I know there is a whole psychology behind the layout of stores, but I never appreciated the strategy all that much until a quick run to Target for some laundry bleach ended up becoming an exercise in gratitude.
In my Target, the greeting card isles are right across from the laundry and household cleaner supplies. After plunking a bottle of whatever bleach was on sale into my cart and firmly telling Dellabug that people DON’T EAT BLEACH – and because she is three years old we also had to establish that dogs, cats, crickets, guinea pigs, owls, otters, little sisters, and children pretending to be bleach-proof also should NOT eat bleach – I maneuvered my massive mom cart and headed towards the checkout, all the while internally grumbling about the mounds of laundry waiting for me at home and wondering sheepishly how long my 1-year-old had been sporting that oatmeal hairdo. When was the last time I gave her oatmeal? When was the last time I’d given her a proper bath???
As I passed the stationary I stopped to pick up a box of thank you notes. Our incredible church is hosting a Spuds and Salads Luncheon this Sunday afternoon with a silent auction going on during the event as a fundraiser for Angelina. Many local businesses have donated items for the auction, members from church and my moms’ group have put together baskets, and hardworking loving friends are putting a lot of time into this.
Now, I’m kinda a thank you card flunky. I need to find a line of beautiful belated thank you card stationary and buy out their supply because on the rare occasion I do pull myself together enough to write a thank you note, it is often a year or two late. I’m determined for this not the be the case this time! As I sorted through the stationary I compiled a mental list of all the acts of kindness we have received recently. My single box of 10 cards became 3 boxes and I began to peruse the individual thank you cards as well. Eventually my one year-old’s humming which indicates near-collapse exhaustion for her warned me that I needed to get out of there fast. I wonder how many thank you cards I would have left with if I’d gone to Target by myself.
Oh and this little journal:
Well, it was strategically placed next to the stationary and after a quick thumb through, it joined the jumble of gratitude in my cart. I used to journal pretty regularly but after having kids that happy habit has become more sporadic. A small little journal like this, with simple prompts scattered throughout, is exactly what I need. And while there has been a lot of stress recently, stress from the adoption, stress from not sleeping for a full night in over a year thanks to baby, stress from threenager antics, stress from life, there has been an overabundance of blessings too. It is easy to get bogged down with the worry, frustration, or exhaustion of living from one day to the next, but I’ve noticed that it takes intention to grasp gratitude. Gratitude is an attitude I’d like the exercise more often. I can be stressed and grateful at the same time, those aren’t mutually exclusive emotions. I want to have strong synapses reaching every inch of my gray matter which, when followed, will lead to the habit of gratitude.
Tonight I wrote my first entry and I stuck to just one topic on one page but I could have written more. I could have written about the church member who recently took me to SamsClub and bought an entire cart full of groceries for my family. Or the friend who babysat our girls all day for free while we attended adoption seminars. And then there is the our incredible facilitation team who advocated for us while we were stuck on the adoption roller coaster as our adoption homestudy agency deliberated on whether they were going to complete our homestudy.
Oh, and we aren’t stuck on the ride anymore! As of yesterday we are now moving forward again with our same agency with our final piece of the homestudy due to be completed October 5th!!! There are still complications concerning our agency and the homestudy but all in all it just means a teensy weensy bit more paperwork and $1,500 more for the cost of the adoption process. The increased cost of the adoption was a little discouraging but my mom reassured me today while we were on the phone, straining to hear one another over my children’s play, that it would come. And just now, while writing this, I popped over to our grant and it has increased by over $800 as of today. So now there are tears of gratitude to go along with the journal of gratitude. Someone deserved a thank-you note for that!