So, If I’m honest, there probably will be no “typical” post for this Gratitude Challenge. You may get a picture with a description. You may get a long winded story or wonder of all wonders, I may actually plunk out some well thought out gratitude prose. Just come along for the journey and share……please share something you’re thankful or grateful for. That’s the fun, creating a community where we can encourage one another.
I sometimes get told that I look like I’ve got it all together. I have to try really hard to not screech at the people who say this, because it’s all just smoke and mirrors. I’m one of the biggest “Hot Mess” moms that you’ll ever come across.
Today, on the day before the Gratitude Challenge officially starts, I’m super grateful for lipstick, messy buns and sunglasses.
I’m not a morning person. Not! at! all! and most days, I crawl out of bed and attempt to wrangle children, feed and clothe them and get them to school before I get “THE CALL” that my child has been marked absent.
If I beat that call, I’m totally winning. Even if I don’t! Still winning!
But lipstick, messy buns and sunglasses make me feel like a million bucks, until I have to go inside the school, take my sunglasses off and then, inevitably someone asks me if I’m okay. Because the mom who picks my kids up later in the day, she has make up on and clean clothes. Early morning mom…..she has lipstick, sun glasses and yesterday’s clothes; and she ROCKS it.
See, it’s not all deep, heavy stuff like the last few days, BUT…..cultivating a mindset of gratitude will help to get you through those tough kinds of days, if they ever happen to you.
Are you ready for tomorrow? I hope so. I can’t wait to hear some of the things that You’re grateful or thankful for.
What does it matter? There is no right or wrong with gratitude. There is no failure. Imagine that, being a part of something where there is only success……
If you are thankful or grateful for one thing, you are winning!
If you are in a tough situation and you look for the light, you are winning!
If, even only once, you find the good within the bad, you are winning!
You can’t lose. I guarantee it
When you start to become aware that you are looking for the light, you can’t miss it. Picture a pitch black room, with no light. Now if someone, turns on a spotlight, will you see it. Yes! How about a flashlight? Yes! How about a match? Yes! If you are looking, you will see the light no matter how small!
Once you start to look, once you are aware that there is light, always…..you will find it and it transform your outlook on life. It’s crazy and awesome and mind blowing.
Imagine trudging through your day, at a job that’s difficult and thankless and just overall hard. If you focus on that, it all sucks. If you start to look for the light, it all changes. It’s not that it magically becomes easier but it changes. Your perspective changes. You see things that you may have missed or just might not have noticed and all of the sudden, it’s a little less horrid. The situation didn’t actually change. It’s still full of challenges, But your perspective changed and its amazing how much of a difference that makes.
This is day that I left Jon and Geli at BC Children’s Hospital, and drove myself and my newborn home. I could not see any light, in this day. The next day I wrote this post, and while I was miserable and struggling, I was also so aware and thankful of the love and support we were receiving. Knowing that I had support of a community, helped to keep me going.
It wasn’t some “joy filled” thankfulness but it helped me to shift my focus from the immediacy and intensity of the moment and widen my gaze to include those who loved us. This brought an awareness of the love and kindness and encouragement that was available to us. That awareness helped to bolster my strength so I could keep putting one foot in front of the other. It helped our family to get through a very long 2.5 years of cancer treatment.
I’m excited to start this Gratitude Challenge on March 1st and just be more intentionally aware of the things that I have to be grateful for. Obviously, I’ve started already but I do hope you will join me in looking for the light and share how it impacts you.
Did you read my last post and think it might be a good idea but then dismiss it because it might be too involved?
Here the deal…….it can be whatever you want it to be. You can write down “coffee” every day for the entire month if you’re really thankful for coffee. You can write a paragraph about why you’re so thankful for the rain here in the “Wet Coast” of BC. You can jot down 1 word, 1 sentence or even just take a picture and maybe if you’re feeling all sorts of crazy, you could add a description.
It’s an opportunity to be intentionally thankful. You can make it as easy or as involved, as you like. I guarantee you that I will do a bit of both. Some days, I might have more to say and there’s a good possibility that I double up on a day or two, because the day just gets away from me.
So, what am I hoping for, from you…….Everyday, come and leave a quick comment about something you are grateful for. If you’re on Instagram or twitter, use the hashtag #marchtogratitude, if you know how – but no pressure if you don’t…..because it’s not about that. It’s about seeing the beauty all around you. It’s about seeing the beauty even in the mundane, in the good times and the bad times, even in grief filled times.
