“Count your blessings.”

We tell our kids to do it when they complain about all the wondrous things every other child on the planet already has. We tell our spouses to do it. And maybe even our friends, but how many of us have ever actually done it?

I can’t say that I’ve done it, as in past tense, but I am doing it and will continue to do it throughout 2012. Why? Because I took the challenge issued by Ann Voskamp on her blog, A Holy Experience.

Voskamp is a pro at spotting the joys in every day life, from the bench where she keeps her prayer journal to watching her husband plant a field. But finding her own gifts from God isn’t enough, she wants us to find ours too. Thus the challenge.

My grandmother's hymnal (ca. 1940)

Each month Voskamp posts a handout listing the gifts that you need to capture. I started out listing mine in my prayer journal. So far I’ve included:

  • seeing a hawk
  • the rocker where I sit and knit
  • ham beans and corn bread (comfort food)
  • my grandmother’s Cote Brilliant hymnal
  • the lights friends made us for Christmas
  • the scarf pattern in the book my husband bought me

What prompts could bring such varied answers? Voskamp covers the bases but the prompts that led to the above were a gift outside/inside/on a plate and 3 gifts (old/new/blue). That said, I’m only on prompt seven which I plan to finish after writing this post.

Not only does Voskamp have me counting my blessings more consciously than ever before, she has me looking at the small, the temporary, things that are magnificent in that they are so every day and so very, very real.

Why not start counting your own blessings. List several in your prayer journal each day. You can find Voskamp’s January prompts here on Flickr. Do this and you’ll find that your life is full of more joy than you can hold in two upturned hands.