The darker side of my snarky personality is beginning to rear it’s ugly head, so I’m trying to be intentional about turning it around.
I’ve been in a Bible study for the past three weeks on thankfulness. Not just thankfulness, but something called Eucharisteo.
It basically means being grateful, thankful, joyful in the darkest of times. When there seems to be no reason, continuing to be thankful and showing that gratitude to God for all that you do have.
It means praising God right after my mother died. Not because she’s gone, but because I had a mother. Finding the good things about her, the good that she taught me. Praising Him for the horrid things she said and did to me, because they made me the mom I am today. When she almost broke my finger when I was five, I promised myself I would only touch my kids in love. When she called me a mooch because someone did something nice for me, I promised myself that I would do nice things for others (especially my kids) for no reason at all. I would make it a habit to say nice things to my kids. I would praise them, not only behind their backs and in public where everyone could hear, but to their faces as well, and in private places. I would punish them, but only after I had time to cool down and pray, and consider what the punishment should be. I would walk away if I felt myself getting hot. I would not spank them to the point that their backside is black and blue, and couldn’t sit for days, and eventually get taken to the ER when Dad gets back in town. When a kid gets special permission from the school to lay down on the floor and do their schoolwork, there’s something wrong. When a father is forced to quit a job that pays well, but takes him out of town a lot, there’s something wrong.
My mom is the reason I have stayed home with my kids all these years. The reason I own my own business and still stay home. Her choices as a parent…made me change my stars. My dad said I could be whatever kind of parent I want to be, and I am. I try to be the mom that I wanted. The mom my friends seemed to have. I’m not fake. I have terrible moments. Moments I wish I could change, habits of mine that I fear are shaping my kids in a bad way, but I have learned to mostly bite my tongue, and to be available no matter what.
The book that we’re reading along with the study is One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. It’s a beautiful book by a beautiful (and young) woman. The challenge of this book is to make a list of 1,000 things that we are grateful for. Not just big things like My Family, but small things like Big, Fat Snowflakes That Taste Sweet With The Fresh Air Of An Iowa Winter. (I know it’s flowery, but it’s how she writes, and they do taste kind of sweet in the crisp, cold air. I think it must be the “no smog” thing…) I will not be so poetic in my list…I think I used up what I had right there, so I hope you enjoyed it.
The book is not an easy read, at least not for me. I have trouble with some of the words and phrases she uses. I watched an interview (well, so far about half of an interview) with her, so I could better understand why she writes like she does. She is very intentional. She said that she forces herself to take the time to notice little things, and then she tries to capture them with a description. Her descriptions are rich, and adjectives abound in this book. I’ll admit, I’m having trouble getting through it, but I’m determined to finish it. Maybe I’ll even try to read it again.
As always, I write like I think. That means occasionally poor grammar, and a lot of broken sentences. It’s not that I can’t follow the rules, it’s that my brain goes so fast, and if I don’t get it all out, it’s lost forever. I go back and edit a lot. Sometimes I get a weird look from people when I tell them I write like I think, and I figure that they probably go off and say a prayer for Barry and the kids. It can’t be easy living with crazy. You should probably all pray for Barry and the kids…
Based on this book, I’ve decided to make my own list of One Thousand Gifts.
I’m thinking that I might make this a blog series…at least until I get to 1,000. Maybe beyond that. Right now, I cannot imagine that there are 1,000 things out there to be grateful for. That number seems overwhelming to me, but a sadness has been growing for quite some time, and joy needs to be found.
My list will be whatever I notice, whenever I notice it. No holds barred.
Tags will be : thankful, 1K, eucharisteo. Category : One Thousand Gifts. Those are new, and you can use them to search for these specific posts.
I will also post things I’ve read or learned from this study, so you can follow my journey into a life of joy and thankfulness. Pretty soon it should be all unicorns, and sparkles, and rainbows.
Or at least less dark, more light.