Government Cheese, Parachute Pants & Dried Bones


That’s the word that has been haunting me lately.

Pete talked about it at our staff trip.

Randy wrote a beautiful post about seeing the best in everything.

And I’ve been reading the essays from my friend Kat‘s book, The Daily Verse.  One of the essays is about her grueling eye surgeries where she had to keep her head down, chin to chest, for 31 days and all you hear in her story is an attitude of gratefulness for what that season taught her.

These encounters have served to remind me that my heart has drifted towards ungratefulness.

It wasn’t always this way.

I grew up in pretty modest circumstances.  We had our food stamp days.  The government cheese handouts.  The hand-me-down clothes.  The car that the drivers’ side door wouldn’t open.

But in spite of all those seemingly sparse circumstances, I don’t remember being ungrateful as a kid.  I remember so much more being grateful for the things we did have.  I cherished the simple things like store-bought cheese, name brand cookies and the brand new red parachute pants I got for Christmas.

Not having much, made me so much more grateful for what I did receive.

Today, I find myself complacent.  I’m comfortable.

Comfort breeds complacency.

I fear that my comfort, my complacency and my ungratefulness are robbing me from experiencing the thrill of God’s adventure.  They distract me from appreciating the small things… the little miracles… the reminders of God’s provision.

In my ungratefulness, am I missing what God is up to all around me?

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.  Proverbs 17:22

No more dried bones for me!

Do you ever wrestle with this?  How do you protect and nurture a grateful heart?

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  • Emily Carringer November 9, 2010  

    Great reminder. I am walking through this very thing with my 13yr. old daughter. She has had seizures since age 4 and just in the past several weeks that has been the focus. Even this morning on the way to school we listed all the “things”/”situations” in her life and the only thing that could be remotely seen as not good were her seizures. So much of the time our “gratefulness” or lack of it, results from our focus. We gotta keep our eyes fixed on Jesus!

    • Jenni Catron November 10, 2010  

      Emily, I’m always inspired by your heart! Praying for you guys!

  • missional girl November 9, 2010  

    Thank you for this reminder. If friends of mine were born with silver spoons in their mouths, I was born with a spork in mine, lol. I’m not the least bit bitter about growing up in poverty but I catch myself trying to leverage my childhood to get God to “do things” for me. Wow.

    If we go into “ungrateful” mode, our experiences can become idols and our deficiencies and problems become the little gods we answer to. A grateful heart, however, knows that our problems don’t have the final say in anything.

    • Jenni Catron November 10, 2010  

      Great additional thoughts!

  • Randy November 9, 2010  

    Thanks so much, Jenni, for the mention. Great post!!


  • Nicole Unice November 11, 2010  

    Jenni, this is a great post. Although I didn’t leave a comment yesterday, I found myself thinking about it on and off as I went about my day. And then I also found myself remembering to say thank you to God for the beautiful sunshine, for my job, for my coworkers, for my kids and husband. And it was good, and different. I surprised myself when I realized how often I ruminate on little annoyances rather than amazing gifts in my life….