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A Cure For Complaining



The Tale of Meshka the Kvetch

copyright 1980 by Carol Chapman

illustrations by Arnold Lobel

published by E.P. Dutton New York


This little tale makes me quite happy. I love the soft color palate and texture in the illustrations and I love the language in this tale -words and phrases like,

 Meshka, Yiddish, Kvetch, kosher pickles, oy vey, and Wall of Jericho


This is a picture book, but it’s a good read for anyone of any age. My daughter and I read it together, I read it aloud to my son, and then again to my husband. Just maybe, I needed this tale of Meshka when I found this little treasure at the thrift store.

“…Meshka, who was considered by all to be the village kvetch. Now kvetch is a Yiddish word for complainer, and that’s just what Meshka did. Complain.”

She complains to everyone she can. She complains about her tiny house, her life, and her children until all her complaints start to come true. The rabbi comes by and sees her in her troubles and quickly diagnoses her problem,

“I’m afraid you have the Kvetch’s Itch.

…it causes everything the kvetch complains about to come true.”

Meshka is a complete mess. How can she be cured? The rabbi helps her, but I love that he tells her she can’t be cured.

Isn’t that really the case for all of us? Can we ever be cured of complaining?

I’ve read so many negative things online that I’ve made a promise to myself never to post complaints on social media. I try to share what inspires me, stories I find fascinating, simple encouragement, or  the beauty I see in nature. Even with my best intentions I fail.

So what does the rabbi recommend?

“if you praise the good in your life, these problems you mention will cease.”

Since Meshka has never praised anything in her life, her first attempts at praising good things are hilarious. The rabbi gives her a few pointers and eventually she gets the hang of it.

“And from that day on, whenever Meshka would start to complain and say, “Oy vey”– she quickly said instead, “Things are good and I am happy.”

Meshka’s tale reminds me of one of my favorite books, One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp. Life is messy and hard at times, but Ann reminds the reader joy is found when we look for the blessings in our lives and give thanks. Ann, like the rabbi, offers up a remedy for life. She calls it a Joy Dare. It’s a dare to count and list three blessings a day for a year. 1,000 gifts.

“Joy is a function of gratitude — and gratitude is a function of perspective. So take these prompts to help you see and change perspective — give thanks — and live all His joy!” -Ann Voskamp’s Joy Dare

I’ll praise the good with you today, even in the midst of difficult circumstances. Our problems may not cease, but our perspective will.



1000 Gifts

Joy Dare {gifts 70-93}

Thinking about this Joy Dare, taking down and photographing these 1,000 things I’m thankful for, I think it’s the time I take to stop and look back at my gifts that make me happy. These little things I’ve collected in photographs from my week make me smile and give thanks again.


A gift turned, a gift folded, a gift hung

70. Opening the door to Grandma and Grandpa’s house

71. A warm and folded yummy tortilla chip on a date with my sweetie at La Bamba’s

72. Clean clothes


Three gifts red

73. Wondering about red gifts and finding these two little flowers in an unexpected place

74. hanging russelia

75. hibiscus


Three gifts eaten

76. Chicken tortilla soup

77. Chocolate Cake

78. Cupcakes


Three gifts that made you laugh

79. She popped the lenses out of her sunglasses and wore them like this all day!

80. I went to Barnes and Noble with my kids and got them a treat to share. I asked what they’d like to drink and she said Red Bull. I started laughing, people stared.

81. A paddle ball challenge with my son



A gift salty, a gift sweet, a gift just right

82. Peanuts

83. Dark chocolate

84. Coffee


Three gifts found in His word

85. Ephesians 2:10

86. Psalm 139

87. 2 Peter 3:8,9

















Three gifts found in women today

88. My children’s sweet librarian – She has a way to uplift and encourage everyone, no matter your age or what kind of day you’re having. She gives sweet hugs, reminds everyone to smile, and she stops to pray for others, right there by her desk or maybe in the non-fiction section over by the windows.

89. Nikki – being the hands and feet of Christ

90. Evelyn – a mom in prayer


Three gifts spoken

91. You look beautiful today. Do I tell you that enough?

92. I Love You!

93. Six years old. Princesses and Ballerinas say Happy Birthday!



1000 Gifts

Joy Dare Gifts 34-69

Thank you God for these gifts

These are my gifts, my sweet blessings posted from Ann’s Joy Dare.

I’ve missed joining in on Mondays so far…

I’m still trying to figure out the best way to post 21 photos of gifts each week. The last post was a collage of my gifts, but I really like seeing each photo in whole. Today I’m only posting some from the last couple of weeks. I’m curious to see how others are joining in and posting photos.

