Friday, April 12, 2013

You've Got to Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative

My sister watched a lot of classic movies from the 40's so perhaps that's why this song pops into my head from time to time.  I googled the lyrics (not knowing where it's from) and apparently it was on a movie from that time period.  So thanks sis!  The full song was written by John Mercer.

Here's a little Bing Crosby and the Andrew's Sisters so you can hear what I keep hearing in my head...

 So in reclaiming my life I have tried to simplify and be more positive.  Not just in my eating, but in my everyday functioning, thoughts, life in general.  I didn't realize how much I had tied up emotionally in "stuff" in my house.  The sad thing is I was going to pass it onto my kids.

I taught for 10 years before becoming a full time at home mom.  During those years, repeatedly I saw the culture of entitlement.  Kids truly believed they deserved grades that they hadn't earned.  They thought they should get a reward for simply doing their work.  Now in small amounts, I am all for prizes.  But there are limits.  So I wanted to do different by our kids.  My parents didn't give us anything we wanted and I'm glad they didn't.  We had to work for it and all have a strong work ethic.

We live in a small house and just can't keep everything.  This has challenged me to free myself of a lot of "stuff" and teach my kids to free themselves as well.  I didn't want them to be resentful of me for donating their items though.  I felt guilty getting rid of things.  So at 2 years old, I had Superhero #1 begin donating things to "kids who don't have toys".  I would hold up 2 items (a favorite of his and one he didn't play with) and ask him which one we should keep.  Each time we did this it became easier until he started finding items for me.  He will be 5 this month and much to my surprise, he asked me for some bags and left for his bedroom.  When he came out he had filled 2 large paper grocery bags with toys.  His idea.  Not my idea.  He said, "Mom, we can bring these ones to the Salvation Army.  I don't play with them anymore.  Then I can make room for more toys for my birthday."  I couldn't have been more proud.  He was truly ok with it and has since helped clean out more.  We're up to 4 bags of toys and books now.

He inspired me to rid myself of more clothes, CD's, books, etc so our house can stay clean with less effort.  The crazy thing is the more you free yourself of stuff, the cleaner your mind feels.  It's like a weight is lifted.  It doesn't take as long to clean up.  So I have more time for family.  This makes me happier and the kids happier.  It's a positive cycle to start.  I realized I had a bit of that entitlement focus too.  I was focusing on what I didn't have instead of how blessed we were to have what we do.  When I  started "accentuating the positive" in all areas I was freeing myself to be happy in the NOW.

Are there things I want still?  Of course!  They're normal things...just like everyone else.  But like the Bible verse Phillipians 4:11 says, Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

Isn't contentment what everyone is searching for?  I'm content where God puts me and I hope and pray my kiddos can learn that as well.  My challenge for you is to get a paper grocery bag and fill it up.  Rid your life of one load and see how it feels.  If you can do two bags, do two.  It's hard at first but trust gets easier.   While you're at it throw out some processed food too.  :-)

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