Friday, July 13, 2012


oes arose bush have thorns or does a thorn bush have roses?
It really is all about perspective.

Sometimes I wish I could fill a prescription for happiness. Now I realize God's goal is not to make sure we're all happy, comfortable or successful. Life is not pain free. Pain helps us become the man or woman God wants us to be. It's not all about me. It's about God. Yet as Americans we have an inalienable right to pursue it. But I have so many friends lost in that pursuit, muddled in the mire of discontent and negativity. If it were simply a drug or dessert, I'd be pill pushing to my sad friends or giving away cupcakes!

Does the rose bush have thorns
or does the thorn bush have roses?

Dr. Kathy's remedy does not presently come in pill form. However, there is recent medical research backing my theory.

"Researchers have discovered that grateful people are more satisfied with their lives, and not because they ignore the bad stuff--they're just better at appreciating the good.

I knew it! Attitude is everything. Attitude is a choice. How you think determines how you feel and act. Eventually those very choices determine how happy or content you are in life.

Personality types may range from pessimistic to idealistic. Optimists fall somewhere in between. But that shouldn't become an excuse. "I'm just natured that way." Whether your nature makes it easy or not, we all can choose to THINK THANKS. An attitude of gratitude can spin your day, lift you from the mulligrubs, even on those blue days, even against your natural bent.
This month we're thankful for daffodils."

(Redbook, April 2012 issue)

When my Kimberly was about 5 years old, she was riding in the car with my mother one spring day. Mama was a joyous person and spread it around freely, without even realizing it.

"Oh, Kimberly! Look at those daffodils! They're just beautiful."

"Forsythia is the first sign of spring. Don't you just love that bright yellow?"

"Oh, look, Honey! A robin red breast right on that gorgeous dogwood tree!"

During a break between Mama's monologue of merriment, Kimberly inserted, "Grandma, I think you love everything and think it's all beautiful." Glancing out the car window, she added, "You probably even think those telephone poles are pretty!"

She probably did.

The apostle Paul said from jail, "I've learned in whatever state I am to be content." Notice he used the word learned, not pill-popped. It was a learned process. I see 3 steps:
  • gratitude
  • contentment
  • happiness
Contentment ultimately holds the key to happiness. But there is a link to gratitude on that same road to pursue happiness.

Oprah once suggested via one of her guests that we keep a daily Gratitude Journal. Not a bad idea. God had it first though.

Philippians 4:8

New International Version (NIV)

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

We all can adjust our attitudes by intentionally programming our brains to think on the good. Today's tendency is to mull over the bad, gripe about what's wrong, complain over how we're treated, feed on the latest news warning. Then we wonder why we're sad all the time. Sometimes medical help is needed for true depression but it should not become the automatic lifestyle for children or adults. Some of the meds to cure depression "may cause suicidal tendencies." I know of several folks who did take their own lives. The common denominator was anti-depressants.

Hear me again as I repeat from the middle of the above paragraph. Sometimes medical help is needed. I believe that too. The operative word there is sometimes. I've experienced those lows and so have family members and friends. However, too often it becomes the first thing we do rather than the last. Frequently it becomes a permanent rather than temporary aid.

We might find a better first choice is to learn to recognize the cure God placed within us as human beings. We can actually tap into hormones far stronger than prescriptions. Even in bad circumstances or discomfort, we can find the good. God is good. Begin there. That strength, even in your weakness, becomes your joy.

Our attitude toward life defines not only who we are, but the quality of life we will have.

I find myself reflecting whatever I'm around. So again my choices in music, reading material, friends, conversation all feed either my happiness or my discontent. For me it meant:

  • watching less news
  • reading my Bible daily
  • applying God's Word in practical ways
  • spending less time around complainers
  • ejecting thoughts of criticism

2 Corinthians 10:5

New International Version (NIV)

5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

  • thinking less on my circumstances and more on the lessons I need to learn there
  • believing God can change me, my habits, my thoughts, my attitude daily
  • begin and end every day in praise

Every night Doug and I kiss each other and say, "Goodnight. I love you." Every night I step out onto my dark front porch and end my day with, "God, thank You for ____________." It's different every night but I go to sleep thinking thanks.

I wake up happy. No pills for that!

Throughout this blog I've use the word happiness and gratitude because there is a direct link. The happiest folks on earth are not so because of what they have or their circumstances. They are happy because they have found the nugget of gratitude even in bad circumstances.

Chuck Swindoll said we need "to wean ourselves from the rabid pursuit of happiness so prevalent in our culture. Happiness is a byproduct of contentment." That's it! Pursue gratitude and happiness just happens.

Thorns are painful, but the world is filled with many roses.

Stop and smell them!

Here's the best example I've seen in awhile.

Anything bugging you today should pale with this perspective check. Learn from this joyful child. Choose an attitude of gratitude and BE HAPPY!
Chapter 2
As an epilog this video also makes the political link and importance of gratitude.


  1. Emailed to me from my sister in law:

    Love, love , love your blog this week. And I’m gonna share one of your quotes on FB. It is all about “choosing to be” grateful, isn’t it?
    Love you , Sister-in-love

  2. So glad I read this blog. Minor health issues had me saying "poor me" all day, but I have so much to be thankful for, and should be more gratitude minded throughout my day. Thank you so much for this timely, God inspired word of encouragment. I NEEDED it! God Bless, Wendy

  3. Thanks for the reminder! Alot of good verses in there. Being grateful DOES change one's attitude and that makes all the difference!