It was reading a magazine article speaking of home décor that reminded me again to appreciate what I have rather than what I don’t.
The writer said, “I have a back door, for example, that can only be opened or closed if you know the right push, shove, tug, slam, lock-twist technique….My house is full of things that are not as they should be.”
I couldn’t help but feel I was reading a feature story about the house I’ve lived in for over thirty-two years! Considering I’ve spent most of those years looking forward to moving out, it’s hard to believe I am as content and comfortable as I now am. Actually, I’m ready to take on a remodeling project for another house we’ve inherited, but that’s another story.
This story is about how gratitude has the power to broaden our vision and help us see options that are obscured by a limited point of view.
Several years ago an artist friend was visiting our little farmhouse and pointed out various unique features – details that I had never appreciated or valued. I eventually realized that I was too consumed with focusing on what I didn’t like to notice anything that I did or could.
The miracle in this story was how gratitude helped me to see present possibilities and completely altered my view of not only my little farmhouse, but my entire life.
With Thanksgiving in the not-so-distant future, my magazine writer wrote, “So this Thanksgiving, do not fret about the perfect turkey or the perfect table or the perfect house. Instead, give thanks for all the things in your life that are made somehow more interesting by being old, broken, missing, or otherwise slightly off. It’s what makes a house a home.” (Letter from the editor, Coastal Living, November 2013
I can remember times in my childhood when I didn’t have a house to live in. But whether I was living out of a car or old trailer, I always felt I had a home. That’s because home was where ever my mamma was. Or maybe it was because my mamma knew the secret for making any place feel like home.
My mamma approached every situation we were in with certainty, expectancy, and creativity. She confronted each challenge step by step, being grateful for and valuing any progress – whether big or small. She never became daunted by any single task that was required. She never took her eye off the ball – her goal, her destination, her dream. This is because she was certain she could accomplish her goals.
Mamma has always said it was imperative to appreciate every step of progress and to never fail to recognize what is good in your life and what you do have.
Indeed, my mamma taught me that when I view my life through the lens of gratitude, I will be able me to see what is there instead of what is not.
My mamma has always been right!
I heard someone say that Amazon.com boasts more than 20,000 titles on the subject of happiness. Yet with all the reading we’re doing, many of us will still say we haven’t found it yet.
Some say a deep longing for happiness is at the heart of the desire for money, fame, and power. Perhaps the best advice anyone could give us, whether we’re married or single, is to stop waiting for happiness to come galloping over the next horizon.
From my own experience, happiness does not come from trying to be someone different than who we are, nor in running from here to somewhere else. Happiness is not in the things we desire nor is it based on conditions. Happiness is always within our reach, but to have it we must sometimes take a stand and mentally fight for our divine right to be happy.
Abraham Lincoln said, “People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
Roman Emperor Marcus Antonius said, “No man is happy who does not think himself so.”
English journalist Roger L’Estrange said, “It is not the place nor the condition, but the mind alone that can make anyone happy or miserable.”
I have proven to myself that a change in attitude and viewpoint leads to a change in perspective and outlook, which inevitably results in improved situations. Living next door to in-laws who, in my early marriage years, often made me feel they weren’t pleased with my husband’s choice in a wife gave me many opportunities for implementing my attitude adjustment.
I believe happiness must be as consciously practiced as gratitude, forgiveness, and kindness. As with everything else, the more we practice it, the better we get at it.
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Join me along with over 50 authors
September 14 from 10am-4pm
At Tyler Rose Garden Center
420 Rose Park Drive
Tyler, Texas 75702
Texas Book Festival
I’ll have a booth displaying both of my books (see them here) with special pricing and several FREE goodies for those who buy either or both of my books. Each book comes with a customized tote bag!
This is a great time to find some new books, but also a great place to find holiday gifts early. You can get both of my books to give as gifts for $20. My books are great gifts for moms, daughters, sisters, other family members and friends.
And…they are great for young women in college, empty nest moms and seniors looking for new purpose, women of all ages striving to accomplish their dreams, brides preparing for marriage, women struggling with divorce or other drama — ANYONE men and women who want to recall and honor their own mamma stories and lessons.
The East Texas Book Fest is organized by SALT (Smith County Public Libraries) and UT Tyler Robert R. Muntz Library. SALT is Bullard Community Library, Lindale Community Library, Troup Library, Tyler Public Library, and Whitehouse Community Library.
Please help me help them by sharing the news of their 2013 book event!
Many times in my life I’ve let fear stop me from reaching some goal or aspiration. Since I can’t go back and change all the things I wish I had done and living in regret is completely pointless, today my resolve is fierce when I’m faced with a fear that is trying to hold me back.
Now, I do believe in making informed decisions. There could be information that might stop me from making a change.
It could also be that some changes are better at one time than at another. If a desired change shouldn’t happen today, it doesn’t mean that at some point in the future it couldn’t or shouldn’t happen.
But one thing is for sure—
Do not let fear paralyze you with uncertainty, indecisiveness, and inaction.
You must stop fear before it stops you.
It’s helpful to look at your fear straight on and examine what it is telling you. Perhaps your fear is saying: “You can’t do it or it will be too difficult.” “You’re afraid of what others will think.” “You will fail.” “You will be wrong.” “You won’t like the outcome.”
Some people say that fear can be rational and logical and is a helpful instinct that protects us from danger. I don’t think it is fear that makes decisions and actions rational, logical, and safe, but rather knowledge, understanding, and common sense, as well as divine inspiration and revelation.
At least from my own experience, fear is irrational and base- less. It is some illusive belief that would stop me from making my life better—happier, more satisfying, more interesting, more productive, more fun.
Changes are natural—and can be progressive—throughout our lives. Making a well-thought-out change need not be feared but welcomed, explored, and enjoyed.
I always say asking yourself “Why not?” when considering some change can be very telling.
You may find that there isn’t a good enough reason not to.
“A Queen asks, “Why not?” is a chapter title in my latest book!
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When people stop learning, stop wanting or trying to learn, or start believing they have nothing to learn, they cease to make progress. Without progress, there is no life, no growth. At the very least, life becomes less interesting.
Perhaps learning is a habit. Like some good habits, such as eating a balanced meal or exercising, we can get lazy or negligent. Our laziness and negligence become bad habits that are difficult to break—but not impossible. I’d like to think that any bad habit could be broken with due diligence and perseverance, and that good habits can be created and maintained in the same way. Gandhi’s words,
“Learn as if you would live forever, live as if you would die tomorrow”
tell us there is always more to learn and we should digest as much as we can each day. It is never too late to comprehend and master something new. The old adage “practice makes perfect” is always true regardless of our age.
Daughters of the world, be wise women.
Approach each day with this question: “What can I learn today?”
You may not know what you want or need to learn, but I believe there are countless options and infinite possibilities when you’re open and ready to discover them.
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Just wanted to share a nice reminder this weekend…
We are all intuitive thinkers. I believe God made us this way. I have no doubt that you’ll find your instincts are correct whether they are telling you “yes” or “no”—to do or not to do. Trust them. Be sure to act upon those “good temptations” that will ensure your life is satisfying and fulfilling.
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