Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Gratitude

I have been reading a lot of blog posts about gratitude.  It got me thinking about the many (almost countless) things for which I am grateful.  And, then I realized there was one piece of advice (big idea really) that I was given several years ago that I use in my life on a daily basis.  It is worth sharing.

I attended a Relief Society Enrichment where the speaker was a friend of mine in the ward.  She started out talking about how when she is pregnant her morning sickness was not just morning sickness but all day sickness.  She then went on to tell a personal life changing story.  When she was pregnant with her third child, her husband traveled constantly and her oldest child, who has autism was struggling.  She also had an active toddler and her morning sickness was worse than it had ever been and she was at the end of her rope.  She called her mom in tears and said, "I don't think I can do this."

Her mom, after listening to her vent, said, "I raised you to know that life was not always going to be easy.  You knew that there would be bathrooms to clean, sicknesses to deal with, heartaches and and other such trials.  You can't avoid them.  But you can control your thoughts when you are going through those things."

She then read this quote: Celebration is the conscience decision to live our lives with joy.  In the midst of turmoil, pain and adversity, in bad times and good, joy is the great companion our Heavenly Father intended us to have.  To feel joy, however, requires a decision on our part--a chosen approach to life, a chosen attitude, a constant awareness . . . To live with real joy we must begin with a personal conviction that we have the ability to change our lives in small meaningful ways.  We must feel we can learn better patterns of thinking, feeling, and doing that will allow us to feel better, accomplish more and rise higher. Elaine S. Marshall

She then talked about when she has to do things she doesn't really like to do (like cleaning a dirty bathroom), she thinks about a favorite vacation she went on as a child.  She said, "I don't even really notice that I am cleaning the bathroom because I am not thinking about that.  I am thinking about this great vacation."

I went home that night forever changed.  Whenever I am faced with things I don't like to do, I think of her advice.

What are some of my tools?

When folding laundry, I often call my mom or sisters and say, "Let's chat while I fold laundry."

I paid $72 annual fee to able to download any of Dr. Laura's radio programs.  I commit that when I am listening to Dr. Laura I have to be cleaning.  It is amazing how easy cleaning my house is when I am listening to Dr. Laura.

I put on the radio (or my ipod) and sing LOUDLY to whatever is on.  If my children are at home, they often join in singing with me.

I give myself a topic and write in my head a speech or talk on that subject.  It forces myself to recall scriptures, conference talks I have heard, etc., as I review that topic in my mind.

I memorize poems.  "If" by Rudyard Kipling is a favorite.  There is so much beautiful poetry out there and it becomes incredibly meaningful when repeated over and over again.

So, in this month of gratitude, I am grateful for the idea of filling my head with good things while I am often doing things I don't particularly like to do.  It has been life changing me.


ash said...

I am totally a fan of this system. And I love the quote. Who said it?

David said...

some other possibilities include singing 'whistle while you work' from snow white, 'spoonful of sugar' from mary poppins, and 'whistle a happy tune' from i think the king and i

Kari said...

Thanks for giving that perspective. A decision on my part. Hmmm. I could have used that advice last year, using the shop-vac 72 hours straight while the basement flooded. (I don't know that in my state of mind at the time, I WOULD have used it, but it would have helped me if I HAD.) Happy THanksgiving!!!!!!!

Natalie said...

I came across your blog today and loved reading it.

I love the quote you gave from your friends lesson. Do you know who wrote it? I would like to use it in my R.S. presidency message that I have to give in Dec.

You have a beautiful family.

Erika said...

Wow, Janice--thanks so much for sharing that. Love the quote and needed the perspective!! My baby still isn't sleeping and I'm exhausted--everything seems a little harder right now...ok, a lot harder ;-) I'm going to start by memorizing the quote tomorrow. Thanks again!! Let's get together one of these times I'm in Utah!