time is a funny thing...

Time is a funny thing, and as time marches on, one of the qualities I want to keep with me is a strong sense of gratitude. People say that time has a way of healing wounds and giving perspective, and I would agree. It also provides an opportunity for reflection which can bring about a lot of different emotions as the mind tends to wander down memory lane. Families grow quickly despite some very long days. Transitions between life stages and phases happen to everyone. Sometimes I find myself in a spot where new doors have opened and it is time to close the door on past experiences. These experiences have surely shaped me, as everyone is influenced by their life happenings, passions and pursuits. I am grateful for happy and hard times that have helped me grow; I am glad I have felt the hard times so that I can fully grasp the good. Gratitude for even the difficult things is important, since it is in fact the hard times that grow us.

I am learning to trust that while things are not always as they used to be, things are always evolving and growing and changing in ways that are sometimes unpredictable but in ways that are always meant to be. Having gratitude is important for mindset when approaching trials and tribulations, and really, just in general. When we focus on having gratitude, we appreciate things and seek the positive, and we can more easily keep a good perspective that has a strong foundation in our faith. We are more thankful and we realize that not every day is guaranteed, and we can focus on moving forward rather than backward. One of the places that I love to draw inspiration for positive living and motivation from is nature. One of my favorite things in nature are flowers, and the sunflower is one of the flowers I love the most.

The sunflower naturally turns to face the sun and is a symbol of joy and faith. It embodies the idea of gratitude. It chooses to face the sun, it seeks the warmth and brightness that is before us. As I walk over a symbolic bridge in my own life between stages and phases, I am reminded of the beauty of the sunflower and its ability to inspire positivity. I also think of the principles of gratitude and positivity when I remember a favorite moment of our family’s summer- the Hot Air Jubilee! We love watching enchanting hot air balloons launch from the park right by our home. How lucky we are to have a front row seat! These balloons lift off seemingly effortlessly but when you take the time to stop and observe, it is obvious the launch wasn’t all that easy at all. The conditions have to be perfect, the timing precise, and the best crew possible has to be present, working together as a team to see things through.

I am grateful as we move from summer into fall, from diapers to potty training, from baby food to big kid food. From a stage when we knew close to no one in our community into a stage when every time we leave the house we are bound to see a couple friends, and from rookie parents to slightly seasoned parents who get it right sometimes and get it wrong plenty of other times. Gratitude inspires joy, and when I picture a bright yellow sunflower pointed toward the bright sky, I am reminded that no matter what might come our way, we can always seek the good. We are only here for a relatively short time and we are able to flourish in the fleeting moments when we are thankful for everything around us. 

lauren zessin

Lauren is a wife, mother to four, and supporter of her community! By day, Lauren is the Fund Development and Donor Relations Coordinator for her local Arts Center, but is also very active in her church and just stepped down from leading her local chapter of MOPS and MOMSNext after years of being the coordinator. She finds joy when she takes the time to slow down and fully live in the moment - watching her children giggle as they play or a loved one come alive as they do something they love. Lauren keeps a personal blog called In Our Backyard if you would like to check out more of Lauren's writings!

Photos by Cate Autumn Photography

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