Monday, January 30, 2012

ungratefulness in a jumpsuit.

so i wrote that christmas post about gratefulness and i feel like i should revisit it. some things are happening. and some things are not happening that i want to happen. so i guess this is a process or something.
i think i just wanted to be like...hey, God, i've go ahead and give us this character trait right now. with no work involved. on my terms.
but building character doesn't work like that. because God is smart. the process is valuable. the work is valuable.
kind of like when you're in college and you keep skipping algebra. because, when you're not paying for it, it feels better to talk to the cute guy in the hallway and snicker as you watch your classmates enter the room. however, the 40 year old, non-traditional student is always there. in the front row. making the grade. because they know how much it cost to be there.
(this is a completely hypothetical statement...awkward laugh...i would NEVER take college algebra THRICE. three times, people. because i hate math. pointless math, especially)

so i think right now we're still in the process of changing habits and becoming more aware of what ungratefulness looks like for us. where it's hiding in our hearts. where it's hard for us to say that God is enough. 

and so in noticing that my child is ungrateful and asking God to help me guide him to be more thankful, God has held a mirror to my own heart.
he says, you are ungrateful.
and i feel heavy inside.
i pray, God help me see. i don't want to run away from this. i want to change.

and is it ironic that in wanting to help my children exude gratefulness, he uses them to say, this is what you look like with me, daughter. 

lila has a shopping cart from christmas. she walks around and goes "shopping" all day. she grabs, diapers and food and toys and books and clothes and balloons and trash...and it billows out over the top. it falls all over the floor and she picks it up and tries to make it fit over and over again...until she starts angry crying because all her stuff won't fit.
i laugh sometimes because she looks so silly... lila, won't fit. 
and then God holds up that mirror.
oh, that's what i look like.
my shopping cart overflowing with junk. getting angry because i always want more and it just doesn't fit.

it's such a hilarious literal translation. i mean, if you ever wonder if God has a sense of humor...

really, because one of our goals for this year was to not impulse spend. aye yi yi. i didn't think it was a huge deal for me, but really it is...
like going to target and only buying what i need. you're thinking...DUH. but for me, those clearance isles call my name. orange stickers whisper my name.
sometimes i see orange stickers and i think, will this be what heaven is like? super clearance! i hope so. ok not really. maybe?
(lila is giving me sass here, as you can see. with her jumpsuit on and sunglasses and a sticker in her hair. classy.)

but only buying what i need is something that has gotten away from me. and i'm surprised at how hard it has been for me to say no.
even when you don't necessarily have to.
just because you can, doesn't mean you should.
and just because it's a freaking awesome deal, doesn't mean you need it.
on the other end, just because you're broke and you can't buy everything you want, doesn't mean ungratefulness isn't in your heart. that constant sense of wanting more all the time.

having or not having money is not the issue. the issue simply asks us, is God enough for me.

sometimes this issue of finance just shows you what's going on in your heart. isn't it weird...that God connected money as a barometer of what's happening in your heart?
God says, where you're treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(there is a seeds of worship song that we love...layne sings it like , where your treasure is, then your heart will be AWESOME.... then your heart will be AWESOME... so funny.)
now while God is working on us, we are also taking practical steps with the kids. as far as the toy situation...
we removed all the toys from their rooms and from downstairs(mostly) and put them in the basement. when they want a toy, they go grab it. play with it and bring it back down when done.
it's been a little bit of a transition, it doesn't always work, but overall, it's been pretty great.
we talk about ungratefulness when we see it playing out.
we are working on being more aware. we're hoping that is some sort of a start.

so we have a long ways to go. a really long ways to go. i'll keep you updated, though.
until then, for encouragement on the long road, you can gaze upon this turtle to lift your spirits.
also, side note, know that penelope has straight up skipped baby food and has moved to straight up table food. poor 3rd child.


  1. "Just because we can, doesn't mean we should." So so true. We are working on this too.

  2. i love how she's pointing at you like, "mom. i know you do this too." oh lila! so insightful. haha.

    and i'm intrigued by this seeds of worship... i must get some for my little peanut!

  3. Such a great and honest post.
    Thanks for sharing your heart again.
    I, admitidly, share the same weakness for sales racks.
    What makes them so dang appealing?!
    Jeez, I've brought so much crap into my house just bc it was on sale.
    However, I've been trying to work on this for the past year or so too.
    Granted, it's still very difficult to shop without spending but it's getting better.
    But what a process!
    But heaven with sales?
    That sounds pretty lovely to me too!
    Keep it up Jayme!
    You're doing great...

  4. bam! like a ton of bricks.
    i am so guilty of this and then i tell my kids to be content and stop wanting everything.
    thanks for the reminder.

  5. The visual with Lila and the shopping cart was right on!

    "just because you can, doesn't mean you should" - I Corinthians 10:23

    And I read these verses this morning and it seems appropriate to share -
    "...give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, "Who is the LORD?" Proverbs 30:8b-9

  6. I had the same aha moment with my ungrateful heart as I told one of my kids to have an an "atitude of grattitdue" over and over again.
    His cmplaining spirit annoyed me.
    Then, as I loaded the dishwasher for the billionth time that day, I thought to myself how sick I was of the dishes.
    And then, the lightbulb went off--I'm the ungrateful one.
    Praise God I HAVE a dishwasher
    Please let me lead by example.
    Thank you, as always, for your honesty in this post.
    Love from,

  7. So good, Jami. I got a hard look into my heart last week. I had a chance to be generous, to have compassion and give, and I failed so miserably. Praying God gives me another chance. Thanks for sharing your journey.

