The Power of a Positive Attitude

Today the Lord impressed upon me again how powerful my attitude is.

Yeah, we all know that happy people are more fun to be around than complainative ones, but sometimes it’s easy to forget that we can CHOOSE to be one of those happy people ourselves! Joy isn’t in our genes; it’s in our minds and hearts.

I worked in an assisted living facility this summer and saw a wide range of attitudes in workers, from lazy to hard-working, from nasty and sour to joyful and sweet. Now you must understand: nursing home work is hard, dirty, and stressful, and it’s so easy to slip into complaining when you’ve just about had all the stress you can take for the day. But there were some aides that chose to look on the bright side of things, and (surprise, surprise!) those were the people I most enjoyed working with!

To be totally honest with you, I am probably one of the least qualified people to be telling you how to act.  As a child, I once made it my quite unkind goal to make everyone in my family mad (or at least unhappy) on this certain Sunday, right after we got home from church. I was in a nasty mood and wanted everyone else to feel the same way I did. To my shame, my scheme worked and within a few minutes of walking in the door, everybody was upset about something or other. In retrospect, they were probably all upset with me for having such a sour attitude that day!

Other Sundays, though, I remember trying to help every family member be happy. This took a little more work than making them mad, probably since we were born with sin natures, and it took some serious self-denial, but choosing joy anyway resulted in a much more restful afternoon and the enjoyment of each other’s presence! These are the days I love to reminisce on. 🙂

Pessimistic personalities are no excuse for not choosing joy, either. I am, by nature, almost (key word there) a full-blown pessimist, but have had to realize over the years that personality traits such as pessimism or optimism are not meant to DEFINE me! Both pessimists and optimists have to work to keep themselves from going off the deep end, and yes, even pessimists can count their blessings!!

Counting your blessings, even the little ones, really does lighten up your day and world! Earlier this year, someone told me about a personal project she was doing called One Thousand Things. She and a friend each got a journal and began to write down everything they were thankful for, numbering each thing and aiming for 1,000 of them. I was inspired, so I bought a cute mini-journal and started my own gratitude book!

One Thousand Things

It’s helped me refocus and count my (VERY many) blessings, and I think I’m going to start carrying it around with me so that I write in it more often. I’m not nearly close to one thousand things yet since I’ve slacked off some in the past couple months, but I’m going to get there!!!

IMG_6139

You know, I’ve noticed that when I make a conscious decision to focus on the bright side of things, and whisper thank you to the Lord every time something happy happens, I suddenly become a lot more joyful! While doing this at work today, I even began to wonder why the Lord decided to bless me so much today! In reality, He blesses me EVERY day, but I miss out on seeing those blessings if I’m wallowing in complaints or self-pity.

What are some things you have been blessed by today or this week? The blessings on my list included hearing a bunch of my favorite songs on the radio at work, being able to have a really neat conversation with a co-worker that I don’t usually get to talk to much, cloudy weather (it makes taking pictures of cars easier because I don’t have to worry about the sun reflecting off of and casting shadows on cars), hot coffee on a cold windy day…. 🙂

This feels like a post more on the random side, not quite as “put together” as I would like, but I hope it makes sense. 🙂 I hereby challenge you to find a way to proactively choose to have a joyful attitude and praise the Lord for the little things, even when it feels like you’re in the midst of a storm. He inhabits the praises of His people, remember?

“A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.” Proverbs 17:22

Adventures // with ice cream and playgrounds

Children love ice cream….and playgrounds….and I love seeing them happy, so earlier this summer, my younger siblings and I all took advantage of a spare evening and went to a nearby ice cream shop!!  Being only about 8 country miles away was a big plus, too, for us country folk. 🙂 IMG_5441

By the way, the proper way to eat an ice cream cone is upside down….can’t you see how efficient that is? 😉

IMG_5443

IMG_5449

Ohhh, those eyes……and that adorable little chocolate-smeared chin!!

IMG_5452

Ella and I shared a cone!  The literal, non-germophobe way….

IMG_5454

Or at least we tried.

IMG_5463

Peanut butter sundaes are the best, right, Joy??

IMG_5475

Beth is so pretty!!  And her character reflects her love for the Lord…so glad she’s my sister.

IMG_5479

Cara!!  That girl is growing up too fast…

IMG_5484

Wade’s just keepin’ to McIntosh Ice Cream Outing Traditions!


As soon as the ice cream was finished off, we headed a couple of miles down the road to a local school playground – one of our favorites.  The evening was so enjoyable!  We even made friends with a few other kids who were hanging out there, and watched their jaws drop as we told them that we were ALL siblings, not a day care. 🙂

IMG_5493.CR2

Staticky slide hair!

IMG_5518.CR2

IMG_5485.CR2

IMG_5509.CR2

Wade and Ella have fun!

IMG_5511.CR2 IMG_5535.CR2

money can't buy ice cream, but...

Okaaaayyyy, not quite.  Here’s the truth, though!

If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.  These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”
John 15:10-11, NKJV

What did you do this summer that you especially enjoyed?  What do you wish you would have done?  I’d love to hear about it down below!

I Smile // praising the LORD in all situations

I don’t always feel like smiling.  I don’t always feel like being polite.  I don’t always feel happy.  And I definitely don’t always feel like praising the Lord for and during the trials.  But often, those periods of trial are the most important times to praise Him.

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

-James 1:2-4

Praising the Lord is important even when we don’t feel like it.  Praise is not a feeling – just like love, it is an action.  We can praise God anytime, regardless of our feelings, simply because we know that He is God and that He is worthy of our praise and adoration.  So on those rainy days when we just feel like giving up, when nothing seems to be working the way it’s supposed to, and when we’re just plain tired, we need to lift our heart to Jesus and, through the carnal feelings of despair and discouragement, tell Him that we love Him, and that He is an awesome God…because He really is!

Not too long ago, my pastor pointed out that even if we come out of a time of true worship, out of a pure heart, with absolutely no feeling of a spiritual experience, we can still rest in the knowledge that we have worshiped the Lord.  Isn’t that cool!?  We can worship Him no matter how we feel!

So a few weeks ago, I decided to try it.  I was at work and feeling pretty blue and ready to go home, being tired and a little stressed.  I had to force myself to put a smile on my face and thank Jesus mentally as I worked.  As I began to thank Him for every little thing that crossed my mind, my smile slowly became less forced and more real.  He gently gave to me a joy like no other as I simply told Him what I was thankful for.  Though I don’t always feel a burst of energy as soon as I start to praise Him, I do know with all of my heart that He has heard me.  And, as the old song reminds us, counting our blessings always helps to cheer us up!

So why do I smile?  Not just because I feel happy…I smile because Jesus loves me!  Because He died for me, He’s given me a beautiful day, and He answers prayer! And even the because of the little things, a cup of hot coffee on a cold day, or a safe trip in the bad weather.

Sometimes, we just need to smile and thank God for the simple things. Praise Him not only in the moments of peace and contentment, but also in the moments of despair, discouragement, and confusing moments.  It is then that He desires and enjoys our praise the most. And it is then that He rewards us with unspeakable joy.  So come!  Let us worship the Lord together!

“Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous; And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!”  

Psalm 32:11