The Simple Things and a Positive Attitude

Last week, I talked about finding peace during the holiday season.  Well, as the saying goes, be careful what you ask for.  In this case, it’s all positive.

I live in the Dallas area, and last week, the great ice storm of 2013 hit. The picture below is the view outside my living room window.


So, with the ice storm, hubby and I were stuck inside. No way to venture out when there’s 3″ of ice on the ground. It seemed the entire area shut down for the weekend.

We were fortunate. I had shopped ahead of time, so we had plenty of food. (How come all I want to do is EAT when I’m stuck inside!) We never lost power either.  We turned the weekend into relaxing time together, watching Christmas movies and basically unplugging.

Several friends of ours lost power during the storm. One couple in particular lost power for about 21 hours.  Remember, the temperatures were in the 20s outside, with wind chills in the teens. Even inside a house, it gets cold quickly.  But our friends were amazing. They had such a wonderful attitude.

They posted pictures on Facebook (while they still had battery power) of their roaring fire in the fireplace, they talked about catching up on their reading, playing Scrabble by candlelight, and making s’mores!

I’m sure it was an uncomfortable, and maybe a little scary for them. But they accepted the day with grace, humor and a wonderfully positive attitude.  They focused on the simple things and got through the day with a smile.

And when the power was restored, you can imagine the celebration!  They were thankful to the power crews who were working hard and late into the night, instead of complaining.

I think the lesson here is clear. Sometimes we’re so wrapped up in the busyness of our lives (especially during the holiday season), and we’re so “plugged in” with our smart phones, tablets, computers and more, that we’ve forgotten how to slow down, unplug and enjoy the simple things.

Scrabble by candlelight?  Sounds delightful to me!

Don’t wait for an ice storm to force you to slow down.  Take a day, unplug, and revel in the simple things in life. As a Christian, our day of rest is suppose to be Sunday.  But even that day can get busy.  We need to make the conscious choice to just stop and enjoy a quieter day.

So, tell me, how do you unplug? How do you slow down to notice, and more importantly, partake in the simpler things around you?

How Do You Become a Family?

Last week we talked about blending a family with step-children and step-parents. Yes, I’m still amazed every day about how wonderful my kids are and how blessed I am to have this family.

It could’ve stopped there. But it didn’t. As you recall, I am wife #2, after my husband’s first wife passed away. I became an instant parent to two great kids, who made the choice to accept me into their lives. But the addition of me in their lives certainly didn’t negate their Mom’s family. Her parents lived the closest, and my kids saw them frequently, along with their aunt, uncle and cousins.

Family is a big deal to me and of course the kids needed some sense of normalcy in their world after losing their mother and gaining a step-mother pretty quickly. So these visits to their grandparents and family became even more important. But something else happened along the way.

My husband’s first wife’s family took the time to get to know me. If there were big family events that the kids went to, they invited my husband and me. I can understand them wanting their grandkids around, and even my husband, who was their son-in-law, but they could’ve kept me at arm’s length. They only needed to be secure in the knowledge that their grandchildren were okay.

But as the kids grew and birthdays and graduations came and went, we continued to be thrown together. More often than not, at their invitation. Her family amazed me time after time with their warmth and openness. Our daughter got married a few years ago, and our son married last year. Both times,there was such a spirit of celebration and joy, and true togetherness…as a family.

My husband and I have been married 11 years. And in that time, we’ve seen both kids graduate high school, college and get married to wonderful people. This was done in 10 years… talk about fast-tracking through parenthood! And in that 10 years, I’ve come to treat my husband’s first wife’s family as my own… as they did a great job of sucking me in!

Was this easy? No, there were tough days.

I know I had difficult times, and I can only imagine their grief. Sometimes it was uncomfortable for me to sit in their home, in the place where their daughter should have been.

They NEVER made me feel that way or feel unwelcome. I think at times it was just my own insecurities. They’ve been warm and wonderful. We’ve created our own relationship together, out of mutual love for the kids. I look at fractured families at times and wonder what choices they may be making. In this incredible family I’ve married into and become a part of, we’ve made the choice to care, respect and love each other.

There’s no way we could’ve come this far without making the purposeful decision to be a part of each other’s lives. We’ve truly been able to celebrate the milestones in the lives of our kids (their grandkids) as a family. So, today, I pay tribute to the parents, sister, brother and nephews of my husband’s first wife. I thank them for their open hearts, for their willingness to accept me into the lives of their son-in-law and children. I thank them for trusting me to love those children with my whole heart.

I know my daughter has said on more than one occasion how happy she was when the entire family be together. She needs to thank her grandparents for that.

Their example is something I will continue to take to heart in my relations with others.

So, how do you become a family? Blend together, mix well and add a dash of love.

And finally, make the choice to be a family.

Do you know of families who are successfully blending? Please share.

Do you want to write a blog post about your experiences? If so, please contact me at RebeccaVincentWrites at g mail dot com.