Reflections on Gratitude (and blogging)

If you read blogs at all you’ve been seeing a lot of people in the homeschool/Christian/Mommy blogging world talking about gratitude, primarily in response to Ann Voskamp’s new book One Thousand Gifts. I haven’t read her book yet, although I have it on my to be read list. Ann’s blog is inspirational and she writes about gratitude beautifully. I have to admit that I feel a bit like someone who’s come late to the party having chosen gratitude myself as the word of the year.

I’ve never really been a fan of the idea of a gratitude list, it’s always seemed a bit Oprahesque to me. Too self-centered, too touchy-feely. What I’m finding though is that in focusing on gratitude, I’m focusing less on myself. And I’m learning that it doesn’t really matter when I came to the party since the party isn’t really about me.  That in itself is a good thing.

I thought that keeping a list would be too artificial, especially a public list. I figured I’d be tempted to put things that sounded pretty or interesting or just to list things to have things to list. What I’ve found is that there are days like that. But thinking about what to put on the list makes me look at my life more closely and in a new way. That’s another good thing.

I’m finding that gratitude is a discipline. There are days where I can see blessings around every corner. Where I’m genuinely thanking God for the small ordinary things in my life. And there are days where it’s just another thing on my checklist but not really much about my heart. My hope is that the discipline itself will mold the heart.

So far, for me this experiment in gratitude has been a very good thing. But I’m not sure it’s such a good thing for my blog. My motivation for blogging is a mix of personal and public. It’s been the best way I know so far to make myself sit down and write. It makes me think. It’s something I do primarily for myself.  I somewhat think of this blog as a personal journal, just one that other people can read.

I try not to think too much about those readers. I appreciate every single person who reads (and comments) but I don’t want to spend time obsessing over things like site stats and ways to increase my traffic.  However, I do want what I write to be well-written, to be interesting, to be worth someone else’s time. And although the daily gratitude list is good for me, I’m guessing it’s only marginally interesting to read again and again and again.

So, I’ve decided to stop posting daily lists. I’ll still keep my own list daily for my own spiritual discipline. But I’ll post weekly instead, on the Sabbath.

However, if you are a reader, indulge me with one more addition to my list:

122) All of you who take your time to read my words.

Thank you.

7 thoughts on “Reflections on Gratitude (and blogging)

  1. I’m in the middle of Voskamp’s book now, and it is VERY good and rich. Actually, much of what you said in this post is echoed in the book. I have often thought of keeping a gratitude list, but I don’t think I want to do it in my blog, as much as I love the community aspect of it. I try to be somewhat vague about personal stuff on my blog, and I think a gratitude list must be specific. Plus, I’m afraid I spend too much time on my blog already. But I know the exercise would do me a world of good, so I just need to make time to put pen to paper.

    Oh my. Sorry to write a book here.

  2. Alice,

    I have found your Gratitude lists very thought provoking for myself so in that way, your gratitude is contagious. Sharing your gratitude list publicly is sharing the joy of thankfulness so thank you for that! So my thankfulness today is for bloggers!

  3. okay, I’m going to be the curmudgeon and say I agree that having a gratitude list is good, but sharing it on a blog is a bit er…. ho-hum. Its rather like those “100 Things About Me” that people (like myself!) have done: quite an interesting peek into someone’s life but not exactly thought-provoking.

    I’ve have several blogging friends who loves A Holy Experience and link to it quite often (and one family member who doesn’t blog but insists I should read it), but somehow her blog has never clicked with me.

    Okay, I’ll take my grumpy ungrateful self off to do some housework. 😉

    • No worries, Deb. I appreciate the honesty. I have learned a lot from the gratitude list and it kept me accountable in a way to do it publicly but I realized in the last few weeks that it’s not the most interesting thing to read. I think I’ll keep posting a weekly list mostly for that personal accountability but we’ll see.

      I also know what you mean about Voskamp’s blog. Almost always I appreciate what she has to say and find at least one thing that is very thought provoking for me. But her style is not one that I really enjoy. I appreciate that the way she writes is very beautiful and that she has an eye for seeing beauty and writing in a very poetical way. I think I’m just more of a prose girl. I still plan on reading her book, because I think she does have some good things to say on the subject.

  4. Hi Alice!

    I didn’t know that you blogged. I tracked you down through a book review that your DH pointed out to us. Your comment on Chuck’s book aroused my curiosity. I’ve only read a handful of posts but have enjoyed them all. I think that y0u’re doing a fine job writing.

    I, too, have multiple topics on my blog. I started with theology, added Linux computing, then politics after I retired, and now a smattering of other things. Like you, I don’t worry about traffic. Some of my best stuff I write for other blogs or webzines. I don’t blog regularly, but I always try to help others in some way with what I write, whether it be computer hints or opening minds to political truths.

    I’m sure that I’ll be popping over from time to time to see what’s up. Please keep up the great work. I can’t wait for the post that reassures me that good beer/ale makes the perfect diet food!

    Soli Deo gloria!

    • Hey Bob!
      Thanks for reading and thanks for the kind words. Knowing your high standards it means a lot to know you’ve enjoyed some of what I’ve written.

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