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Finding Joy Through Gratitude.

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The week before our much anticipated beach vacation, we found out we were bracing for a direct hit from hurricane (or, bizarre weather event) Barry. Three days before the vacation our son was diagnosed with pneumonia. The day before our vacation, our daughter sliced the tip of her finger on a razor.

“What is the universe trying to tell me?” I asked myself over and over leading up to the trip. All I kept thinking about of was breathing treatments and transporting refrigerated medication over three state lines. That and flesh eating bacteria.

I could feel myself tense and start to snap at the people I was supposed to be spending the next joy filled week with. This was not the way it’s supposed to be! This is not the way I wanted it to be. Everything is ruined. My joy was gone.

But before I sabotaged any potential for this trip, I looked myself straight in the face and gave myself a swift kick in the rear. It may not be as planned. It may not be as expected. It may be very different than any other trip before, sister, but that doesn’t mean it still can’t be. It doesn't mean it still can't be wonderful.

Have faith, dear girl!

Instead of focusing on all of the ways things would be different or more difficult, I chose to instead focus on this:

We are lucky to be able to get out of town knowing we may lose electricity.

We are lucky to have everything we need to take care of our son.

We are lucky to have a good ice chest.

We are lucky to have a beautiful view to sit together for his (many) breathing treatments.

We are lucky enough to have waterproof band aids that aren’t really waterproof but that temporarily ease a mother’s worry and make you feel better.

We are lucky enough to have wonderful doctors and access to health care wherever we are.

We are incredibly lucky because all of this is temporary. The medications, treatments, tubing (so much tubing), is all temporary. This will pass for us and soon become a distant memory. That’s not the case for many families.

The shift in focus shifted my mindset. The stress went away. The worry went away. The negative feelings were replaced with joy. The joy came back! I got lost in what was overwhelming me. I got lost in what is wasn’t but I found my way back to what was.

How? By being thankful. Gratitude is always the roadmap to joy.

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