April 30, 2013

Daily Menu

What would you choose for your daily fare? Do you want a terrific or terrible day?

 I would like a terrific day, of course! However, because of bad habits I may have fallen into without much thought given to them, I possibly may contribute to a terrible day without even realizing it. A couple of wise counselors told me a few years ago that I needed to welcome the morning and greet my family warmly with a smile on my face and teach my children to do the same and then find at least one thing during the day to praise each of my family members for.

One trap I've struggled to overcome is hoof-in-mouth-disease. For example, I want my guys to do and be the best they can be, which in itself is not a bad thing, however, it's the way I approach their behavior that can rain on their mood. If I critique it, thinking I can encourage them to do better, my fussing may do the opposite of what I intend. Others have told me, that sometimes I leave them feeling judged by what I said to them and, because they misunderstood my intent,  I shriveled with embarrassment inside and cried for both of us. While I still don't have a good grip on the technique of encouragement, I try to remember, at least, to thank my family for the nice things they do instead.

 I've read books and I've studied the scriptures for the how-to's of gracious speech. Several verses that stood out were -

 Ephesians 4:29 says "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."

Proverbs 10:21 says "The lips of the righteous nourish many."

James 3:5-6 says "Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire,"

 The company my husband works for had a motivational meeting they required their employees to attend complete with handouts. My husband brought one of them home for me, knowing I like such things, and it gave me food for thought. On one side of the worksheet is a daily menu on "How to Have a Terrific Day" and the other "How to have a Terrible Day." On the good day side were things to do to whet our appetite for a terrific day, thanksgiving being one of them; an entrĂ©e, counting our blessings; and dessert; peace of mind and satisfaction! I thought it was such a great list, I had to slip it inside a clear document sleeve and post it on my frig!

 1. So today I'm gonna thank God he allowed me to wake up this morning -- "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." ~ Lamentations 3:22-23.
2. I thank God for my husband and son because they have the endurance of Job. J
3. I thank God for the availability of the Holy Scriptures in my language so that I may study it and glean the way of right living from its treasure store of wisdom. May He continue to renew my mind and give me kind lips.
4. I thank God for forgiving friends.
5. I thank God for the great example of my in-laws of how to stay married despite the ups and downs of life. They are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary this week!

April 22, 2013

Modeling Gratitude

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude
 in your hearts to God.
~ Colossians 3:16

I wish I had spent a little more time on teaching my son to thank others. I taught him all the more obvious manners, but neglected to teach him this most important one. Maybe I neglected it because I wasn't very thankful myself, being in the habit of the "blame game." I think some of his discontent today is partly my fault, BUT it's never too late to learn new habits when one's alive -- look at me, I'm learning new stuff all the time. Perhaps if I model gratitude, he'll "catch it" too (like a virus!). *smile*

Since I am a former homeschool mom and pre-school Sunday School teacher, I went to my library to see what books I could find that could be read to children on the subject of gratitude. Most of them were concerned with the holiday of Thanksgiving, but there were a few, listed here, good for everyday thanksgiving. . .

1. "I'm Thankful Each Day!" By P.K. Hallinan. 1981.
2. Veggie Tales Madame Blueberry, 1998.
3. Feeling Thankful. By Shelley Rotner & Sheila Kelly, Ed. D. 2000. 
4. Thoughts and Feelings: Thanks. By Ruth Shannon Odor. 2000. 
5. Just So Thankful. By Mercer Mayer. 2006.
6. Learn About Values: Thankfulness. By Cynthia Roberts. 2008. 
7. Gracias Thanks. By Pat Mora. 2009.  
8. Give Thanks Each Day. By Steve Metzger. 2011. 
9. Bear Says Thanks. By Karma Wilson. 2012.
10. The Thankful Book. By Todd Parr. 2012
11. Thank God for Rocks By Esther Bender. 2002

Today I'm grateful for:

1. I thank God for my hubbin's promotion at work to warehouse lead and raise!
2. I thank God for answering my prayers to help me find new information on my 3rd great-grandfather, Elder Martin White. And I'm thankful for the new friends and cousins I've met through the internet who have helped me with my research.
3. I'm delighted and grateful that two publications thought enough of my work to publish it recently -- Just Cards Magazine by Scotts Publications (you can purchase previous copies on eBay: I have a list of issues that I've been published in down on the bottom of my craft blog) and Missouri Genealogical Society.
4. I'm thankful I have two legs to walk with.
5. I'm thankful our car didn't need as many costly repairs as we thought it might!

April 15, 2013

Surname "Grumble?"

The Grumble Family
By Anonymous.

There's a family nobody likes to meet,
They live, it is said, on Complaining Street,
In the city of Never-Are-Satisfied,
The river of Discontent beside.
They growl at that, and they growl at this;
Whatever comes there is something amiss,
And whether their station be high or humble,
They are known by the name of Grumble.

