Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transparent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~ Sara Ban Breathnach

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Million Thanks

For the past several days I have been writing a lot about Gratitude.  I've written about the benefits of living from an attitude of gratitude, and that it is basically a Biblical truth!  A few weeks ago I stopped in Shelbyville to visit with a young woman from the church who owns and manages a very classy Formal Wear and Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio called Elegant L . As I was leaving, I noticed a small bookstore across the street, The Alabaster Box and discovered a small book...about gratitude and expressing that gratitude.

On the back of this book, A Million Thanks, it reads:
"In March 2004, high school freshman Shauna Fleming invited 1,100 schoolmates to join her in "A Million Thanks," a campaign to collect and distribute one million letters of appreciation to current and past military men and women at home and overseas. Within six months, she received the one millionth letter. Since then, she has raised her goal to 1.4 million letters, one for each member of the U.S. armed services."
This book tells the story of Shauna's achievement and it inspired me to share it with the boys and girls from my church during a children's message a few weeks ago.  I gave them paper and asked them to write a thank you to a soldier, and that when we got several ready, we would send them to the troops we currently send CARE Packages to several times a year.

Last week I asked the kids how many letters they thought we could collect.  One little boy going into first grade boldly suggested 300 while another little girl thought we could collect 400 letters.  These kids don't have a concept of 300 - 400 letters. : )

Since my conversation with the kids on Sunday, I have continued to think about Gratitude, A Million Thanks, achieving something bigger than you dream, taking a daring step...

Boggstown Presbyterian Church is a small congregation in a small town. The town, Boggstown, has a population of 350-500 people.  The church has a membership of 120 and it has around 35-40 kids! Not bad for a small town church! While these kids are an exceptional in the things they do in school, athletics, 4-H...I've been thinking how I might help them see that when we reach out and invite others in ministry with us...we can accomplish even bigger things!

I don't think it is unrealistic to set a goal of 1000 letters (actually, I would like to set a goal of a number over 2000, but I'm afraid they might throw their hands up, thinking I have finally gone off the edge.)

Boggstown PC will be celebrating its 180th year of ministry in October of this year. Sunday, I am going to continue talking with about having a goal of having A LOT of letters ready to be mailed to our military men and women by Homecoming. If any of you have suggestions for a target number...I'm listening!

I'm also going to ask for your help.  If you are willing to write a letter to a soldier, expressing gratitude for their serving our nation...perhaps telling him/her something in particular you are thankful for that is partly due to the willingness of men and women in our military, now and in years past and then send it to Boggstown, Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 144, Boggstown, IN 46110.

It would be great if you asked your children or your grandchildren to write a thank you and maybe draw a picture of something they love...a blessing for which they are grateful. You can see from the examples, these letters don't have to be fancy.

You might wonder what the response has been from the men and women who receive these letters of gratitude.  A few examples:

"It is very uplifting for us when we hear stories about people back in the US that are going out of their way to support us, both at home and while we are forward deployed."

"Thank you for your kindness and support. I really appreciate all of the words and prayers that I receive."

"It never stops to amaze me how there are people like you back home, dedicating your time and efforts in appreciation to soldiers deployed overseas."

As I have read through Rupp's book and now Wierderkehr's, I have gained a greater appreciation that when a small group of people put out positive energy into the universe, it does nothing but ripple out in ways we can never know. I have a drop off center for these letters about 100 miles from my home.  My hope is to take several large boxes to this location after BPC's Homecoming Celebration in October.

I know not everyone who is following along with me on this journey lives in the United States...but I am willing to bet that regardless of where you live, you have service men and women serving your country...away from their friends and family and that these people would be equally as pleased to receive a simple thank-you.

I will admit to thinking about writing this post all day and thinking of reasons why I should forget it! Yet, this evening, as I am ready to hit "publish"....I feel good about my decision of using my thoughts of gratitude and blessing...and then doing something to be a blessing to others.

I'm not sure if I will keep you posted in this blog, or create another page...I'll see if the church gets any letters!

A song by Ray Boltz has been filling my heart as I've written this post:

Thank You! I am blessed to have the resources to ask for your help in helping the Boggstown congregation make a few ripples of gratitude!

Many Blessings ~ Sandi


  1. Thank you for creating an opportunity for ALL to minister. The little guys are on a mission to help the cause. They cornered everyone (even guests) at Sunday Pizza night at Grandma and Grandpa's house.

  2. I love this Ray Boltz song. I hope that those who work with our youth every Sunday know what an impact they are making on the kids.