Summer Series: Refresh

His blonde hair is a blur as he speeds past me. Ear to ear with a smile and a tempting twinkle in his eye, he's daring me to chase him. He's always running; he's three and it's the best way to travel. He's giggling and all he wants is for me to join the chase.

And this is the spot. 

Where I either can get grumpy or I can get giggling. 

I can stop the silliness and the speed and call forth order and quiet and control. All the control. I can enforce no running in the house and end the game. 

Or I can get low and get grateful and get giggling. I can join the parade of pure joy and be lighter and let go. 

This spot, this moment, this choice. 

Grumpy or Grateful. It's a split second decision that changes the entire atmosphere. Changes the heart of my household.  

Turns out I never regret Gratitude. Gratitude holds no grudges. Gratitude ushers in grace. Gratitude refreshes me and everyone in my path.

I can choose to see chaos and ruckus and out-of-order-ness. Or I can choose to be thankful for the littlest legs, the blondest blur, the lightest laughter. 

Hunting down gratitude brings life and hope and peace and joy. It refreshes my soul in the middle of the mess. In the life with three under ten, this is my work. And this work of Getting Grateful brings a breath of fresh air. It brings freedom. It let's go of Perfect and pushes toward Playful. 

This summer, I want to play. I want to find silliness. I want to take myself less seriously and lighten all the loads around me.

So I am asking three times a day:

What are we thankful for this morning? 
What are we thankful for this afternoon? 
What are we thankful for tonight? 

And we are creating a culture of gratitude, finding refreshment as we go. We are jumpstarting joy with thoughtful thankfulness. Swapping sour for sweet. 

I have started interrupting fights with: Oh! Hey! Tell me what you are thankful for?! And they stop their bickering, look at me, and answer! They fell right into my Gratitude Trap and the switch was flipped. And it's absolutely refreshing.    

The great thing about gratitude is that it can turn the whole thing around in a heartbeat. We can often think the whole day is shot if the morning was sour. Don't buy into the lie that a rotten five minutes ruins five hours. We can easily turn this thing around. We can stop, smile, and search out the sweet. 

Here's to gratitude in the hardest of places. In the minor melt-downs and in the tragedies. In the dark valleys that this summer may bring us, may we fight for gratitude and get grace on the way. Real refreshment is a heartbeat away.