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Monday, March 14, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude

I think our house has a new catch phrase!  During a recent sermon at our church our preacher brought up the subject of having an attitude of gratitude.  He explained that having an attitude that does not start with thankfulness makes you more likely to be cranky, moody, and unhealthy.  What he was teaching is based on the Bible, which I base my beliefs on, but any person with or without a belief in God can apply this lesson.  It simply means that you start your thoughts and days with gratitude as the foundation.  If you are busy being thankful for your blessings, big or small, it will be that much harder to stay frustrated at the idiot driver in front of you or the mailman who forgot your US Weekly again.  If you make an effort to concentrate on how fortunate you are it makes all the little disturbances in your day seem less annoying.  This kind of attitude will spill over into all areas of your life and will most definitely make an impact on your kids.  Not only will you have a new perspective on dealing with their misbehaviors, but you will show them by example a more patient and joyful way of living.  

If you read my post from last week you will understand why this sermon really struck me.  I spent most of last week stressed and feeling overwhelmed.  I was letting every little thing get to me and throwing myself a major pity party.  As I sat in church and listened I realized that I had forgotten to be thankful.  I made a mental note to do a little better this week.  The first day I decided that I immediately saw a difference in my day.  I chose to make the most of waiting on an oil change.  I threw on work out clothes and we walked to Snip-its (side note: if you haven't been there they do a great job.  Here is a coupon for your first visit.)  I got in some much needed exercise and the kids enjoyed the fresh air.  I made a conscience effort to appreciate the fact that we live in a great part of town where things are easily in walking distance.  Both boys sat like little princes for their haircuts so I treated us to lunch at Flying Biscuit.  Well treated myself because lets face it I am really the one who decides where we eat but I mentally said a thank-you for the $20 in my wallet that was allowing us to eat at one of my favorite places.  Next we popped in to Kid to Kid for a minute.  I was thankful for the enclosed play area so that I could browse in peace.  I was even more thankful when I found a white button down exactly like the one I purchased at the mall this weekend for my son.  I bought 5 items for the same amount I will be receiving back when I return the shirt.  Just one of those days where everything seemed to fall into place.  Or was it?  Was it just that I had an attitude of gratitude?  Because my kids weren't perfect the whole time.  There were complaints, whining, and disobeying and certainly my buttons were pushed but I just didn't feel the weight of all of that like I did last week.  I didn't let all of the little things pile up and I didn't let my myself focus on just the negative.  I could tell a difference in the way I talked to my kids and in the way I felt.  No racing heart, no lump in my throat, and low-and-behold a smile on my face.

I know that sustaining an attitude of gratitude is hard, especially when some days seem intent on breaking you but I know that if I focus on what I have and all that I am thankful for I will be able to endure the people and situations that so often make me CRRRAZY!!  And don't get me wrong, I said endure not enjoy.  I will not kid myself by saying that no one and nothing will ever make me mad again I am just going to try to not dwell on it.

This sermon came at just the right time...during a week that I couldn't find a way to stop being frustrated.  I had forgotten that just my way of thinking could change a lot.  Funny how timing is everything, from waiting for a pregnancy that you want so badly to choosing when and where your child should go for preschool.  It all works out.  

ps.  Not only does my church rock (obviously) but they have one of the BEST bands I have ever heard.  I for real feel like I am sitting in an American Idol each week.  May sound way too contemporary for some but don't knock it till you try it!  And, I just found out that Emily from The Bachelor goes to my church!  Now I bet ya wanna come huh?!

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