The weather is always too hot or cold;
Summer and winter alike they scold.
Nothing goes right with the folks you meet
Down on that gloomy Complaining Street.
They growl at the rain, and they growl at the sun,
In fact, their growling is never done.
And if everything pleased them, there isn't a doubt
They'd growl that they'd nothing to grumble about!

But the queerest thing is that not one of the same
Can be brought to acknowledge his family name.
For never a Grumbler will own that he
Is connected with it at all, you see.
And the worst thing is that if anyone stays
Among them too long, he will learn their ways;
And before he dreams of the terrible jumble,
He's adopted into the family of Grumble.

So it were wisest to keep our feet
From wandering into Complaining Street,
And never to growl, whatever we do,
Lest we be mistaken for Grumblers too,
Let us learn to walk with a smile and song,
No matter if things do sometimes go wrong,
And then, be our station high or humble,
We'll never belong to the family of Grumble!
~~ <> @ <> ~~

One of my favorite ways to study my Bible is to immerse myself in a particular subject by taking my concordance and writing down or typing up every Scripture verse listed for that word, then branching out to its synonyms and antonyms. On top of that, if there are any words I don't completely understand, I also define them. Once I studied what the Bible had to say about complaining. I was surprised to learn that there are two types of complaining. A postive one and a negative one. The first type of complaint is meant to change something for the better, such as when one makes a company stand by their guarantee to replace a defective product, however, most of the grumbling I read about in the Bible were the Israelites objecting to circumstances or leaders over them.  Unpleasant natural consequences often followed their verbal rebellion against God.

"Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the Lord." Exodus 16:8

Following all that I had learned, it wasn't easy to admit that I too was a grumbler. I repented then and there and am now more aware of the pitfalls of that nasty habit -- ugliness that leads in a downwards spiral to bitter resentment. The opposite of complaining is praise and thanksgiving.
 1. So today, I praise God for his beautiful creation -- from the grandeur of the mountains to the amazing particles in an atom. He is AWESOME!
2. I didn't think I could thank God for the circumstances the night our dog ran away when my husband let her out before bedtime. It had been snowing all that day and was very cold and dark, but as I prayed, I thought of a way I could be thankful by the time we went to bed at 2:00 in the morning. I could thank God for my caring husband -- he thought enough of my feelings and the well-being of our dog to go look for her for two hours that night. At 6:00 am,  I was extremely grateful for God's protection when she loudly barked from somewhere in the backyard and ran to my husband when he called her. She still had her sweater on and although her ears and feet were extremely cold, she was otherwise unhurt. We have no clue where she spent the night, but I am so glad she was okay!
3. I thank him for his protection --  that none of the tree service guys were hurt when they cut down three of our  HUGE backyard trees recently. The guys found a few natural wonders nesting in the last tree -- four raccoon babies and a handful of garden snakes. A girlfriend said I should be thankful for the snakes as they keep the mouse population down.
4. I thank God for a friend of the family who was willing to rebuild our son's car for him for a reasonable price.  And I'm tickled that our son disciplined himself to forgo pleasures while saving the money to have it fixed.
5. I'm thankful for stampin' buddies and Michaels who shared their unwanted rubber stamps with me. :)

April 10, 2013

Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude

"give thanks in all circumstances, 
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18. 

My girlfriend, leading our weekly ladies Bible study at church said she required only one thing as a homework assignment and that was to write out a list of five things we were thankful for to share in class. I struggled with the assignment getting maybe one or two things written down each week, but as I kept at it, it became easier to find things, even little things, to put on the list. 

And as I became better at cultivating gratefulness, my attitude changed. I found myself complaining less and found it easier to praise God and thank my family. My mind was being renewed. It's amazing how that works, isn't it? >J<

It was quite a revelation to me to find I actually enjoyed sharing and then learning what each of the ladies found to thank God for themselves. It spilled over into our corporate prayer-time as well as we discovered ourselves praising God for so much!

However, I "forgot" to keep at it when my girlfriend moved to another part of the country. Take it from me,  it's so easy to slide back into a critical attitude. I decided that I intentionally had to assign myself an "cultivating appointment", hence this blog. I hope there will be others who will join me here and tell me what they are thankful for too. The American holiday, Thanksgiving, comes but once a year, but we can celebrate it all year long if we wish!

Okay, so here's my list of five things I'm thankful for this week:

1. A Faithful God and faithful friends.

2. I'm thankful that our son wasn't killed on New Years weekend when he ran into a concrete culvert between the highway lanes after skidding on a slick spot. 

3. I'm thankful there was nobody in the warehouse where my husband works when the roof caved in from our recent heavy snow. I am so thankful for God's protection for both our son and my husband! Things can be replaced, but people can't. 

4. I'm thankful that my husband, our son, and the neighbor next door was able to get our new-to-us side-by-side frig (an answer to prayer) in the house and that I was able to get it cleaned inside and out without too much problem.

5. I was delighted to see the yellow crocus' blooming across the street along the fence. I know, by the signs, that winter isn't forever!