Thankfulness Begets Thankfulness

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As a young mother, I used to always worry that my kids would sleep too much through the day and not sleep well at night. I mostly worried about it because that’s what most people said if they thought they were sleeping too late in the day. I would try to wake them up so they would sleep at night, but what usually happened was that they didn’t seem to sleep well that night anyway. 

I just so happened upon an article that explained that, most of the time, if a child is sleeping, it’s simply because their body needs rest and if you will allow them to sleep, most of the time, they will still sleep through the night and wake up rested and happy the next morning. I decided to try it out and I’m happy to report that most of the time, that was the case. I’m not saying it worked every time, and I would like to emphasize that this was my experience. If you decide to try it out and you end up being up all night with your child, please, do not hold me responsible. I am only sharing my experience. Eek!

This concept is called, sleep begets sleep. The main idea is that when your child sleeps well for their nap during the daytime, their sleep during the night will be better. The same goes for the opposite. If they do not sleep well for their naps, their sleep during the night will not be great either. 

Those first years of motherhood were challenging for me. For the first seven to eight years I didn’t write many songs. Or much of anything for that matter. I went from writing song after song to not writing at all. I’ve said numerous times that when I sat down to write, the only melody I could hear was lalalala, lalalala, Elmo’s World. You sang it, didn’t you? Ha! But in reality, I don’t really remember actually sitting down to write very much at all. 

When I finally did decide that I was ready to be done with my drought and write again. It was awkward. Songs didn’t really come right away. But, eventually, they did come. It just took me scheduling the time and making it a priority. It took me saying, okay, I will write today, even if what I write is not great. Even if I’m not feeling it. Even if I only write a line or two, I will still write. I learned out of that experience that writing begets writing. 

One writing activity I enjoy doing is journaling. Sometimes I still have times that I’m just not sure what to write. Since November is the month that thankfulness is at the forefront of our minds, I sat down with my journal the other day and decided to think about the past week and write something that I was thankful for each day. 

This is a time of uncertainty and I have been disappointed by the cancellation of several things that I was looking forward to, but there’s always something to be thankful for, right? Surely I could think of just one thing a day to write for the past week. I sat down, wrote the dates of the week, numbered my paper and thought about the previous week. And thought about the previous week. And thought about the previous week. No, this is not a typo. I really had that hard of a time. 

Seriously? Why was I having such a hard time thinking about what I was thankful for? I mean, obviously, I could write something generic, but I wanted to write detailed things that I was thankful for. Even if it was something small. 

Finally, I thought of something and started writing. Do you know that before I finished writing that, I thought of something else? I kept writing, and writing. I had to mark out some of the numbers I had written because I hadn’t given myself enough room. I got finished and looked at my paper and then was disappointed and had to make a little more room because I had forgotten to write something I really wanted to on a certain day and had written something else there instead. 

Do you see what I’m saying? I started out having a hard time thinking of anything to write. Just a few minutes later, I had a hard time stopping. I found that not only does sleep beget sleep, writing begets writing, but thanksgiving also begets thanksgiving!  

Isn’t it funny how that works? Making the choice to be thankful changes our attitudes which benefits not only us, but those around us.

What we focus on naturally becomes more obvious to us. Don’t believe me? Go get a new vehicle that you don’t see often and then look around. You will start to see that type of vehicle everywhere you go! Or, give your child a name that you don’t hear much and suddenly you will start to hear of people with that name like never before. It’s just how it is. It’s not because everyone knew that you purchased that vehicle or gave your child that name. It’s because you now notice what was there all along. 

My focus hasn’t always been on the right things. I have wasted my time focusing on injustices and unfair things that have happened to me. It’s been something that I’ve struggled with pretty recently, actually. I normally consider myself a pretty positive person but do you know what that did to me? It turned me into a person that I don’t like. One that noticed the negative things quicker than the positive things. It didn’t change those negative situations for the better at all. It just made me more unhappy with them. 

That is definitely not the version of myself that I or anyone else needs or wants me to be. I want to see the good. I don’t want to dwell on the bad.  

Does focusing on the positive mean that I’m in denial about the things that are happening? No, it just means that I am doing what I need to do to protect my peace and attitude in the midst of what is taking place. Really, that’s the only thing that is my responsibility anyway, right? Does it mean that the bad things that are happening are going to go away because I choose not to focus on them? Of course not. It does mean that I can live my life not being consumed by them though. 

The bad is kind of in my face whether I want it to be or not. It seems to have a way of hitting us from all sides, doesn’t it? At times, it takes quite a bit of effort to look past the things that bring us down and see the good but it is so worth it. So today, I choose to be thankful and to allow that thankfulness to beget more thankfulness. I hope you will too. In this season and every season that follows.

Telina Frye is the author of Dare to Dream, as well as a pastor’s wife and mother to her 13 year old son and 10 year old daughter. 

She is a singer/songwriter and a natural born dreamer. Telina is also credentialed in the Church of God as an Exhorter and holds a Minister of Music License. She serves as the worship leader at the church where her husband serves as lead pastor. 

Telina loves having deep, meaningful conversations about what is and what could be. She hopes this blog will inspire readers to dare to look past what is, see what can be, and reach for the impossible.

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