The Great Gift of Gratitude…when things go wrong

It’s easy to be happy when things are going the way we want them to, isn’t it? When things are going well, finances are good, the kids are in an ‘easy’ phase (what, that happens?) and your relationships all seem to be sailing smoothly your life feels rich and you feel content. But life is not always what we want it to be. Whether it is a big issue or hurt you are dealing with or it is simply the daily grind getting to you, it can be difficult to remain grateful in the midst of stress and troubles. (I say this as my 5 year old recently completed a 3 day stretch of regression to 2 year old tantrums and topped it off by  spilling my bag of lentils all over the  kitchen  floor last night!)

The last post I shared with you included scientific findings about being happy and content in your life. I gave you a list of things that are ‘proven’ joy generators. Today, I leave science behind. I feel like  getting a little personal. As Thanksgiving approaches, we are technically supposed to be thinking of all those things that make us feel warm and fuzzy: the things we are thankful for; what gives us that deep, contented feeling of gratitude (have you seen all the lists on Face Book lately?). The girls and I have been filling our turkey projects each day with one feather that lists something we are thankful for….Stella, age 5, has a turkey displaying feathers that say ‘daddy, my toys, mommy, my friends, strawberries, Jesus, etc'. Evelyn, age 3, has feathers listing things like, ‘sharing, my pink shirt, baths, bubbles, sunshine, etc’. Wow—we really can learn from children, can’t we? It's so easy to look around our lives and find little gratitudes!

But still--sometimes it is stinking hard to be thankful; to really feel gratitude. I am thinking of last year at this time. It was my first holiday season after I lost my husband to pancreatic cancer (and November, by the way, is pancreatic cancer month--click  here for more info  on that). I was in the twilight zone, struggling to simply get through the days. This year, the fog has lifted and I am much more aware of the life I have without him, what it means to the future of my children and how, again, the holidays will feel empty at the Thanksgiving table and during the soon to follow Christmas decorating, shopping and our family festivities. It’s more real this year.

But here is the other thing that is more real: my blessings. I bet you thought that my intent here was to commiserate some type of thwarted thankless Thanksgiving sentiment. But, here is what I know: suffering, sadness and loss has left me blessed. Single parenthood is not necessarily fun and games all the time.... nor was it in my personal plans! Doing the bills, household chores, outside maintenance, every bath and bedtime, all the necessary phone calls, endless organizing and on and on all alone is more than a bit lonely at times. But, there has been no other year that I have been so aware of my blessings, the important role I play to two precious children and the love that has been given to us by our friends and family, the opportunities I have to share my passion for wellness through this company….so, this year I commit to focusing on those things the best I  can!

Suffering does not defeat you—it increases you.

Stress does not strike you down—it strengthens you.

It is the means by which we grow into the living and breathing people who we are supposed to become.

So, despite the disappointment of my loss (that continues to keep tears so close), I know that I am not done here.

So, as Thanksgiving approaches followed by several weeks of shiny decorations, cheery tunes and spiritual celebrations—I am filled with gratitude for blessings both those unexpected and those welcomed. I am blessed and thankful to be content.

What are you feeling blessed and thankful for today? Please share! It will brighten someones day to hear your responses!  (click on the title of THIS POST and enter at comment at the bottom....)

Thankfully Yours,

Katie

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