Friday, March 25, 2011

I've been thinking a lot

Is it a lot or alot? Hmmm...too bad I don't care enough to actually look it up in a dictionary. ha ha

Yes, back to the thinking. See, I have so many things I could write in this public space, but each time I try I erase it all & tell myself, "maybe in a few more days." It feels so ridiculous to say something like "God's been talking to me so much." It almost feels preachy and irreverant and cocky. I think it should be worded more like "I'm listening to God more." Because He's never stopped talking to me; it was always me who was not listening well.

The practices in this book are changing me. "Make thankfulness your sacrifice to thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me..." is what He tells me (Psalm 50). It's not a trite statement or a silly habit. It changes a person, from the inside out. Don't get me wrong, I am NO saint. It seems like the closer I get to Him, the more I experience a desperate need for Him. The more I know His ways for me, the more I realize that I "have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." (Rom 3:23) Without His daily grace, I am nothing.

So...I have just typed 2 completely different paragraphs, neither of which is fit for print or web, and erased them both. This is one of the things I have been learning. To weigh each word carefully....I definitely do not always succeed. But I'm finding with practice that more words are left unsaid on purpose and my heart changes with the discarding of them. Instead, I try to speak His Words. "As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in Your commands." Psalm 119:143

The things I learned from Ann Voskamp's words...they leave me grasping for air, grabbing for my Lifeline and wondering whether I can survive the hard things I am being asked to do. Giving thanks is easy to do when life is good. You get a raise? Thanks, Lord! Have plenty of food in the fridge? God, You are so good! But what about when things take a turn? "Lord, I thank you because my best friend has cancer." Umm...? "God, I am so grateful I had a really horrible week at work." Not so much.

But I am challenging myself. The concept of a gratitude journal seems very tween-ish to me, like something I would have done (or probably did) when I was 12. I didn't care, though; I bought one anyway. A little $2 notebook that I keep in my purse, right next to my pocket Bible (the New Living Translation is my favorite). I'm up to 56 things right now. Some thankful thoughts come easier than others. A few days a week I struggle to find ways to thank Him, but I always can. It's not a Pollyanna attitude, it's a new way of thinking. Not pie-in-the-sky, but a true view of my reality, good or bad, and then like a glass of water in the face it hits you, this blessing. And then, that one. I find that it comes easier each day.

1. Chocolate chip cookie making with my kids
6. Daughters in dresses
13. Free lunches
17. Prayer calendars
19. Being remembered
23. The joy of losing weight
24. Free cake
32. Baby teeth and milestones
39. A God who does not change like shifting shadows
44. Turquoise necklaces
45. Men who translated the Bible
49. Six bowls of Honey Bunches of Oats

(yes, the irony is not lost on me with #23 and #24...funny because I wrote them on different days & didn't realize!)

When I first visited A Holy Experience and witnessed Ann's counting of gifts, I thought, "oh, well, that's so sweet that she keeps track of the things she's thankful for." I had absolutely no idea what it would mean for me. I have a feeling that this little notebook will be my Bible's companion and that I am now forever destined to carry around a large purse. ha ha

Gifts, they are all gifts. From the greatest Giver in the world.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Some things you should know about me

  • I do not like truffles (the chocolate kind). I'd rather have a caramel or something with chocolate/nuts.
  • I'm not ready for my oldest to be in kindergarten. Enough said.
  • I wonder most days if what I do really makes a difference to anyone.
  • I hate matchy-matchy things. I want furniture that doesn't come from a set, decorations picked up from here and there. This is, of course, when I actually live somewhere that I can decorate. Currently my walls are renter-white with no pictures hung.
  • I used to think I loved the mountains more, but my heart belongs to the Midwest. The rolling prairies, the "big sky," the gorgeous sunsets and sunrises....I want to be there forever. I think that is what heaven will be like for me. And my closest mansion-owning neighbor will be 45 acres away from me.
  • I also want my children to grow up close to their grandparents. Which means I'm going to have to wait til heaven for my beloved prairie life.
  • I love Bacos. You know, those fake bacon flavored bits? Yes, I know it is "hydrogenated something-or-other" but I just like it. Blame it on my sister in law who introduced me 12 years ago. :) I also do like real bacon bits on my salad, but if I'm given a choice, it will be Bacos all the way. (p.s. I cannot find Bacos in my city any more...feel free to send me some)
  • I do not understand why God sovereignly placed me in America. Why should I deserve any better than the 95% of the rest of the world who live so differently? I'll spend my days figuring out why and trying desperately to make a difference whereever I can.
  • About to re-read my copy of One Thousand Gifts. This book has changed my life, in the best of ways. It will be the best $10 you ever spend, I promise you that.
  • I love turquoise. I want to buy everything I see that is this color. Porcelain birds, necklaces, placemats, belts, throw pillows.
  • I am ashamed when I think of all the years I spent arguing with my husband about stupid things. The number of times I ruined an afternoon drive or a trip to Chicago because I wanted to do things "my way." I can only hope that I can grow and change to be the wife he needs me to be.
  • God delights in me. He loves me, He treasures me. I cannot believe most days that He brings Himself down to my level to speak to me. That the God of the Universe, known and unknown, would lower Himself, become a baby that grows into a man just so we could know that "He was tempted in every way, just as we are, and yet was without sin." It's more than I can take in.

What should I know about you?