Monthly Archives: February 2015

Gratitude vs. Grumpiness

In North Carolina when it snows or sleets or ices, it is an event. Friends and family who live in colder climates often shake their heads as we report that several inches of white stuff can easily shut schools down for 3-5 days. Last week on day 4 of such an event, I was scheming about how to send our road clearing crews on a Chicago field trip to see how it is done. For years, I have mentally prepared an “emergency bus route plan” that can be accessed on cleared main roads after any type of disaster – hurricanes, ice storms, and blizzards included. I know that most parents would figure out a way to get their kids to these imaginary bus stops after several cozy days together.

Yesterday was glorious. My kids went to school at the regular time, I got to spend the morning doing something I love and it appeared that life would return to a level of routine. There were little mumblings and murmurings that more snow may be on the way, but my strong denial mechanism kicked in. The forecast declared that a wintry mix was a possibility, but all indications were that kids would be back to school this morning. At 6:20 am EST, the texts, phone calls, twitter feeds began. A two hour delay was announced. The snow began to fall and we all knew that it would be followed by the inevitable “schools closed” message which did indeed arrive at 7:27am.

At such times, we all have choices. Mine tend to fall into two categories – gratitude or grumpiness – and I seem able to access each during a snowy day. Today has been no exception. This morning’s snow is beautiful in contrast to last weeks’ mostly ice event. Large flakes are gently tumbling from the sky, and the possibility of beautiful walks and sledding are in the air. Gratitude won out, for a time. I grabbed my camera and decided to ride that emotion for a while. As I pulled up the front door shade, this was the view that led to thoughts of the promises of a new year, new starts, new beginnings.


As I walked through the hallway, I was thankful that these items were here inside the warm house and not yet put away after last weeks’ icy show.


Gratitude for a warm home and front porches that point to warmer temperatures, interacting with neighbors and the hope of spring to come.




A slower paced morning that led to a yummy breakfast, sitting at the table (not my usual morning eating spot) and meaningful conversation with someone that I love.


And as I sat there and really looked through my back window as the flakes fell, I got to see this. After sitting full of seeds with no one to visit for months, the recent wintry weather has drawn these creatures to this spot.



And then, I got to see this rooftop adornment shift with the changing winds. I have lived here for six plus months and never seen it happen. The reality is that I have never sat still and watched for long enough.


My heart was full of such positive feeling… and then I walked into the kitchen. We have an elderly dog who is not at all fond of doing his business out in the ice and snow. He has made that clear over the past week or so. There were about six little brown piles scattered through the kitchen and hallway, and I uttered a word fitting for the occasion. I will spare you a photo of that. This is the culprit – his head was down in shame until he heard the camera click. (I KNOW he heeds a haircut desperately – the weather is interfering with such everyday life matters.)


It is amazing how this one little blip in the morning sent me over to the grumpy side for a while. But sitting down and recording for this blog the reasons for thanks giving has helped. Inspired by the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, I have recorded with pen three things I am grateful for off and on each night for years. It truly is an anecdote for being grumpy and helps me to focus on all that is good and faithful and grace filled in my life. How do you counteract disruptions and causes for grouchiness? I’d love to hear from you on this snowy day.

Things change

On Sunday afternoon, I was leaning up against the back of the bleachers at the indoor soccer center and soaking in this: (apologies for the poor picture quality – it was an in the moment inspiration and all I had was an iphone camera)



The cute girl in the green shirt sporting a pony tail is our petite 65 pound girl, and she is mixing it up in a co-ed soccer game with both males and females who tower over her and sometimes double her weight. She is feisty, aggressive and almost always has a big smile lighting up her face as she represents her middle school team. And as I enjoyed the moment, this picture of this same girl’s very first soccer experience flashed into my memory and mind:

March 08 031

Can you say MISERABLE? It was cold and new and one pitiful experience. We felt like we were torturing her on that day even though she spent most of it cuddled up in her daddy’s lap. She simply couldn’t do it. But on the field next door, her younger sister looked like this:

March 08 029

We quickly realized that soccer would possibly be a love for one but not the other. And in many ways, this has played out. BUT with time and growth and change, each now enjoys this sport in their own special way. At some point, sister #1 decided that she wanted to mix it up, get in the game and participate in contact sports. Having a dad and three grown brothers who make it fun and family tradition has helped encourage her to take a risk and try something new and different. That has now spilled over and out as she chooses recreational activities.

As I sat in the bleachers, it occurred to me that this idea of “things change” overflows into so many life experiences. At times a challenge or heartbreak or regret can seem insurmountable. But in time, things change. Sometimes our acceptance or approach changes and sometimes the actual situation shifts.

So when we are in the midst of overwhelm for whatever reason, it is good to remember these words from Ecclesiastes:

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.