warm wishes,


Put "eat chocolate" at the top of your list of things to do today. That way, at least you'll get one thing done. ☺ There, don't you feel better?

Please leave a comment! I enjoy hearing your thoughts, whether you agree with me or not. If we all agreed on everything how boring would that be? Worse than eating white chocolate, because it's fake. So be real, be yourself.