Thoughts, Attitude and Molasses

Thoughts, Attitude and Molasses

by Charlotte Siems

Chicken Taco Soup was bubbling in the crockpot and the homemade cornbread batter was being whisked in the bowl. Company would arrive within the hour, and the table was already set with a cloth, candles and a pretty ivy centerpiece. Then came a sudden noise from the pantry—what was THAT?

Opening the door, I found bags of cornmeal and sugar dumped on the floor, in the midst of a spreading puddle of thick, black molasses and broken glass. My first reaction was “oh, no!” and then thoughts of stress began tumbling through my mind. “I still have to finish the cornbread and pick up the den and fold those towels on the couch. All of the older children are gone to choir practice and I only have 30 minutes to finish everything. Why did this have to happen? What a mess!” You get the picture.

Suddenly an image that I had seen earlier that day flashed in my mind. A tumbled, broken building destroyed by an earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand. Immediately the little pantry disaster shrunk to small proportions.

Did I still have a sticky, gooey mess to clean up? Yes. Did I still have time constraints and lots to do? Yes. But my attitude had changed completely. As I sopped up the floor I was thankful for paper towels. I thought about how we would laugh over the story later. I decided to just throw away the dish towel because of the all the tiny shards of glass embedded in it, instead of worrying about how I was going to get them out without injuring anyone.

It’s actually pretty amazing what a change in thoughts will do. Our thoughts create changes in our brain, which affect our emotions and release chemicals that affect every cell in our body. We don’t have control over what thoughts pop into our head, but we do have control over what we do with them. We can water and fertilize them and go down that road of self-pity and stress. Or we can toss them and declare, “I’m not going to think those thoughts” and they will fade away.

It’s a two-step process: Choose not to think negative, stressful, toxic thoughts. Choose to think positive, peaceful, healthy thoughts.

Your thoughts accumulate and create your attitude, my friend.

I wish I would have known this as a young mother. Oh, the pain and desperation it could have spared me! I remember praying hard that God would change my attitude. I didn’t realize that He had already given me the tools and the ability to change it myself. I kept waiting for a magic sudden change in my attitude. Instead I slowly, painfully learned that the thoughts I chose to think were shaping and creating my attitude.

Today the mess is mostly cleaned up but the pantry floor needs another scrub with hot soapy water to remove the last traces of molasses glaze. I’m guessing my thoughts could use some more cleaning and scrubbing, too. Like the pantry, my mind needs constant vigilance and refilling with good things. 

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Charlotte Siems has studied home management for over 30 years.  She believes that Home should always be a warm, welcoming, Lovely Place to shelter and strengthen loved ones for their tasks out in the world.  While building a homey home on a tight budget and making memories with holiday traditions, she has fostered a love of learning in her children and maintained a healthy marriage.  She lives in Oklahoma with her family, where she still homeschools the youngest five of her twelve children.
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4 Comments

  1. Hi Charlotte, what an inspirational post….great message. Not having any children of my own (yet) I was curious for you to ellaborate on what you meant by “I wish I would have known this as a young mother” what kinds or situations or applications are you referring to? Sorry if this is a dumb question, but since I have not been in that position I am not sure!

    1. Anonymous says:

      Sounds like the next blog post to me. 🙂

  2. Charlotte. In counseling we call that awfulizing. Some people obsess and worry about small situations and things they can’t change. When we put it all in perspective, life is full of small problems and why waste our time fretting over those small problems. God is in control of our lives and he will take control of the small and the big problems. When my kids were young I was so busy trying to take care of the small problems that I sometimes got lost in the minor details and forgot to enjoy them. That is what I regret about raising a family. I am doing much better at being a grandma! LaDonna

  3. It’s almost 3:30 a.m.  My youngest daughter, who lives next door just had her fourth child.  This is her third in three years and her seventh total, since she married a man with three children who are visiting for the summer.  She takes classes online, cuts hair on the side and has a history that makes me tired just thinking about it.  Walking into her home the day she came home from the hospital, she looked like a scared rabbit.  In spite of it all, she keeps trying hard to build a home.  Some days she succeeds, and then there are those other days.  I never know where the line is.  How much help is enough….or too much?  I’m so encouraged by your articles.  This one reminds me to be an example or cheerfulness and help her laugh at the hard things.  Any advice for dealing with several little ones.  Her husband works very long hours.  Guess I’ll try to sleep again.  Thanks.

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