Thursday, June 13, 2013

Where Do Your Eyes Linger?

So I've been consciously trying to change my focus--my perspective--to one of thankfulness.  With thankfulness as your focus, it is really difficult to allow the grumps!  In fact, it is downright impossible to be grumpy if you are being thankful.  We can only experience one true emotion at a time.  The trick isn't snapping out of the grumps.  The trick is training yourself to be continually and consciously thankful.

I have read books about gratitude and happiness and I've learned new things about myself and my perspective each time.  But, the one thing I have realized (and continue to realize) is that I can only experience true thankfulness if I practice being thankful regularly.  Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts  was a great read for me...mostly because I was encouraged to do what I need to do:  practice being thankful in a tangible way.  Recently I discovered the One Thousand Gifts app and I am kind of obsessed!  I am continually taking pictures anyway!  To snap pictures, add my text, and keep a journal I can readily click to in a moment and remind myself of all the wonderful blessings I have in my a gift in and of itself!  In fact, I have found myself searching in the midst of normalcy for those things that are precious and that I want to remember.  I am choosing to rejoice and give thanks throughout my day. 

The humorous side of this is that once I decided to train myself to give thanks, I was also faced with many daily aggravations that I could allow or disallow to steal my thanks, and ultimately my peace.  Such is life!  So many lessons out there on changing our perspective, aren't there?  But the truth is that we can't and won't change our perspective unless we actively change what we look at...where we allow our eyes to linger!  So, here are some of my recent "thankfuls" that I'd love to share with you.

My caption here was "beautiful floors to clean."  I definitely could have found reason to gripe in the midst of this particular cleaning a couple weeks ago.  I have 4 young children and often feel I'm the only one who cares about a clean house.  Okay, who am I kidding?  I am the only one.  Anyway... I have wood floors throughout my house and it can feel overwhelming, BUT...I have beautiful wood floors!  (At least, they're beautiful to me!)

My almost 4 year old finally learned how to pump her legs on the swing!  This is so monumental because, out of all my kids, she loves to swing the most.  She wants to swing all day!  As you can imagine, mommy got real tired, real fast constantly pushing Tessa "higher!" and "higher!" this makes us both happy!

My creative kids are playing pirates!  We bought the Aardman animated film "Pirates" and they love everything piratey now, matey!  So I loved walking out to the play set to see Ella at the top with her knees on planks, using a kaleidoscope for their pirate game.  Even better, they were all playing together happily....for a time!

I just have to say that this one really doesn't need much explanation!  I mean, who wouldn't be thankful for a warm plate of homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies?  I fully intended to share with some neighbors, but oops!  We will do that another time, I promise!

"Some reading/coffee time to myself...."  Now, I truly don't get enough of this in my life, but I am SO THANKFUL when I do!  What a treat!  And, I also thanked God that morning for an amazing husband who recognizes my introverted need for times of refreshment...alone!

My husband, aka "Best Daddy in the World" hung a new rope swing for my kids in our front "willow weeper" tree, as my kids call it!  We had a rope swing in our tiny city backyard.  And although the kids now have 2 acres in which to run around, they missed their fun swing.  One trip to Lowe's after church and daddy fixed that!  Better still, my oldest is now strong and tall enough to push the others!  (and MOST of the time he's happy to do that...)

Okay, I love wind them!  But, it didn't take long living in the country with the wind whipping through the fields that my wind chime broke.  I was sad!  The other day, as I was sitting on my front porch in our very worn porch-swing that my husband lovingly hung for me while I was grocery shopping, my daughter says, "Look, Daddy fixed your chime!"  Sure enough!  He made a new wooden piece at the bottom--so it could actually chime--and surprised me!  Such a happy surprise!  I have my front door open now and it's singing as my fingers type!

The funny thing about all of these pictures captured is that they are so normal.  We don't have an elaborate home or a fat bank account.  We have never had a family vacation, save weekends to visit my family in Cincinnati!  But, I am learning to focus, to celebrate, and to rejoice in the everyday blessings!  They overwhelm me even as I record them!  My life is a delight and worthy of celebration!  And I'll bet that yours is too!  No, everything is not perfect, wonderful, and beautiful all the time.  But many things are worth my gratitude.  I am learning to change my perspective because I am changing what I look at...and where I allow my eyes to linger.