Tempted to be Grateful (Thanks {Dad})!

Gratitude.

Not a new concept. Not even a new writing topic of mine.

Yet here I am, pondering its importance again.

Not because everything is going perfectly and beyond my wildest dreams…

Not because I’m gushing.

But because I’m tempted.

Tempted to be stressed by the 40+ boxes in my basement… filled with things that need a place to belong.

Tempted to be frustrated with the daily rigor and drain of training up my children in the way that they should go… especially when they don’t want to go.

Tempted to cry over mangled boxes and broken glass.

Tempted to be discouraged that we don’t have a vehicle.

Tempted to run far far from the laundry pile.

🙂

Tempted to grumble and complain.

Then I look out my window and the day is beautiful. Birds flit from tree to flower to post. Rays of sun warm cold skin. Creations lifts its arms and stretches with such vibrancy I can’t help but pause, breathe deeply, and smile.

And everything else fades away.

The boxes, the glass, the laundry.

And I’m grateful. I’m grateful because all of these things are purposed… unsuspected gifts that enter our lives disguised as inconvenience.

But each circumstance, no matter how it draws us in to its negativity, is really an opportunity.

An opportunity to choose our attitude. To decide that we are the masters of our emotions… not the situations around us. I can begrudge the clothes to wash… or be deeply grateful for the little bodies who dirty those clothes… who live life fully, albeit in the dirt. 🙂

Gratitude doesn’t only flow on a good day.

It’s abundant on the hard ones too.

Confession: You’ll be surprised perhaps 🙂 but all of this gratitude-inspired living I learned from my dad.

He taught me about choice. Free will. That I can blame-shift… but that doesn’t lift the spirit.

He taught me about the brain’s design… and how it’s impossible to worry and be grateful at the same time. Impossible.

He taught me the power of being grateful… that a switch in attitude lightens the entire episode… so that it’s not as dismal and dreary, regardless of the situation. 

Imagine living a life free of frustration, negativity, and stress.

All because you chose to be grateful for something. Anything. Everything.

This is not often easy. Remembering that it’s an option is the first challenge. Choosing it is the next. But once the choice is made… there is not regret. Only a heart filled with pleasure and joy of recalling all things good… naming them, receiving them again, as gifts, and letting all else pale in comparison.

This is the hope I choose.

Because my dad taught me to give thanks in all circumstances.

Try it and see how your life is transformed… without a single altered circumstance.

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

To learn more about 31 Days in 2012 or view other 31 Dayers blogs, click here.

I’m spending 31 days writing about my confessions and the lessons {Dad} has taught me. This is day 21 of 31 Days in 2012.

The Union of Voice

One of my favorite sounds on earth is the low rumble and hum of conversation- as it blends in a union of voice, filled with laughter, and without pause for breath.

The sound of family.

It triggers deep memories- the memories of a very young child napping in another room, comforted by the tones of security as loved ones mingled. Distant. Faint.

Most of my life consisted of two parents and younger sister. A strange void in the hum.

Now that I’m married, I have Aunts, Uncles, and many, many cousins.

My heart soars.

I know that the bigger the family the more potential for drama. I’m unfazed. Perhaps because this “new” family of mine is far more beautiful than dramatic. Even now, as I type, I am comforted by the low tune of their conversations. Conversations about loved ones passed on, growing up in a different era, lessons learned through time and experience, and the laughter that comes after years have healed pain and tears have turned into wisdom.

Parents, once children, now guide and train their own. New memories form that the future adults will share with one another over a great Thanksgiving feast, while their own children are comforted in other rooms by the sounds of love and family.

The hum carries through the generations. The united voices change as it’s members pass into eternity and the next generation fills their place in the music of celebration and togetherness.

Sit back, close your eyes, and let the hum fill you.

If you don’t have a large family (like I didn’t) the same notes can be heard among loving friends.

Listen for it. Move to it.

Join it.