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June has been a rough month. The national news has been tragic and just scrolling through Facebook I find myself tearing up.

Our family has also experienced some personal setbacks (which seem trivial in light of national news), but it all adds up for the potential to feel hopeless, overwhelmed and sad. Just to give you an idea of what June has been like, these are all the things that have gone awry for us personally.

  • AC in van stopped working – huge repair bill
  • Motor for van door is kaput ($850 just for the replacement part)
  • Fridge quit working & needs control panel replaced
  • Rock (thrown by son) shattered my husband’s truck window
  • Glass pane on entertainment center busted

It always seems that when something breaks, there are 3-4 more things that follow in succession. NEVER fails. Three years ago, we had major plumbing repair, replaced the hot water heater and needed an AC repair all in a 6 month period. Life is like that.

The crazy thing is, despite all the repairs we are doing and money we have to spend, I am grateful, very grateful. My van still works, albeit a little uncomfortable, but it works. And we do still have one working van door, so I don’t have to rush to fix that issue. No one was hurt in either of the shattering glass incidents (huge relief). The fridge is repairable and we do have a smaller spare fridge so not everything is spoiled. And, we have worked hard to maintain an emergency fund so we can afford to cover the repair bills.

I am grateful for these small things, but it’s a conscious effort to remind myself to always be grateful, even when life gets crazy. Always find the good in situations. Always remember that gratefulness is much more productive than blaming, shaming or hurting.

choose gratitude

How I Stay Grateful & How You Can Too:

Find the Good
Even when things seem horrible and can’t get any worse, find the good. There are good people all around us and there are blessings in everything. Even in times of great tragedy, people come together to help others, to make the world better and to spread love. Be that person and find others like you.

Be the Good
I did a month of daily random acts of kindness a few years ago and helping others is a huge mood booster for me. Even small gestures can mean a lot to someone else. Take time to be kind and giving and you will find the love and generosity spreads to others.

Turn off Electronics
I love social media, but sometimes the negativity I see is just too much. When I start to feel overwhelmed, I turn off all TV’s, phones and computers and just enjoy the day electronic free. Gasp! You know, like some of us HAD to do as kids, since there was no such thing as a portable phone and not everyone could afford a computer. Being technology free does wonders to recharge my batteries and allows me to spend more time with family and doing things I enjoy.

Do Something Fun
It’s easy to get in a funk when life seems to hand me too much to handle. I take a break and do something I enjoy. That may be playing with the kids, spending time with my husband, reading, adult coloring, exercising or anything that brings joy. Take time for you.

Enjoying some adult coloring today. These are so fun! #coloring #coloringforadults #coloredpencil #happyart

A photo posted by Nicole McDonald (@momsavesmoney) on

Reach Out to Friends and Loved Ones
Spend time with those close to you. Go out for coffee, take a walk together and appreciate the people who are in your life and love you. Even going through old photo albums and videos of my loved ones brings joy and happiness to my life.

Make a Gratitude List
It really helps me to sit down and write a list of things I am grateful for in my life. Of course, there are the big things that I’m grateful for, like family and friends, but I also add the little things like indoor plumbing (just think about life without it and you will feel grateful), coffee, etc. When you think and focus on the good in life, it helps build an attitude of gratitude.

Sounds silly, but when I smile I find it hard to be mad, angry or sad. Sometimes I have to force myself to smile, but it always works. Just hop on YouTube and search funny animals or funny baby videos and watch a few to raise your spirits. Those always put me in a better mood and give me a good laugh. Or, sometimes I just look at silly pictures of my kids and smile. Smiling is contagious. Try it!

smiling kid

These are some of the things I do to be more grateful for the little things in life. I want to make a difference in my small town in Nebraska and that difference starts with me. Gratitude is appreciating all the little things, showing kindness and recognizing the good in myself and others.

What are you grateful for today? How do you stay grateful even when life gets tough?

Note: If you love the inspirational shirt I’m wearing, it is made by Cents of Style and is a nice reminder for me to ‘Choose Gratitude’ no matter what life hands me.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Dorie Piskorski June 16, 2016, 3:04 pm

    Not to point out others’ misfortune, but there is always someone who has it worse. I try to remember that and appreciate ‘simple’ things like hot, running water, clean sheets on my BED, health insurance, food in the cupboard, etc.

  • Karen Basye June 16, 2016, 3:15 pm

    I’m grateful I was able to volunteer this week with Vacation Bible School. I’ve met so many amazing people and hearing my daughter singing the songs she learns at age 4 is awesome. She looks forward to it every night.

  • Maryann D. June 16, 2016, 5:36 pm

    I do know what you mean about when one thing breaks – more follows. Last year my water heater broke and needed replacing, my central A/C needed replacing after breaking, my skylight was leaking and my dryer broke. There were more things too! But you are right, that we still need to be grateful and I keep reminding myself of that!

  • Jayme June 18, 2016, 9:54 pm

    So true! It’s definitely easy for me to get wrapped up in my first world problems and play the “poor me” card.

    The key, for me, is to not compare myself to others. It’s always too easy to fall into that trap and I never “win”.


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