I began blogging only a little over a year ago.  Why exactly I thought this was something I could or should do I still don’t really know.  I have been writing for nearly 30 years if you include all my cloth-bound journals filled with youthful dreams, travel logs and the written record of the many variations of my daily routine since I was about twelve years old.  Journaling is a safe haven for me; it is part of my evening ritual and has been for nearly three decades.  I have several notebooks filled with various thoughts that I scribble into almost daily.

My small green Gratitude Journal is one of my favorites.  Not only because the size of it fits so comfortably in my hand and the beauty of the patterned pages plead to be filled with gifts of God’s grace, but everything about it entreats my mind to gather the day’s beauty and record the blessing of it all.  From the moment my thumb flips back the magnetic clasp and tucks it thoughtfully behind the last page before I begin to write to the ritual of sharpening my pencil full of praises.

I always use the same pencil, or it’s mate when I write in this particular journal.  They came as part of a Griffin & Sabine gift set from a friend nearly twenty years ago; the postcards and stationery having mostly been used up writing letters to my then fiancé, now husband and father to my children, posting them from the U.S. to Canada during our brief but passionate long-distance courtship.  So these pencils (there are two left, one now only the size of the small journal itself) are themselves a gift worthy of giving thanks.

Almost every night, upon my bed, tucked in just right, propped up with pillows three I reach beside the heavy wooden bed-frame and bring out my padded leather lap desk and begin to write.  I usually start with the small Gratitude Journal and begin giving thanks by numbering each entry- counting my blessings, remembering the many ways God cares for me.  I haven’t always counted, indeed I don’t always count, except in this journal, and it’s predecessor (they came as a set of two).  I began counting gifts after reading Ann Voskamp‘s One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to LIVE FULLY Right Where You Are.  I loved the idea of keeping a separate journal just for counting my blessings.

Up until that time I had always included my thanks and praise mixed right in among my other thoughts, all fine and good.  But something about keeping a numbered journal made me notice the smaller, simpler, quieter gifts.  So I continue counting even after reaching 1000 just for the sheer joy of seeing the long list of blessing upon blessing poured out in my life.

It’s November, there’s NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo and this is the time of year when many writers are gathering in online communities to develop their craft and benefit from the encouragement and motivation they bring.  I have never been much of a ‘joiner’, but I can recognize the value of setting a goal and trying my best to see it through.

So I haven’t officially joined a group or decided to participate in any one writing challenge this month apart from this, to daily be mindful of the many gifts my Heavenly Father lavishes so freely upon me each day.  Like the parking spot right up close to the door when I went to get groceries the other day and I wasn’t feeling well.  I prayed for a great spot, turned down the closest row and got the third slot right in front of the entry.

God is good ALL the time!

I am choosing to chase joy through the giving of thanks in everything November throws my way; dark cloudy days, cold driving rain or “I’m Not Feeling Well Today” days.  All shadows prove the sunshine (lyric credit: Switchfoot) and while I might not be fond of the dark days I am madly in love with the One who said, “Let there be light!”

Give thanks.

That is my challenge this November.

I may or may not post a daily blog this month, I haven’t decided and I reserve the right to change my mind if I do.  But you can be sure that even if you don’t see them listed here, each evening, upon my bed, tucked in just so, propped up with pillows three I will be writing in a tiny journal the color of all things new and living and growing, green; with a freshly sharpened pencil that once wrote declarations of forever love on postcards sent from far away to the man who now sleeps beside me every night as we continue to write our own happily ever after and I will be counting.

© Una-Melina // Worthy Books & Things, 2013.