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I have a nice house. All six of us fit comfortably, we have an awesome back yard, and a safe neighborhood. Our house isn’t huge, and it isn’t fancy, but we’ve worked to make it cozy and homey. I’m blessed.

But sometimes, it gets very easy to forget how blessed I am. Instead of seeing the space and room that we do have, I begin to wish for a 5th bedroom or an attic. Instead of being thankful for our big yard, I begin to gripe about how we need more landscaping. I see the weeds and strewn about lawn toys, and don’t notice the tree house, the open lawn our kids run and play on, or the chalk drawings that mark an afternoon of creativity out front on the driveway. When our neighbors are loud, I get angry – storming around the windows and looking up noise ordinances, rather than choosing to remember how thankful I am for neighbors who don’t make a sound 363 days a year.

I could look at the family room, littered with train tracks, baby dolls, and books, and focus on the way my children are happy, creative, and blessed. I could see imagination in action. I could see life-long friendships blossoming. Instead, so often I see the mess I’ll have to clean up, the stains on the floor, and instead of praising the Lord for the gift of play, I want to run and call Green Choice Carpet, and maybe a maid.

I see the granite counter-top in a friend’s kitchen and my perfectly good laminate counters are no longer enough. I see her new couch, and suddenly a couch that was comfortable and cozy is now dingy and old. My hearty and kid-friendly casserole suddenly makes me less of a mother when I find out a friend whipped up homemade ravioli and artisan sourdough.

It’s easy to focus in on the negatives. When we go looking for what we don’t have – we’ll find it. Every. Time. We can zero in on what we lack, or we can choose to recognize all that we have.

Yes, my carpets are old and stained and my home isn’t new or state-of-the-art. My bedroom comforter has Sharpie on it and there are toys all over our backyard. When I put on my lenses of negativity, comparison, and discontent, I see my life and belongings that way. When I choose to look through the lenses of gratitude and contentment, I see a warm and comfortable home that meets our needs and provides a place for imaginative play, creativity, and memories to be made. I see our needs being met. I see an abundance, as I realize we have far more than we need. I see boundless blessings and joy – all because I choose to look for the good instead of the bad.