Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Thankful Tuesday: What do you choose to focus on?

The weekend didn't get off to a good start. The hubby had a work conference to attend, and was away for most of the day for both Saturday and Sunday. That already had me in a glum mood, since weekends for us are precious, since the hubby sometimes has to work late on regular days. The boys were really restless at home as they were sick: not too sick to wreck havoc at home, yet sick enough to warrant us keeping them home to avoid spreading their bug to other kids.

Knowing I probably needed some activities to keep them occupied, I gave them a sensory bin filled with lentils and desert-related animal figures. I left the older two with the bin and went to put the baby down for his nap. I came back to find lentils all over the floor, and Junior J pounding some of them with a spoon trying to break them. We tried doing painting. Lil J insisted on pouring paint for himself, even though I had repeatedly told him that he had to ask for the paint, and ended up with a palette full of paint that he didn't use.

So the day wore on and my patience wore thin, very quickly. I had to discipline the boys many times. I reasoned, I talked, I prayed with them. The older two constantly fought. Lunch was a slow agonising affair, since the older two didn't have much appetite. Lil J refused to listen on many accounts, and spilt his water. I lost my cool. I really lost it. And screamed at the boys. 

The two days were filled with all these: little acts of disobedience, lots of messes, the nagging feeling that I had to pack for our trip but I totally didn't have the time. Sharp sniping sessions with the hubby, who was tired too, from having to settle work matters. I basically was this grumpy mom-ster nursing a huge big "oh stop making life so difficult for poor mama" attitude that didn't help matters. I was constantly angry, always upset, and so difficult to live with. 

I was just feeling so so angry. So frustrated. To the point that while sitting in the room waiting for Lil J to nap one afternoon, I started working with Hama beads to keep my mind from dwelling on things. As I worked on those tiny fiddly beads, it struck me: these beads are a lesson in themselves. They come in all sorts of colours. Some are the prettiest candy-coloured hues, some that are not of the nicest shades, like black, or brown. But when placed carefully on a pegboard, they combine to form shapes, patterns, and the most beautiful pictures. The pretty and ugly combine, when arranged with meaning, and come together. These patterns may never be complete without the "uglier" shades: think of black and how it helps to outline shapes, or how we always need brown for making the pizzas and people and shoes.

So it is with life. We have our great moments of success, our times of happiness. But there are the not so great times, the times of failure, the hard times, the times when all you want to do is walk away and be done with it. But each moment, like a bead, is part of a meaningful picture on our pegboard of life. These can be painful. We can struggle. But our life cannot be full of only the happy and only the good, and it would be foolish to aim towards such an impossible standard in this broken, sinful world. 

I realized my problem was not that my pegboard was filled with only the blacks and browns, or the downs of life, but that I tend to forget to look out for the pretty beads. I forget to see the pinks and yellows nestled on the pegboard. And I forget to see the bigger picture, and I forget that the blacks and browns also serve some purpose. Missing the bigger picture made me unhappy, and my negativity rubbed off on the family, which made things worse.

When I started the weekend with a sour face and my bad attitude, I forgot to be grateful. I missed out on the beautiful moments that were there: when Lil J shared his toy with his brother, when Junior J decided to help me to babysit Baby J for awhile so I could chop up food for dinner, when the boys played together. I missed the fact that while the hubby was away during the weekend, he was going to be on leave for the next two weeks. I forgot to see that the boys were recovering, and their coughs were not worsening.

I was reminded the past weekend, that I needed to move beyond just thinking of myself, and looking at the bigger picture. Or I would just miss the beauty of the bigger life while dwelling on the small things.


In view of that, I'm hoping to start off a thankfulness challenge in the month of October. Being thankful once a week isn't enough. I love how having Thankful Tuesdays forces me to focus on my blessings each week, but one does need to practice being thankful every day, because it is not an easy habit to cultivate! 

So in October, I'll be posting one picture a day (on FB & IG) sharing something I am thankful for, and hopefully tagging someone to join in each day. It was lovely seeing all the thankfulness posts from the challenge that was going around sometime ago on FB, so I thought filling social media with photos of thankfulness would be a lovely thing. Would you join in too? If you do, please add the hashtag #oct2bthankful so that those who need a dose of blessings could easily find all the posts under one tag. Let's make October a thankful one!

Mum in the Making


  1. Love the beads of inspirational reminder. :) Amen! Having sufficient rest time would also be good for you Just! He's right beside us when we're weary! Blessings.

  2. Big hugs Justina. What a frank, thorough sharing of your heart.

    Yes, God also uses the little ugly black beads to shape our lives and mould us into beautiful works that shout glory and praise unto His name.

    Keep on keeping on!



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