Sunday, November 29, 2009

Continuing to give thanks.....

Tomorrow will be my last "gratitude adjustment" post on Facebook (as November is ending), but I am certainly no less grateful for everything. I have appreciated this exercise even more than I expected. I needed to step back and really think about the everyday things for which I am thankful. Here's the latest (since my last post):

  • 11/20: "Today I am thankful for a good boss. I've had wonderful ones and I've had lousy ones. The good ones make it very worthwhile. Hats off to 'JB'!!!"
  • 11/21: "Today, I am thankful for warm socks! I know that sounds silly, but see how thankful you are for them when you're in a cold building! :)"
  • 11/22: "Today, I am thankful for the journey known as life. I am thankful for the companions on the journey and what they have to teach me .... about themselves, about myself. I'm thankful for multiple chances and grace for each moment."
  • 11/23: "Today I am thankful for dress-down week, for a 24/7 access gym, and for coffee waiting when I got home from the gym for breakfast. And thankful for polish that dries in 60 seconds. Important stuff for a Monday morning!"
  • 11/24: "Today, I am thankful that my dental appointment is AFTER Thanksgiving lunch at work! :D I'm also thankful for good dentists & hygienists, and for good strong teeth!"
  • 11/25: "Today I am thankful for a wonderful vet and staff who love my baby to death. And I am thankful that I can bring him back with me to the office this afternoon. I am also thankful that my cooking turned out well last night!"
  • 11/26: "Today, I am thankful for so much, I hardly know where to start: for grace, forgiveness, love, family, friends, and abundance; for friendships made and found again; and my sincere prayers for all who need some level of miracle in their lives. But then again, don't we all? HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO EVERYONE!!!!!"
  • 11/27: "Today, I am thankful for a day off. And I am thankful that I only have two retail places that I *have* to visit today, and not for any BF specials. I do not do Black Friday."
  • 11/28: "Today, I am thankful to be able to help people become healthier, and to share even one or two small things to help them along the way."
  • 11/29: "Today, I am thankful for the start of another liturgical year -- the wonder and anticipation of Advent that makes Christmas a true joy. After all, the real Christmas season is Dec. 25 until Jan. 6, not Black Friday to Christmas Eve at 6:00 PM."
I will continue this exercise, but in a slightly different format. My plan is to keep a daily calendar in Publisher or Word, and put my thanks on each day. Then at the end of the month, posting it online in PDF format or as a link online.

Amazingly enough, I find that while I still have tense moments and crazy days, somehow they haven't seemed quite as bad as I might have expected originally. Ha. Imagine that. If, as Proverbs says, "a merry heart is like a good medicine" how much more helpful to the system is a grateful heart?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Not gonna, no way, no how

Black Friday sales, that is.

One, I love sleep like a fat kid loves chocolate cake. I never get enough, that's for sure (I know, I know, something I've got to work on). So you definitely were not gonna see my happy rear outside Toys-R-Us or Wally or anywhere else at midnight, 3 AM, 4 AM, 5:30 AM, or whenever. Two, I love warm houses. My internal thermostat went on the fritz somewhere around the 100-pound mark, so I cannot take the cold without being bundled up like I'm doing the Iditarod. Three, are the prices really worth it? Yeah, I can try to snag a laptop advertised at (example) $249. But if the store only has 3, and there are 500 people there also wanting a laptop....... right. I'd rather pay $299 and avoid the madding crowds.

The only places I plan to venture today are..... leaving in 10 minutes to meet a friend to pick up something. Then back home, wait on Mom to get back from a funeral (long story) and then out to Hobby Lobby to browse for something. Other than that....... MAYBE the grocery store.

I have heard via friends on FB that it's not quite as crazy out there today as it has been before. I remain unswayed .... it's just not worth it!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Gratitude Adjustment / Channelling HRHJCB

You know, it's going fairly well...... I do notice a difference in my attitude. Each morning, shower time has become my time to go, "Okay, really, what *am* I thankful for today?" And it forces me to get that in my head early enough .... and throughout the rest of the day, it forces me to really think about being more grateful for everything that comes my way. Here's my list so far:

  • 11/9: "Today, I am thankful for those who listen to my heart as well as my words. That means more than you know!!!"
  • 11/10: "Today I am thankful for the rain.... I hate that people on the Gulf are getting hammered with it even worse, but thankful that it's also heading our way. We still need it!"
  • 11/11: "Today, I am thankful for all veterans, and for those who serve today. Your sacrifices and hard work make my freedoms possible, and we don't thank you nearly enough!"
  • 11/12: "Today I am thankful for health conditions that make me take better care of myself. They really are blessings in disguise!"
  • 11/13: "Today, I am thankful for my family (immediate and extended) and their love for me through every place and stage of my life."
  • 11/14: "Today I am thankful for bright warm sunshine and crisp air."
  • 11/15: "Today I am thankful for the opportunity to serve God and his people through singing. I am so humbled by the trust God placed in me with this gift, and it's my prayer and hope that I use it properly."
  • 11/16: "Today I am thankful for the ability to look back and say, "Nope, wouldn't change a thing." Every event, every person, every trial and every joy has made me who I am today, and why would I ever want to change that?"
  • 11/17: "Today I am thankful for my friends: you keep me sane, and when needed give me a reality check; you love me in spite of my foibles, failings and flaws; and you make me a better person by your belief in me!"
  • 11/18: "Today I am thankful for my chiropractor - I'll be even more thankful after today's appointment! :)"
  • 11/19: "Today I am thankful for my dog, Maddox. I know that sounds crazy, but I love my buddy so much. He's a good example for my own soul: he loves without regard and without measure."
And I really mean all those things.

