Four Words to Change Your Life

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I often drive by myself across the country!  

Now, not many woman of my age are brave enough to undertake such an epic pilgrimage but I find myself fully engaged in the experience.  I am invigorated by the scenery, encouraged by the music I am playing, strengthened by the books on CD to which I am listening and fascinated by the weather that I am encountering. 

Last year, in early January, I was once again driving across this great nation from southern Oklahoma to my home in Western New York.  I was only a couple of hours into my 20-hour drive when I wondered if I should continue or not … the weather was wintery and white. 

I have found that on this frequent trek, I often stop at the same hotels, the same restaurants and the same gas stations. 

Or, as my grandmother would observe, “The same old … same old!” 

I am definitely a creature of habit if nothing else! 

One of my favorite places to stop on such a journey is Cracker Barrel!  The bathrooms are spotlessly clean and the food is always mouthwatering in this country girl’s estimation.   

Honestly - what is there not to like about Cracker Barrel?! 

I was battling a terrible cough and cold on this particular day and the weather was cold and icy.  I decided to take a break, stop at my oasis of choice (that would be Cracker Barrel!) and run in to go to the bathroom.  I honestly didn’t feel well at all and wondered if I just needed to stop for the night.  

I was tired of being by myself and weary of the weather and my hacking cough. 

As I walked out of the bathroom, an elderly, toothless woman was walking into the ladies’ room.  She grinned at me but her daughter quickly ushered her past me.  I held the door open for them and the cheerful grandmother continued to grin at me as they walked by. 

Do you want to know what kind of grin it was that I encountered from this wrinkled face?   

It wasn’t a grin that merely was born in her facial muscles but it came from the very depths of her very soul. 

As she passed by me with a limp and a smile, I noticed that her coat was too big for her and that her daughter was impatient with her. But I continued on to the hostess in Cracker Barrel intending to order a hot tea to go. 

When I finally had my hot tea in hand and decided that it was time once again to brave the elements, I found myself exiting the restaurant at the same time as my new, yet ancient, friend. Her daughter was in front of her racing to the car and ignoring this sweet yet fragile piece of humanity. I walked beside her, quietly visiting with her, until I opened the door of her car for her.  

I closed our conversation with the words, “Well … have a good day!” 

She looked at me, grinned once again, and declared, “Thanks … I always do!” 

Her daughter slammed the car door and roared out of the parking lot as I stood there shivering in the frigid temperatures.  

I’ll never forget her words, “Thanks … I always do!” 

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Do I always make it my goal to have a good day regardless of what I am going through?   

Do I always attempt to make every day a good one when people don’t treat me well, when the conditions are inclement and when my circumstances don’t quite fit the life I want to live? 

Oh! That the words of my life would be, “Thanks!  I always do!” 

Do I always endeavor to have a good day when I am by myself, when the journey is long and when I am coughing up disappointment? 

“Thanks! I always do!” 

Those four memorable words refuse to leave my heart; I have thought of those four life-changing words so often over the past year. 

“Thanks! I always do!” 

What does it take to make every day a good day?  What are some simple disciplines that you and I could incorporate into our ill-fitting, impatient life?

Will you indulge me as I share a short but sweet list with you today? 

Here are some things that you and I might consider if our goal is to turn every day into a really good day!   

I like to call it my “Thanks! I Always Do!” list. 

1 – There is nothing that impacts your life like who is in your life so choose your friends wisely and prayerfully. 

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2 – Take the time to fall in love with the life you have been given! Enjoy the scenery as you travel through your epic existence! 

3 – Listen to music and even sing along! Turn your life into the rich and rare melody of your favorite song! Remember that music can turn the worst day into the best day! 

4 – Remind yourself daily that it is not about what life has to offer you but it is about what you have to offer life!

5 – Discover your gifting and calling and then live enthusiastically in that place! 

6 – Remind yourself often that it is impossible to live in a place of selfishness and joy at the same time.  Absolutely impossible.  Selfishness and joy are mutually exclusive – they cannot exist in the same heart or in the same home. 

7 – Every day is a sacred gift given to you by your Creator – a day that is both holy and beautiful.

8 – Until further notice … celebrate everything!

Thanks for listening to my heart this week.  As you know by now, my heart is truly not a perfect heart but it is a heart that is filled to overflowing with gratitude for the life I have been given and for the people who walk with me.  And, it continues to be a heart that is relentlessly chasing after God and all that He is!