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7 Not So Great Things to be grateful for

Getting a little personal here today. I’m taking a detour from my usual pretty pictures of home decor and DIY ideas and talking about gratitude. Not for the things that are obvious, but just the opposite. The not so great things.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA. Things to be grateful for. Postcards from the Ridge.

No matter what your circumstance, there’s always a silver lining; always something to be thankful for. Even rainy, overcast days are something to be grateful for because they can have a great effect on photos like the one above.

Sunset through the dunes at Kiawah Island, SC. Postcards from the Ridge.

Sunday at church the message really spoke to me. Our pastor talked about gratitude and how we don’t always have it or even want it. She shared some personal stories of loss where she was able to find gratitude in the face of tragic circumstances. It was truly inspiring.

It made me think of some not so great things I’m thankful for. Let me know if you agree. Here goes:

1. Lean times. Our little family spent many years without much income (less than $30,000 per year). Fortunately our girls were small and didn’t know the difference. They were thrilled with their consignment sale clothes and their dollar store toys. And splurging on a movie rental and a Papa John’s pizza was something to look forward to on Friday nights. I’m grateful that they were young and didn’t need cell phones, computers, or cars. And I’m grateful for those years of struggling because it brought us closer as a family. It taught us to appreciate even the little things and to take nothing for granted. And it taught us to stretch our dollars and get the best value for what we buy. The girls learned that brand labels don’t mean that things are better. And even though we have more breathing room financially these days we still shop at off price stores and sales and stretch that dollar as far as we can.

2. Rocky periods in our marriage. No marriage is perfect no matter what their facebook photos look like. Don’t get me wrong, things are usually pretty good for us, but we do disagree sometimes and have had some tough times in the past. I’m grateful for those not-so-perfect times. It has shown us that we can weather a storm and come out stronger for it. It has proven that I have an awesome husband. And it makes us really appreciate the days when things actually are close to perfect.

Dogwood tree encrusted in ice. Things to be grateful for. Postcards from the Ridge.

3. Bad weather.  We had a really snowy winter here and had the white stuff on the ground for 2 weeks. That’s unheard of. It NEVER happens. Well, I guess I can’t say that anymore, can I? I’m grateful because it gave me the opportunity to get some interesting pictures. And while I enjoyed the snow for the first couple of days, it wore out its welcome soon after that. It made me really appreciate that we don’t usually have to deal with snow and ice. And I’m extremely grateful that warmer, spring weather has finally arrived.

4. Poor health.  Although we’ve never had to deal with any serious health issues, I’ve had some major dental problems during the past year. (Please floss those back teeth regularly if you aren’t doing so already. Trust me.) I had to chew everything on one side of my mouth for a while and that’s no fun. I’m extrmely grateful for having mostly good health for myself and my family.

5. Sleepless nights when the girls were babies. Okay you caught me. I can’t really say that I’m grateful for the loss of sleep. That would be a lie because I cherish a good night’s sleep and am intolerable without it. But those sleepless nights go by quickly and before you know it you’re losing sleep waiting for them to come home at night when they’re teenagers. I’m grateful that I survived those years when they were babies even though it’s all kind of a blur. I’m grateful that they’re responsible teenagers now and I really don’t have to lose any sleep worrying about their whereabouts. I’m grateful for each phase of their lives and wouldn’t trade any of them, even the adolescent years. That being said, I wouldn’t go back either. I love them more with each phase they pass through.

Purple water lily. Things to be grateful for. Postcards from the Ridge.

6. Unfriendly or unhappy people.  You know the type. Nothing makes them happy. They’re always complaining about something. And some of them are just downright hateful. I’ve worked retail for many years and have come across people who make me feel sorry for anyone who has to live with them. But what I always try to tell myself is that I don’t know what their lives are like. I don’t know what demons they’re facing or what problems they’re dealing with. Maybe they just lost someone they love. Maybe they can’t afford their medicine. I don’t know. But I do know that I usually try to say a little silent prayer for them. It definitely makes me appreciate and want to spend time with my friends who are always positive and find the silver lining in things; the “glass half full” kind of people. I realize that we all need to vent sometimes, but not all the time about any and everything. It’s just unhealthy.

7. Low expectations. Is it wrong to set the bar low? I’m not saying to be lazy or try to get something for nothing, but rather to not set unreasonable expectations on people or jobs or anything else in life. In most instances, expecting too much just sets you up for disappointment. Instead, have realistic expectations. For example, nobody looks good in a bathing suit unless they’re a swimsuit model. And they get their photos retouched. So find a suit that you like and that you’re comfortable in and go for it. You’re the only one who actually cares what your flaws are anyway. Also, no house is clean all of the time…unless it’s vacant. A messy house means that you’re living life to the fullest, right? Accept that nothing is perfect and you’ll find yourself being much more content. By the way, we must be living a very full life based on how clean our house is at any given time.

And this concludes today’s detour. I now return to my regularly scheduled content. Maybe it will give you something to think about when thing seem bleak.

Is there anything not so great that you’re grateful for? I’d really love to hear about it.

Thanks for dropping by today and for letting me get a little personal on the blog.



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