And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus... Colossians 3:17

Posts Tagged ‘1000 Gifts’

The Band-Wagon of Thankfulness

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

I don’t like to be thought of as a band-wagoner.  (one who jumps on the band wagon)

But it is the season of thankfulness and many bloggers are encouraging their readers to be thankful.  I want to do the same.  Yet it is a hard season for many.  Even me.

I was thumbing through our local magazine, SLO Journal, and came across the article by Claire Aagaard titled “Living with Grief and Loss During the Holidays”.

This is for me.  Still.  Five years later.

The article is 12 simple tips long.  You can read her full article here.  She gives credit to a book she read by James Miller titled How Will I Get Through the Holidays? (which also sounds good)

These tips are lessons I have been learning in the crucible of life while at the same time experiencing some of the greatest joys that this life has to offer.  How are these two opposites: joy & sorrow, able to coexist and not cancel one another out?

Perspective.

Well, is it half empty or half full?

Tip #9 ‘Search out and Count your Blessings’ from Aagaard’s article reminds me to mention the life transforming book that came to me two years ago: One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.

If you haven’t read One Thousand Gifts, you need to.  She poetically tells her journey out of the pit of depression and grief through accepting the challenge of a friend: Count your blessings.  Ann’s story is compelling.  Many agree.  Her website has great resources to encourage your counting. Check it out here.

Focusing on thankfulness is not denial of how hard, difficult, painful, depressing your circumstances really are.  It is simply adjusting the lens of your perspective to have a clear view on all that is also true. Even when you are grieving.

Start counting your reasons to be thankful.  I am.

 

Confessions of a Recovering Control Freak

Friday, February 24th, 2012

I am challenged.  I know that may sound funny, and my family is probably saying, “Duh!” but what I mean to say is I am being challenged.  Challenged to stretch. grow. change.  And it’s not comfortable or easy.

True Confessions?  I am a recovering control freak.  I have mentioned that issue before so I won’t dive too far in.  Just far enough to admit it.  Here’s how.

I have had a skewed view of friendship.  I am happy to spend time with friends, listen to their stories, laugh with them, cry with them, take care of their children, live life.  But when my life gets busy, I put my head down and get busy, withdrawing from others, ignoring calls or letting texts drop.  Definitely not reaching out, sometimes not responding when an invitation would come my way.  In this way, I was controlling my friendships.  I was being a one way friend.  And in a way, I was controlling relationships.

That is not a friend.  A friend loves at all times.

When is all?  Oh yeah.  ALL.

I am challenged.  I want to be a better friend.  I want to reconnect, reach out, invite, participate.

Ann Voskamp and the team at (in)Courage are planning something big to help women like me be more intentional with friendships.  I suggest you take a look at their plans here.  Let me know how you’re being stretched and if you’re challenged like me.  And if you have called me your friend, and I haven’t acted like one, not only am I truly sorry but know that I am committed to change.  Of course that means more FUN!  And that’s the perfect thing for a Friday, right?

 

Thankful

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

 

Ever have one of those days?  You know the kind: the coffee pot clogs and water and grounds are all over the counter, the car doesn’t start, all the lights turn red on your way to your appointment and you’re already late?  What about a day when you get in one of those moods? Your clothes are uncomfortable, your coffee is too hot, and something smells bad in the fridge.  Things seem to go from bad to worse each moment.  The merry go round is going and you want to get off!  How do you stop it?  The best way to throw on the brakes that I have tried is to stop!

 

But it takes more than just telling myself this attitude stinks and I don’t want to be this way.  I have to change my attitude.  The only thing I have found that actually works for me is to force myself to name good things that happened that day.  There are good things happening all the time but when I am in “one of those moods” I don’t see them.  I have to stop and remind myself of what they are.  So the question becomes, What am I thankful for?

 

Sometimes I have to start with the basics: the air I am breathing, a body that is working, water to drink.  But once I get going, recognizing the many things I have to be thankful for I can literally feel my muscles relax and the tense, yucky attitude fades.  It isn’t easy to get there, I really have to force myself out of the bad attitude sometimes.  I have been challenged on many occasions by how opposite my head and heart feel from the straightforward words of Paul …”in everything, give thanks.”  What has really helped me is remembering that change is a process it’s not as simple as flipping a light switch: on – off- on – off.  I have to cultivate thankfulness.  That takes focused attention.

 

If you need help with this like I do, I have a book recommendation for you.  It is life changing!  1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  Her writing style is very poetic and visual; as I read I could see the road she spoke of, the trees she described.  But she has an economy of words that I admire; a way of writing that drew me in but didn’t go on too long.  I don’t want to take away from the value of reading her book, but I loved how she unpacked this idea of being thankful.  If you haven’t read it I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you do.  Then when you start to go down the path of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, you can catch yourself and start a thankful list instead!

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