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An Attitude of Gratitude.  That’s one of those phrases you see around.  Remember to keep your chin up.  See the positive.

I’m not going to lie.  It isn’t always easy to do.  I remember standing at the end of a storm ravaged dining fly on a troop campout.  One end had been literally flattened.  We lost a tent so I slept in the car.

But come morning the sun was shining.  The stove had not been damaged so there was coffee.  And the chuck boxes held a supply of doughnuts. I didn’t realize I was humming until one of the leaders commented on it.

Yeah, we had a wicked clean up ahead of us but no one had been hurt. Not to mention there was coffee, doughnuts, and sunshine.

I’m between jobs at the moment.  Not to worry.  That’s one of those things that happens when you freelance.  And God always provides a new opportunity.  Until that happens, I’m working on my graphic novel and researching agents.  I’m going to yoga, meeting friends to walk and learning to use my loom.

Life isn’t perfect.  We aren’t perfect.  But that’s okay.  There’s still plenty to be grateful for.

–SueBE

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In the news recently, a football fan wearing her team’s jersey was being given the game ball by one of her favorite players. Before she got hold of it fully, a fan of the other team swiped the ball right out of her hands. The video went viral and social media lit up in outrage.

And here in New Jersey, a man’s family home is being taken from him by the government under eminent domain. Even though almost half of the casinos in Atlantic City have folded over the past months, the city plans to use his property for casino area re-development.

These are just a couple of examples of people trying to take what isn’t theirs. It happens in life, and often, all we can do is shake our heads. We’ve all been there.

Others may try to:

□ Steal your joy

□ Shake your faith

□ Give you grief

There should be a term for that. It’s the opposite of having an “Attitude of Gratitude.”

Maybe we could call that a “Plateful of Ungrateful.”

Or a “Bad Case of Buzzkill.”

No matter what you call it, the important thing is to inoculate yourself against this type of infectious ingratitude.

With the holidays coming up, I know we’ve all got a relative or two with this sort of affliction. Make your own psyche as precious to you as your child’s or your spouse’s. If grumpy Aunt Martha was trying to bring your loved one down, you’d most likely intervene. Do that for yourself as well. Suddenly remember you wanted to check the weather for tomorrow and leave the room. Or go help grandma in the kitchen if your brother-in-law starts you steaming like a latté, talking about politics and disparaging your religion.

I’m giving thanks this year that I’ve made the commitment to safeguard my own mind when faced with the Soul-Drainers of life. Don’t stand idly by when they come at you, fangs drawn. Put them on notice: find other prey, Psyche-Suckers! Take your hat and your bad day with you when you leave. And please back away from the pumpkin pie. I already have dibs.

RosesAs much as I love that phrase, we all know how hard it can be to cultivate.  It is just so easy to focus on the things that go wrong and the people who annoy us.

On Saturday, my husband and son came home from Scout camp where they learned a new technique to cultivate this attitude.  It is called Roses, Buds and Thorns.

At the end of the day, each person shares a rose (what went especially well), a bud (something that will grow into a rose in the near future) and a thorn (something they’re feeling prickly about).

We’re already using this at home.  I have to admit that it is going to take some practice.  Or  maybe I just shouldn’t call a “Rose, Bud & Thorn” meeting when someone is telling me how horrid his perfectly good day has been because I won’t give in and let him play on the computer after 9:30 (house rules).

Regardless, it has led to some interesting conversations.

“I’m glad that we have lots of candidates for pastor.”

“Wait a minute.  I’m on that committee.  That’s my rose.”

I was surprised that my son’s rose today was the sermon by our guest pastor.  Not the response I expected from a 15 year-old boy.

Try this technique with your own family.  It will help you learn to look for what is good as well as good that is coming and you’ll learn a lot about each other in the process.

–SueBE

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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