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Riding the wave

Spring in Wisconsin is like a fickle and impulsive three-year-old.
Her disposition is warm and golden one moment, sulky and downcast the next.
We ride the wave of her emotions: snowflakes, raindrops, sunbeams and currents.

Sometimes snowflakes paint daffodils and raindrops collect in watering cans. The sun goads us into believing warmer days are more than just a temporary phase, while the wind pushes us onward, preventing us from getting too complacent in our current station.

I’m empathetic to her whims, because sometimes they are my whims, too.

But whims sometimes take on the semblance of flights of fancy – the less stable and impractical sister of distraction. I have to keep keeping my eye on the happiness ball. More importantly, I have to keep keeping my eye on the contentment ball. Thank you for the grounder that zipped past the third baseman and allowed me a spot on first. Home run, I do not need you today. There are more ways to get home than with a killer fly ball over the fence.

Elizabeth Gilbert remarked, “Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it… You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it.”

I would add, not only does happiness require unyielding effort, that effort’s focus on relentless thanksgiving pays the most fulfilling dividends.

When a day has been particularly cloudy, I must go back and seek out even the most skittish and mercurial of sun rays. If only for the sake of my sanity. Giving thanks in all circumstances makes us the ultimate optimists.

Thank you Lord for mortgage payments and doctor bills, it means we have a roof over our head and skilled doctors at the ready.
Thank you Lord for pans of dried up egg scrapings and bacon grease, it means we have food in our bellies.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Ceaseless, relentless, unstoppable – over and over and over again.

I tell the boys what I must constantly remind myself, when in doubt and you don’t know the polite thing to say, just say thank you. You are always safe saying thank you.

And recording these blessings is always worth the effort.
Record them on paper, record them on your phone or your heart, but just record them.

It’s the memorizing of a bible verse versus the reading of one. The repetition literally carves out deeper and deeper neural pathways in our brains, serving as easily recoverable, ever-ready sentiments. It allows these deeply ingrained sentiments to then influence our behavior because the good stuff is easily retrievable and close to the surface.

Keep the faith friends.
Swift Monday grounders to you and you and you. No home runs need today.

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