***

Now, for those of you who are familiar with the Sweet Potato Queens series of books by Jill Connor Browne, you will certainly appreciate this:

So there I am, getting myself a fill-up and coffee fix at a gas station on the way home, and one of the girls at the checkout counter was bawling her eyes out. I mean, red-rimmed, puffy, etc. and she was telling the other girl about the breakup of her marriage (at least from the little bit that I gathered).

I wanted so badly to both give her a huge hug, and then to tell her "Okay, baby. Starting now, chin up, tits out. He is a man, plain and simple, and you can't make anything else out of him. And the man who is worth crying over won't make you cry." But I didn't -- (a) b'GOCK! b'GOCK! and (b) she might have looked at me and (rightly) said, "Chick, you know NOTHING about my situation so keep your trap shut."

What slew me was when I heard her say, "I never wanted to go through my middle years alone... (sniff sniff sniff)." She looked younger than me. One, I'm thinking, "Middle age? Hunny, when do you think that STARTS because it sure as hell AIN'T 35!" and two, I thought, "Better to be alone and happy than together and in agony." Life is just too short to be in that much misery over a jerk (note: I know full well that NOT ALL GUYS ARE JERKS!!!! There are plenty of good ones out there, and I'm blessed to count several guy friends among them. But this guy was apparently a real weiner... er, winner. Yeah. Pardon me, my Freudian slip is showing....)

So to Jill Connor Browne, thank you a million times over. Thank you for writing Book of Love (the first) and for whatever in the universe compelled me to buy it and read it again and again and FINALLY having the message sink in a few years later: "If you don't like your life, change it." Life is too short to be wallowing in misery, and I really really should have been bolder and told the girl something uplifting. I don't know that it would have sunk in, but I should have tried harder. I just hope she's got a Jill in her life who will tell her, "Okay, enough sniveling because he isn't worth the salt in your tears. Now hold your head up and go conquer the world!"

Go forth and conquer, friends!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Having an attitude of gratitude....

I generally think of myself as positive -- but I have my moments where I'm given to complaining, and most often about the tiniest irritants in the grand scheme. A real-life "Princess & The Pea" moment.

For example, I am practically OCD when it comes to kitchen storage things. I know, I laugh about it and yet it's really sad. My brother even half-jokingly refers to me as the female version of the husband from "Sleeping With The Enemy." (No, I don't need the towels to be stripe-side out, and even-lengthed, nor do I need cans with brand name facing out. If anything, I'd turn cans nutrition facts label out -- HA!) The prime example is this: I have a lot of Ziploc/Gladware plastic that I use to take my lunch in -- everything from 1 cup bowls to larger storage things. Now, even as messy and unorganized as I am, I am a real stickler for making sure it's all stacked to minimize clutter and maximize my ability to find them in a hurry (which is most mornings). I truly get all whacked out when they're thrown up into the cabinet haphazardly. I have yelled, begged, cajoled, etc. and all it does is make me super-stressed out.

This is just an example of what I mean -- it's the little things that really don't mean anything, that I'm allowing to stress me out...... when I ought to just be grateful for having the items, for having a way to wash them and keep them clean, for having a house to put them in, and food to put in them. So many things I should be grateful for --- and like an idiot, I focus instead on the part that matters least.

In my heart of hearts, I know I am blessed beyond belief and I really am grateful for all those things in my life. I have more than I need, more than I want, I have health and I have family and friends, and I have a job (such a blessing!). I have the ability to think, to create, to move and walk and breathe without assistance. There are such overarching blessings that I feel like a total, complete heel for the penny-ante whines.

So I really want to work this month on my "attitude of gratitude." I want to stop focusing on those stupid little things and instead be glad for what those irritants mean
  • Less whining about the dishes in the sink, and more grateful for the ability to put food on them.
  • Less screeching about dirty clothes that pile up, and more drop-to-my-knees-in-praise for having more than one item to wear and the means to keep them washed.
  • Less peevishness about little crap that really doesn't matter, and more rise-up-and-cry-out about things that really aren't right with the world.
From all the petty concerns -- deliver me, Lord. For the things that truly matter -- make me grateful, Lord. From those who have the least in material goods and the most in spirit -- give me the wisdom to learn from them, Lord. For those who need me to speak for them -- give me boldness to do so, Lord.