One thing I’ve learned is that happiness is a fleeting shadow. Contentment and gratitude are all that last. When circumstances dictate how we feel? Just accept that life is going to feel as if we are strapped to Hell’s Tilt-A-Whirl.
Because cats will never puke on tile instead of carpet, cars break, sinks leak, pipes bust, bills come, illness happens, kids act up, family WILL make us nuts, work will suck, some people will NEVER learn not to CC ALL in an e-mail, and the news will always be filled with the worst examples of “humanity.” EVERY network will spew doom, gloom, division, hate and hopelessness.
On the other side of that?
We also live in a society that tells us everything should be a highlight reel, that everyone ELSE is living a highlight reel, when truth is? That’s a lie. Most of life is Behind the Scenes and ugly and sticky and coated in cat fur and cracker crumbs.
I make it a point to begin every day with an attitude of gratitude. I think it is important, especially these days where it seems like every commercial tells us we aren’t thin enough, rich enough, successful enough, happy enough. We always need more “stuff” to be enough.
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I wrote a blog ages ago about focusing on success, that we tend to drift where the eyes focus. Race car drivers learn that if you want to cross the finish line, never ever take your eyes off the goal line. Look at the wall and you will hit the wall. I believe everything is that way. If we focus on where we are lacking, what others appear to have that we want? We run the danger of being deeply ungrateful, and that can be an extraordinarily defeating way to live.
Lately, I’ve had a hard reality to face. I’ve always been very healthy and exercise was a part our lives. Then, in late August, I came down with Shingles. It’s been three months of non-stop nerve pain and exhaustion. Since I can’t move a lot, I can’t work out, thus I can’t pass a mirror without cringing. I’m also an author and a small business owner and it feels like everything is going to seed before my eyes.
But? I have a malady that will eventually heal.
I have a wonderful little boy who is HIGH ENERGY. My author friend J.E. Fishman writes a thriller series about Bomb Techs. Highly recommended, btw.
As part of J.E.’s book promotion, he sent me a gift. Stress balls that look like little bombs with a fuse. This means every time I go to the bathroom, Spawn flings open the door and lobs a grenade and shouts “FIRE IN THE HOLE!” seconds before a stress ball dings off my head….then he runs away laughing.
It was seriously funny the first 7,651 times.
But shouldn’t it be funny EVERY time? Am I taking enough time to ENJOY this little boy who will grow up all too soon? There are the dishes, the laundry, the dusting, but am I ENJOYING the home I have? I love serving writers, blogging, teaching, but am I taking a moment to ENJOY all of you? I have the world’s best husband. I make it a point that, when he gets home from work, a fresh, hot meal is made and his clean pajamas and towel are laid out next to the shower, but am I ENJOYING him?
Am I truly giving thanks?
I don’t know about you, but I know this is an area I can ALWAYS come up higher. Grateful people are happy people.
Thanksgiving seems to be the middle child of holidays. Halloween is fun and glitzy and exciting. Christmas is cute and we adore it and look forward to seeing it…and oh yeah, there’s Thanksgiving. Hey, do we even have decorations for that? Christmas is this magical time, and we often hear how we need to keep Christmas in our hearts all year long. Well, that is a great idea, but we would be wise to keep Thanksgiving there too.
We have all kinds of ways to be thankful and many things to be grateful for that we might not even notice. The next time you go to complain, I challenge you to think of the blessing that inconvenience really is. I do this myself when I hear complaints and grumblings coming out of my mouth. I’ll show you what I mean…
I am thankful for the searing nerve pain in my leg, because I still have a leg. It wasn’t blown off by an IED or amputated because of diabetes.
I am thankful for all the laundry I have to do, because it means I have clothes to wear.
I am thankful for the dishes that need washing, because it means I didn’t go hungry.
I am thankful for my BAZILLION food allergies, because it means my family eats very healthy.
I am thankful for the ENORMOUS electric bill, because it means my home has lights and heat.
I am thankful for the sheets that need to be changed, because it means I own a bed.
I am thankful for all the reading I have to do, because it means I’m literate.
I am thankful for the car that needs all new tires because it means I don’t have to walk miles and miles to get what I need.
I am thankful for that parking space waaaaayyyy out in the back, because it means I don’t have to park in a handicapped space. I can walk.
I am thankful for the garage that needs to be cleaned out, because it means I am blessed with plenty.
I am thankful for the chores to be done, because it means I have mom who loves me enough to travel to see me.
I am thankful for the litter-box that needs cleaning and the dog blankets that need washing because it means I have pets who love me unconditionally.
I am thankful for Johnny Cat who I have to shoo off counters and who breaks EVERYTHING, because he nearly died and now he’s back, healthy enough to wreak havoc (refer to above pic).
I am thankful for the split ends and six inches of roots I have, because it means I haven’t lost all my hair to chemo.
I am thankful for the Christmas cards I need to send, because they could as easily be funeral announcements.
I am thankful for the traffic snarls that catch me, because the body the firemen pulled out of the fatality accident could have been me.
I am thankful for the persistent leak in my sink, because it means that I have a home.
I am thankful for all the Christmas shopping I have to do, because it means I’m not alone.
I am thankful for my fluffy body because it could be emaciated and waiting on a food relief truck.
I am thankful for the son who would make a nest in my bra if he could (especially when I am WRITING), because it means I have a son who dearly loves me.
I am thankful that I sometimes have doubts and confusion about my future and my purpose when I think of the lives cut short before they ever had a future.
I am thankful for my freedom and the amazing men and women who put their lives on the line to protect it.
I am definitely thankful for all of you who bless me on this blog by giving me your time. Time is the most precious commodity we have and we never seem to have enough, but all of you are so generous to me. You share the very thing we all need more of….TIME. Thus, I’m immensely grateful you guys give to freely to me. I’m WAY thankful for my amazing WANA community. You guys are the bright spot to each and every day in my world and the world around you. It is such an honor and privilege to serve you.
And for a laugh and even a little food for thought, I LOVE this video…
What are you guys thankful for? Maybe things that vex you, but when viewed another way are unseen blessings. I’d like to hear your comments (which I am super especially thankful to get, by the way). Do you feel Thanksgiving kinda gets steamrolled? Do we need to learn to be more grateful as a culture? Is consumerism taking the place of genuine joy? What things do you do to make sure you remain grateful!
I LOVE hearing from you!
Yeah, yeah, I just griped about consumer culture, but writers need to eat too. Feel free to ignore and scroll down, but I DID write a book and it IS very helpful 😉 . Happy Thanksgiving!
For those who need help building a platform and keeping it SIMPLE, pick up a copy of my latest social media/branding book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World on AMAZON, iBooks, or Nook.