Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.Phil. 4:8
In Sunday School at our country church growing up, I had a teacher who had us memorize one Bible verse for what felt like a really long time. She knew that good teaching feels repetitive, and that our brains can memorize things better with a mnemonic device. Hers was TNRPLAEP. Every week we would come to our little classroom that was encircled by by foldable tan curtain-walls, our church shoes clicking on green and white floor tiles, and use pencil to paper to fill in each line:
- T – True
- N – Noble
- R – Right
- P – Pure
- L – Lovely
- A – Admirable
- E – Excellent
- P – Praiseworthy
The final words of this passage essentially say – think about THAT stuff. How often this week has my mind been hanging out there. . . pondering lovely things? Welp–not all that often. The tendency for me, at least, is to magnetically move toward the other stuff, to hang around there like a hog rolling in the mud.
Redirecting with gratitude, just like working out, takes practice.
We can buy all the exercise clothes and memberships in the world, but if we’re not actually sweating it out, um. . . it’s not the same. I can have memorized TNRPLAEP until the cows-come-home (this farm girl loves that phrase), but if I’m not doing it, making a point to turn my thoughts that way, it doesn’t always happen. I can write gratitude blog posts all week, but if I’m not really writing my own list, um. . . it’s not the same.
The cool part is that, just like working out, gratitude has a snow-ball effect. One of my friends has texted me lately on Saturday mornings to say, “Hey, wanna go to spin class?” Reading this with one eye squinting at my cell phone from my comfy, warm bed, I hardly ever want to, but her encouragement has more than once got me sitting up and moving. When I do make it over to the fitness center, I’m thankful for talking with my friend, thankful for what sweating does for my body and mind, and thankful for how I feel after a workout.
So here’s me, your friend who likes to write stuff, texting you in these early morning hours, “Hey, wanna think on some gratitudes, maybe even write them down?”
Here’s my list today, I’m doing more than three since I’m not feeling thankful–and if I’m honest–I haven’t written any yet this week. I’ve been doing the blog writing and forgetting the very thing this is all about. So here I am, starting again, for like the one-millionth time, but trusting the practice and it’s magic, Spirit-filled way of moving me back to thinking about THAT stuff and seeing more of it today.
- #1: Curt’s awesome picture of a Jelly Fish, I love the colors and the soft focus.
- #2: Ralph’s yummy pork-gravy-potatoes supper last night. Yum.
- #3: A funny e-mail about grammar.
- #4: A funny meme in an e-mail.
- #5: Pink and purple Nebraska sunrise clouds
- #6: A stack of seventh-grade writing that made me smile in more ways than one.
- #7: My green, antique writing table.
- #8: Leftover Halloween decorations on the window.
- #9: A new idea. . .
- #10: Starting up holiday book clubs in the library.
- #11: Little hugs around my waist from elementary kiddos each day at school.
- #12: Celebrity-level gasping recognition while handing out Halloween candy, “YOU’RE the library lady! You live here?”
- #13: Seeing a combine moving through a half done field, thinking of my dad.
- #14: Seven-year-old practicing a Christmas song on the piano.
- #15: Candles and snuggly socks
- #16: Jodi’s heart and her guest post this week.
- #17: . . . it’s Friday. Cheers to the weekend. I’ll be back posting Monday. Thanks for coming to the #gratitudeparty.