The concept of gratitude first entered my life several years ago when I still watched Oprah and heard her rave about a book entitled Simple Abundance.

Like everyone else at the time, I rushed my early-twenty-something self out to Barnes and Noble and dug right in.

The concept was to journal at least five “gratitudes” each day – the idea being that a grateful heart is a thankful heart and a thankful heart is a joyful heart.

I’m not sure if there is much God in Simple Abundance – it’s been so long since I’ve read it that I really don’t remember.  I do, however, recall that I stuck with it for a while but for reasons unknown, I shelved it and moved on.

As the concept of gratitude has washed into the shore of my life yet again, many variables have changed.  I’m 37 years old. I have been married and divorced.  I have become a Christian.  I have remarried a good man and produced three healthy and beautiful children.

There’s so much to be grateful FOR.

And yet.

I think I might be one of the most ungrateful people I know.

It wasn’t until I started to read Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts (author of the blog that sponsors “Multitude Mondays”) that I realized how very ungrateful I really am, how I look at what is lacking instead of what is not, how I possess a sense of entitlement as if I deserve everything to be easy and go along just swimmingly.

I suspect I’m not alone for we live in a culture that conveys “more is more”, that tells us we should all just “charge it”, that tries to make us believe that we do actually need the $200 eye cream or build a million dollar home to be accepted.

While reading Ann’s book, I was riveted by the idea that gratitude produces trust in God and trust in God produces pure and utter joy.

Could it really be that simple?

And the more I reflect on this one humble line of words, the more I realize that of course it is.

If we are open to seeing the gifts we are granted each day, even if those days are filled with mostly pain and despair, aren’t we still seeing God’s blessings?  The gifts given just to us though it’s our choice to open them or keep them in the box?

I’ve read that even in the nightmare of World War II’s concentration camps, there were those still finding gratitude in a half-slice of bread.  The song of a bird.  A baby’s smile.

For it’s when we see the good and simple truths of what we are given each day that we learn to trust our beautiful God.  And the deeper we trust Him, the more able we are to find that pure and honest joy.

I know of the naysayers’ retort.  “If your God is good, why does He allow things like World War II to happen in the first place?”

Oh, if I only had a dollar for each time I’ve heard this.

God doesn’t “make” those things happen but He will indeed create good from it.  He will restore our crown of ashes to a crown of beauty.

It’s what we choose to see that really matters.  It’s the gratitude.

I love Ann’s book so much that I am going to give a copy away this week – I want to get her book in as many hands as possible.

I also want to celebrate those of you who consistently read the random musings of my heart and have supported me through Facebook and Twitter.  SO, to enter:

1.  Leave a comment telling me something you are grateful for RIGHT NOW AT THIS MOMENT. (1 entry)

2.  Like me on Facebook and come back and let me know you did so the random generator will count you again!  (one extra entry)

3.  Follow me on Twitter – my handle is nataliesnapp.  Come back and tell me you did for our friend the random generator! (one extra entry)

4.  Start looking at the good around you instead of the not-so-good.  Come back and tell me about it later in the week (one extra entry)

I will random generate on Thursday night at 10 p.m. DST!

On this Multitude Monday, I am so thankful for:

291.  God’s protection over a car accident that could have had a tragic outcome (more on this next week!)

292.  My rock and refuge in strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

293.  The good shepherd that leads his lambs back to the right path when they stray

294.  A husband that gives abundant grace – even when I rip his pants. (more on this later, too!)

295.  A little girl who is about to turn six and wants an iPod speaker dock.

296.  A sensitive mama-heart that wants to stop the clock but knows she must also let-go a bit.

297.  Friends that help me work my mom-mobile free from our snow-covered driveway and realize that I’m stuck  because my parking break was on.  And then they laugh.

298.  Courage to get out of the boat.

299.  Courage to say “Would love to, but can’t”.

300.  Sawyers new recipe idea: “Mama, I want to make chicken bars.  You put ’em in the crock-pot and cover them in ketchup and ranch dressing.”  Yes.  We do a lot of crock-potting at our house.  I love the innocence of a three year old boy.

May you find gratitude in even the small things.  May you then learn to trust a very good God.  May you then experience that abundant joy that is freely-given to those who lay their whole heart in the palm of His hands.

Read the first chapter of One Thousand Gifts here

Join the One Thousand Gifts book club at (in)courage here! (Author interview included!)

This week is about to induce panic attacks within my soul.  The calendar is too full and a birthday is to be celebrated and I’m the only mommy around this joint.  I’m merging One Thousand Gifts with my sweet girls at Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood…

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