Tuesday, October 30, 2012

One Thousand Gifts

I've been wondering when...if I would return to my blog posting.  I like it because I use it to keep up a journaling of our family and what happens.  I've had a rough year, the worst in my life, thank you very much!  I have been thinking it might be too hard to go back to anything I did pre-March 2012...I've discovered everything I did before that time has become "contaminated" (Do I sound like I've been "shrinked?" ) to return to just yet.  Yeah, so my life was and is contaminated and many memories and activities bring up anxious feelings of dread and pain so I had decided to stay away from them, including blogging.

However, my awesome, amazing, fabulous, and beautiful sister-in-law, Sheri changed my mind by recommending a book and blog that has been a game changer for me...or at least I hope it will be.  The book is called One Thousand Gifts/A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, by Ann Voskamp.  First of all, this woman can write with passion and soul!  There's nothing I love more than words used beautifully...hers paint pictures truly!  Her words drew me in right away.  Second, I feel much like the author felt when she began her "dare."  I feel drained, sucked completely dry of anything happy, like I have been carrying this huge burden of sadness, grief and depression around for so long that I'm sagging.  And to be honest I'm tired of it.  So.Very.Tired.

I will go into more detail about the book in later posts as I read further along and make my own discoveries.  But for now, I will just share what the "dare" was.  It was to make a list of one thousand gifts or blessings that she noticed in her life.  I have always loved the idea of gratitude journals but have never kept one for long.  The author suggested that by doing this long-term she is, "hammering in nails to pound out nails, ugly nails that Satan has pierced through the world," and her heart.  Nails through the world and my heart?  Sounds accurate enough. 

So I begin my own "One Thousand Gifts."  Ms. Voskamp keeps a pen and paper with her all the time and also a camera to take photos of her gifts if prompted.  I will attempt to do the same, but expect it will be difficult.  I've found since I started, it is difficult to always be in the frame of mind of "gratitude," especially with what I've been dealt this year.  My goal is to continue my gift record until gratitude becomes easier...even thoughtless.  And I will keep my "official record" here and update it every week. 

1.  Autumn leaves blowing in the wind.

2.  My electric blanket and how it keeps my forever cold feet warm while I'm in bed, even if M is gone.
3.  The funny way my Dad talks.  How he loves to bring laughter to people.
4.  How listening to certain songs can stir remarkable emotion.
5. Smelling things and liking it.  I spent 20+ weeks in a state where any smell would make me instantly throw up, gag or cause unmeasured anxiety.  If being able to smell things like a normal human being isn't a gift, I don't know what is!
6.  A perfect shade of blue sky.  The autumnal kind that comes in early Fall.  The one that makes you stop and inhale.
7.  Medications...yes, this is the place I am right now.  I am on medications to regulate this and stop that and allow me to do this.  It's humbling to need them, have them and use them.  In another time or place I might be a lot worse off.
8.  Isaac insisting that I wave to him every morning as he is driven away on the school bus.  He reminds me every time.
9.  Olivia wanting to go to breakfast every Wednesday morning to be with ME.
10.  "Owl City" songs that can almost always lighten my mood and make me smile.
11.  The cat Tinker laying on her back, arms folded into a pose mimicking a bear or rabbit, eyes closed denoting complete comfort and relaxation.
12.  Walking into the elementary school where my children have been going for 12 years and smelling the smells that go along with children and hearing the soft talking that goes along with learning.
12.  Isaac's art posted in the hallways of his school and me getting to look at it in the quiet hallways, alone, smile on my face, feeling unbelievable love.

13.  A young girl who, though not of our faith, encourages my Son to go to church and seminary...hoping it will lighten him.

14.  Isaac's face changing expressions of emotion as he watches "Spongebob" on TV, unaware of anyone watching.
15.  A daughter who never has a desire or inkling to be or dress immodest, and her quiet confidence in her choices.
16.  LOL cats.  I can't help it, they always make me laugh! 
17.  Watching Livi walk deliberately and unhaultingly into school, head held high, shoulders pressed down by the weight of 4 large heavy books in her backpack, knowing she's READY...driven, ever driven like her father.
18.  Low blood pressure readings, after a couple of scary months when doctors couldn't explain the spikes and indiscrepancies.
19.  Oldest Son's first boutonniere from his first dance hanging on my jewelry tree, reminding me he's not so little anymore.
20.  That clean house smell...work completed.
21.  The perfect Autumn fingernail shade reminding me of pumpkins, leaves and warmth.
22.  The soft sound and light flicker of the TV from downstairs at one am.  Martin working late again, but always, always there.

23.  My Dad...remembering holding his hand all calloused and rough from hard work and me knowing he still has time for me.  His hand firm, tight and warm.
24.  A sweet, kind voice of a Medical Assistant turned friend who dared to love a flawed patient who probably complains too much, too often. She shows it...shows love every time.
25.  Steps sounding on the porch and the rattling of a key in the door...it's 2:35, and my kids are arriving home from school!

26.  A beautiful color of orchid I've never seen.

27.  Olivia getting ready to dance.

28.  My Mom talking and comforting me when I'm 19 and I am missing my best friend.
29.  My favorite scarf a dear friend gave me.  I wear it and think of her still.

I'll be adding more later.  My goal is 1000 listed by Christmas.  We'll see how that goes!

Until later.