Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Being grateful

I have been thinking a lot about being grateful lately.
This might seem like a dumb thing to do when it could be argued that this might be a justifiable situation where one could, say, plunge headfirst into an sad, sad hole of misery.
Retreating into a state of despair might even be considered the natural thing to do.
It's the path of least resistance.
Everyone would understand.
They would sympathetically attend my pity party.
In fact, someone actually told me at the dinner following Scott's funeral service, that if I wanted to become unhinged and do something outrageous, now would be the time that I could get away with it.
They suggested I might want to jump up on the table and scream.
That sounded like a terrible idea.
Back to being normal.
I don't often think that the path of least resistance is necessarily the path I should be going down.
It usually leads to more unhappiness.
How will I grow if I mosey down a path that takes no effort and no self-control.
So I am trying to purposefully have a good attitude by being grateful.
It is working pretty good.
On some days.
Of course, being grateful may seem easier when everything is going swimmingly and your life is perfect.
But really how often is everything perfect?
It makes me think of this quote:

We sometimes think that being grateful is what we do after our problems are solved, but how terribly shortsighted that is. How much of life do we miss waiting to see the rainbow before thanking God that there is rain? -Elder Uchtdorf

No matter how dire your circumstances, there is always good to be found.
There is always something to be grateful for.
And how much do I miss by wishing things were different, were better?
So this is what I do:
1) I start to feel sorry for myself. (Most of the time I am wishing I had my own home. That I owned. This is the one thing I want more than any other thing. In the whole history of things, this one is a big deal. Through all nine years of college, through all of the grody apartments , every time we moved in with family members, all I wanted was a house. I want to decorate it, clean it, organize it until I explode, make memories in it. I want something I can personalize and make beautiful for my family.)
2) I begin thinking about all the people I know who have what I want. (This is always a mistake.)
3) Slap myself.
4) List all the reasons why my situation is beneficial and good. (I don't have to worry about paying for said house while my situation is so precarious. I live with two people that love my kids enormously and pitch in with child care so I can do other things I enjoy. I have the time and flexibility to go back to school or find the right job. See there are lots of reasons.)
5) Remember that my life is blessed and that once I do have the things I want, I will appreciate them that much more.

Now I am not saying being grateful is easy.
Some days, I look around me, at my situation, and all I see is what I don't have.
Those days are always a little more gloomy.
But if I deliberately look for what is awesome in my life (my children, good health, popcorn) then I feel happier.
As Ezra would say, "Easy peezy, lemon squeezy."

^^ My Mother's Day card from Ezra. It is pretty much my favorite card, ever. It is a picture of the two of us. Ezra is  the one on the left with a mustache and mohawk. Apparently he thinks I look like a turd with pointy hair and glasses. ^^
^^ Touché Ezra, touché^^


    I pray for you every day in hopes you will feel God's love. I see that you are. ♥

  2. Love this post! Ezra's mustache drawing is amazing. He has real skillz. Come visit soon.

  3. Ezra's mustahce is every boy/man's dream. And it made me laugh out loud. Isn't it funny how kids find such odd little ways to squish all the letters onto a page? I appreciate your quote from Elder Uchtdorf too. I mean isn't that what God's grace is for? So that we can feel appreciative, hopeful, loved, and be at peace even when things seem to be crumbling around us? Keep up the good work lady!

  4. I think Ezra's drawing is the best! I love your good attitude. I wish I had a better one sometimes..

  5. Know what's crazy? I have the house and life I want now. But, I still look back often and wish I still lived with my parents with my two boys. For the same reasons you listed. I was living with the two people (parents) I loved most, my children were loved on like CRAZY, help with children 24/7, I could go hang out with friends after my kids were in bed, I didn't have to worry about money or bills, my kids got to go everywhere with Grandpa, read stories to them every night, ect... Things were simple. And fun. Hard because I was lonely. But, fun! When I'm having a bad day I lay in bed and wish for those times back and always wonder if I made the right choice moving away and leaving behind my family. I miss them. I know my kids miss them. They always always talk about our time (memories) there with my parents. Enjoy the life you have now. Believe it or not... You will look back and cherish it.