Monday, August 1, 2011

A Thankful Heart is a Happy Heart

My 15 month old son is obsessed with Veggie Tales. He asks for "BOB!" all the time and knows how to turn on the BluRay player in our living room that connects to NetFlix (where there are lots and lots of Veggie Tales on instant). We have CDs in the car and in his room, and the girls color pictures and do projects of Veggies partially because their baby brother loves them so much. So, needless to say, I have Veggie Tales songs in my head ALL THE TIME. Often that is annoying and enough to drive me batty, but I have been reminded of some very simple truths by listening and watching Veggie Tales. One that has become my mantra as of late is "A thankful heart is a happy heart." I have it written on a heart above my desk. And it is something I remind myself on a regular basis.

I am using this simple phrase to remind myself (and my children) that when we look at what we have to be thankful for rather than what we wish we had or wish we could change, our perspective brings us joy rather than sorrow, peace rather than anxiety. It sounds easy, right? Of course it's never that simple, but by stopping myself from thinking of things in a negative way and forcing myself to hear Madame Blueberry say "A thankful is a happy heart. I'm glad for what I have; that's an easy way to start. . . " I remind myself that I have SO much for which to be thankful!

Just the other day I was thinking about a job opportunity my husband had last fall. We were SO certain it was the answer to our financial difficulties and would possibly be the CAREER job he so desperately needed. It should've been his job. His dad worked for the company; my husband knew 2 out of 3 of the people doing the hiring and had worked with the company while doing another job. So, needless to say, we were devastated when he didn't get the job. We thought he had it in the bag and were blown away when he wasn't given the job. After that time we went through some even more difficult financial times. My husband had a couple other jobs, none of which have proven to be the career job he is looking for. But some new opportunities are on the horizon for him, opportunities that would better suit his talents, skills, education and passions. These opportunities were made possible through a part time job he had last winter, a job he wouldn't have had if he had been given that "perfect" job last fall. (A job we found out later was only a 6 month contract position.)

 It's so hard to see when you're in the middle of a situation, but there is a bigger picture. God has a greater plan, and HE can see where each path leads. When I think of this particular situation with my husband, it makes it a little easier for me to be thankful. I should be thankful that he didn't get that job. God knew there was something better coming along. Sometimes we have to be patient. (My father always said "Patience is a virtue," which I never understood as a child, but yes, dad, I get it now!) Answers to prayers are not always immediate, not always what we expect, and not always obvious. some times the answer is "no," and many times the answer is to wait and be patient.

I'm trying to keep my heart thankful about starting my new job. Obviously, it is a tremendous blessing for our family financially for me to be working as well. My tendency, however, is to think about missing my kids. I won't be able to see my oldest daughter off on her first day of school or be home with my little ones during the day. That's heart breaking to me. But when I remember to be thankful, I focus on the fact that I have a wonderful husband who is a fabulous father, and my daughter will have him to send her off on her first day and take pictures of her for me. And my little children will be at home with him, not at a day care center with a stranger. And THAT makes my heart happy.

"I thank God for this day, for the sun in the sky, for my mom and my dad, for my piece of apple pie. For our home on the ground, for His love that's all around. That's why we say thanks every day! Because a thankful heart is a happy heart! I'm glad for what I have; that's an easy way to start. For the love that He shares, 'cause He listens to our prayers. That's why we say thanks every day!"

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