Fall & The Grateful Practice

pumpIt’s fall – the season for crunchy leaves, coats, leggings and pumpkin spice lattes. This season really warms my heart. It is my favorite season hands down. Its fun to see the pumpkin patches full of orange, plump fruit on the side of the road and oooh and awww over babies draped in head-to-toe fleece sitting plop in the middle of a sea of burnt orange pumpkins. Like seriously cute!

Fall envelopes me with cute ideas – I scour Pinterest for fluffy outfits and craft projects. This season fills me with a fervent passion to conquer. However, I tend to forget that fall is also a season of thankfulness. After all, after Halloween comes Thanksgiving. Turkey dinners simply should not be a standalone meaning for that precious holiday.

I practiced an exercise this week. Think of the things that make you angry and frustrated sometimes – and flip those trials into something you are grateful for. I know, it was a hard task; but, I did think of a few things that I wanted to share.

My commute into work. Driving in my car and sitting in a gridlock of traffic bothers me. I hate to admit it; but many times – it just makes me blood boil. People in fast, pricey cars cut you off in the merge lane (I speak from experience) and then people who are texting or talking on their phone can take forever to realize that a lane is moving. Yet, in this midst of this chore – I am thankful for my drive in. I get to pass the Pentagon, Washington Monument and U.S. Capitol every single day. What a joy! There are many people who never get to experience this marble, monumental grandeur every single morning. So I thank God for that experience and my eyes that can see such wonder.

Walking my dog. I live in an apartment – so, literally every single time my dog has to go potty, I have to take him on an elevator and outside into the little doggie park. This can be a pain especially when it’s like 20 degrees outside and snowing or when I am just flat out tired from work and want to plop down on the couch. But, I thank God for my legs that are able to walk outside – for the ability of mobility and the beautiful feeling of the crisp, clean air I get to breathe. The pumping life that I breathe in and out of my life house!

Convoluted city living. Living in the city can be rough, we discussed traffic in a point above – but the living quarters are pretty tight too. Parking spaces are rare and – everything just takes much, much longer to complete. Maneuvering around DC can be pretty bleak. However, I am so thankful to everything that is proximity to me. One weekend, I can experience Gettysburg and the next, I can walk on the Fisherman’s Wharf and enjoy some fresh fish – prepared right in front of me. I can tour Mount Vernon or even walk on the West Lawn of the White House and experience a garden tour.

I encourage you to practice gratefulness this week. Think of three things that are the bane of your existence and flip them around to find something wonderful in that chore. Remember that a smile is a frown turned upside down.

Praise You With a Grateful Heart – for Today!

ImageI had an epiphany today, if you will. I’ve never had an issue with gratefulness. I love my life and typically look at situations and circumstances through rose colored glasses. I feel blessed and really thank God for who he has made me to be – and how he works through me.

However, as you get older, things change a little bit. Your life does not move at the speed of light anymore. You are not graduating from high school to college and then on from college to the working world. Challenges and goals don’t come up so quickly and you can find yourself feeling dull – even useless.

I hate to admit this, but I have felt this way at times. Heck, we are all human. You get into a routine – and that spice for life somehow dissipates.

You think, ‘When is the next best thing going to happen to me!?’ When is that next phase is life going to happen!?’ Yet, you continue on every day like a faithful servant, but lacking that zeal.

I think on Matthew 5:13, ‘You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

Think of saltiness as zeal or a joyful heart. You are basically useless without an inward joy and peace. And, boy, I don’t want to be useless! Joy attracts others to you. Thankfulness sets your face aglow!

Time to adopt a thankful heart again! I have to tell myself not to long for the future – but to live in the moment. Days go by wasted, if your heart is not right. Think of how far you’ve come in life and praise God for this!

This exercise is a surefire way to get your mind back to that grateful state.

When I first moved to the Washington, DC area, I lived in a tiny studio apartment. And, we are talking tiny, like a little box. I washed my dishes in the bathtub y’all. No dishwasher for this girl. But, you know what, I may not own a house now – but I don’t need to gravel in that fact and let it destroy my day. I need to praise God for where I am now. I live in a nicer apartment with a beautiful new dishwasher. So, I praise God for the sudsy bubbles in that machine that make my life happier and easier.

I praise you, God—for the little paws that pitter patter on my hardwood floors, and that sweet little puppy face that has been living with me for 3 years. This is a blessing and is something that blesses my life. This is something I did not have before – and now, I do.

Try this exercise. It works wonders – and the list will grow like those grow magic capsules! Of course the future holds wonders for you (this is a promise!) – but don’t long for it. This will only make you unhappy. Praise God for where you are now – and ask him to use you in your current state. Life is too short to live unhappy.