I honestly believe that choosing to look for, and intentionally see the good, has helped me get through some really, REALLY tough situations. And it’s not like I’m all Pollyanna or Mary Poppins over here, I wallow! Oh man, do I wallow, and moan and complain and feel sorry for myself. I let myself feel all the feelings and then I pick myself us and look for the beauty. I search for the good. I look for things that shine however dimly within the darkness. I acknowledge that there is good and…..because I am looking for it, I find it.
Would you like an example of how this has worked in my life?
In January of 2005, I was pregnant with our 4th child. On January 23rd, he stopped moving and it was the worst day of my life, up to that point. It definitely ranks up there in my top 10 of worst day’s ever. I was far enough along in my pregnancy that I needed to deliver him. The day that he was born, January 24th, 2005, was such a dark and painful day. (That whole year after, was surreal.) I remember sitting at our kitchen table, that evening; and someone dropped off a meal, some cookies and a bottle of wine. I remember looking up at Jon through my tears, smiling and saying that I guessed it was a positive that I could have a glass of wine, now that I wasn’t pregnant.
Obviously, I’d take my child being alive over being able to have a glass of wine, ANY DAY. But even in my haze of grief, I was searching for something good.
As those dark days went on, I remember thinking to myself that Nathaniel’s life couldn’t be in vain, that his tiny, short life, needed to have value and worth. I knew it must but I couldn’t see beyond the pain and grief. When the haze finally cleared enough, I could see that, his legacy was one of compassion, empathy, grace, mercy, and understanding. Without the personal loss, I wouldn’t have valued life as much as I currently do. I feel so deeply for people who suffer loss on any level and I seek to understand what they are going through. These are my lights within the darkness. The good things that have come from desolation and despair……and I have so many others. Maybe I’ll share some of them with you over the next month.
If you don’t have stories like this, be thankful. Be SO thankful for the good things….but know that there is good even within the “bad.”
It’s easy to go about our day’s, just making it through but every once in a while I like to be really intentional about my gratitude and I find that I get SO much out of it.
Would you join me? I’d love to walk this with you.
(If I had a sound track of my life that would be the title song. Obviously I’d need to write it because it doesn’t exist, but that line would feature heavily, as it’s kind of what I do.)
You are an AMAZING Community of people…..Ya! YOU! And I love when I share about something that I’ve made or been thinking about and how you all encourage me and share your thoughts. It’s one of my favorite parts of the day, when I get a response from you.
Some of what I’ve been thinking about is Gratitude and how we, too often focus on the negative.
Oh, I’m late to school again.
Oh I have to make lunches.
Oh, My house is always messy.
I said this this morning as I frantically cleaned because we have a play date with a friend who has autism. My little friends (and even the not so little ones)…..I LOVE them to death. There is something so pure and innocent about their ability to speak the unfiltered truth . I want to live like this. I want to be a truth speaker, in love, but to not hide in ambiguity and half-truths. Oh, I’ve been on the receiving end of that spoken truth, MANY TIMES. I can’t tell you how many times, my boys have said, “Mom, I know you’re fat but I love how your tummy squishes when I snuggle you.”
Ooooof! They are actually complimenting me but too often we focus on the negative and miss the good parts. They love my squishy hugs and I love hugging them. Win/win!
As I was thinking about this, this morning, it hit me. We could have a month of gratitude. I mean, technically we should have a life of gratitude, but baby steps, people!
So, starting March 1st, I’d love to invite you to join me as I “Flip the script” and be thankful and live a (month) filled with Gratitude. It should be easy. (Famous last words, I know!) but we just need to find a minimum of 1 thing a day. Just find one thing every day that you can be thankful or grateful for. I’ll even suggest a list of easy cheat items that you can be thankful for, if it’s a really BAD DAY! HA!
I’ll be posting here, on my Facebook page and Instagram and I’d love it if you would join me in one of those spaces. There is such power and strength in community and I guarantee that you’ll be able to re-frame some things that happen in your life, over the month of March. I mean, come on! It’s Spring Break, we’re gonna need to dig deep and find things to be thankful for.
Now here’s where I’m gonna do a little shameless self promotion and I don’t want you to feel pressured AT ALL, by my next words….
I do have some notebooks and journals listed on Amazon and I’ve found that when I have a place to list the things that I’m thankful for, it seems more meaningful and seems to “stick” better. You could use any journal or notebook or even just a piece of paper, but If you happened to love one of my journals, I htink that would be SO cool!
When your child struggles with printing, and you create a font from his printing….he actually gets to send Valentines. #inclusion #judahzane #makinglifeworkforyou #writtenoutputdisability Posted by Intagrate Lite
I LOVE taking photos of people. I try and capture their “souls”. Have you ever tried to capture the soul of a piece of machinery…….not as easy as you might think…..especially in the dark……in a snow storm. #challegeyourself #sexymachinery Posted by Intagrate Lite