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A good attitude is something that can be managed and learned

So many times in life, we take such small incidents and we blow them up into what we believe to be such huge life-altering incidents.  There are so many things that happen to us, on a daily basis, that can either destroy us or make us stronger, depending on our attitude.

Our attitude is, honestly, over half the battle. My parents were always such good teachers concerning that aspect of life.  Optimism was/is a way of life – not a decision. I grew up learning that the glass is always half-full (not half-empty) and if it is half-full, then I should go ahead and fill it the rest of the way up; and it is up to ME to fill it up.  I shouldn’t sit around and wait on someone else to do it for me.

I tried to always let my children know, while growing up, that it was okay to get their clothes dirty. “That’s why God made washing machines,” I would tell them. (So many parents stressout over their children getting dirty and messing up their clothes. My goodness, they are children; they are going to outgrow those clothes anyway.)

I never did get mad over spilt milk or juice, for it’s just a drink and it will wipe up.

However, it still took me years to grasp the fact that the house did not have to be totally picked up and all dishes done before resting for the night. I remember going through the house in a rampage, fussing about dirty socks on the floor and food left on the counter. Cheltsie and Brooke still tell some of their favorite “tales” of some of my temper-tantrums, in my younger years, and I am truly embarrassed by my behavior back then -- not to mention, it saddens me to think of the years I wasted fretting over such small details instead of looking at the bigger picture.

I spent the last many years of my life truly working on my attitude and how I view the “bumps” of life’s highway.  I know I haven’t gotten it down perfect, but thank God I’m not where I used to be.

One of my favorite quotes has become “Life is not what it's supposed to be. It is what it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.”

I can now smile through most adversity and say, “This too shall pass.” This is not to say that I never get upset; but I have learned to not dwell on things I am not able to do anything about.

So many times, I see people rant and rave over (truly) something so small, in the realm of life; such as a car going “too slow,” or someone saying something negative about them.  In all honesty, the car that is going “too slow” will not matter, nor be in your mind 24 hours later, so why get so upset over it?  Why let it get you in a bad mood and spoil the time you are spending with a loved one in your car at the moment?  No matter how much you rant and rave (or “flick them off”) that car is NOT going to speed up and move just for you!  So do yourself a favor and learn to calm down and just enjoy every minute of your life.

Things that seem so tragic at times are usually not as life-altering as we think.  While you might be getting upset over a flat tire that is going to make you late to work, somewhere in the world there is a father getting word that his daughter has died in a car accident.  While you might be getting upset over your five-year-old spilling red Kool-Aid on your carpet, there is a mother somewhere crying for her stillborn baby. While you might be getting mad at the coach for not letting your child play first-string, somewhere there are parents sitting in a cancer ward with their child, who will never be able to play sports.

Life is short and we all need to learn that there are things that matter and things that don’t.

Things don’t matter; family and friends do matter.  When you’re lying on your deathbed, you will not ask what your balance is in your checkbook.  When you’re dead and gone, your big house or new car will not miss you, but the memories you leave behind with your children and/or loved ones will be all that they have left of you.

When your loved one is no longer around, don’t wish you would have gone fishing with them more often, or invited them to dinner more often, or called and talked on the phone one more time; learn that time is of the essence, NOW!

Things can be replaced; family cannot.

Go make memories – and learn to let things roll off your back more easily.  A happy life is just one good attitude away.

Be happy while you're living, for you're a long time dead.  ~Scottish Proverb

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