Tag Archives: Gratitude

One Scenario: Two Reactions

This morning, I awoke to the sound of my husband’s shoes hitting the hardwood floors. Clippity Clop. Clippity Clop. I opened my eyes, stretched my arms and slowly made my way out of bed and into the start of a brand new day. The calendar was full, but that would have to change. Our son had thrown up the night before – throwing a slight hiccup into the day’s plans. Nothing that couldn’t be remedied with a few texts and phone calls.

As I made my way to the kitchen, my husband walked over, kissed me on the head and ushered me to my piping hot cup of freshly poured coffee sitting on the kitchen island. I looked down and then back up at him. I couldn’t help but smile. My coffee looked just as I like it – a milky, toasted brown color indicating the perfect ratio of rich, flavored cream to bold coffee. If making coffee without uttering a word is a way of measuring how well you know a person, then my husband knows me leaps and bounds better than anyone on the planet. He never gets a cup wrong.

I reached down, grabbed the handle and brought the warm cup of perfection to my lips. As I took my first sip I relished in the feeling that today was going to be a good day.

My thoughts were quickly interrupted by our oldest daughter yelling down the stairs from above that she wasn’t feeling well. Her stomach hurt and she didn’t think she could eat her breakfast. Any parent who has ever had a child old enough to say they aren’t hungry in the morning while simultaneously complaining of a stomachache knows this is fair warning that things may turn at any time (namely, said person’s stomach – emptying all contents hopefully into the toilet and not onto the floor.)

Looks like I would have two of my children home with me. It will be just like when they were little. Today is going to be even better than I had anticipated.

OR………

This morning I awoke to the sound of my husband’s shoes hitting the hardwood floor. Clippity Clop. Clippity Clop. Ugh. Why does he have to wear those shoes every morning? And in our room? Can’t he see I’m trying to sleep? What if I went around clippity clopping every time he was trying to sleep? Maybe I will try that next Saturday morning and see how well he likes it. I wish I didn’t have to get up already. It’s so cold out there and so warm under here. Maybe I’m coming down with something? Ugh. That won’t work. I’m not sick at all. Unless sick of waking up so early counts as being sick – then I’m in really bad shape. Speaking of sick, thanks to a sick kid – my whole day is completely thrown out of whack. Not only do I not feel like getting up – I definitely don’t feel like dealing with this first thing in the morning.

As I made my way into the kitchen, I was once again reminded of how much more motivated my husband is than me in the morning. Always up bright and early and the first one to the coffee pot. Is he rubbing it in my face? The cup is there every morning, waiting for me, reminding me that I don’t have what it takes to wake up as early as I want to.

I reached down, grabbed the handle and took my first sip of many. It takes a lot of coffee to get through these overbooked days.

My thoughts were quickly interrupted by our oldest daughter yelling down the stairs from above that she wasn’t feeling well. You’ve got to be bleeping kidding me. Another one? Isn’t one sick kid enough? If she gets sick, she better make it to the toilet.

Looks like I would have two of my children home with me today. How am I supposed to get anything done? Maybe they aren’t really that sick and I can send them to school anyway? Who would know? Probably not a great idea. Guess today is just going to be one of those days.

One scenario. Two reactions.

It’s amazing how much our internal dialogue has the ability to affect not only our mood, but also how we relate to the world around us. It colors how we see things, how we treat our loved ones and how we cope with difficult situations when they arise.

When we are negative, we can’t help but to spread that negativity – whether we intend to, or not. And on the flip side, when we are joyful and are looking for the good, we can’t help but to spread that positivity – whether we intend to or not.

I began this post a couple of days ago when I had the idea today to take my morning and look at it through two different lenses. As I was writing the first one, I felt light and joyful. And I as I was writing the second one, I could feel my mood change. When I read back through each of the scenarios, I was amazed at the difference I felt even when reading the words.

What, and how, we think affects us. It affects our relationships. It affects our days. Ultimately, it affects our lives.

Am I implying that we walk around like Pollyanna every day? No. We need to be honest about how we are feeling, and some situations really do just plain stink – no way around it. We all have our good days, and our bad days.

What I am implying is this: in the day-to-day grind, our internal dialogue does matter. If we wake up and immediately begin complaining – I believe there is a much better chance we may experience a bad day. And if we wake up and immediately search for the good, the joy, the positive, the blessing, the thing to be grateful for – I believe there is a much better chance we may experience a great day.

