Monday, May 7, 2012

The Gift of Gratitude

So many days of my life, I get out of bed and immediately begin scurrying to complete my morning to-do list.  Number one, make coffee!  Then it’s get breakfast made for the kids and myself, make sure the kids actually eat their breakfast, sip my coffee, pack lunches, yell at the kids for getting their breakfast all over the table, clean up the mess, tell them it’s time to get ready for school, take another sip of coffee, get myself dressed, attempt to make my hair and face look like I didn’t just roll out of bed, keep sipping my coffee, herd the kids to their bedrooms to get them dressed, attempt to understand why it’s such an issue for them to wear what I pick out, allow them the chance to dress themselves to avoid the tantrum, lash out in frustration when they decide to play with toys instead of get dressed, try to find where I placed my coffee, eventually get everyone in the car without them getting some crazy boo boo that causes crying and the instant need for a bandaid, and chug down the remainder of my coffee.  I try to take deep breaths on the way to school when the kids strapped down in their seats and I can finally breathe for the first time in the day.  I am fully aware that my morning schedule needs a total overhaul, I just haven’t gotten there yet!

Then there are the times when I wake up in the morning and feel peaceful and thoughtful.  Something in my brain is signaling me to appreciate this day before it even starts.  I think about how blessed I am to have my children, my husband, my home, and my spirit.  I ponder how wonderful my life has been and how I really have no room to complain about any of it.  I wonder why it is so easy to get caught up in the fast pace of life and forget about all that has been given to us and why it is so hard to remember to be grateful.  I am a firm believer that gratitude is one of the most important traits a person can have.  By being thankful for our experiences, the things we have, and the people we meet, we can recognize all that is good in our lives.  Sometimes even bad experiences deserve gratitude because we become stronger as a result.  For military wives, it can be difficult to find gratitude for anything sometimes.  When times are hard, it is easy to have the mentality that those bad things are “happening” to us, or that we have been dealt an unlucky hand.  Sometimes we might think, “Man, life would be so much better if we weren’t in the military.”  On the contrary, military life lends us a multitude of things for which to be grateful.  We are not unlucky in the least but, as I see it, are some of the luckiest women in the world.  Because we are subjected to such extreme fluctuations in emotion, we have the ability to see life in a new perspective.  Without those hard times, the good times wouldn't be so great.  We have the choice to view the difficulties in our lives as something to be thankful for.  And when we choose gratitude, we will find something that many people struggle their entire lives to achieve: happiness. 
Keeping a grateful attitude not only increases personal happiness, it will benefit the people around us as well.  Imagine how good our husbands feel when they know we appreciate them and all that they do.  Think about all that your parents did for you while growing up and how wonderful it would be for them to know you are thankful for their efforts (I did this, I know!).  When you experience that ultimate customer service experience that just knocks your socks off, how do you think the manager would feel to know someone appreciates how hard his staff works to please people?  We feel good by making others feel good.  I encourage you  to practice being grateful by keeping a journal of all that you are thankful for.  Send a letter to a loved one or friend letting them know how much you appreciate them.  Leave your husband a note telling him that you are thankful all of his help, or how selflessly he serves his country. When you wake up in the morning, let the first thing you do be to thank God for this day.  Here are just a few of the things I am grateful for:

1.       My wonderful husband, his ability to put up with me, his selflessness in our relationship, and his trustworthiness.
2.      Two beautiful, healthy children.
3.       Good health, for myself and my family.
4.       The opportunity to experience different places in the U.S. by moving every few years.
5.        The humbling experience of knowing that life is not as easy as I had it growing up.
6.       The great friends I have met along the way.
7.       The ability to stay home with my kids in their early years of life.
8.       A life that challenges me to be the best person I can be.
9.       The things only God could give me: a teachable heart, joy for the simple things, strength to persevere, hope for my future, and His hand to guide me through it all.
10.   The sound of the garage door opening from inside the house because if I'm not opening it, there's only one other person doing it and it means he's home!  


  1. I love the sound of the garage door opening.

  2. I had to laugh at #10 because I'm the same way! I think the kids can almost hear my sigh of relief when the garage door starts going up :) Great post...sometimes (living this lifestyle) we need a reminder of all we have been blessed with.