Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Not a Day Without Some Gratitude

"Thankful people are happy people."  

It wasn't that I was unhappy, it was that when I was unhappy, it just multiplied.  I couldn't see the trees for all of the forest.  I'd get exhausted or overwhelmed and it would just snowball.  The big, big, serious hard parts of wife-motherhood would weigh me down and I couldn't see the good little individual things that were happening.  

Even when a little girlie would say something nice to me.  

Even when my husband would rub my shoulder as he walked by.

Even when there was good all around me, I'd stay right there in the unhappy overhwelm.   

When I saw "Thankful people are happy people," I realized where something needed to change.  I thought, "Every day I'll write down something I'm thankful for."  You already know how often I count my blessings.  I already know it's a good exercise.  But, I needed to up my gratitude game.  I wanted to write one thing I was thankful for every day in my journal.  I didn't want another thing to fail at, because sometimes that's what it feels like.  (Eat better, exercise more, read more, floss, etc.)  This list is long and there's only 24 hours in each day.

It started like this, "Today I am thankful for..."

And the next day, when I opened my journal, I noticed the word thankful and again jotted down, "Today I am thankful for..."

It was anything from gratitude for the Rugged Mountain Man or our Blossoms or just having clean and convenient running water.  Whatever came to mind, that's what I wrote.  It was a simple, non-condemning exercise.  

WOW, does gratitude ever blossom!  It grows.  It multiplies.  The more I thought about what I was thankful for, the more I dwelt on those things.  I felt my perspective shift.  Instead of focusing on every shortcoming, every failure, every disappointment, every lack, 
my focus is now in the right place.  

And lest you think I'm some Pollyanna perfect optimist, I'm writing this blog post while my little Blossom4 has a stomach bug.  And yet, I've found things to be thankful for today.  

The snuggles, 
getting to rock her to sleep, 
having an excuse to just sit with her, 
gratitude for her personality that is patient when sick, 
gratitude for the other girlies being quiet while I get a power nap... 

shifting from focusing on the puking, to focusing on what is good.  That's actually what Pollyanna is about.  If you haven't read the classic in its unabridged form, I highly recommend it.  Pollyanna is a little girl going through hard knocks, walking out the life lesson her father, a pastor, taught her, to always, always, always find something to be thankful for in every situation. 

Evidently I'm not the only one thinking about gratitude these days.  A friend of mine posted a reminder on habitual gratitude, prompting me to actually take the time to write this post that I've been composing in my head for weeks.

I've noticed parallels in my children's lives too.  Teaching Blossom4 to pray has been an interesting journey.  She held on the longest to repeating after Mommy to pray.  

I kept encouraging her to talk to our Father God and tell Him what she was thankful for or something she wanted to pray about.  In a frustrated voice, she'd say, "Ummmmmmmmm, I don't know what to say."  

Knowing her personality and how she's rarely truly at a loss for words, I started waiting longer before I jumped in to help her pray, encouraging her to be thankful.  To think.  To pray from her heart.  After many of these little sessions, she now thoughtfully and purposefully searches for the words to say. 

"Tank You dat Mama got 'trawberries at Wawmart."

"Tank You dat Daddy did not slip down da driveway on da way to wuhk."

"Tank You dat my cousin came over today."

Her gratitude is such an example to me for every little thing that God does for me.  

For every way His hand is upon the day He's given me.  

She actually takes the time to think through the day  

and thank God for something important to her. 

Truly a little child shall lead us.