On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Published in the Rains County Leader on January 5, 2021:

For the last few days, Facebook, email, texts, and all other social media have been full of messages related to the beginning of another year. Although most are similar in content, there is a definite difference in attitude. Some are simply the traditional Happy New Year, others are full of excitement and anticipation of a clean slate and a new start, and still others are full of pessimism if not downright despair, expecting 2021 to be nothing more than a continuation of the cancellations of 2020. As I looked for a good illustration of this difference in attitudes, and how those attitudes can affect outcomes as well as those around you, I came across some holiday pictures of the Marshall family.

If you are a fan of good barbecue, you’ve probably met Aaron and Sarah at their Barbecue Pit, but the real stars of their family are their children. Blakely, 6 years old, is outgoing and enthusiastic about life. Her sister Gracie, 5 years old, is a little more reserved on the surface but underneath is equally lively and excited to be alive. Then comes 3-year-old Lane who brings up the rear in age only. Lane is adventurous and fearless, and Sarah has pictures to prove it. She has posted photos of him climbing a ladder clad only in a pair of cowboy boots, sitting astride a full-grown horse in full western regalia, and petting the nose of a cow whose head was bigger than the he was.

Thankfully, Sarah loves to take pictures and share them with her on-line friends and family. One of her holiday photos was a perfect illustration of a bad attitude. It was taken in the foyer of Believers’ Baptist on Christmas Eve, and Lane was having none of it. He was sitting on Sarah’s hip, and it’s a good thing she had a strong grip on him because he was arched back with his body parallel to the floor and his hair flying as if he was 7 seconds into an 8-second bull ride. Sarah’s face reflected the frustration of the caption which read All I wanted was a nice family picture, and Aaron’s expression was one of disappointment in Lane’s reactions. Blakely was biting her lower lip – possibly to stifle a giggle – and rolling her eyes at her brother’s antics, and Gracie had her hand over her mouth while she clung to daddy’s leg in case real chaos broke out.

A week made a big difference in Lane’s attitude and the entire family dynamic. Actually, a few minutes probably made a difference, but the photo Sarah posted on New Year’s Eve said it all. The little stinker who had caused so much trouble in the previous picture was posed with a grin cute enough to melt the hardest heart. Maybe it was because he had on his cowboy hat or because he was standing on his own two feet on a window sill (hemmed in safely by both parents) that made him tall enough to rest his hand on his dad’s shoulder. His positive attitude allowed the rest of the family to loosen up and be themselves. Aaron was relaxed with his usual composed expression on his face and his hands in his pocket, and his wife and daughters sported bright smiles and sassy poses.

The New Year communications had much the same affect, depending on the attitude of the message. The negative posts were met with mournful comments about how bad things have been and probably will continue to be. The positive posts, on the other hand, evoked cheerful responses that focused on the positive aspects of more time at home with a smaller circle of friends and family and on the blessings that have come from hard times. I was reminded of the key verses of a ladies study I attended in 2019. I think I’ll make it my theme for 2021, and maybe this really will be a Happy New Year.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.     Philippians 4:8



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Comments on: "New Year Attitudes | by Linda Brendle" (2)

  1. Gloria Moore said:

    Fabulous new attitude coming!

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