Our thoughts color our world.  They motivate and inspire us, or they stifle our dreams. They encourage us, or they tear us down. They build up those around us, or they search for flaws and shortcomings. They give gratitude, or they wish for more. They find the joy in the moment, or the thing to complain about.

I pray that my thoughts are more often those of joy and positivity than not. I pray that throughout my life, regardless of my circumstances, I will leave those I encounter feeling loved and encouraged. I pray that I will not take the sound of my husband’s shoes in the morning, or the warm cup of coffee, or the fact that my children are at home with me for granted. I pray that when I wake up, I remember to give thanks to God for the gift of a brand new day. I pray that I will wake and search for the wonder, the adventure and the possibility that comes with the gift of  that new day – the gift of a fresh start.  I pray that even on days that aren’t as good as others, I still remember to be grateful – because there is so much to be grateful for. On the good days, and the bad. So much. We just need to realize it.

 

“Oh, earth, you’re too wonderful for anybody to realize you.”
Thornton Wilder, Our Town

Unwrapping the Gifts of Fall

 

 

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When the Morning Turns F-Bomb – Disney Style

Have you ever had a moment when you are slightly (or fully) ashamed of how you reacted to something? A moment when you look back at the wellspring of reactions you could have chosen from and think, “Really? That was my choice response?”

I have had that happen. More times than I care to admit. In fact, it’s happening right now.

Something really got to me this morning and instead of deep breathing and putting things in perspective, I was slamming my hands on the counter and throwing F-bombs at my computer.

Yep. I totally was. Thank goodness everyone in the house was still asleep and didn’t have to witness mama going completely off the rails.

Anyone who knows me well, knows profanity doesn’t flow from these lips. Not that I am vehemently opposed to it. In fact, it seems cool to throw a little spice in my vocabulary every now and again (you know, for emotional emphasis), but it just doesn’t come naturally.  It’s not my thing.

Except for this morning. This morning, it was totally my thing.

So, what happened? What went so awry that I felt the need to slam hands and throw F-bombs? Must have been pretty bad, right?

Right? No. It wasn’t bad. Not at all. And that’s where the “Seriously?!” comes into play.

You see, I woke up this morning bright and early with a plan – and when things didn’t go my way, I reacted like a tantrum-throwing toddler. Except, hopefully, most toddlers aren’t throwing F-bombs. Unless that “F” happens to stand for “Fart” – then I could totally see that happening. At least with my kids.

So, what was this plan that went awry?

Well, it started with a spreadsheet. A beautiful spreadsheet carefully laying out all of our vacation plans for a week at the most magical, happiest place on earth. Where? You guessed it. Disney World.

Now here is where I may gain some supporters for my mama meltdown. Any of you who have planned a full-blown Disney vacation with meal plans and Fast Passes know this is no joke. It’s serious business.

And for those of you like myself, this is a far stretch from the typical vacation. Disney is in a league of it’s own.

When I travel with my family, we prefer to wing it. We arrive at our destination with a few ideas of where we may eat and some attractions to check out, but very little other than arrival and departure are solidified. We like to go with the flow. Planning out every detail of a vacation is absolutely NOT our style.

Unless that is – we are traveling to Disney.

Sure, it is possible to go to the most magical place on earth and fly by the seat of your pants, but I just can’t do it. For the amount of money we’re spending, I want to be sure we squeeze out every last bit of magic.

And that was my goal when I woke up this morning – coffee in hand, computer open, phone on the counter ticking off the seconds until the Fast Passes would be mine. I was eager and ready. Come on Disney – Do your magic.

I chose the first date. The little circle spun around and around. YES. This was happening.

Or was it?

Nope. It sure wasn’t.

In the place where my park selections were supposed to be was a single sentence notifying me that there were no available passes at any of the parks for that day. What the?!

I tried again. And again. Each time with the same results.

I will spare you the details, but for the next couple hours I spent a lot of time hitting refresh, trying to get my app to work (to no avail) and an hour listening to Disney park advertisements while I sat on hold waiting to talk to someone – only to find out when they finally did answer that they are not able to help with Fast Pass selections. Who knew?

Finally, it worked. I was able to get my reservations, but it wasn’t without a lot of under the breath muttering, rubbing hands through my hair and various other indicators that I was less than happy with my current circumstance.

What was that circumstance again?

