Starting over (or continuing on) after the first 1000

This week I begin a new year of thanksgiving. This year I am using the Joy Dare to be more consistent. I love the prompts that cause me to think in different directions. Before I give my list of thank you’s this Monday, I have a story to share. My older son had his 40th birthday this summer. Shortly after we celebrated he began having panic attacks and his pastor helped  him commit himself to a psychiatric ward of a local hospital. He spent 8 days there and then went into outpatient group therapy. Through this experience, he met people he didn’t even know existed before: cutters, people with psychoses, schizophrenics and those with bipolar disorder. He met people with absolutely no self-esteem. One young man on the psychiatric ward said he could not play cards with Stephanie, my son’s wife, because he had never learned to shuffle. Stephanie is a special education teacher for middle schoolers. She knows how to love on those with problems. She taught him to shuffle and they all played cards together. It has been a long fall and the darkness of winter is tough when you’re fighting depression, but my son, his wife and their 2 adorable sons (ages 6 and 3) are making it and seeing God’s goodness in the new paths they have been traveling.


I gave Harry a copy of 1000 Gifts. He read it and shared it with his pastor. George Searfoss is Assistant Pastor of Hope Community Church in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. On Thanksgiving week Sunday he preached about giving thanks using some of the theology from Ann’s book. My son made him props to make some of his points. At the end of the message he challenged his congregation of some 2000 members to begin to write down the things for which they are thankful. He talked about their doing this every day so that it would become a way of life and challenged each person to reach 1000 thanksgivings by the end of 2013. Harry gave me a dvd of his pastor’s sermon for my birthday in December. I IMG_2597had tears in my eyes as I watched big Pastor George share from Ann’s little book with the bird’s nest on the front. I had tears because my son was thankful and hopeful even in the midst of the worst time of his life. He could see the good that was coming out of it and his family was becoming stronger facing the challenges together and ministering together to others even from their own poverty. I know this book changes lives. It has changed mine, it has changed the lives of some of my friends, and it is changing the lives of my children and those around them. I made my list this past week because I. had. to. to. live. I was thankful for

#1001 puppy sounds

#1002 parades

#1003 my exercise accountability partner, Ann, chattering as we walked

#1004 a golden twilight

#1005 heat

#1006 melt-in-my-mouth venison from a church friend who butchers wild game

#1007 shower water

#1008 advice on filling out my time card at work

#1009 Emma Lynn, our youngest church member, is born

Emma Lynn

#1010 Tony Kriz’s book Neighbors and Other Wise Men

#1011 Susan’s sketching talent that made my baby shower card a hit

#1012 winter birds

#1013 Bibles of every kind all over my house and in my bag to go to church

#1014 Edy’s chocolate silk ice cream

#1015 showering with my hospice dog so he can get clean with a minimum amount of trauma (no pictures available)

#1016 my husband’s nurse at the cancer treatment center troubleshooting for him today to make things go more smoothly

#1017 my friend, Pam, helping me set up a bank account for a community organization

information#1018 my boss adding a piece to the call program in the computer to make my job easier

#1019 you who stopped by here today to “be with” me for His glory



5 comments on “Starting over (or continuing on) after the first 1000

  1. Dawn, your post today gave me a lump in my throat! You speak so tenderly, yet with the authority of someone who stands firmly on a rock and is not shaken. I ache for your son raising his family in such a troubled world, wanting to do his very best in every direction life pulls him. Yet, I know every place we go, no matter how dark or painful that place may be, we find something or someone who changes us, and we (and I hope they) are always forever different because of the experience. We learn to help different types of people in different ways, we find we have answers to things we never thought to question when they couldn’t find any. And at the end of, it’s so jam packed full of thanks. It has been life changing, hasn’t it? I have found that the smallest things, like the sound of a gentle rain falling on big, dead sycamore leaves, can soothe a worried spirit and become the thing I am most grateful for at the end of a frantic day.

    Winter birds. . . I’m still waiting for your Robins to show up here. I love their laughter, how they stick together, how they clean up the purple berries on my cherry laural tree! They stay a little while, then head a little further south, before going back to you.

    A new year, Dawn! And the Weaver is still weaviing, isn’t He????

    • Dear Cora,

      I was thinking just now as I stood in front of my clothes closet trying to match things to wear to work just how many around me are troubled. I was praying. as I swished through the hangers, for the wisdom to know how to best respond to each of them. It truly amazes me that ‘we have the answers we never thought to question when they can’t find any.’ Oh, how that phrase made my mind soar. Yes! We do have the simple, straight-forward answers to the ultimate questions of life and there are multitudes who do not have the slightest idea what those answers are. It makes me truly thankful that I do not have that cosmic struggle. It is settled through the blood of the Lamb. My struggle is obedience.

      You know so much about the birds and plants and weaving and quilting. There is so much of you that is totally not me that I love how you enlarge my boundaries. I thank you for coming here and blessing me. You really really do!


  2. like Cora, I had a lump in my throat for all this beauty of hope that maketh not ashamed! Your family is lovely Dawn and we continue to lift them in prayer…Our God moves mightily and like Cora says, it can be the smallest things that move us the most!
    Dawn, yay for your next 1000
    mine are scattered with the stars, lifted to the One as I walk through the night hours alone with Him… He holds me joy in His bosom
    Thankful for you my friends…

  3. Dear Susan,

    I looked up into a clear sky last evening and thought “How majestic is His name in all the earth”! I can see how you would shout praises into the sky in the night hours alone with him. I can also recall how you play a game with Him around the aurora borealis. Thanks for your prayers for my family. I think about Shoshi and her work in South Africa and your coming grandbaby in utero and Jedediah as he studies…to the glory of God, all three. Blessings from our house to yours,


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