Tag Archive | focus

Are you wearing sewage stained glasses?

It’s a lovely day out there and the little man is headed to school having recovered from a bout with the stomach flu over the weekend.  Although he was feeling better, this morning he woke up with a spirit that was lacking in gratitude. He’d forgotten all about his excitement on Saturday at finding an Army duffel bag from the Korean War, and many other treasures, when he helped clean out a friend’s garage.

He’d also forgotten about all of the board games, books, and DVDs, that we had gotten for free after a yard sale closed yesterday, on our way home from a ginger ale and Jell-O run. What did he feel he was missing in life? Television… He had a sleepover at a friend’s house Friday night and was able to watch copious amounts of television.  Suddenly something that we have not had for nearly two years was all that he could think about.  I am considering it, television, but it is not a top priority to say the least.

Flowers from the front yard!

Flowers from the front yard!

When we go through a day feeling lack…lack for what we do not have, or lack of gratitude for all that we do have, it is like putting on a pair of sewage stained glasses, and everything we look at is tainted by the color and stink of that sewage. We become blinded to all of the goodness in life, and close our hearts to gratitude.  However, it does happen to the best of us at times, even me. 😉

A sense of lack often leads to thinking that we lack even more, as we continue to compare what we have to what others have and end up feeling even more ungrateful and lacking, whether it be lack of personal attributes, or lack of things.  Comparison almost always leads to a feeling of lacking in some way or another, which is why God cautions us not to compare ourselves with others.  It this world, that is hard not to do, but not impossible.

The little man is only 8 years old and at his age, comparison at school, and out in the world, is common.  He is using comparison to figure out how he fits into the world.  His teacher tells him not to compare, and I do the same, but it seems to be human nature, whether we are 8 or 80 years old.

I know several people in the late 70’s who constantly measure their own worth by what they have that others do not.  At 8 it is something that is fairly natural, and provides many teachable moments to help the child value who he is as an individual, and to help him to know and appreciate just how blessed he truly is, and how he can use his blessings to bless others.  At 80 years of age, it is a sad sight seeing someone who feels that the only way to measure up is to outdo everyone.

God loves people who are content with what they have, and who feel as if they are lacking for nothing.  God loves people who feel that they are enough, and have enough, and likewise, other people are drawn to those who are content within, and without, both literally, and figuratively speaking.  Gratitude does not come naturally to everyone, but I believe that it can be nurtured within, and learned over time, and strengthened into a habit.

Once you begin to appreciate all that you do have, it is amazing just how much more begins to show up. You will find yourself surrounded by grateful, content, people, and as you open up to feeling that you have enough of all that you need, you will also open yourself up to receive the things that you may have been blocking with those sewage stained glasses—opportunities that you just could not see, or did not believe existed will become visible, and obtainable.

So, today, put on a spirit of plenty, and glasses stained with the color of joy and gratitude, and don’t be tempted to take them off.  If you need to wear a pair of blinders for a time along with your joy tinted glasses that is perfectly all right.

Once you establish your focus on gratitude, goodness, and plenty, and make it a habit, the blinders will naturally fall off in such a way that your view of life will be brighter, balanced, and the scent will be so sweet that you will not believe that you lived with the scent of sewage for so long.  Take the time to develop a habit of contentment and gratitude.  It is a very worthy summer project with such beauty all around!

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The Beauty All Around Us….

Today I am going to do something a little different.  I am going to tell a story using pictures.  I am not known for my stellar picture taking skills.  In fact, it is quite the opposite.  I am known for taking an endless series of extremely blurry pictures, with one exceptionally good photo taken of the whole family on Christmas morning.  That single good picture per year is known as “The Silver Tuna,” a Home Alone reference, another cult classic movie in our family.  I live for “The Silver Tuna.”

My son and I live in a little cottage in the woods.  From the outside, it doesn’t look like much.  I have chosen an image of it from the fall, because it looked so cute then, with the mums and pumpkins.  I need to get my flowers planted in the planters out front this weekend.

On the inside, it is quite cozy, and very comfortable, and it has everything we need.  A living room and a dining area, a small, but very useable kitchen, a large pantry, a wood stove that heats the entire cottage beautifully, and a full bathroom make up the lower level.  It is tastefully decorated, too.

Upstairs is a huge loft, where we sleep.  There are dressers aplenty, two huge closets, nooks and crannies, and sitting areas everywhere.  You see my bed.  My little boy sleeps in a nook under the eaves off to the left.  As you can see, it is quite nice, too, despite my crooked comforter.

Each weekday morning, we hike up a steep hill to the school bus stop.  This hill is affectionately know as “the luge run” in the winter, a term coined by our one neighbor.  It is about 1/4 mile long, and walking up and down it is very good exercise, no matter the time of year.  This morning the hill looked all greened up with spring splendor.

When we got to the top of the hill at 7 o’ clock in the morning, we were met by a host of swarming mosquitoes.  Blackflies and mosquitoes dominate spring and summer in Maine.  Seeing more mosquitoes than blackflies means summer is surely on its way, and it is time to head indoors until fall, unless you love being covered in DEET around the clock.  I do not like to be covered in DEET, but I am also allergic to mosquito bites.  So, we stood there swatting at the air, and ourselves, until the bus arrived.  My natural instinct would have been to head back down the hill, and into my comfy cottage, as fast as my feet would carry me—away from the dreadful mosquitoes.

But this morning, on my way up the hill, my eyes spotted some things I wanted to explore–some extremely beautiful things.  I was seeing a blur of little wildflowers all around, and I was determined to endure the mosquitoes so that I could enjoy the wild flowers on the way down.  I wanted to see the beauty all around me, and not just notice the negative.  This is what I found:

I found a patch of lovely purple flowers.

Then I found a patch of glorious, yellow, bell-like flowers.

I was thrilled beyond words when I found not one, but two, pink Lady Slippers!

If that find wasn’t good enough, I then went on to see a beautiful Jack in the Pulpit!  Amazing!

I found violets, and little white flowers, and and some pretty cream colored flowers, and some magnificent, mossy, tree stumps, but those images didn’t turn out so great, so you will have to imagine them 😉  Then it began to pour rain, so I did head inside, but very happy that I had taken the time to bend over, and look at all of the hidden wonders on the forest floor.

There is beauty all around us every day.  You may live in a city, but there is beauty to be found there, be it in the architecture, or the flowers in people’s yards, or in the people themselves.  However, if you are too wrapped up in the negatives, the mosquitoes in you day—traffic, unpleasant co-workers, long waits in line, bills, or the high price of gasoline–you won’t notice the beauty that is all around you.

If you are impatient to get through the grocery store checkout, and mad that the cashier is too slow, how will you ever notice the pretty, elderly lady in line behind you who took the time to put on powder, and rouge, and lipstick?  I bet it would make her day if you told her how pretty she looked.  Your neighbor, who has been working so hard to plant flowers might like to hear how nice her garden grows, and your spouse would probably be very appreciative if you noticed how hard she worked on the meal, instead of noticing that dinner is late again.  Look into the face of your child—really look–that is perfection, right there.

It can still be a perfect day even if there are clouds in the sky, or rain on your walk to work.  Your own attitude will determine how much beauty you let into your life.  Open your mind to seeing the beauty and shutting out all of the negatives.  They are only distractions.  It may take practice at first to override your habit of seeing only the negatives, but over time, with some work, you can rewire your brain into one that can find beauty anywhere, on any day, in any situation.  What do you choose to see today?