Three Gifts Found



34. Sticks

Oh, how God Provides. Even in the little details. No woods or forest to play in and find branches, only manicured condo lawns. I was wondering where the nearest craft store was. Wondering how much little branches might cost. Instead I went to my children’s favorite tree, the one over by the tennis coursts. I found the branches. I was excited to finally be able to make our branches for our Easter Devotional from Ann’s Trail to the Tree. I was humbled when I read to the kids that night Day 2 a Ram in the Thicket 

the prayer:

We fearlessly fear you, our Jehovah Jireh, for being our Provider, the One Who sees to “it” – everything.

-Ann Voskamp

Yes, everything. Even sticks. I imagine his care is over my heart to teach my kids about Him.

35. Where the mocking bird sings

36. From the fisherman

A Gift Bent, A Gift Broken, A Gift Beautiful

37. Palms bending in March winds

38. Broken ballerina

39. Sunlight through pink hibiscus




Three Gifts In The Kitchen

40. Sharing a peach with my girl

41. Catch of the Day bowls for guessing games for picky eaters

42. Eggshell cross from Pre-K


Three Gifts Loud

43. Practicing

44. Playing

45. Kids arguing


Three Gifts Carved

46. Olive wood cross from Israel

47. Lion for our son from Liberia

48. Giraffe for our daughter from Liberia


Three Gifts In Christ

49. My Husband

50. My Kids. I’m always learning more about my own relationship to God through them.

51. My Salvation


Three Gifts Read

52. One Thousand Gifts

53. A note from Kindergarten

54. Reading Surprises According to Humphrey together at bedtime


A Gift In Water, In Wind, In White

55. Washing it all away

56. A dandelion day

57. White clovers for bees



Three Gifts Round

58. Pink flowers in bloom

59. Hibiscus opening

60. Home


Three Gifts Found In Silence

61. Time for working on a dream

62. Enjoying a warm cup of coffee

63. Time for daydreaming

Three Gifts Given Away

64. One Thousand Gifts

65. A letter to our Compassion Girl

66. A note in a lunch box

Three Hard Eucharisteos

67. Thinking of my brother before his car accident

68. Waiting for promises

69. My son’s injury

I had just photographed this door for the first time a couple days before. This round handle. Our home. I didn’t know it would have my little guy’s blood on it.

He came upstairs with his friend and knocked. I thought they were being silly. When he came in his hands were covering the back of his head and before I saw his shirt and hands I heard him say, “Mommy! I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry!”

My sweet boy had fallen off a skateboard and hit his head. I don’t handle injury and blood well. I close my eyes when they get a shot at the doctor, but this was beyond that. I was scared. My little girl crying for her brother, but God helped calm me and sent a sweet neighbor to help.

My husband made it home to take our boy to urgent care. He ended up with two staples to his little head.

We talked afterwards and I asked him if he was apologizing for scaring me and he said, “No mom. I wasn’t saying sorry for scaring you. I was sorry for disobeying.”

He went on a friend’s skateboard without a helmet and without my permission.

I think the hard Eucharisteo was his.

I’m thankful he’s okay and God kept him safe.


1000 Gifts

Continuing To Count 1000 Gifts


26) 3 gifts seen as reflections

10. Palms in the blue water

11. Myself – I don’t always like looking in the mirror and I’d much rather be photographing others

12. Coffee together on a Monday. He’s working and I’m reading, but we’re together

27) 3 Ugly Beautiful Gifts

13. My Brother David – He was hit by a car when he was almost nine. He survived the accident with a brain injury. A miracle to survive. But he still goes through so much pain. David is confined to a wheel chair, unable to move or speak. My mom has taken care of him every day. Always by his side. I don’t cry much, but this brings tears to my eyes to think of his story. Of God’s story. Because I don’t know the ending. I can’t see the beauty sometimes. And even when I can I want to say to God, that it isn’t good enough. Yet my trust is in Him. And when my heart fails and I feel bitter and sadness I think of the book of Job when God answers

The LORD Speaks Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm. He said: “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?” Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!      – Job 38:1-5

14. Torn up road – The construction is ongoing, the dust and dirt is everywhere, but the big trucks remind me of all the truck books I read to my little toddler boy. He’s nine now, but we still love watching those big machines dig up the dirt.

