Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankfulness Isn't A Feeling

This morning I woke up. I stretched in my warm, comfy bed; looked a the bright sun streaming through my window; heard the steady breathing of my prince charming beside me; thought of the day ahead with my family and I felt thankful. Some days I just feel so grateful and blessed inside that I have to update my status just to calm myself down. "Feeling blessed!", "Feeling grateful!", "Feeling thankful"(insert emoji). But you know what, thankful isn't a feeling. Thankful is a choice.

There are times in our lives when things are going great. The job is good; the kids are well; the hubby is fine; the house isn't falling down; the bills are paid; there is food in the pantry and gas in the car; and yet, in spite of all that, we don't stop to be thankful. We are too wrapped us in the events of the day to experience a feeling a gratitude. We are busy checking off our to-do list and taxiing people to their various events. Busy trumps grateful. Thankful isn't a feeling. Thankful is a choice. Thankful means that we intentionally stop everyday and consider all of the blessings of the day, the big and the small, and choose to be thankful.

Then there are those darker days in life. The days the house floods; the doctor delivers bad news; the kids are fighting; there isn't enough money to make ends meet; the world news is frightening, and things just seem to be going wrong all around. On those days, maybe more than any others, thankful isn't a feeling; thankful is a choice. It is hard to feel thankful when things seem so hard, but I have found that thankfulness is even more important on those days. In all my struggles, I have learned that thankfulness is the path that leads out of darkness. As soon as you begin look for the blessings around you, the darkness fades a little. When you choose to be thankful, your focus shifts and the burden gets a little lighter. You may not FEEL thankful, but when you choose to BE thankful you find strength for the trial. Choose to be thankful!

I don't know where you are today. Maybe life is great today, maybe it is a struggle. Wherever you are in the journey of life, I pray that you will choose to be thankful! Let's not just be thankful on national holidays, but take time every day to choose thankfulness. Even on the bad days, God is good.

Give thanks in all circumstances.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Friday, November 7, 2014

Contract Renewed

Contract Renewed!! Isn't it great news when you know that you have received a contract renewal? Your work is good and there is more to do so your boss renews your contract ensuring you of a job, pay checks for the future, provision for your family. You have passed the evaluation and your work will go on. Whew!

Today my "contract was renewed"!!!! My CT scans show that God has done a great work! My report includes words such as " unremarkable", "no evidence of recurrence", "no new drops"--- WOOOHOOOOO!!!!!! God's work has been miraculous and He has more for me to do!!! My contract has been extended for another six months! Six months that I don't have to worry about The Nuisance; six months to live As If.

It seems so weird to think of life in terms of contract renewal, but isn't that how it is? Each day is a new start, a chance to keep working on the important projects in our lives. It is a chance to do things better than the day before, accomplish things we have yet to accomplish, and make a difference in this world. I am just downright giddy at the thought that my contract is renewed! I have another chance to be a better mom, a better wife, a better friend, a better leader, and most of all a better servant to God who has done so much for me.

You know, your contract was renewed today! You have another opportunity to live, love, and laugh! Don't waste a moment! We have a lot of work to do!!

Thank you for all your prayers and encouragement! We are eternally grateful!! God is good!!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Epiphany

What a week! The book "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" has been followed up with the sequel "Anna and the Disastrous, Lousy, Calamity-filled, Very Expensive WEEK!" Here's the run down.  Saturday our toilet flooded ruining the carpet in 4 rooms and leading to 11 industrial fans and a humidifier running until Wednesday. My boys ended up sleeping in my closet to escape the noise and disarray! I never want to hear another fan!!! Monday we had to have our garage door opener fixed and my appointments for MD Anderson, that were scheduled for the week of November 12, got moved up to next week (YIKES--that's another blog post) requiring new travel arrangements (AKA higher costs) and calendar upheaval. Tuesday I was whipping into a parking place as I rushed into a meeting and I clipped a car in the parking lot. Wednesday my dog had to go to the vet to have her stitches removed from surgery and Thursday the school nurse called to say that my son was sick---AGAIN! It was just one of those weeks. If I had a dollar for every time I said "Dang it!" and "Oh CRAP" this week,  I would be rich. (And yes, a few other choice words popped into my head, but to my credit they didn't pop out of my mouth so they don't count!)

So here comes the epiphany part. Friday I was rushing to work--late. I heard the train blow its whistle as I pulled from my garage. Now in the little town I live in, the train can hold us prisoner as it blocks the only direct exits out of town. I decided I knew which direction the train was headed and I zipped out the back way certain that I would miss it, and in the long run, make up some time. Off I go speeding down the back roads and feeling pretty proud of myself-- until I approached my turn onto the highway and heard that whistle blow. I had misjudged the direction and was STILL going to be cut off by the train. I should have just waited! "DANG IT!!" And that's when it happened---the epiphany. It hit me smack in the face. When something bad happens (and I had a lot of experience this week) I (we?) tend to respond with things like dang it, darn it, crap, and other colorful language as an impulsive reaction. The long and the short of it is that we are cursing the bad situation, but what hit me was shouldn't we be blessing it? Shouldn't we be asking that whatever bad thing that is happening be blessed, not cursed. I mean after all, it already seems cursed. Wouldn't it be better if we asked for something good to be done to it? The thoughts were almost audible as they popped into my mind. It seemed like more than a suggestion, so I tried it. The train whistle blew again and I said, "Bless it!" and you know what? The train kept right on coming, but suddenly my frustration drained. In fact, I felt a little joy creep back into my day. That may sound really strange, but it is true. Somehow uttering those words re-framed things for me. I pulled into the parking lot safe and sound  and (only 3 minutes late) with a new outlook and a new challenge. Each time I am in an "Oh Crap" situation, I am going to say, "Bless me". I want you to hold me accountable. When I slip, call me on it. I am wearing a little silver beaded bracelet on my wrist. If I mess up, make me move it to the other hand. Changing habits is hard and it is a gentle reminder of what I am working on. I want a life filled with blessing even when things are going wrong, don't you? Maybe you should join me in my little challenge. Who knows how our lives will change.

In Psalm 109:17 David is talking about an enemy and he says, "He loved to pronounce a curse—may it come back on him. He found no pleasure in blessing—may it be far from him." What if all the little curses we casually mutter under our breath really came back on us? YIKES! I want to find pleasure in blessing!! 

So today I am going to be doing some packing so that painters and carpet layers can come fix my disaster zone. Bless it! My Saturday has a to-do list a mile long so I can be ready to go to MD Anderson. Bless me! I will have a lot of tests run this week to see what the Nuisance is up to. Bless me! May it be said of me that she found pleasure in blessing!!

Happy Saturday, y'all! Be blessed!