Friday, January 3, 2014

Words as Symbols


Who can resist a word that physically represents its own meaning?
Being the most practical, no nonsense, kinda strict person I know, this
was a big to do. I think 2014 is going to be a year of big "to dos" for me!

I'm in the middle of The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt and just finished up a guest post for next week, which leaves me currently post-less in the new year here at My Life in Books. So I coasted around Google, looking for non-review book blog post ideas. I did find a really long list at Book Nympho, in case you want a back-up plan.

One of the suggested post ideas was to talk about quotes. I kinda do that with Sunday Sentence and I couldn't even wrap my head around where to start. I love a good quote so much and there are so many worthy of discussion. Yet, it made me think about words in general. What is it about just the right word (or combination of words) at the right time that speaks to you, sheds light on a subject, makes you really think?

From that thought, my mind gravitated to my recent word obsession and wordsmith. Ann Voskamp is a Christian author who has two best sellers. Her first is my favorite book of 2013, One Thousand Gifts. She also has a blog aholyexperience.com . Voskamp is one of those authors who knows how to take a topic you've heard a million times and work the words into understanding you never had. I'm sure timing and maturity play into this, but I'm a word person. This woman has a gift.

When it comes to what I've read, my memory is nothing impressive. I always remember how a book made me feel and if I liked it or not, but details become a blur pretty quickly, unless I reread it. However, Voskamp's topic stuck with me easily when I read the book the first time. Eucharisteo, Greek for thanksgiving, is her topic. The idea is that everything flows from thanksgiving...and this isn't just "Oh, I'm tankful I have (fill in the blank)." It's that and much deeper. It's about being thankful even when life is bad and everything is going wrong. From a thankful heart comes the ability to have true grace, joy, trust, etc., things that outlast a bad season of life. It's a tall order and like anything else takes intentionality. I cannot do it justice here, there is so much more said in the book.

But, like I said, I love words, especially when they go above the usual making of meaning through sentences. The Greek word eucharisteo means thanksgiving. The root word is charis, which means grace. The derivative is chara, which means joy. Literally, the words for grace and joy flow from the word for thanksgiving in the Greek. How wonderfully symbolic is this? The words physically represent their meaning! Regardless of personal beliefs, this is an example of a word lover's dream word!

Between the way the topic caught my heart and mind and the symbolism of the word itself, I knew this was something special for me. I've made it my resolution, to live in continual thanksgiving. And what better way to remember a lifelong resolution than to keep it with you permanently? Yep, I tattooed it to my shoulder.

Any New Year's Resolutions you are excited about this year?

18 comments:

  1. I love love love your tattoo. If I were ever going to get one, I'd want it to be as beautiful and meaningful as yours.

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    1. Aww thanks! I was all about the meaning if I was ever going to go through with a tattoo!

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  2. I love it! It’s beautiful, too. One day I am going to get a tattoo of the word “Read” - that’s it. Just the word read. But I have to pick a place because I already have a rather large one on my back and I need things to be symmetrical.

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    1. It pays to think it through! Place and design and color. I was thinking maybe a bookworm for my next ;)

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  3. Love your tattoo, it is so personal and you can see it means something, it is not a random rose or any symbol that got into fashion that year. Congrats!

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    1. Thank you! Hearing that means a lot to me. I like unique stuff, but I'm not typically creative enough to find or do stuff that hasn't been done again and again. Even the tattoo I took from two different pictures I found online and meshed them together! Lol

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    1. Thanks! It was actually fun to do - who knew?

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  5. Beautiful tattoo.

    Quotes are something I like, and words put together at the right or wrong time can have powerful effects.

    THANK YOU for this thoughtful post.

    Happy New Year!!

    Elizabeth
    Silver's Reviews
    My Spread The Love Post

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    1. Thanks! The reason I love words I guess...something that seems simple! yet holds power. And thank you for stopping by!

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  6. Love the tatoo, love One Thousand Gifts, love Ann Voskamp, and the word "eucharisteo" has resonanted with me since the day I read it in her book for the first time ever. I think I'm going to pull that good little book off its shelf and put it on my nightstand for another read right now! Gotta run. :)

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    1. Thanks! I've decided to read it once a year. I'm in the middle of it right now!

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  7. Great tattoo. I can't wait to read your review of The Goldfinch - I've heard so much about that book that I'm really anxious to get my hands on it.
    And thanks for stopping by my blog.

    Rosa @ Bookish Findings

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    1. Half way through and so far I am liking it! And always happy to find another good book blog!

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  8. Jennine you amaze me.
    You post about writers' gifts, you my dear are gifted. Your passion is books, (reading and reviewing) but please, please, do not forget what a good writer you are. I loved this post because words are my passion.
    And your beautiful tattoo, utterly, profoundly perfect. You my dear have the grace to say it right and with class.

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    1. Oh Carolynn, thank you :) You have been an encouragement since the day I first commented on Betsy's blog and then started this one. Trust me, part of this blog's purpose is to keep me writing in some way!

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  9. Jennine, I love the tattoo! It's beautiful. And now I keep thinking about words that mean a lot to me. . . I need more time on that one!

    Thanks for linking up to the Spread the Love Linky Party!!! I pinned this, too! :D

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  10. I just saw the pin! Thanks! The more thought put into it the better!

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