"Giving the Lord thanks and praise through the day" by: Betsy Monico

   This column has never taken a political path or ventured down the road of current events, outside of this local community. 
   My areas of expertise in life are quite limited. I am good at things involving kids, dogs, purple martins and choosing meaningful books to read out loud. 
   Even though our television has been locked on the news and I am somewhat informed about what is going on with the Coronavirus virus, I will not delve into it. 
   It has quickly become a complicated web of questions revolving around health issues, political views, and even religious opinions. 
   Here in Fairfield we are about to begin week two of an extended spring break. 
   My kids are excited, but also disappointed. 
   They like school, the social time it provides, and spring sports. I love the mandatory schedule and visiting with my little friends. Some of our students truly want to be at school more than home. 
   Many depend on cafeteria breakfast and lunch to fill up their little tummies. 
   No doubt, our district made the right call. I support it fully; however, my mind struggled at first and traveled to previous conversations. Kids recently told me they were not excited about Spring Break because they would miss their teachers. 
   Those babies need our prayers! They may feel trapped at home. 
   Elderly people also feel trapped. They need our prayers!
So, what to do in these trying times? What to do in future times of national and even personal “pandemics?” 
   They are coming on both levels…guaranteed. Many quote verses like “Surely God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid,” from Isaiah 12:2. 
   The saying, “Let Go and Let God,” is voiced in unison by people standing in hectic grocery store lines. 
   Yes, as Christians, we do believe that we can and should trust in the Lord, but how do we do it? 
   The how is the real question and the gut-wrenching challenge. 
   I learned years ago to combat worry, fear, depression, and hard times, that we must praise the Lord and live in a state of constant thanksgiving. 
   This includes verbally naming our blessings and even writing them down. 
   “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp taught me this life strategy. Today in church I felt prompted to live by it again. 
   The book’s beautiful words of heartbreak and promise encourage readers to make a list of what they are grateful for daily. 
   This ongoing list of “thankfulness” is not a Thanksgiving activity. It is a lifestyle of intentionally noticing what the Lord is doing, both little and big, and giving Him thanks and praise throughout the day and night. 
   The caption on the front of it reads “A Dare to Live Fully right where you are.” 
   Ann admits that eucharisteo, the discipline of thanks, only comes with practice. 
   She goes onto say “Eucharisteo is the way we practice the presence of God, stay present to His presence, and it is always a practice of the eyes. We don’t have to change what we see. Only the way we see it.” 
      Reread the last sentence and personalize it. 
      My truth is…I can’t change what I see and what is happening all around me, but thankfully – I can change the way I see it! 
   Grab a spiral, a journal, or a pack of post-it notes this week and involve your family in this gratitude exercise, this thankfulness lifestyle. 
   A list of my blessings years ago included – cereal with Bosque, XTO, life in the country, our lake, my health, clean windows. 
   I plan to begin intentionally giving thanks this week again. Please join me! 

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