Bennet took this as a cue to wind everyone up as much as possible, and the fighting began. "I'm playing with this, you get away", and "But I had it first", and "I got what you wan-ted" were abounding. My attitude was headed south fast too.
The mantra of Ann's book is "Eucharisteo always precedes a miracle". I, in my less-poetic life have translated it to "Gratitude precedes a miracle". And I needed a miracle if our attitudes this morning were to be salvaged.
So I got out my new notebook - the one bought on Valentine's day evening, so that I would actually write things down rather than wait to turn on the computer. And I called the kids together. I told them that it was a list of some of the gifts that God has given me, and that I'm thankful for. I read to them "Children waking up singing", "Crunchy snow under my shoes", and "Birds returning for spring". Then I asked them what sorts of good gifts God had given them. We went around in circles, each saying one, around and around. "My toolbox", "my bed", "dollys for my birthday" started off the mix, then "kittens at Papa Deweys", "horses" and "designs of clouds in the sky".
Happier now, we took a walk. At the kids' request we took along the notebook, and a lunch, and continued. As we enjoyed the first picnic of spring the kids added "the pretty rocks in the park", "little baby pine trees", "shiny bikes" and a host of others. The kids alone added nearly eighty entries in that new notebook this morning.
And the miracle happened. From the time I showed them my notebook until we were just getting ready to pack up and head home, there wasn't a single unkind word uttered among the children (wish I could say so for myself). Matt offered to share his scooter on the walk, and they all took turns willingly. Bennet took extra time to help Josephine, Mattias and Thomas on the slides. Lisel quickly and happily obeyed when I asked her to change the laundry really quick before we left (that's her chore). It was almost surreal.
So, in thanksgiving for the power of gratitude, I'm going to copy here, the entries from this morning in new gratitude journal. These are God's gifts to us, and we are so grateful for them!
(Oh, and I tried to take pictures to accompany some of these, but the camera won't work for me today. Notice that's not on my list....)
One thousand gifts, numbers 131 - 203 (Child additions are in blue, with repeats among the kids omitted)
Children waking up happy, singing
Candy sweet oranges
Thomas entertained by a block and a crayon for many minutes
Tubes to toot through
Birds singing in spring
Snow crunching under my feet
Frosty grass crunching under my feet
Light sleeping, so that chickens calling for help at 1am wake me up
Ice pick weapons
Husbands that will use them (the ice pick, that is, as a weapon)
Live animal traps (so that perhaps the chickens will not again need to call for help at 1am)
BB guns (so that perhaps the ice pick will no longer need to serve as a weapon)
Kittens at Papa Deweys
Dolls as a birthday present
Enough nails to make a roof
The bears on Tommy's blanket
The Other House
The park behind the other house
The park in our neighborhood, here
Nice warm air outside
My friend Charlotte
A hatchet to chop those trees
Our cousin's cabin
MountainsKids learning to be grateful
Gratefulness mood improvement
The designs in the clouds "They look like fireworks"That 58 degrees outside feels like summer
The bouncy horse in the back yards, a gift that Tommy loves right now!
Chopped down trees
Little pine trees growning
Shiny bikes (not ours)
The rocks inthe park
Nativity displays, still up in spring
The swish of the air in my ears when I swing
Bit walking sticks
First picnic lunch of Spring
Pine conesWind Chimes