A Compliment from a Stranger

In the thrift store today, a stranger tells me that she was listening to me talk to my daughters and that I was the most positive mom she had ever met. She said, “I hear so many terrible mothers who treat their children so badly.” Then, a young woman beside her told me she heard how I was helping my daughters pick out jeans, and she peeked out of her dressing room to listen to how I advised them because she wanted help from a mom, too.

Everyone was smiling and so happy, like positivity and motherhood was in short supply and I was vital fuel for them.

I didn’t know what to say. I wanted to tell them the whole story of what it’s meant for me to “live with flair.”

I remember reading about being a “positive mom” and what it meant to primarily encourage, stay predictably cheerful, and point out the good in every situation. I began to make changes in my attitude because my default state tended towards negativity, criticism, complaint, and hopelessness. The whole house suffered when I stormed around in my bad moods. Around the time I started blogging, I also started to record five things I was thankful for–and things that brought me joy–every single day. I knew God valued my being thankful. I knew God arranged the circumstances of my life, and that I could trust Him. So I began to look for wonderful things. It helped me worship Him. It helped me live in a state of perpetual wonder.

Today, for example, I found myself so thankful–to the point of true rejoicing–over simple things like my daughter finding inexpensive jeans that she loves, like the way the house smells when I mop the floors, like the way my daughter found a necklace once lost, like how the pumpkin is growing so well, like how tonight we’ll have tacos, like how I splurged and bought spicy guacamole from the deli for our tacos, like how I figured out how to embed and trim a video in a PowerPoint presentation for a talk I’m giving tomorrow night, like how I found half-off shoes for one daughter, like how I went to lunch with my daughters, and like how a stranger complimented me today. And the day’s only half over.

So I love being a positive mom. I love living out this verse: “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).


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