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    Scrapbooking My Gratitude

    March 8, 2006 by Brandy Vencel

    Grace called me up recently and told me that she had heard a profound statement while listening to Dr. Laura in her car. I’m sure I’m about to butcher it, but it was something along the lines of, “Coveting steals our joy.” Grace told me she might blog about this. I think she should {hint hint}.

    What we talked about on the phone is a subject that is often our topic: the Grass Is Greener Syndrome. Grace and I couldn’t have two more different lives {well, I guess we could if one of us was a man}. We are the same age, and we are both German {inside joke}, but I am the married mother of two living in a town full of extended family, while she is the still-single daughter of missionaries who live half a world away. And yet we both have to continuously groom the garden of our lives, plucking out the weeds of discontentment. What made the quote above so profound was the idea that discontentment is a fruit grown from the seeds of coveting, the wanting of someone else’s life.

    But this isn’t really what this post is about. It’s about scrapbooking. I spent yesterday’s naptime catching up on the family scrapbook. I am currently about 15 months behind, which I think is a record for the most caught-up I’ve ever been. I value my position as Family Historian, and though I spend a lot of time and energy on the aesthetics of my pages, my heart is in the journaling. It is the written recording of memories that, in my mind, sets a scrapbook apart from the average photo album.

    I remember things pretty well, so I am capable of sufficient story-telling from a distance of 15 months {or more}. The scrapbook is the capturing of our family’s history, and the journal entries are all the beautiful details I’m afraid we might forget.

    What I noticed today, 15 months away from when the photos were taken, is that all the pressure of that time was gone, and what I was left with was the happy memories of E. digging holes in the dirt in the backyard or constantly moving our sprinkler so that it never watered correctly. It isn’t that I don’t remember the negative aspects of our life {the miscarriage, the bed rest, the morning sickness that lasted for seven of the eight-and-half months of my pregnancy with A.}. It’s just that those dark spots, seen in retrospect, were much smaller than they seemed at the time. And I admit that life still must have had some brilliance, for there were memories we deemed worthy of capturing on film.

    Sallie once wrote that she kept a journal of thanksgiving, and I guess the scrapbooks are mine. Sure, I want them to be the textbooks by which I teach my children where they came from. But while crafting them, I am encouraged to remember all the ways in which God has led us through the darker times, where He has adorned a sad day with beauty, and then followed them with weeks of gladness. I have become grateful for what I do have, and the desire to look around and wish for something else is muted.

    Life may not always be what I expect or think I deserve. But it is what God has given to me for my best, and every precious memory is a reminder that He is not only sovereign, but He is good.


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  • Reply Brandy March 8, 2006 at 7:35 pm

    Hi Grace…I’m glad you keep records of these things, so that I don’t get away with messing them up! =)

    By the way, did you like the part about us both being German?? Hehe…

  • Reply Grace March 8, 2006 at 5:32 pm

    Hi Brandy. Close enough. The actual quote is “Coveting takes away your gratitude.” You know, I wrote this all down, while driving and trying to change lanes at the same time.

    It has been a few years since I’ve watched this eposide on Oprah. But she had an episode where she challenged her audience to keep a journal of gratitude for a period of time. Then she had an updated show. I watched that one too. I think at the end, I used up a whole tissue box. It’s amazing how being “thankful” can change the way you live!

    Thanks for the reminder that I need to blog about it. Maybe I can just make a link to yours. =) But, Hmmm…I think I just thought about my next challenge on my blog! Thanks for letting me brainstorm!

    Love ya!

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