CHAPTER 26 – PRACTICE AND ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE – Choose Celebration
Chrystal’s husband had a stroke and she walked us through some of the recovery and challenges. We are reminded that we have to “decide to celebrate your small victories and practice gratitude for every blessing along the way. You owe it to yourselves to do that.” (Pg 268)
Are you celebrating small victories? Just last week we went in for our physicals, and when the doctor’s office called on Saturday to say all our labs were great I celebrated. You see my cholesterol has been up forever – not as high as some of you, BUT it was down to almost normal. I’ve been doing a lot to bring it down naturally – like drinking lemon water in the morning, taking a niacin at night and eating lots of fiber and walking.
I was reminded Saturday how blessed we are – it’s what some would think a small victory, but to us good labs are a HUGE blessing. We’ve seen so many of our friends and family going through so much with losing spouses, hurricanes, and cancer.
Sometimes Chrystal reminds us that we aren’t celebrating because the life we have is not the life that we want, and she says “it’s a whole lot easier to settle for low expectations and probable disappointment than to show appreciation for what lies directly in front of you and to expend the energy to hope for change.” (Pg. 269)
I know I’ve done that at times because it is easier to expect the “worst” in my case when my Mom was so bad because well, I wouldn’t be as disappointed when it turned out bad, but you know what – sometimes it did turn out bad and that’s just part of life, but I did find myself celebrating the many times she came out of the hospital and for all the time we got to spend with her. I gave thanks for all the times she recovered and God allowed us to be with her and share and know her a little more each visit.
My favorite part of this chapter was when Chrystal talked about how celebration can help us thrive and was she talking about me. YES, she was when she shared how we “wave off the compliments or encouragement of others” and how we need to stop because we are rejecting a gift. Ooops I’m trying!!! When we accept those small compliments or small achievements, we “begin to accept that we are capable of doing it again.” (Pg 272)
And this – “don’t get attached to the number of times you fall down. Get attached to the number of times you get back up again.” (Pg 272) I’m okay with this one, but I think someone reading today may need to hear that. Beautiful.
Chrystal says that she is crazy on the elliptical machine. How I wish I had one. She has church on the elliptical machine.
We have to celebrate no matter how bad things are in our life. I know that. I need to remember that in the hard times to give thanks.
- I remember the day we came home from a nephews funeral and a dove was sitting right at the top of the entrance to our house. You know what I had never noticed them, but now we have a dozen of them and not a time goes by that I don’t see a dove at our house that I don’t think about the two nephews we lost.
- Not a butterfly or dragonfly flutters by that I don’t think of Mom.
- Not a single time the phone rings with bad weather that I don’t think of Dad because he was my weather man when bad weather was headed my way he called and he never called any other time.
- I have tulips bloom each year that Dad planted and reminded of him when they start sprouting up through the ground.
Chyrstal says that “as often as you can, no matter how bad you think things are, give thanks. Find something – anything – to express gratitude for, and make it a point to take notice of your life and honor your existence for, and make it a point to take notice of your life and honor you existence with small celebrations along the way.”
Mark some moments in your life by celebrating. Find something that’s right.
CHAPTER 27 – RUN YOUR RACE – Choose Freedom
Running your race, and Chrystal talks about comparison and how it can kill and keep us in virtual chains. Did you know when you compare it is a lack of respect of you?
I learned some time back that if I compare myself with someone who I have to take on all their issues, their problems. Eeeeek! I haven’t found anyone since then that I would want to trade places with. Think about it. They may be rich in worldly things, but not be able to have a child, may go bankrupt, and not experience all the beautiful things that God has created for us to enjoy. You don’t know what all their story is so stop comparing.
Enjoy you, the you God created with your whole heart.
Chrystal says “the more you see what’s beautiful in your life, the less what’s outside your life will matter.” (Pg 281)
God is not concerned with how you lived in comparison to others, but that you and I did what we “could with what we had.” (Pg 283)
CHAPTER 28- THE GREAT COVER-UP (Choose Honesty)
We are part of a great cover-up. We edit out the parts of our lives that we don’t want anyone else to know.
Chrystal reminds us that “most of us have snapshots of our lives we don’t care for others to see. We prefer to present that one picture taken in the right light, at the right angle, and with the right filter.”
We keep our shame in secret. We cover-up. She reminds us that if we leave all this unattended or hidden, it keeps hiding and our guilt and shame grow bigger and bigger.
We need to deal with our shames, own our stories and look at our lives as God looks at them. He loves us. He cares for us and we can celebrate because of that. Live in His light.
CHAPTER 29 – THE SISTER CIRCLE – Choose Community
As sisters we shouldn’t compare and compete. I’m not only talking about your family sisters but also your sisters in Christ. We should be cheerleaders, encouragers, and supporters.
I have two sisters that I love dearly. I also have sisters in Christ in my Bible studies I love dearly. Chyrstal reminds us we might not have time to meet them for coffee, but we can text or call them. I find myself sometimes in my car driving, and I’ll call a friend and chat on those long drives home (not in the traffic) but the country roads. How long does it take to send a text?
Occasionally, I have a day I can work in a lunch and I got to meet both my sisters for lunch this summer, and working on meeting a dear friend in the next few weeks.
CHAPTER 30 – THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT – Dare to Believe Change Is Possible
Did you know struggles or trials help us grow? They do or have for me.
The struggles with my Mom and all her sickness, loss of her leg and so much more has taught me to be more compassionate, and even at times make me wish I had been more compassionate.
The struggles with a business that has not been flourishing for years has taught me to praise God for all we have and He has given us through my old job with health insurance and a retirement income that provides for taxes and bills and always more than we deserve. It’s taught me patience as we try to sell it, and well it just has not happened but it will in God’s timing.
Chrystal share the butterfly effect that is at work in each of us. I told you I love butterflies so this one caught my attention (Pg 302):
- Wait for it.
- Watch for it.
- Work for it.
- Hope for it.
- Pray for it.
- Dare to believe. Change is possible.
Enjoy the rest of my 31 Days Series below: