Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The gift of trying again

Last week, Annie and I were snuggled up at the end of the day watching The Middle and just generally kicking back. She noticed that I was writing something in the notes on my phone and asked me what I was working on.

I enthusiastically launched into a lengthy explanation of how I had been reading this book all about gratitude. I started giving her all of the nitty gritty about the fascinating research that shows how an intentional practice of gratitude leads to greater overall well-being and health. Because I'm a big fan of well-being and heath, I explained that I had instituted a practice of writing down at least three things I was grateful for each day. These could not just be general categories of gratitude, but specific moments from that individual day for which I was thankful. I went so far as to show her the special folder I had created in my notes exclusively for my daily gratitude missives.

God love her that she didn't fall asleep before I was finished.

Being the ever-kind and supportive daughter that she is, she nodded along patiently and gave me an encouraging smile at the end. But then I swear I saw the slightest twinkle in her eye when she patted my arm and said sweetly, "That's great, Mom. long have you been doing this?"

I turned to her and we sat silently staring into each other's eyes for several looong seconds.

Finally, forced to respond, I could barely keep a straight face when I answered flatly,

"Two days."

We both collapsed into a fit of laughter.

It seems even my daughter knows my tendency to start things with great excitement and grand intentions, only to have well over 50% of them fizzle out over time. Sometimes, after not much time at all.

Let's take a trip down memory lane and look at some of the bold and wonderful initiatives of mine that never made it past the starting gate:

Chore charts, calendars, jars...(and any sort of chore management system you can envision)

Meal Planning

Family Nights/Family Devotions

Once-a-week Grocery Shopping (see Meal Planning)

Make-Ahead Freezer Meals (see Meal Planning)

Eating Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Wheat-Free, Dairy Free, Sugar Free

Technology-Free Sundays

I am sorry to say that the list goes and on and on. If my kids were helping to write this I'm sure that each of them could chime in with some brilliant ideas of mine that I've long forgotten.

Remember when Mom thought it would be a great idea if we all got up at 6am every morning and ran around the block 7 times while singing Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho?!

That did not really happen.

I swear.

But it could have. I've had some questionable moments...

Oh, and how about that recent idea of mine where I thought it would be such a great challenge to myself if I were to write a blog post every single day of October? Yeah....

I've explained before how I've come to understand that I'm a great Initiator, but a selective Sustainer.

I think I have to try things for a bit before I know whether something is truly worth my time and energy. Because for all my flakiness, the truth is, for every half-baked idea I let quietly fade into oblivion, there are at least an equal number of worthwhile endeavors that I have stuck with for the long haul.

So I haven't written every single day of October. But I wrote today.

And I have kept my gratitude practice going for over a week now.

And tonight, I will once again end the day snuggling with my daughter. That is a plan I can guarantee you that I will sustain for as long as she is willing.

Sometimes my ideas and plans and visions work out really, really well. Sometimes they don't.

But I keep trying.

One of my great ideas that actually did turn out really great.
(Whether they will admit it or not).
(Remember when Mom made us climb all the way up to the stupid horse statues....)
Good times.

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