I found this book, or should I say, it found me, just when I needed it the most. Homeschooling this winter has been tough. We have had moments of sheer brilliance, but also a few tears (mostly mine) and we needed to figure things out and shift our focus and create a new path. Parenting this winter has been tough. My children are my joy and my life’s work and parenting an 11 and 13 year old is much different than parenting a 7 and 9 year old. We had to figure some things out. My relationship with my church has been strained this winter (really since the fall) due to religious education decisions that were made that I am not in agreement with and left me wondering the future of our little church by the sea. All this left me in a state of disequilibrium, my balance was off, and I knew I needed to find a way to set it right.
One Thousand Gifts is more than just keeping a list of 1,000 blessings or gratitudes, or gifts. It is about giving thanks to God for each and every one of those gifts. If we incorporate Eucharisteo, being thankful for everything we have, into our every waking moment, then we are actually living in a state of Grace. It’s hard. But then it becomes easier. One gift becomes two, which becomes three, and then you realize you are into the 100s, and still going.
I carry my journal with me always and I try to sit with my journal once a day, but sometimes I don’t and I am okay with that. I take it with me and when the girls are off in their classes and I have uninterrupted quiet time I take it out and I start writing. With a pen. Not on the computer, not on my phone, but on a piece of paper with a pen. It is slower, gentler, kinder. I love it. I have not kept a paper journal in years and I had forgotten the joy of hearing the sound of a pen connecting with the fibers of the paper. A paper journal seems more permanent to me. A blog can be erased with a server malfunction. A word processing document can be deleted by human error or computer malfunction. The delete key wipes out thoughts and words as if they never occurred, which is not so easy to do in a journal.
I was very inspired by a mother I follow on Instagram who spends time each and every morning with her Bible, her journal, and her coffee. She fills her journal with words from the Bible and posts her daily copy work on Instagram. One day I asked her what her routine was. I like a routine, a to-do list, a set of directions. She replied back that the Holy Spirit guides her and by listening, she finds what her soul is seeking every day. I was using my Bible App on my phone to find Bible passages that matched up with my gifts that day. She encouraged me to take out my Bible book, connect with the written word on the page, not the computer or phone screen, and let God lead the way. So now, when I am done with my gifts, I randomly open the Bible and read until I find something that resonates with me, something that connects the words on the Bible page to the words on my page, and then I write. I copy the scriptures word for word. When I copy them, I remember them. I may not remember them well enough to quote them verbatim, but when I get hung up in a little moment of anxiety in my day, I can recall Matthew’s words in 6:25, reminding me that life is more than food and more than clothing. How by worrying will I add a single day to my life? Then my worry, my anxiety does not seem like such a big deal, and perhaps I can then find the Eucharisteo in that moment rather than dwell on the hardship.
Eucharisteo. A word I never knew before. I word found in a book that I am so grateful I read.