Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Not Just With the Turkey

I may be in and out of blogging over the next couple of weeks because, as it often is in the world of editing, I've got several big deadlines all at the same time. I've also got all the regular stuff going on, like swim practice, and the fact that both the girls and I needed haircuts in the worst way--we look like those afghan hounds in 101 Dalmations, and also the fact that Lucy has to do a report on a constellation (read: I have to do the report). She got assigned Vulpecula, or The Fox. Now I never even heard of the Fox, so I must say I learned something during my research. One thing I learned is that it is not comprised of any bright stars, so it's not easy to find, which is kind of a relief to know since I've never even been able to figure out which one is the Big Dipper.

In the midst of all that, I've been secretly doing a new year's resolution, and it has actually lasted all 27 days of January so I figured I can write about it now. A few months ago, I read a great blog post by James Macdonald. You can read the whole thing here (and it's well worth reading), but I'll excerpt my favorite part below:

Am I choosing thankfulness over complaining moment by moment?

Am I choosing thankfulness over complaining? Because it’s at a moment. It’s like freeze-frame! Am I choosing thankfulness right now? Am I? Remember, attitudes are patterns of thinking formed over a long period of time.

Find a 3” x 5” card, but don’t write on it. What you want to do is to take it and put it on a photocopier and make three hundred sixty-five of them. Then put it by your night-stand. Now I’m telling you, in Jesus’ name, you fill out that card every night before you go to bed. Big things. Little things. Something good today. Things you’re thankful for.

You lay your head down to sleep with that on your mind. You get up in the morning and you read that before you begin your day. That will change your life—that will absolutely change your life. You say you want to live in the Promised Land? Do you want to know the fullness and the fulfillment that only God can bring? That card right there—that was worth the price of admission of this morning. Guaranteed.

Now I'll tell you if I had 365 3 x 5 cards floating around my house that would completely rock my world and not in a good way. I'm trying to get rid of all the spare paper in this place, while Elaine follows me around, practicing her new-found scissor skills and scattering confetti in her wake.

What I did do was buy a nice journal, and I write my thankful entries in there every day. Sometimes they're weighty, such as "I'm thankful for a God who deals in matters of the heart--who prizes righteousness over rightness and reconciliation over winning." Sometimes they're physical, such as, "I'm thankful for free vaccines and kind nurses for my children." Sometimes they're completely simple, such as, "I'm thankful for chenille blankets" (granted, I was sick that day). But each day, I've got one or more entries in there.

I will tell you, this process has made a great difference in me this year so far. It's not a matter of putting on rose-colored glasses and pretending things aren't going wrong. It's about choosing to be grateful for things, for everything, rather than complaining about stuff.

In the front of my journal, I wrote out Romans 1:21 "For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened."

I don't know about you, but I don't want that to happen to me.

A couple weeks ago, Elaine came home from Sunday School with a styrofoam cup of dirt. I can't tell you how many times my girls have come home from places with styrofoam cups of dirt, and pretty much every time nothing happens. But in good faith and at her pleading, I put it up on the kitchen windowsill.

So today, I am thankful for this--Grass! Grass is growing in January!


Alysa said...

Al, I love this post. I'm going to link to it from my blog. Everyone needs to read it, and hopefully lots will begin a thankful heart journal.

Melanie said...

This is a great post, Alice. I was going to write you about some things but this post has already told me what I needed to hear from you. Thanks, friend!

Kacie said...

Fun - that was sort of my spiritual resolution for the year too - thankfulness. I'm not journaling, but I am attempting to make praise and thankfulness a part of my morning prayer time - I know that if it infuses me I will be changes by the joy that comes from seeing the beauty God has placed in life.

Cindy said...

Hi Alice,

WOW!!! What a great post. I'm going to try this. I'll pray too that you will not be overwhelmed at your many deadlines. I know how it is.


Juliet said...

Ha! I just had to laugh, because I probably only can point out the Big Dipper! It's always been a joy of mine to point to the sky and say,"There's the Big Dipper!"

It's wonderful that you are keeping a journal of something to be thankful for each day!

Have fun doing meeting your deadlines...than you can write in your journal...I'm so thankful I meet my deadline.:)

I'm thankful for a friend like you.