Monday, November 25, 2013

What Attitude Do You Want To Exercise?

“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say “thank you?” 
— William A. Ward

Dang. Now doesn't that put things into perspective?

So often I get caught up in my lists and sticky note reminders of To-Dos that I forget the Why in the reason I wake up each morning. The Why in sending my kids off to school. The Why in making dinner or doing laundry or banging my head against my desk to get the next sentence out in the novel I'm working on. 

When the internet goes out, my frustration is immediate. Instead, I should remember what it was like to exist with no internet at all. Before the world was instantly connected at the click of a key or two. Before computers the size of small houses went the way of laptops and tablets that process word docs but also music.

When my car won't start or I'm almost out of gas, my frustration is immediate. Instead, I need to think back to that first car I owned - a 1987 Renault. It wasn't pretty. And frankly, it probably wasn't even safe. But guess what? It was mine and the only maintenance it required was to spit in the gas tank and it would go.

Then there's my biggest accomplishment of my life. And there are four of them. My kids. I can't even tell you the utter chaos, irritation, vexation, and genuine befuddlement these breathing mongrels have brought into my life. Trust me, with my oldest being twenty, I've had plenty of those emotions and more that could probably stuff a freight train. And like my other examples, I often find myself focusing on all the struggle instead of the miracle of being entrusted with four other human beings. 

If I let that thought simmer, just for a moment, I'm overcome with tears. Then the images of their births reel across my inner screen. And though there were four, each birth was individual and different. Memories shift to older times, battles with bedtime or prayers or brushing teeth. All of which bring a quirky smile to my face now. 

How is it that we lose ourselves in the mist of turmoil to look back in hindsight and chuckle? What prompts us to be so in the negative that we lose sight of the bigger picture? 

This Thanksgiving, I'm making myself a promise: to focus on the good and positive in my life, letting the rest slide into the ditch. The times when my kids argue, I'll be thankful that I even have them. The times I'll be stuck in traffic, I'll be thankful that I have a care and the money to fill it with gas. The next time it rains or snows or the winds blow strongly that it ruins a day at the beach or camp, I'll be thankful for at least being alive.

So, I have to ask. What attitude do you want to exercise?

During this post of being so thankful, I must give a big birthday shout-out to one of my kids. Kate is our third child and she turns 15 today! 

THEN ...

NOW ...
Happy Birthday, Katelynn!
To my American brothers and sisters - have a safe, wonderful, and grateful Thanksgiving holiday. See you next week. This question is for everyone: What's your favorite holiday treat?

 photo Sheri2.png

31 comments:

  1. Great post, Sheri!
    I've had occasion to change my attitude this weekend after long conversations with my husband and some important decisions. I am re-prioritizing, deliberately deciding what I should NOT let antagonize me, and looking forward to a big change halfway through 2014. I am entering Thanksgiving week with a new, thankful attitude!

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  2. Great post, Sheri. I need to refocus on the positive too and not let the annoyances of life get to me so much. It's true that we get so caught up in them and the hectic pace of life that we forget what's important. And Happy Birthday to Katelynn!

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  3. Um, so when you said your oldest was twenty, I had to scroll back up and take a look at your pic. You do not look old enough to have a twenty-year old, lol! But great post, trying to live in the positive is so much better than the other alternative. And happy bday to your daughter!

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    1. Aw ... thank you. But, yeah, my oldest is twenty - a college kid. So weird... My hubby and I got married in our early twenties, but figured we'd wait to start a family at least five or six years. Uh ... nope. ten months after we were married I was pregnant. That's just another thing I have to be grateful for. God knew better.

      I really appreciate you stopping by and for wishing my daughter a happy b-day.

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  4. Kids are great, aren't they--and they grow up so fast! As far as my attitude, when I find that I'm creeping toward negativity I often stop and make myself mentally create a gratitude list. That always helps!

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  5. I think everyone feels the way you do, Sheri. There are plenty of things that annoy us, and sometimes we forget to appreciate how great our lives really are. I've been through a lot of bad in my life, so it's a bit easier to keep my priorities straight and be grateful for my secure happy life now. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and Happy Birthday Katelynn!!! :-D

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    1. I love your calm, open attitude. Quite refreshing, actually.

      Enjoy your holiday!

