Monday, May 15, 2017

Mother of the Year

There is just something about a Mother's Day hangover.  Hearts are happy and full from the love and appreciation shown, Monday morning may find us basking in that glow of love, re-reading cards, eyes lingering over gifts displayed and minds remembering special times shared with family.  No matter what what level of celebration went on in the home, there is something so special about being appreciated. 

The day after Mother's Day can also bring some renewed resolve for the upcoming year. Surely we want to live up to all that acclamation right??!!  That inspiration may be high for us to be the best mother yet for the coming year.  But every driving force needs a motive to keep it alive. And, no matter how we feel today, there will be challenges ahead this year, times to love through trials, inconveniences, ways to put others first and develop selflessness.  That is going to take some grit, determination and motivation. 

What are some qualities you would like to develop over the next year?  Something that when next Mother's Day rolls around, you will have grown in and naturally bring this beautiful trait out.  

Some ideas may be Genuineness, Kindness, Integrity, Patience, Service, Selflessness.  My choice is Graciousness.  I love the quality of being gracious - which looks like this:  "Gracious: kind, courteous, pleasant, polite, civil, well-mannered,  tactful, benevolent, diplomatic, considerate, thoughtful,  and friendly." 
Kind of covers a multitude of wonderful qualities and I want them all!  To enable qualities like this in our hearts which is where they must first begin, it takes lots of practice.  Practicing something over and over makes it a habit, which eventually brings it out as actions.  Here are some habits I've found to help establish the qualities of graciousness: 

Habits of Gracious Ladies — 10 Remarkable Traits to Make Your Own

1.)   A gracious lady is not in the habit of cussing or yelling. She knows that she expresses herself best — and sets the standard for those closest to her — when she uses a tone of voice and words that communicate to others rather than degrade them.

2.)   A gracious lady doesn’t keep social score. She’ll ask a friend to join her even if the friend hasn’t invited her anywhere in a long time. She’ll call to say hello even though she’s been the one to call the last four times. She understands that some people are more attuned to keeping friendships flourishing. She’s glad she has a talent that fosters the continuance and growth of relationships.

3.)   A gracious lady sends handwritten thank you notes. Not only does she write them, she knows the formula for writing cards in a way that fully expresses her appreciation and leaves the recipient feeling acknowledged and loved.

4.)   A gracious lady doesn’t laugh at the expense of others. Even if those being laughed at are laughing along with everyone else, a gracious lady understands that being the brunt of a joke bruises their ego and heart and later whispers into their ear that they truly are what the others were joking about.

5.)   A gracious lady rises to the occasion of greeting others — literally. She knows the modern manners for when to stand and that by the simple act of standing, she’s showing respect and special kindness for the other person.

6.)   A gracious lady welcomes newcomers and sets them up for success. She knows what it feels like to be new to a group or alone at a party, and she’s quick and happy to introduce herself and others to the person and start a great conversation.

7.)   A gracious lady is a respecter of time — yours and hers. She knows that arriving early is often inconvenient for the person she’s visiting, whether it’s for a business meeting or social event. She’s also aware that running late is a form of disrespect. When it does happen, she knows how to handle herself with grace. 

8.)   A lady dresses appropriately for the occasion because she knows that her clothing speaks for her from across the room before she has the chance to say her first hello. She knows that it doesn’t matter whether her budget allows her to buy clothes from Saks or WalMart. It’s possible to look good or bad wearing clothing from either store.  She understands that while she needs to be comfortable, without even a trace of pain, in order to enjoy an event or pay full attention to her work, clothing speaks volumes about her. She is well-versed in what to wear where!

9.)   A gracious lady knows that her most beautiful physical attribute is her sincere smile. She understands the important role it plays in making a good first and lasting impression. Not only does she radiate a warmth that attracts others when she smiles, but she knows each smile is a gift she gives to encourage, brighten the day of, and show kindness to others.

 10.)   A gracious lady is slow to take offense. She knows her worth and her strengths (and weaknesses), and she’s at peace with herself. Because of this, a lady is able to assume the best in others. If something negative is said that seems to be directed at her, she asks for clarification. “Did you mean that as a criticism? I don’t want to assume that you did.” Usually, she’s offered an apology because many criticisms are simply poorly worded sentences that the other person said without any negative intent. If the person did mean to criticize, the gracious lady says, “I’ll respond after I’ve thought about it.” This stops the discussion, puts her in control of it, and gives her time to give thought to what was said. If there’s any merit to the words, she’s glad for the chance to improve herself. If there’s no merit to the words, she tells the person so and moves on. A gracious lady knows, as the saying goes, “You can’t please all the people all the time.” She knows better than to let other people’s opinions negatively impact her by taking them to heart or letting them anger her.

Yes, this seems like a long list and one that the Lord will surely have to help plant in my heart!  But, come next Mother's Day, gracious seeds will have been planted, watered and growing into a beautiful harvest. 

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