JOY in all circumstances

IMG_0386Recently we took a little trip to the Cape with our family. We’ve come to love our mini getaways to the beautiful coasts of New England (even though we live a couple of blocks from the ocean in our Boston neighborhood, ha :).

In the past, we’ve gotten really lucky and have chosen some pretty awesome places to stay. We’ve mostly gone out of season and have been able to stay in luxurious hotels and locations for far less than luxury prices. People can’t believe it when I tell them!

Like the time last spring when we ended up staying in this GORGEOUS hotel overlooking the ocean and the most beautiful lighthouse on Martha’s Vineyard!!! (my favorite we’ve seen in all of New England. And we’ve seen a lot!!).  It also didn’t hurt that the hotel’s restaurant served the BEST hamburger on Vineyard ;). And not just in our opinion.

The last time we escaped to the Cape we ended up renting the cutest little suite–perfect for our family of four for dirt-cheap.

So, you can imagine my disappointment when our lodgings turned out to be SUB-par this time around. Broken lights, broken air conditioning (and yes it was HOT! I could hardly sleep), broken furniture, and filth (There was black string taped to the bathroom walls. Too weird. And one of our rooms had hair and dirt all over the sheets. Yuck!).

The first night there were no towels or wash cloths. Brance went to the front desk to politely ask for some and the employee basically threw some wadded up towels at him with no explanation. We still had no wash cloths.  Later, I heard some man loudly complaining between a string of expletives about the 2 inches of water in his hotel room’s closet. I wasn’t surprised.

And then while exploring the sand dunes at the tip of the Cape our muffler broke. In addition to the head-turning racket our car began making the hour back to our hotel, we had to figure out getting it fixed in the midst of our mini getaway.

At first, I was tempted to feel disappointed. I am, after all, a glass-half-empty kind of gal by nature. But, as I began to do the things that I list below, my attitude completely turned around and I actually felt SO grateful (these were first world problems, after all) and had a great time. What could have turned into a sour vacation, was actually a sweet and refreshing one with my little family. One chock-full of good memories.

I have found that these things work wonders to turn my emotions around when I use them. From little annoyances on a vacation to the big-time challenges we face in life. I believe they can do the same for you too, if haven’t already given them a try.

  • LOOK for something, anything really, to be thankful for. There is ALWAYS something in life we can express gratitude for–even when things are hard.
  • ACCEPT everything that happens in life, with faith, as God’s plan–his way to direct your path. (I LOVE how my oldest daughter constantly reminds me of this one. She is a little girl with a lot of faith!)
  • GO into nature and breathe some fresh air and soak up some sunshine.
  • CARE for your body and health. Are you getting enough sleep? Are you eating healthily? Are you exercising? What do your Vitamin D levels look like?
  • SERVE. Look around you and find someone or something to pour love into. Make a meal and take it to a family with a new baby or a single mom working her tail off to care for her little brood. Volunteer to grocery shop or mow the grass or shovel snow for an elderly neighbor.
  • PLAN. Sometimes difficult situations require a plan to move forward in a good direction. Especially when challenging circumstance are of our own making. We all make bad decisions from time to time. OR perhaps your circumstances aren’t your fault but could change if you moved in a different direction.
  • CONNECT with people who love and support you. Although, try not to bring everyone down around you with negativity or gossip. That won’t help you or your circumstances in the long-run.
  • SOAK in truth. Read scripture and write it down and meditate on it. Listen to or play biblically-solid songs or messages.
  • PRAY. God is the only one who can handle the depth of what is going on inside of our hearts (the good and ugly). Don’t pour all of it onto your spouse or bestie. Besides, God is the one who is the keeper of all things–including our present circumstances and the future. Open up and watch him work in and around you.

Did you notice the broken down metal fencing in the picture? I think a lot of the time in life we focus on the little bit of broken down fence and forget to look up and see all the beauty that surrounds us. And the joy that can be found in ALL circumstances.

Love,
Lauren

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