  8. I'm going through the same thing cutting out impulse spending and Target's orange stickers call my name, too!! You are doing a great job refocusing your family's attention to gratefulness though! Great post!

  9. Stephanie BrennemanMonday, January 30, 2012

    Love this Jami! This is the story of our lives right now as we save and fund raise every penny for our adoption. My struggle is realizing I don't need to buy every cute onzie or baby item...i have no i don't need the things every prego person i know is buying. or just simplifying everything because what we are saving and working for will soon change every aspect of our lives! thanks for reminding me and putting your spin on it!

  10. whew. glad to know it's not just me and my fam that this is a PRO.CESS for!

  11. Had to share! I've been mulling over the same heart issues over here.

  12. This is so awesome. I love what God is doing in you guys.

    Don't feel bad about skipping baby food. It's a waste of money imo. I used it with Logan because I was a scared first time mom but Tim only had table food and he is WAY less picky than Logan (I mean he's not picky at all he just decides not to like things sometimes to assert his independence I think it's a 2nd born thing ;)

  13. You know, that was good for me to hear. I would be the gal who is broke and goes, "um God...why?I just need a little bit more and then I would be happy" Yea, probably not.

  14. Thanks for continuing to share your journey. I commented back when you first wrote about this and mentioned a book by Jen Hatmaker called Seven. Our community group is reading it, and I finished it in less than a week. It addresses a lot of the excesses in our society and our hearts - it is worth the read and very funny, much like yourself. I'm just saying - you should read it, this coming from a girl you don't know at all.

  15. Our family is going through the same process. We have four boys and have collected quite the stuff. Simplification has been the motto. This last weekend we had some great friends come over and did what we called a purgification of our house. I filled 4 big black trash bags of clothes from the boys alone. Needless to say we have made a huge dent in our possessions. One book that has helped me with this is One Thousand Gifts. It helps me to focus on the things I am grateful for and they are not usually material items. It is a process though and God is so faithful to walk with us through the bumps in the road.

  16. Yes I get this. We learnt this lesson the hard way after years of not quite making ends meet. Recently we watched some old home movies of our family and on one birthday we could not believe how many presents we gave our child. It was a real eye opener to us how far we had come!!

  17. Amen. This came from such a beautiful part of your heart, lady.

    Thanks for sharing.

  18. I love this and I needed this. Thank you.

  19. Ooooh good stuff! And that little Lila...what a cutie!

  20. luckily He is patient with us. no matter how long it takes us to figure out our "stuff" have you seen the documentary I AM? i thought of you tonight while watching it. if not see it. :)

  21. so encouraged by you. praise jesus.
    keep it coming.


  22. Wonderful post. You are exactly right that having and not are about your heart and not money. what a GREAT point. It is something that is so hard to deal with. I love the thoughtfulness that you are putting into it, and taking practical step... wonderful way to be. Thanks for the inspiration!

  23. hmmm...lots to think about here. and already feel my heart making excuses. i literally just prayed this morning about being wiser with our money. although, i probably should just say 'wise'...not sure if you can be wisER without ever being very wise. anyways, you have encouraged and challenged me with this post. thank you for that. i often turn to buying things as a remedy for problem days or bad feelings...a temporary satisfaction to dull something else...and i know i shouldn't.

    i really love everything you speak to. such an honest person. i love that you are a light...and yet still have a bit of an edge to you.

    wish i could give you a hug for this perfect post today.


  24. taget cleeeaaarance. um.. thorn in my side. i always get all conflicted because i it feels like i'm saving money.. being a good steward all that jazz .. but i have to spend to save?! if i do end up needing it and use it later was it a bad call to begin with or just super money saver wise of me??
    we went back to cash envelopes a few months ago and it has been great! why is it things aren't quite as tempting when i am looking at that (small) wad of cash?

    also-- lila , in that track suit.. with the shopping cart..and the sunglasses?? she has that middle aged,semi grumpy shopper lady stereotype nailed. hilarious. :)

  25. You're awesome. Thanks for the update.

  26. i love how you are so funny and get so deep too. great post.

  27. Dave Ramsey spoke at our church last weekend and, as an introduction, a family shared their testimony about getting out of debt/living more simply. The man said, "It's as if we are telling God, what you have given me is not enough, so I have no other choice but to buy and borrow more."
    That really hit home for me. And made me scream triumphantly at the Target dollar section, "YOU DON'T OWN ME!"
    Love this post. Thank you Jami!

  28. I love this series of yours on ungratefulness. It's so thought provoking. I need thoughts provoked. You are awesome. Thanks.

  29. Oh man. That pic of sassy Lila is hilarious. Sass is always funny on somebody else's kid:)

    Love your honesty with all this and am being challenged along with you.

  30. Ugh I am so bad at impulse buying too- what is it about those inside aisles at Target! Something about it being there and ON SALE makes me want it- even if i don't. It's so difficult to not impulse buy. I absolutely love your analogy about your daughter and God. We so look like that, and I'm sure God is looking down on us thinking the same things- man you look silly. Thanks for this insightful post!

  31. Need this everyday. Thank yoooooou!


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