1000 Gifts Challenge, And A Watercolor Thank You

feature image one thousand gifts challenge and watercolor thank you

My friend gave me a book for my birthday.

A pretty pinkish cover with a picture of a bird’s nest.

The wonky font titled it, “One Thousand Gifts.”

Hmm.  I thought, I’ve been there, done that.  And my mind trailed back, back in time.  Back to teenage working days at a boring job with too much time to think and some scary things rocking my little world.

Friends who said they didn’t need God, that youth days are party-all-out days.

Another friend brought to the edge of abyss, broken by shattered love.

I felt despair.  Is everything totally false?  Have I been living in a glass ball with unrealistic life values?

And I struggled.  And my mind searched.  My heart hoped one minute, then sizzled the next.

Which way was I going to take?

Way in the background, so far that I had forgotten they were there, my parents watched.  And prayed.  And, then, tentatively, because they knew it was my battle, they suggested ways to climb out of my rock-strewn cavern.

My mother told me to count my blessings.  All day long.  And write them down.  And do it even when I didn’t feel like it.

My boss gave me a vacation. “Go away somewhere,” she said.  She meant literally.  So I did.

Watercolor Thank You close up blue shimmer
Close up of the blue shimmer. Look closely to get a glimpse of how pretty that is in real time.

Was it a miracle cure?  No.

Did anything change overnight?  No.

Did the tears dry and the smile return to my eyes?  Not right away.

Not until my feet had stepped on and slipped off more rocks than I could count.  But, then, after awhile, I realized I was not at the bottom of the cavern anymore.  I had made progress.  By taking another step onto another rock, and another, each one labeled with something I was thankful for, I was climbing.  So many rocks had to be named before I reached the top.  Some of them over and over.  But…

I began to find Life again.

And now, years later, I opened this crisp, new book and drank in a story I could have written.  Never, ever with the same talent, but still, it shouted and echoed and then whispered.

So that begins the challenge.  This time, I’ll keep the list.  Because I know now that re-reading a list I have sweated, sighed, sang, bled, cried and flailed to create can recreate the healing.

And make me really, really thankful.

ann voskamp 1000 gifts dare to live fully
A Dare to live fully right where you are.  Photo Source

These are Ann’s Words…

That’s exactly what writing down 1000 gifts did to me. It woke me up to really living.

This dare to count a thousand gifts from His heart, it became the ultimate love dare, counting all the ways He loved me.

So this is the thing, friend: What if finding love is as simple as recording 1000 gifts?  We may be women weary. We may be women wounded. But we are women wooed. What woman doesn’t long to be loved, to be treasured, to be showered with gifts? A thousand — more!

Together, we can all list a thousand, more, and fill the world with our thanks, a thousand, endless thanks!

From A Letter From Ann

A Thank You Card

Supplies for thankyou card
Watercolor paper, paint, water and brushes.


  • 6″ square card and envelope
  • 5.5″ square of heavy watercolor paper (mine was mixed media, and it crinkled too much.)
  • water for painting and rinsing brush
  • Luminarte twinkling H2Os shimmering watercolors in blue zircon
  • paper towel or cloth for blotting
  • Computer program to create thankyou word jpeg. I used PhotoShop
  • Cricut Design Space to cut thankyou word.
PhotoShop Thank you Step 1
PhotoShop. Two word layers, merge and fill gaps. Save as jpeg.

Step 1 The Watercolor Square:

  • Tape watercolor paper square onto work surface.
  • Dip brush in the water and liberally dampen the area you want to color on the watercolor paper.
  • Dip wet brush in blue zircon pot and place dabs of color in the water puddle on the paper.
  • Let the color move around, add more where needed.
  • Get more water and color on the brush and splatter the paper.
  • Let dry.  If it begins to buckle, place something heavy on it to help flatten it.
  • When completely dry, adhere to the card front.
cricut design space screenshot 1000 gifts thank you card
Cricut Design Space cutting mat. Three copies of thank you cut and glued together. Smaller words not used.

Step 2 The Thank You Word:

  • Open PhotoShop and create a new page.
  • Pick a font.  I used Great Vibes in 125 pt black.
  • Simplify the word layer, and then duplicate.  Move the second layer slightly to the side.
  • Merge the two layers, then fill in the gaps with the paintbrush and black color.
  • Save as a jpeg.
  • Open Cricut Design Space and pick a new project.
  • Import the word jpeg.  Click simple image type.  Use the eraser to clear the spaces you want cut away, including the inside of the y loop and the o.  Save as a cut image.
  • Position the word on the mat.  I made three cuts in two sizes on white card stock, and used the three 3.5″ cuts.
  • Glue the three words together to create more thickness, being careful to line up the letters exactly.
  • Adhere the word to the dry card front.

Watercolor Thank You on stump with yellow flowers 1