Friday, 25 November 2011

Attitude of Gratitude

A long time ago when Grace was a teeny tiny baby (feels like a million years ago!) I was trawling t’internet in search of some breastfeeding advice when I came across the message boards for a lady called Tracy Hogg. Affectionately known as “The Baby Whisperer". I’d seen Tracy’s programmes on the Discovery Health Channel whilst I was pregnant with Grace so I was familiar with her work. Little did I know that that message board would become my online home for the next 5 years! (and that I would moderate boards on that forum for 4 of them!).

Through the Baby Whisperer forum I met some amazing people. Some very quickly became RL friends (who I speak to in one form or anotherpractically every single day).  Even after retiring from the site there are some I am still on contact one way or another…via facebook or blogging or some other means.

The women I met on that site touched my life in a myriad of ways. Some helped me with parenting isssues (or were helped by me in parenting issues), some shared my love of all things crafty, some got my bizarre sense of humour, some loved to argue with me (in the nicest possible way), one of them was/is my Canadian doppleganger and some shared my desire to try and get some organisation into my home and my life.

It’s one of the latter that inspires this post.

The lovely Debra Dane, who’s  BW tag line always intrigued me so. “An American, married to a Brit, living in Oz” was what it used to say. Deb was always there to spur me (and a hundred other life-crazed women) on when we couldn’t get a handle on the laundry, or feeding everyone, or get over the fact that we couldn’t actually do everything. With a wise and invariably honest word she could put your mind at ease.

Deb has recently started up a new blog called “Home LifeSimplified” where she is sharing her fantastic take on life as a busy family. The tag line there says it all “Find YOUR  Simple”. What could be simpler?

A big part of Deb’s attempt to find HER simple is trying to promote an “Attitude of Gratitude” within herself. To see the positive in life rather than the negative. To be thankful for what we DO have, rather than what we don’t. A wise move at any time I would think but even more so in light of current economic climate the world over. We could all stand to focus on the positive aspects of our lives (lest the negative ones overwhelm us).

As a culture I think us Brits tend not to go in for this “gratitude” business very much. Insofar as it’s not common for us to express gratitude just for the sake of doing it. On the contrary, Britain is apparently a nation of Moaners (most spending on average 9 minutes per day just whining about stuff).   
After reading Deb’s blog for a couple of weeks I decided I would try to go against my heritage and try to see the positive more. I’m working on trying to shift my thought process round to seeing the good, instead of bemoaning the bad all the time.

As part of her Attitude of Gratitude promotion Deb is posting a weekly “Attitude of Gratitude” post on her blog to talk about what she’s feeling grateful for that week. Given I’m trying to follow her example I thought I would follow suit.

So, This week I am most Grateful for:
Being well prepared for Christmas and not having go into debt to pay for it.   

I’ve managed to do the majority of my Christmas shopping this week and unlike a very large proportion of the UK I haven’t had to amass a huge amount of debt to do it. Now, we’re not talking a massive amount of extravagant gifts here. Just a little something for each family member and a pile of presents for each of the kids. More than enough for a happy Christmas.  It takes quite a lot of money management to get to the point where I can be able to do this but I’ve learnt that it pays to plan for it to avoid that stress of wondering how we’re going to pay for Christmas at the last minute. It makes me really sad when I see families struggling under the weight of consumer pressure to buy stuff for their kids. Parenting is hard enough without feeling like you’re letting your children down because they don’t have the latest this or the best that. We try hard to teach our kids the value of money. They don’t just get whatever they want in the year. If they’re asking for something big they’ll likely be told to ask for their birthday or Christmas. I want them to really value what they have, not be so surrounded by stuff that they lose the value of the things they do own.  This year I am going to try hard to encourage the spirit of Christmas more at home. Family activities to make the festive season come alive…. Cookie baking and winter walks and hot chocolate and tree decorating (I will try to let go of my Christmas Tree perfectionism and just let the kids have at it! LOL).
Most of my presents are wrapped now except for the few I am waiting to be delivered. I will wrap those when they arrive.  I might even get around to Christmas cards this year!
My Parents and My In-Laws.

I tell my children all the time just how lucky they are to have two sets of Grandparents around that they see all the time. I literally do not know what we would do without my Mother. She has watched my children almost every day since I had to return to work. She never says no if I ask her to sit for them. My parents and In-Laws have such an active role in my kid’s lives (and our lives) and I’m so happy that they’re around to do that. I’m grateful for every day they are with us and every day that my Dad is a step closer to being healthy again.
The Acceptance of Potential Happiness.
Yesterday I saw a dear friend of mine who lost her husband a few years ago (just a short time after their wedding). She has travelled a long road the last two and a half years in terms of dealing with her grief and the aftermath of her loss. I’m grateful that she finally seems accepting of the possibility that it is okay for her to be happy again. It lifts my heart to see her smile without seeing the immediate shadow of guilt behind it.
A long overdue kitchen remodel.
I have a new (to me) kitchen. It was something of a surprise (inherited from a friend who is having a new one fitted).  It is currently in pieces in my dining room. I’m very grateful that it will eventually replace the hideous brown kitchen we currently have. I’m grateful I have a husband capable of fitting it, and a father in law more than willing to help.

That are tonnes of other things. Once you starting thinking of the positive things then you start to see more and more, it’s definitely a knockon effect.

I'm going to try to do this every week, If nothing else it will hopefully encourage me into a little blogging. Which has been sadly lacking this year.

If you haven’t already you should definitely pop over to Deb’sblog for some interesting reads.


Deb @ inner compass designs said...

well you have certainly jumped right in hon - what a fabulous list of gratefuls! It really does help to write them out and reflect - you are right about the knock on effect! Hope to see more blogging from you lovely!!

And thanks for your generous and kind words about me, BW and my blog! xxx

Tara said...

Oh CRAP, ek, you linked to my I have to actually update it beyond MAY of this year.

Great list! I think I did a grateful list last year and I enjoyed it! Must do it again...