December 30, 2011

A New Year’s Challenge

Over the past couple of months, I have gradually been reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. It has been a slower read for me because every page is filled with wisdom and a reason for underlining and highlighting. In her book, Voskamp asks how do we find joy in the midst of our everyday lives? While I don’t align with all of her theological understandings, her invitation to embrace everyday blessings and to embark on the transformative spiritual discipline of chronicling God’s gifts has been very worthwhile for me.

“Thanks is what multiplies the joy and makes any life large.”

This book has been very applicable for me in our transition to life in Nicaragua. A wonderful friend told me before we left that it would be important for me to “turn my yucks into wows.” When there are things about living in Nicaragua that I don’t quite like, it is important for me to reframe them and try to look at them from a different perspective. This has been a key for my transition so far.

“To name a thing is to manifest the value that God gave it.”

A fellow MCCer told me on one of my first days here that she found it helpful to intentionally notice and look for three things each day that I could be thankful for, to find beauty when it isn’t always beautiful. This has also been an extremely helpful practice for me.  I am trying to notice the “little” things and give a name to these blessings.

“I want to see beauty. In the ugly, in the sink, in the suffering, in the daily, in all the days before I die, the moments before I sleep.”

And so I thought, like Voskamp I am going to chronicle my everyday blessings in this next year. Three a day! Will you join me in doing this? We may just find that it changes our perspective on life.

“…to not just take the blessing, but to be the blessing.”

I hope that you enjoy the read, and the practice! “The secret of joy is to keep seeking God where we doubt He is.”


Liz said...

girl, that looks like a really good book!

Joetta said...

Cassie and Kevin -- It looks like you've been making a great adjustment to Nicaragua. This is a reminder that I'll be coming later this month (Jan 20-27 to be exact). I hope I'll get a chance to have a cup of coffee with you and hear more about your life and work.

I hear that you'll be in Guatemala next week -- our paths may not cross but Gerald and I will be there too, with his St. Thomas class. We leave tomorrow (6th) and then I'll head to Honduras on the 14th.

If you want to be in touch, you can email me at: Blessings in 2012.

TJ said...

Today I have blesssed by a jar of salsa that I did not realize I had...JAK's Hot Salsa. Kevin your salsa is on the top of my list. It leaves my mouth watering for more every bite...hope your time in Gautemala was refreshing. Did I ever tell you my sister studied in Gautamala City and I was able to visit? in Iowa is was snowy, windy and cold. Love you guys!

Melanie said...

Love love love this book!