Thursday, May 15, 2014

Finding Joy in Thankfulness

It's incredibly easy to get concerned about circumstances or spend energy focusing on things we need, and when that happens we get stressed out and lose sight of what's really important. We've all wasted too much time thinking about something someone said that hurt our feelings or made us angry. I can write entire dialogues in my head about what I should have said or done in that situation, but you know what, it's too late. It's the past, and we can't change the past.

Focusing thoughts and energy on our blessings helps us remember how fortunate we are and what we have to be thankful for. I am thankful every day that I am able to make up stories for a living. Being a writer kind of sounds easy when I put it that way, but it's not. There are plenty of things to stress over in this business. Deadlines, the market, the changing face of publishing to name a few. But in those times when I begin to be overwhelmed I remember what it was like when I only dreamed of being a writer, when seeing a book I wrote in print was a lofty goal, and I thank God that I have seen so many dreams realized. I'm grateful I can share stories with readers, knowing how much pleasure hours of reading brings.

I live in Nebraska, so there are plenty of days of extreme weather. When it's below zero and the snow is flying, I am warm and cozy in my office. When it's a hundred degrees and there are pet warnings on the news, I am cool and comfortable at my desk. I am thankful every time. And I'm thankful I can get up and go for a stretch whenever I like. I can do my laundry and plot my next scene at the same time.

I am thankful for my wonderful writing friends who celebrate all the good times with me and commiserate during the struggles. I am thankful for libraries and google and software programs that make my job easier. I appreciate gadgets, like digital cameras, phones and Kindles and laser printers and scanners. I love that I can consider watching Netflix movies work. I'm thankful for all the little things that make my job more fun, interesting and playful, like colorful Sharpies, favorite pens, and beautiful planners with a different picture for each week.

I'm thankful I am my own boss. That's pretty cool, because I'm good to me. I give myself days off and I point out when I've done a good job. Sometimes I even buy myself gifts. I'm worth it. Focusing on the good things, on the things we appreciate, gives us a more positive attitude about ourselves and others.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you."

Philippians 4:6-9

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