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  6. Happy birthday to your daughter! She is a beautiful young lady. Takes after her mother.
    The blessings in my life far outweigh the difficulties.

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    1. Aw .... thx.

      Yes, the blessings are always larger even when they are small.

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  7. Yeah it is easy to weigh down on all the crap but if we take a step back much there indeed.

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  8. Happy birthday to Katelynn!

    My life has been full of ups and downs lately, but there's a lot I'm thankful for. My daughter is off all week, and I'm enjoying every moment with her because she's the greatest gift in my life and I love being with her. :)

    Happy Thanksgiving, Sheri!

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  9. Aww, so cute.

    When I start stressing, I take a hot shower and remember how I'm blessed to have hot water.

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  10. Wishing Katelynn much cheese for this special day!

    It is so easy to forget. If we could just keep that "why" in the forefront, we'd live life so differently, wouldn't we? But we are creatures prone to forgetfulness. Thanks for the thoughtful reminder.

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    1. Yes we would. Maybe I'll design a "Why" poster for my office and hang it where I can stare at it. You can make yours out of cheese. ;)

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  11. Wishing a Happy Birthday to Katelynn and a Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. I couldn't help but laugh when you mentioned spitting in the gas tank. I had an aunt who also had a Renault! And I know it sounds silly, but my favorite holiday treat is the warm, fuzzy feeling I get when the Christmas music is on, the tea is made, and the couch is ready for snuggling! Daaaw.

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  12. I'll admit I've been guilty in wallowing in the negative the past couple months, but I've decided to change that. Thanks for the inspiring motivations to get me started! Life is too short and precious to waste on unhappiness and complaint.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

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  13. Each of us does have much 'wonderful' to focus on. Dogs help me remember this best, I think. They are immediate and live in the moment -- which helps me see the wonder that moment contains.

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    1. That. Is. Perfect! Dogs really have mastered that 'live in the moment' element of life. I'll have to observe my little pooch a bit more.

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  14. A very thought provoking post! My thing is to both think and speak positive.

    Hugs and chocolate,
    Shelly

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  15. Happy birthday to your daughter! And I agree with you -- we spend far too much energy focusing on the negative when the positive runs parallel. My mom always held to the old adage that every cloud has a silver lining, and perhaps because she believed it, she was able to find it. My favorite holiday treat is mulled wine. :)

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  16. Happy Birthday to Katelynn! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family, Sheri. What a lovely post. And I second what Leandra said; there's no way you're old enough to have a 20-year-old. My kids are both in their 20s now and I'm grateful for them every day. They make it all worthwhile. And the fact that they now get along so well is the icing on the cake.

    I'm trying to be more positive about my writing. I hate when I start feeling negative about it because I know so many published authors. But I'm determined to keep writing, keep reading, keep plugging away. I will not quit even though it sometimes seems like a very long journey. It's still my journey to take, my story to tell. At least I'm not alone on the road.

    As for my favorite holiday treat: rich, dark chocolate wins every time!

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  17. Hi, Sheri! Wonderful post. Happy birthday to your daughter!

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  19. I hope you're having a wonderful Thanksgiving. Happy birthday to your daughter.

    I try to think positive, despite my frustrations and anger.

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    1. Having the willpower to focus on the positive instead of the negative is truly the key. Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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  20. Beautiful post! And so true. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. :-)

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  21. The attitude I am really focusing on is kindness. It is really easy to be kind to most, but there are those times when I am off on the road, and someone cuts me off. I do not think kind thoughts at those times, but that is what I want to do. Not just act kindly but think kindly too. Especially in the rough times. Have a wonderful day!

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  22. HI, Sheri,

    Happy Belated Thanksgiving to you and your family. You've got it right ,… Concentrate on the positive. Looking back at past "lives", I am thankful to be alive, relatively pain free, and so grateful for my health and close friends. Family, for me, sadly, is part of my past, so my friends via in life and blogger are my family! That is what I am MOST thankful for this season.

    As for my favorite treat … homemade biscotti… Hope to make a batch this week.

    Hope you are having a WONDERFUL weekend with your family!

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  23. You have your priorities in exactly the order I think is best. Guess that's why I like you!

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  24. Focusing on the good and positive is the best way to go :)

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