Mission: Gratitude

What a ride 2017 has been. Thanks for your patience as I get myself together and get this blog that has seen various shapes and formats over time back on track!

Today, I had the chance to spend the day at Hersheypark with good friends of ours – guys, I’m talking do life together even when it’s gritty friends, the best!

Anyway, we got to talking. I’m not sure if it was before or after our kids (by our kids, I mean mine) lost their minds over the fact that they couldn’t have a soft pretzel because it wasn’t made yet – it was morning. I didn’t say no to the pretzel, it was just a physical impossibility at the minute. And thus it began.

We were talking about how hard it is to accept a lack of gratitude in our kids…that it is absolutely maddening to try to provide extras for them and to have it feel like it’s not enough. About how it’s a frustrating lesson to teach and how the lack of the emotion seems to rear its ugly little head time and time again.

So then…I started thinking.

Are we – as adults – any different? How often do we get frustrated when life doesn’t go the way we think it should, according to our plan? How often are we so focused on what we want, and might not have, that we forget about what we do have?

I’m not coming down on anyone here, not any harder than myself at least. This past year has been a struggle. We’ve tried hard to change and adapt to our lives here, but it has been hard. We get frustrated by long hours at work. We long for the life we left behind. We complain over a lack of sleep. We struggle to make it to dinner, let alone bed times some nights! I’m going to stop there because I think giving more than a few examples goes in EXACTLY the direction I’m attempting to avoid.

Recently, I’ve been trying to change the trend in my own life. When I feel the need to grumble, I replace it with three things to be grateful for: kids to do laundry for. A home that meets the needs of our family. Friends and family that we can do life with every single day. The opportunity to travel and see this amazing world. When I struggle to come up with 3 things, I push myself for 5.

You see, I think a lack of gratitude has serious implications for the rest of our lives. It stops us from living out the calling placed on us, it stops us from sharing our lives with those around us because we’re so stuck in our own circle of selfishness that it’s physically impossible to reach out. It prevents us from noticing blessings that literally surround us at every given moment. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that MANY of our limitations and situations are self-imposed, partially from a lack of doing our best to be grateful.

Once again – I’m not here to condemn anyone. I’m the first to say I have some serious work to do. But, I can tell you, that even when things are hard (which they are…friends…this life is hard sometimes), I’m going to do my best to try to look a little harder at the blessings that abound everywhere. When I feel bogged down by work, by parenting frustrations or by any other thing that gives me a reason to complain, I’m going to slow down. I’m going to breathe in a little deeper and take an intentional look at the sunset, the little ones that give me reason to smile, the fact that I have a home to clean and food to eat and any other number of things I tend to take for granted…care to join?

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