I looked up the definitions of "virtuous, lovely, good report, praiseworthy" tonight. How often I let these things pass me by. Far from 'seeking them out', I seem to miss them entirely unless I make the effort to watch for, or in retrospect, look for them.
My oldest son recently was feeling pretty down - if I remember right, we didn't let him play video games, downright cruelty as far as he's concerned ... Anyway, he listed his problems for me as I tucked him in and I acknowledged his difficulties, then, I asked him to find 5 good things or blessings for every one thing he felt was wrong. It took a little while, but by the time he went to sleep, he was smiling.
I know a lady who smiled at me today and said that yes, her husband might lose his job, but she knew God would take care of them. I believe she counts the blessings in her life. Hope and gratitude seem so deeply tied.
How often do I count my difficulties and forget entirely to count my blessings - or at least only look for them peripherally - enough to see that they couldn't possibly overwhelm the sad state of my life. But, a man once said "We must never allow our burdens to obscure our blessings" (Jeffery R. Holland) and another man explained why. He said, "The expectation that more is deserved can cause our plate of plenty to appear empty." (Gordon T. Watts) For their special witness and addresses, click on the links.
So, a couple of blessings:
*The dryer was empty when I remembered at bedtime that I had started a load of wash this morning.
*Primary songs - catchy tunes that teach my kids the important lessons of life - like honesty, courage, and faith. (tonight's favorite? "Nephi's Courage")
*A car that runs - (ahem, despite my best efforts, ie. denying it that oil change that I keep swearing I'm going to work into my schedule!)
*Rotisserie chickens from Smiths. We don't do it often, but an easy dinner here and there is a blessing. Not to mention the blessing of being able to survive occasional dips into the food budget - something we couldn't do as 'poor college kids'.
*Wedding ring - I forgot to put it back on after making bread the other day and slept a whole night without it - drove me nuts. I was so glad to get it back on.
*Soft baby skin. I know it's hard for alot of people - alot of people I love actually, who aren't at a point yet where they have been able to have children, but I think God must know I'm not as strong of a person as they are. My whole drive some days is encompassed in those chubby little bodies.
*And of course, talking parenting reminds me of my gratitude for my Savior, who takes my best efforts and amplifies and refines them to be a benefit to my family. This constant purging and renewing influence allows me to open my eyes each morning to another day, abandoning the regrets of the past and preparing me to make all new mistakes - but make them with the best of intentions and, hopefully, some progress.
Yeah, not quite 5 to 1 yet, but I'll keep working on it. By the time my head hits my pillow, I bet I'll be sleeping as sweetly as my six year old.
Good night world - as someone once said (my husband's laughing right now, I'm sure - have I mentioned that I have a memory like a sieve?) it's not so much a matter of how far you've moved, as it is of making sure you're facing the right direction. So, here's to trying again tomorrow. Sleep well.