Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gratitude, from a Five Year Old Perspective

Good morning!

So today I am going to share I post that my friend Kristin at Simply Klassic home is posting on her blog today.  

Here is a little bit of why she felt inspired to do a gratitude series.  And she has great stuff (in other words you really should stop reading some of my nonsense and head over to her site to check out because you will be inspired.)  To make it really easy on you, just click here to go there.  (Forgive me for sounding like Dr. Seuss).

If I've learned anything in the past year, it's that life, love and all of the things that go with it can be too easily taken for granted. This year has taught that in order to live a life of meaning, a life that's worth something, you have to be grateful for what you have already.

Blogging is all about sharing, and in turn, inspiring.
I was recently inspired to write a series of posts on gratitude, and how it's present in my life. I've asked fifteen of my friends to join me in an effort to inspire an Attitude of Gratitude in YOU  in this season of thanksgiving, and I hope you'll join us.

Beginning November 1 and right up until Thanksgiving, I, along with fifteen of my blogger friends, will be here sharing thoughts on gratitude. What we thankful for, how we teach their kids to be grateful, and how we find beauty in the struggles are just a few of the topics we'll be discussing.

I'm so GRATEFUL to have joining me -

Noelle from Because Nice Matters
Laurie from That Ranch Girl
Korrie from Red Hen Home
Pamela from PB&J Stories
Rhonda from home.made.
Kristen from Ella Claire

Each of these amazing ladies has a unique story to tell. Some of them you may know and some may be new to you. I consider each of them a friend. I hope that you make time to stop by each day in November (Monday thru Friday) to welcome them and see what unique thoughts they have to offer.

Can I just start by saying how much I love Kristin and everything she does here at Simply Klassic?  The name says it all, doesn't it? 
Late at night, after my kids are in bed, one of my favorite things to do is curl up with my I pad and catch up on my favorite blogs to see what everyone has been up to.
Kristin, you have such a gift of connecting people, so I am truly honored to be a part of your "Gratitude Series".

I am rather new to the blogging world, but if you hop on over to "That Ranch Girl", you'll mostly find a little bit of everything.  Sometimes things I've created, and other times stories about life that I hope to share with people I care about that I don't get to see face to face.

Here is a picture of our family last Christmas.  Am I the only one who seems to never find pictures of our family with me in them?  I vow to do better at this in the future.  Or my kids are going to grow up and think I was a fictional creature they made up in their heads.

Our littlest daughter Evie started Kindergarten this year.  Since she has a summer birthday, we had to make the decision to either send her as the youngest kid in her class or the oldest. 
After much debate, we sent her a few months ago with the confidence that she was ready.
Needless to say, the hardest part about this is the doubt that creeps in my head on the evenings when we hear her little voice retell stories of the daily events that do not go her way.

Last week, she started telling us about a particular boy in her class that keeps calling her names.  I think he actually likes her, but soon enough this poor boy has to learn that continually calling a girl "Rat Face" at recess is probably not going to win her over.
Evie was angry and embarrassed at the situation. I wanted to find his address in the school directory and go tie him up by his toes at the nearest tree. She said she was tired of him and the name calling.  And who could blame her?  After she settled down, I asked her if she thought he was a true friend.  She thought about this for a little while and then answered that no, he was not.  So I inquired further.  "What makes someone a true friend, Evie?"

In her five year old ways she started to say that a true friend was someone who would only say nice things about you.  And, she added, that they would save her spot for her in line when she got back. 

I smiled at this.  Funny how not much changes from kindergarten to adult life.
Without any further prompting, Evie then got out her two little hands and started counting her "true friends" one by one on her sweet, child-like, dimpled fingers.  As she was listing off the names, she got to the end of her second hand.  She was surprised as she looked down at her hands and yelled, "Mom, I got more true friends than I got fingers to count!!!"

I don't know about you, but it is really easy for me to be grateful when life seems good.  Or when they go my way.  When my kids make good grades, no one is throwing up in the household and everyone behaves.  It feels easy to smile, write the family Christmas card, and be all full of "thankfuls" as Junie B. Jones would say.

It is another thing entirely for me to try to muster up a serving of gratefulness when life is hard.  Or when I am hurting.  When I feel stressed, tired, or lonely.

As we enter into the Thanksgiving season, I wonder if at times I am grateful only because I am supposed to be.  Do I really notice all that I am given?  Am I really honest?

I think sometimes the thing I struggle with most is the very notion that where I am in life sometimes does not match what the holiday season can expect  of me. Chances are someone reading this or someone you know is likely going through a really difficult time right now.  Perhaps an unraveling of a relationship or a desperate desire to stop feeling so alone.  Or you have been waiting so long for the positive sign on a pregnancy test for what seems forever.  Or maybe you are finding yourself so exhausted from trying to balance or carry it all, the thought of being grateful seems like one more thing on a never ending to-do list.   

I don't know about you, but my life never seems to look like the Christmas card snapshot or perfect Pottery Barn image I sometimes think or want my life to look like. (Do you know how much editing I had to do in the picture above?) I have to remember it is the people in the photo that matter.  It is the lives inside of my home that mean more than any decoration outside or on the walls of it. What my little Evie girl reminded me - by literally counting what she was thankful for on her little fingers - was that maybe it is okay to be thankful even in the mess.  Or pain.  Or ugliness of someone calling me Rat Face at recess.

I can hit pause any time I allow myself to.  I can be honest.  And I can choose to see my situation differently. I can think about gratitude and how I am doing with that. 

Where ever you find yourself in increasingly busy season, I hope you find ways to be intentional about finding gratitude.  And I really hope that once you start counting, you don't have enough fingers.


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