Thursday, April 14, 2011

Gratitude changes attitude

I am the author of that catchy little phrase - gratitude changes attitude! I penned it during my eight years working with middle schoolers who often times needed a reminder to be grateful. Of course, it is always easier to help someone else see what they need, isn't it?

Overall, God has helped me count my blessings on a fairly regular basis and it honestly does make me a much more upbeat person. I tend to see things on a pretty positive level although my boss (who has the letters "ph.d" after his name) will tell you that I actually start on the negative side at times, work my way around the circle of emotions, and land on a positive place! :)

Yesterday morning I was leaving the house a little later than usual heading for a routine doctor's visit. As I came off the steps onto the driveway, I noticed water beneath my shoes - coming from underneath the garage doors which is not really a positive thing....... I turned around, went back into the house and started down into the basement and heard water running. Again, not so positive. You guessed it, we had a hot water heater issue. I did what every woman does in a case like this, I ran over and looked at it! I ran back upstairs, called Mack to share the happy news. He headed home. I then ran to Stu's room, woke him up (always another positive moment), and asked for his help. Bottom line, we were able to get the water turned off, a plumber on the phone and we are now the proud owners of a new water heater!

As I headed into work a few hours later, the Holy Spirit began to show me the blessings (yes, blessings) of the morning and here is my top ten list of those blessings:

1. Because of the doctor's appointment, I was actually leaving the house in the daylight and so I actually saw the water running under the door.

2. There was enough water that I noticed it.

3. There was not too much water down in the basement yet.

4. The issue was with the pipe and not the tank itself so the cut-off value for the water actually stopped the water. (the heater is 21 years old!)

5. We had the money available to purchase the new water heater.

6. Mack had the days to burn so he was able to take the day off without issue.

7. I had enough medication left that it wasn't an issue to change my doctor's appointment to a later date.

8. I got to drive to work in the daylight!

9. We got a new water heater!

10. Because I was already late, I stopped at Martin's and got a biscuit and Diet Coke!

I'm in the process of reading "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp and it and those ten things listed above are all about a change in my heart that God is doing. Gratitude really does improve attitude.

Friday, April 8, 2011

This season during the journey

For those of you who have known me a while, you know that I absolutely believe in seasons during our lifetime journey. In 2003, I began a season of taking care of my parents who up until that time, had been perfectly able to take care of themselves. Dad was always active and healthy and even when his heart began to have major issues and include many hospital visits and procedures, he was still a "healthy" man who loved to live life. Mom was diagnosed with "sudden onset acute rheumatoid arthritis that year and it changed her life in a different way. It literally hurts to do just about anything, has attacked her heart muscle and sent her into congestive heart failure and the beginning of kidney failure. Oh yes, she found out she had breast cancer five months after we lost daddy.

Add to the fun, losing three of five brothers-in-law, one sister-in-law, and a nephew and by the end of 2007, I was pretty much done - functioning on a surface level, never going deep for fear that I wasn't going to be able to fight my way out of it. I simply needed rest, both physically and emotionally, and God in His mercy and His grace, granted both. Our lives calmed down tremendously, God shielded us from major challenges, and allowed us to rest in Him. It has been amazing, wonderful, and totally unmerited favor. Grateful doesn't begin to describe it.

Then, a few months ago, driving home one evening, talking to God as I often do, I heard simply "you are getting ready to go through it again"...... I teared up just a bit but whispered in return "OK, thank you for the rest you've given and the ability to know this time around that YOU are sufficient". Nothing significant happened for the next few weeks and I thought that perhaps I had not really heard what I thought I had heard.....

To be continued.