Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Stinkin' Thinkin'

The other day my hubby said "My, you're in a good mood."

I was in a good mood. I was trying to eliminate stinkin' thinkin' and change my negative thought patterns into postive ones. I had been responding positively and keeping my lip zipped about anything that might be irritating. What was sad was that I realized that being in a good mood for me must be so rare that B felt it was noteworthy enough to comment about.

One of the reasons for my good mood was, of course, the peace and satisfaction that routines have brought to my life (see flylady.net for details). Remembering to check my calendar has saved me from missing appointments, the "Where is your laundry" reminders helped me get A's gym clothes to him just in time for school, the reminder to bless my body and get moving has resulted in 15 lbs lost without even trying and I could go on. I haven't been at this for very long, but what a change! The bed is made every day (before I always thought - why bother?) and the sink and kitchen are tidied every night. I can now say that my very reachable goal most days is to not have any chores left for B to do when he gets home - he can just relax.

The second reason for my good mood is that I am finding great surprise and delight in being domestic. I worked for most of 30 years and just quit my job in July to take better care of myself and my family. We were living (or rather I should say we were dying) on take out food because of our lack of planning. I am 47 years old and have never used real garlic or ginger root. This past week, I bought my first garlic press and used it to make rave pork chops. I loved it - unbelievably delicious! A said it was the best meal I have ever made and would I please make it again - and often. I realized I have rarely made meals before that I really enjoyed. I have been so inspired by the encouragement from Flylady about menu planning and shopping from a list. I have started planning and preparing meals (at every meal, A thanks God for "the really great meal mom made" when he says grace), I have begun baking again (I took three years of home ec in high school). Homemade muffins, apple pie, the worlds easiest pull apart cinny buns. The house always smells so good with wonderful food and goodies on the go. I've even started helping out in our large church, making pizza dough for 15 large pizzas every week for youth night and cinnamon buns they sell in their coffee shop. Working for myself and my family pays better than any employer EVER could and the planning and resulting lack of waste saves me huge money.

But the main reason I was in a good mood was that I have begun to declutter my thoughts about my relationship with B. We will "celebrate" 25 years of marriage this coming summer. I used to say we would "acknowledge" or "commemmorate" 25 years because I didn't think there was much to celebrate. B isn't perfect but I was spending all my time and emotional energy focused on the parts where he didn't quite measure up. I was obsessing on him, ignoring the things I could, should and needed to change in myself. I was miserable, resentful and short tempered most of the time. And if momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. I kept praying for God to change my husband and got angry with God for "this man you gave me." The thing is, B is a really good guy, a great provider, a hard worker, a dedicated dad and a great balance to my personality. He's 96% everything I ever wanted. But the other 4% was blinding me so that I couldn't see the treasure I had. That stinkin' thinkin' was a bad habit - a destructive, insidious eroder of vows.

Then a friend commented about Dr. Laura Schlessinger's book: "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands." I thought it was such a funny title, I dropped by the local library and picked up a copy to read at my leisure. Well, did I get my doors blown off. I couldn't put it down. Talk about changing your stinkin' thinkin' about what's "wrong" with your spouse. It's kind of a "No Whining" rule. It's straightforward. It points out where my thinking has been poisoned by destructive thought patterns, false assumptions and egocentric self-satisfaction. I dare any woman to read it cover to cover with an open mind and not have her attitude change!!!!

The bottom line is, the start was a paradym shift in my thinking (spurred by Flylady.net). When we start to develop even one small little new habit, it starts a chain reaction that gets my mind focusing on the positives - what I can change - instead of nattering at B and A about what they need to change. I control my world and I set the tone. Not only is my family more at peace, the Proverbs say: when my conduct is what it should be, even my enemies will live in peace with me. And then everybody's happy. Especially me.

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