Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Soul Amnesia and the Memory of the Heart {and a giveaway!}

482. Grace that allows me to choose gratitude
483. Pouring rain that kept Brooklyn and I in all day, so that we could both practice peace
484. Finding an instant connexion with the co-leaders of our (in)courager community group
485. A long afternoon nap for Brooklyn to make up for a short morning one
486. Three generation grocery shopping
487. A morning at the Farmer's Market with Mum and Brooklyn
488. Picnicking lunch with Brooklyn - eatin' local!
489. That there are not only different kinds of flowers, but that those kinds come in different colors and varieties
490. Finding a perfect Mother's Day card for Mum (after both my original and back-up plans fell through)
491. Adam escaping Drill long enough to visit for a while day, plus some
492. Brooklyn being content to play quietly in the nursing mothers' room during the sermon, so that I was still able to listen
493. A coffee date with Adam - 'twas a much needed chance to talk without distraction or interruption
494. Enough cell signal for a 10-minute goodnight, even though a storm was keeping texts from going through
495. A free drink at Mama Carmen's (worth getting soaked for - they have the best customer reward system of any coffee shop I've ever been to)
496. and a precious hour of journaling/hear-myself-think time
497. The way that Trinity Grace Church keeps coming up just when I need the reminder
498. A successful Google hangout with my co-leaders --- never done that before!
499. Adam "just having a feeling" that I needed to be lifted up, and stepping up to encourage me in the midst of his own stressful day
500. among other things, by praying for me over text because he couldn't call (I may possibly have cried)
501. Getting to spend some time with Adam's parents, and with my brother-and-sister-in-law - it's nice having siblings - still getting used to that...
502. A drive for me that was also a nap for Brooklyn (and involved coffee, because there is one local place with a drive thru!)

I started reading One Thousand Gifts and writing down things-to-be-thankful-for, three at a time, on the day after Thanksgiving, last year. I knew that the season between holidays was going to be stressful, and I thought it might help. Even in my attempt to head off trouble at the pass, I was utterly unprepared for just how stressful (constantly and continually, in both an emotional and physical sense) that interval would be, and really all of the time after it, as well.

As a result, there have certainly been days that I refused to write down anything, like a child throwing a tantrum - usually followed by intervals of repentant listing, catching back up. I've had to reread the book that started it all, this time carefully journaling through each chapter (I went through it with an archived book club the first time and thought that that would be enough - evidently not). While my mind can be changed by reading, sometimes it takes a slow, steady stream of change to alter my heart.

And there has been alteration. Admittedly, I've only really begun to notice it in the past few weeks (I told you it took awhile to sink in), but with the accumulation of gratitude the scale has shifted and begun to tip the other way; away from the Fallen, greedy entitlement to "more!" and toward the way of eucharisteo - of joyful, grace-filled, thanksgiving. And the realization of that transformation sent me forth to collect a few extra copies of the book straight away, because One Thousand Gifts is, in itself, a gift that must be shared.

So maybe you don't want to change the story, because you don't know what a different ending holds [pg 21] but we only enter the full life if our faith gives thanks [pg 39 - see also Luke 17:17-19]. I plan to keep on counting - to 1000 and beyond, moving on to a new notebook once this one is filled, finding a new pen as each runs out of ink, because I am beset with chronic soul amnesia [pg 106] but gratitude is the memory of the heart [Jean Baptiste Massieu]. And I'd like to invite you to join me. It doesn't have to be complicated, and you don't have to have read the book - just start. Start today. Start by listing three things that you're grateful for in the comments - and then keep listing. Even just for a week - you may be surprised at what can happen to a heart in that short a time (be it stony, thorny, or fertile ground). Next week I'll randomly select one commenter and send them a copy of the book, along with a journal for writing gifts in (that I had entirely too much fun making), and a matching pen (because - just because :)

The brave who focus on all things good and all things beautiful and all things true, even in the small, who give thanks for it and discover joy even in the here and now, they are the change agents who bring fullest Light to all the world.
[from One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp]

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness! The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will trust in Him."
[Lamentations 3:22-24]

Won't you join us in counting (and recounting!) His mercies anew? Just grab a journal or notebook (it doesn't have to be fancy) and a pen and write them down, then join us in a weekly link-up to encourage each other by sharing all of the blessings we've spotted. Catch up on everyone's posts and add your own below (please stay relevant to the topic when linking up!) and if you don't have a blog, feel free to participate by commenting, instead!

Check out these #NewEveryMorning hosts, as well, and don't forget to use the hashtag on Twitter so that we can find each other:
   Kayla [at] Renown and Crowned
   Kelsey [at] Faith Fun and the Fergusons

What are three things that you're grateful for, today?


Bruce Barone said...

Great post!

I have been counting for a few months and it has changed my life.

What a book!

Trish King said...

A great teacher to teach me to knit.
A wonderful, caring, & supportive church family.
A talented, supportive group of nurses to care for my mom.

Rebekah Ellis said...

Oh yes - soul amnesia - I have that. And am so grateful for this idea of counting and building up the habit of giving thanks. It is absolutely life changing. What a fun give-away your sponsoring. As a journal and pen girl, I'm so intrigued! Today I am thankful for friendships and shared vision; my daughter's kind words; and warm tea.

Ketty Lazaro said...

Thanks Sarah Jo, your posts always are very good motivation.
Today I thankful for:
1. For spend time with God in the morning, that really does the difference in my days.

2. Nice girls coming to baby sit my children for have a time to take coffee.
3. Group of great moms sharing about life issues.

Thea said...

Nice post you wrote. I did read the book of Ann Voskamp myself and it has brought back joy in my life. I do write about it on my own blog, in dutch, but soon i will have another blog that is written in englisch and where i do share my creative things and all that i'm greatfull for.

1) The beautiful spring weather with a bright shining sun.
2) Good sermon about psalm 8
3) Singing and praising God in the church this morning.

Have a blessed day.

Abby Kautt said...

1. Oklahoma sunsets
2. The wind in the grass
3. Conversations with my Poppy

Thank you for blogging, Sarah Jo. I am always challenged and encouraged by what you write. <3