A few of our most recent threenager melt-downs have been because something fun is ending – Halloween trick-or-treating/handing out candy, & then not getting to finish an episode on TV before heading to school.
In the midst of the meltdowns, and especially once she’s calmed down again, I’m trying my best to teach her that when we’re sad about something good ending, it’s best to just focus on the fun & stay happy. That when we get sad about the end, it adds in more negative feelings rather than just holding onto the positive ones.
I am completely aware that this lesson/reasoning is more advanced than a three-year-old can really appreciate. But I’m starting now in the hopes that as she gets older, this may be one of the lessons that really sticks & helps form who she is as a person. And let’s be real honest here, it’s a lesson I am still trying to teach myself.
Just in the past week, as I left California & all of my family, and again when I left Austin & two of my best friends, it was really hard to fight off the tears & the sadness at the leaving. But I really did try to keep my heart in the happiness that the trips brought long after leaving. And you know what? It helped.
So if you’re in the midst of an ending, leaving a place or a time or a season that you’ve loved & enjoyed, try to keep your heart in that place of gratitude & enjoyment rather than entering that place of sadness & mourning that comes so naturally to most of us. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll be able to extend that joyful season just a little bit longer.
This past Sunday was Gratitude Sunday at church & I am so thankful for the reminder to not only be grateful, but to then express that gratitude.
There are so many things in life – big & small – for which I should be thankful. And many things I am thankful for, but I am not always the best at taking the time to really say it. Life gets busy, business gets busy, my mind gets busy. And then before you know it, I haven’t said anything. Haven’t written the thank you note.
But I realized that in reality, it shouldn’t ever be too late to say thank you. Sure, it may be a little awkward based on social customs/accepted timelines, but the thought is still pure & worth sharing.
So over the next few weeks I want to take some time to publicly thank some people who have been instrumental in creating or encouraging a huge part of who I am – a photographer.
To Mrs. Kerbow,
I didn’t know that when I signed up for Journalism at Kingwood High School that it would end up changing my life’s direction. You saw something in me in those first few class days, and your encouragement to say that you wanted me in Yearbook on your staff instead of in that beginner class planted a seed. Making Yearbook so much fun & allowing me to step out with a camera opened me up to photography in more than a snapshot sense.
The year-end award for best photography in HS yearbook isn’t exactly critical acclaim or a resounding accolade. But it made me realize that photography was something I was good at. I could be a photographer. And that helped spur my decision to go into the College of Mass Communications as I began my career at Texas Tech. And when I had to make the choice of a major, it gave me confidence to choose Photocommunications.
Thank you for creating the base for one of my life’s passions. Thank you for building the foundation of my skill. And thank you for the gift of beginning to believe in myself as a photographer.
It just feels right that I’m now a photographer in Kingwood. Right where you helped me start.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie
As I’m focusing on balance so far this year, I’ve come to notice that I’m tending to push myself to really and wholly embrace gratitude in the process. It is such a key tool that we can use to turn a rough day into a good day, turn an “ok” day into a good day, or actually notice that the day really has been a good day. When it’s been a rough day with Peanut being fussy, I try to remind myself to be grateful for the time I get with her and the lessons she teaches me. When she just wants to be with her Daddy, I try to be grateful that he is such a good parent and that she loves him so much. When I’m sad about having to leave my family at the end of the Christmas break, I try to find gratitude and remember how fortunate I am to be able to travel to see them.
We all have rough patches – some of us more than others, but I’ve noticed that some people, no matter what they are dealing with, are able to sit back and laugh. To appreciate the “have” rather than the “have not” in their life. They don’t FIND a silver lining, it’s what they see right away. That’s the kind of balance I want to be able to have – to acknowledge the pain or the frustration, but be full of gratitude in spite of the struggle.
Finding gratitude in the simple things also helps me stay balanced. Yes, we may have some GREAT days – trips to see family, birthday celebrations, etc. but the little moments are worth your gratitude too. And being able to truly appreciate the little moments makes it so much easier to not get caught up in feeling like things are “less than” when you aren’t having great big experiences everyday.
I think faith goes hand and hand with being able to honestly feel gratitude, especially in some of the darker times in life. Being able to think of the grace we are GIVEN, without ever having to earn it. Knowing that a life – His life – was given in exchange for our salvation. That’s something that can really balance you out and put your struggles into perspective.
So here’s to the peace of today and the vision of tomorrow, y’all. Find your gratitude – even in the little things today.