Friday, January 7, 2011

Reverse Gratitude

Happy Friday! Do you ever have a day or two where you just feel tired and down, though there really isn't a specific reason? Well, that's kind of what Thursday felt like for me, but those are the precisely the kind of days that the glad pocket is for!

A while ago, I came up with a little concept I call reverse gratitude. Usually on my bad days, I am feeling overwhelmed with life, and jobs, and impossible lists, and messes. Reverse gratitude is when you take something take a negative and trace it back to the positive that caused it. For instance, when I'm helping my children clean up their toys at the end of the day, I remind myself to be thankful for my wonderful kids. When I've lost track of how many loads of laundry I've done, I thank God for the family that wears the clothes. When the dishes make their own mountain, I remember the good meals we ate off them.

Fortunately, most days gratitude is such hard work, but it's good to have a plan when the chips feel stacked against you!

Today's glad thoughts:
1) My hubby's day off!!!
2) Yet more four-year-old antics. Wade, upon getting out of the bath: "Mamma! I need a towel. I'm as cold as dead hair!
3) Being able to borrow my husband's p.j. pants. Never thought I'd see the day his pants would fit me.
4) Maggie randomly running up to me, hugging my leg as hard as she can, blowing me a kiss, and running back off to play.
5)An old fashioned letter in the mail.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Image Correction

Wow. It is ten minutes to six o'clock. My children are playing constructively. They have been bathed, dressed for bed, and fed dinner. The dishes are done. The bathrooms are clean. Maybe it has something to do with that partial solar eclipse, but whatever it is, I'm thankful for a moment to sit down and stuff my glad pocket.

The last couple of days have been busy with the usual--grocery shopping, laundry--just getting back into the routine. Something new that we've done since we got home though, is trying to spend sometime each afternoon painting. My four-year-old wants to be an artist. Unfortunately, his mother is challenged with stick figures; however, since I read an article which said it was good for the parent to learn alongside the child, I am trying. Boy, do I need a book, or a tutor, or maybe just a good ol' paint by number.

Yesterday, Wade said, "Mom! Let's paint Maggie!" He had to pick a person--and a moving target for that matter. The watercolors were unpredictable and unmanagable, and the painting that emerged 45 minutes later looked nothing like my daughter. What was worse, was that I had no idea what I'd done wrong, or what I could do to make it better next time. I was clueless; I needed guidance (still do . . .).

A few hours later, it occurred that a similar situation happens in every Christian life. When we become Christians, we are transformed by Christ's blood into new creatures, but then we begin a journey to become more like Christ's image. Fortunately, God did not leave us to figure this image out on our own. Not only do we have the Word of God to guide us, but we also have the Holy Spirit teaching us and guiding us every step of the way. I am so thankful for the good thoughts that can come from the most simple parts of our days!

And in the glad pocket for January 4th and 5th are
1) Children doing the whirling dervish in the living room while they wait for me to finish.
2) A warm husband on cold nights
3) Sugar free French Vanilla Coffee Mix with a squirt of Reddi Whip
4) My son's wonderfully funny exclamations which today included "Mammamia!" and "Nuts!"
5) Opportunity to get to know a friend better
6) Happy news on the scale
7) Earwarmers
8) The invention of the Light Caramel Frappacino
9) The never-ending container of All Laundry Detergent
10)Hot showers

Monday, January 3, 2011

Be Not Afraid

Today I had to take my little girl to the pediatric neurologist for a check-up. She started having seizures last year. In fact, she had her third seizure over the Christmas holiday. Her initial MRI showed a bright spot on the right side of her cerebral hemisphere, so Maggie is on meds for the seizures and the doctor continues to monitor the situation. Monday, she will have her third MRI, and since she is so little (two-and-a-half), she will have to be sedated. Sedation involves a needle, and she has quickly learned to be wary of medical facilities. Today, when we walked into the complex where the neurology department is housed, Maggie looked up at me and said, "I 'fraid!"

Of course, I did what any parent would do--I held her hand tighter, re-assured her as best I could, and when she wanted to sit on my lap the whole time, I let her. Later, it occurred to me how fortunate I was to have a Heavenly Father who cared for me better than I could ever care for my own child. I remembered all the times in the last year that, whether or not I let anyone know about it, my insides were screaming "I'M AFRAID!" My Heavenly Father did not rebuke or shame me for my fear, but rather, he held my hand tighter; he re-assured me through His Word, His peace, and His Presence; and He promised never to let me go. I'm so glad to remember that this wonderful Father is not only taking care of me, but also is taking care of my dear daughter!

January 3rd top ten glad thoughts:
1) My children slept until 8:00. The next solar eclipse could come before that happens again.
2) There are only 4 packets of whole grain instant cream of wheat left in my cupboard, and then I will likely never have to eat it again.
3) My son volunteered to help me with dishes without being offered a bribe.
4) A Christmas package with a warm fleece blanket arrived just in time for me to lock myself out of the house and have to wait awhile for the key to arrive.
5) Braunsweiger
6) A clean kitchen
7) A thoughtful husband who ran the vacuum and made the bed without so much as a hint
8) Reading "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" to my son for the first time
9) Helping my daughter take her dolly for a walk in the dolly stroller she got for Christmas
10) Quiet (are the children all in bed? It is now 8:00!)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Suitcase half-empty Kind of Gal

Actually, my suitcase is entirely empty, and that's a good thing! Last night, my family returned from a wonderful Christmas vacation in Virginia, and past experiences have taught me that, if I do not empty all the suitcases, coolers, toys, dirty laundry, toiletries, and the alleged kitchen sink immediately; I am stuck trying to resolve a mountain of mess for the next week. Before I went to bed last night, everything but the children's clean clothes were entirely put away. Now there's one for the glad pocket!

In case you're still wondering what this "glad pocket" is all about, let me share Psalm 105:1-2: "O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works!" Last year was full of challenges for our family--and I'm sure our family wasn't the only one struggling along. Personally, I often found myself overcome with negativity and thanklessness.

When Christmas time rolled around this year, there just didn't seem to be a whole lot to share with the people I loved--not in the traditional shopping sense. And that's when the Lord gave me the idea for the glad pocket. Wade and I sat down with the kids and started cutting, pasting, and stapling; and before long, we had a small army of glad pockets ready to share with family and friends. My glad pocket is right here. It's not exactly pinned to the refrigerator, but it will have to do!

So Happy New Year all, and here's hoping you have a glass half-full (and suitcase mostly empty) kind of year!

Top ten glads for January 2nd.
1) Safe trip home from Virginia with a slew of happy Christmas memories
2) My son seeing the golden arches and announcing suddenly, "Momma! The air smells like chocolate milk!"
3) Waking up in my own bed
4) Being in Sunday services for the first time in almost three weeks because of sick kids and snow storms
5) Coming home to a clean house
6) Wonderful furry doggy hugs from my puppy who missed me while I was gone
7) Seeing my daughter sit and primp at the pink and purple vanity that she got for Christmas
8)Listening to my son sing "I sing the Mighty powers of God!!!"
10) A whole new year full of opportunities to learn about and glorify my God.

What in your pocket?