Monday, October 17, 2011

Practicing Gratitude... 10.17.11 (and a few words from Cappy)

 I have saved files and files of my Dad's wisdom and reflection - communicated both through handwritten letters and emails. Maybe one day I'll put them in a book. What I love about this particular email from last week is his "happiness is a choice" quote - very likely Dad's life motto. If you've spent any time with Cappy in any depth of conversation, this theme surfaces. And similar to practicing happiness, gratitude must be practiced. It doesn't typically come naturally. That's one thing that stood out most to me throughout Ann's book, One Thousand Gifts, is that gratitude is a practice - something we do over and over again to (hopefully!) automate that response. Anyway, thanks, Dad, for your words... they mean much.

Dennis Prager just summarized his radio show with- "Don’t have stress, have friends, and take religion seriously."
The players were 90 year-olds, and the children of long-lived parents.
The tone seemed to focus on their having done most of the wrong things, and that it didn't do them in. Like having a sweet tooth, exercising or not, cigars...
Like almost everything I pay attention to, it all seems to stem from attitude. The other word that comes to mind when thinking about "accomplishment and being happy in it" is that the only constant in success is persistence, vs talent, intelligence, luck, looks, etc.; and that happiness is a decision.
The word Temperament also comes to mind.
Most of us can probably look back to someone in our family that had an inclination toward depression or anxiety, and we may wonder how much are we fated to the same condition.
When I think about things like stress and anxiety the question that rises in my mind is how much of that person's condition may have been related to choice... To being bumped and then choosing to lean the easier, weaker way.
I have enjoyed observing and experiencing the tremendous significance that our choice has on our happiness-
...Being happy is a choice. ...Doing the things to make a successful marriage is a decision. 
I feel fortunate to have been catching the first or last 15 minutes of some of these radio programs like "The Happiness Hour." It was easy to listen in while doing the painting for 20 years, and now I get to listen to that hour sometimes on off Fridays or lunch at work.
My contribution to the radio discussion today would have been how significant it is when your kids are happy. And smart. And talented....
Someone, probably you Ton, recently put this in front of me-
Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles...   1 Chronicles 16:11-12.

Thank you, Lord...
 - Time with Nickmo's endearing mom and sister, Tara and Katie

- Our washer and dryer. A Mother's day gift several years ago. And if you'd seen our old set, I was not one of those women complaining about that kind of Mother's day gift! Makes a big task more enjoyable.

- Spending time on Baylor campus with our family - and Purdy!

More than two decades of friendship with this one

Fun to dream of them living right there in Penland one day... who knows?
Sic em' Bears!

- Spontaneous reunion with our dear friends the Dickersons
Essie asked me to take her back to the hotel room to find "something grey."
Someone has his daddy's sense of humor

- 6th grade Cotillion
Fewer nerves as this was the second time around
- Skylar taking care of our house and dogs (!)

- C's patience with me, living with me in an understanding way

- Piano tunes coming from fingers other than mine

- Sunday morn response

- Eleven + years of dining with these girls

- A Saturday morning at home
All screens, with donuts on the kitchen counter
- Jeanne, Tina, D'Anne, Leslie, Mary, Pam (& Anita!) - seven writers who affect the way I think about writing

- Pam's green sandals

- Rockwall and back with Tina

- Christ's boundaries = freedom

- 30 min on a quiet park bench

- Night at the Circus
The boys and I streamed ESPN on Corbin's phone throughout tigers jumping through hoops of fire, crazy trapeze artists, and even the cannonball lady. Made the circus even more exciting to follow the Rangers (humongous) win over Detroit. Back to back World Series - Go Rangers!
- Sabbath toes

- Cappy's words
Love you, Dad! And love your choosing happiness...
Again... Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles...   1 Chronicles 16:11-12.