Oh yeah. I wasn’t able to get my Fast Passes when I wanted them. And there, my friend, is where the reality check comes into play. After the Fast Passes were secure and all was again right with the world, I was left with the sad reality of my attitude and behavior. And sad it was.

I mean, come on. Seriously?

This is the definition of a First World problem. And for a couple of hours this morning, this First World problem of the Walt Disney network being down consumed me.

The aftermath? I have my Fast Passes, and if I said I wasn’t happy about that – I would be telling a full blown lie. I’m super stoked about that.  What I’m not happy about is the sorry attitude I had when things didn’t go as planned. Instead of putting things in perspective, I became engulfed in my personal desire to secure these passes for our vacation. Instead of having a heart of gratitude for all that I have, including the ability to go on this incredible vacation, my sole focus was on what I didn’t have.

And this is not how I want to live. This is not where I want my heart to go in those moments. It’s okay to feel frustrated. It was a frustrating situation. But I got lost in my frustration.

My reaction this morning reminds me of the importance of starting my day in prayer and meditation. When I do this, the focus shifts from myself and all of my wants and desires to God and what He may want for my day. When I do this, I am much more apt to say, “Thy will be done.” If I start my day with quiet time, instead of jumping right into my plans –  I am much more apt to roll with the punches.

My reaction this morning reminds me of the importance of keeping a heart of gratitude – regardless of my circumstances. It reminds me  to be grateful for my many blessings and not get so lost in my wants and desires that I lose perspective.

I lost perspective a little bit this morning when things didn’t go my way.

Thankfully, I have it back.

And I hope not to lose it again. Especially not in the “My Disney plans aren’t working out so I’m going to drop F-bombs and throw my hands in the air repeatedly” kind of way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Near Death Sandwich: The Final Chapter

On our way to Hawaii, I had moments when I honestly wasn’t sure what would happen. I knew there was such a thing as too hot and I knew we did not have air. I did not know how hot our plane would become and I also knew we were over the ocean with nowhere safe to land. All I could do was pray.

In the hours leading up to our flight home from Hawaii, I honestly wasn’t sure what would happen. I knew I was very sick and was becoming dehydrated. I was not in the comfort of my home and I didn’t know if I would be able to tolerate the plane ride. All I could do was pray.

As you know, because I am sitting here typing this, I made it home safely from Hawaii. I drank a ton of (yes, you guessed it) Gatorade and I slept a lot. Eventually the pain subsided. Patrick finished my packing because he is a wonderful, sweet man and I rested until just moments before we had to leave for the airport.

Thankfully, because we were taking the red-eye home, I had time to start feeling better before take-off. It’s funny how that happens. When we initially booked our flight, I wasn’t sure about taking a red-eye. Now, I was incredibly grateful we were.

I didn’t feel the best on the flight, but I made it. Thanks to lots of prayers and more Gatorade than I had ever consumed before, I made it.

I had the most remarkable time with my husband in Maui –

and this remarkable time was sandwiched between two of the more nerve-racking days in my life.

Two nerve-racking, scary, bunch my stomach in knots and cover me in sweat days. These days both had the same end result – gratitude. 

Immense gratitude. The kind of gratitude that blankets your insides and makes you stop and breathe deep breaths and just be present with all of the thankfulness. That kind of all-consuming gratitude.

Gratitude to be on vacation.

Gratitude to have made it to my next destination.

Gratitude to have my feet on the ground.

Gratitude to be feeling well.

Gratitude to be home with my children.

Gratitude to be alive.

Gratitude.

Deep.

Deep.

Gratitude.

Sometimes, to fully experience gratitude you have to be taken to a place of discomfort. A place of unknown. A place of pain.

People wonder why bad things happen to good people. I know they aren’t talking about scary plane rides and food poisoning, but maybe sometimes you have to experience the bad to recognize all of the beauty in the good.

Maybe those moments that aren’t so great, those moments that drop us to our knees, those moments that have us crying out “why?!” as tears stream down our faces, those moments when we can’t imagine taking another breath because we are so tired and weighed down by the heaviness of life, those moments when we feel alone or scared or weary, those moments when we aren’t sure what our future holds, maybe those moments are the moments that draw us closer to God. Maybe they don’t always feel that way in the moment, but maybe that is the end result.

I know that was my end result.

Gratitude. 

Deep. 

Deep. 

Gratitude.

 

 

 

 

 

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