A Reason to Connect with the Little Things

This morning, about to leave for church, I grabbed my good coat off a hanger and tried to slip it on. Unfortunately, my sweater sleeves were too bulky to go into the sleeves of the coat. Frustrated, I hung it back up and grabbed the oversize fleece jacket that I usually wear when running.

I knew that my sweater sleeves would fit, but I was very uncomfortable wearing such a casual jacket to church. Oh well, it couldn’t be helped.

As I put the car keys into the jacket pocket, I felt something different. I pulled out my driver’s license! How long had that been in the pocket? I hadn’t worn the jacket for almost a week, and wasn’t planning on wearing it in the near future. While it might not seem like such a big deal, in this circumstance, I let out a “whoop” of joy!

There was a reason for that. The next morning I was leaving on a week-long business trip with an early morning flight. I would have grabbed my purse on the way out the door, thinking that my license was in my wallet. I can imagine being totally freaked out when I wouldn’t be able to produce my identification at check-in! That would have been a huge problem, and my worst nightmare.

I was incredibly thankful and relieved that I had chosen the sweater with big sleeves, put on that old running jacket, and best of all, stumbled upon my license in the pocket. What a gift that chain of events was.

Now you may think, “What does that story have to do with connecting?”

I’ll tell you. It’s time to connect with the little things that “go right” in your day, and be thankful for each of them. Lots of times we see only the inconvenient things that happen to us and fail to look beyond for the piece of good that can come out of them.

A friend of mine, Jay Arthur, once told me: “While not necessarily thankful for all circumstances, I can be thankful within all circumstances.” It sounded confusing at first, but I sure know what it means now. I was not happy for the circumstances that forced me to wear that jacket, but I was delighted at what happened within those circumstances when I found my license. You see?

November is a month for connecting with the things, people, and circumstances for which you are thankful.

In many households, before Thanksgiving dinner begins, there is a tradition of going around the table and telling others what you are thankful for. Usually we hear answers like family, a good job, and sometimes even that your football team won…all great responses.

This year we’re putting a twist on that game at our house. Everyone is going to share a “little wonder” that happened to them that they are thankful for—one of those small things that happen to let us know that we’re on the right track.

If your family is going through a deployment, you might not be thankful for that “big” circumstance that takes you apart, but can you look for things to be grateful for in that circumstance?

Maybe a child has “stepped up” and helped out more than expected, or maybe you found solitude in a few moments of alone time to catch up on a hobby.

Share something that makes you smile, “whoop” for joy, and recognize that all those little “gratitudes” pile up into a great day.

This year, I just might tell the story of my driver’s license!


About Elaine Dumler

Through interviews with over 3200 military families, Elaine Dumler garnered family connection ideas and websites and compiled the best ones into two deployment resource books; “I’m Already Home” and “I’m Already Home…Again”. Her 3rd book, “The Road Home – Smoothing the transition back from deployment” soon followed. Her work as an “active civilian” has been featured in over 100 publications, including 6 in foreign languages, and national media including MSNBC, FOXNews and Montel. She established the “Free Flat Daddy®” project, and she has been presented with 22 challenge coins, including President George Bush’s Commander in Chief coin. Elaine has one goal for her work: to make sure that every American deployed or on temporary assignment has the means available to be in the closest contact possible with their loved ones left behind. Elaine is writing a new series of 25 articles, with information addressing the challenges facing military families. They are free for reprint in all FRG newsletters. To get these directly as they are released, do a “newsletter signup” at ImAlreadyHome.com.

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