15. The red light when I’m in a hurry – But today I see the crossing guard and I realize she’s a gift for every mom whose child she helps safely cross a busy morning road. How early does she get up to be there to take care of all those children on their way to school?

28) 3 Gifts From the Past – That Help You Trust the Future

16. A dollar bill from God – My husband and I were taking a financial stewardship Bible study. We drove far and got home late with the kids once a week. There were times when trying to put into practice all that learning seemed overwhelming. One night coming home from our study walking in with sleepy kids I looked down and there by our condo steps was a single dollar bill laying on the ground. I couldn’t believe it! I’ve kept that single dollar tucked in my Bible ever since as a reminder that our trust isn’t in what we know or see or strive for but in God alone. Our Provider.

17. The Cross – He died so that I might live

18. Turquoise necklace from my Grandma – I look to her as an example and pray that I can be an encouragement to my own grandchildren some day, the way she is to me. She’s 88 now and still using her gifts to glorify God.

29) A Gift Dull, A Gift Shimmering, A Gift Cleaned

19. New fan belt

20. Ripples in water shimmering sunlight

21. Clothes ready for more play


1) 3 Gifts at 3pm (really 4pm for me since I didn’t see the new list till later in the day)

22. Two friends

23. Gathering sticks

24. My boy and his tree

2) 3 Gifts Green

25. Papaya

26. Bananas

27. Coconuts – Evergreen Florida, it’s always growing. These beauties were right in our back courtyard, but there are gardens everywhere here. Even in parking lots and gas stations. You just have to look.

3) 3 Gifts Wore

28. Sea glass – tumbled round and round by sand and sea

29. Scooter wheel – tumbled round and round by boy and play

30. His Hands – He works late hours, still helps me with dishes when the counter gets too full, and washes my car even when his hands are cracked and hurting. He apologizes for them being too rough, I only see how much he loves his family.


1000 Gifts, Inspiration

My Start to One Thousand Gifts

A friend told me about One Thousand Gifts. She said she thought of me and my photos and thought I would like the book and Ann Voskamp’s writing. I looked up the book when I got home and started to read the first few pages online.

My friend was right. I was hooked. I wanted to read more.

I found Ann Voskamp’s blog. And I did read more and more. That’s when I found her JOY DARE: One thousand gifts in 2012, snap a photo or record 3 gifts a day. Simple enough I think. But not just simple, it’s something I am truly excited to try.

I was on the phone with my father in law last week telling him about my day at the beach with the kids. He asked if I took any pictures. I heard my mother in law in the background, “Is the Pope Catholic?”

Yep, I take about 1000 photos every couple of  months. I stop in parking lots, I take photos of my kids walking into school, playing, photos of their toys left out, sunsets, clouds, seagulls, flowers, and leaves on the ground. I photograph it all. I’m ready to jump into Ann’s Joy Dare, but as I read her book I realize her challenge is more than the beauty I think I see so easily every day. Maybe it isn’t so simple.

I started on the 23rd. Before I picked up her book. I bought the book the next day.

Her Dare to Joy is a Dare of Thanksgiving.

Her Dare is my Kickstart.

23. a gift of tin, of glass, of wood

Peppermint tea from my mom. I’m a coffee drinker, but I do love tea. I think I especially like it because it reminds me of her and makes me smile.

The glass in my camera and lens. They are both old and I dream of new equipment. But I am thankful for these tools and all of the photos and moments God has allowed me to capture. I’ll keep taking photos and taking in all the beauty I see with my camera until I can’t.

Hiking sticks. One found on the trail of Dark Hallow Falls in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park. One picked out special from our aunt in New York and saved till we arrived all the way from Florida. Given as a gift to our son for our first family camping trip. One picked up for our little girl as we hiked along the Niagara River to Canada and had her passport stamped for the first time. Carved with the letter “A” with the help of our son’s Swiss Army Knife. And colored pink. Tree branches turned treasured memories.

24. 3 gifts before 11 am

Enough Gas left to get the kids to school. I didn’t see the needle hovering over the orange empty line till I was already half way there.

Cranberry muffins for Grandparents Day.

Pink Hibiscus. Beautiful flowers in bloom while I wait. The colors remind me of grapefruit.

25. a gift nearly worn out, a gift new, a gift made-do


My 9-year-old boy’s favorite shoes. I told him I couldn’t believe he was still wearing them with his socks showing right through. He told me kids in Haiti wear shoes like that.

Old Barbies become new again. A gift to our little girl.

A best friend’s soccer game. We made it just in time for the last few plays. I got to capture a few great shots for his mom. His team won the game.