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Vanessa Gonzalez Kraft tries to balance her traditional Mexican-American cultural heritage and Catholic identity, personified by her grandmother La Lupe, with her roles as a young wife and mother.

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November 21st, 2013

My Attitude of Gratitude

 
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dionsaur-prayer“Dear Jesus, thank you for loving me. I love you. And thank you for not making humans and dinosaurs live together.”

I had to stifle my laughter as Olivia, who is 4, led us in prayer before dinner. The girls’ latest obsession is “Dinosaur Train” — a factually accurate show about dinosaurs (well, I guess except for the whole riding trains part). But one day we decided to try a different dinosaur show we had never seen before. This one did not pride itself on being historically correct and had a little boy whose best friend was a dinosaur. Olivia was taken aback.

“Did dinosaurs live with people?!”

“No, sweetheart, they’re just doing it to make a funny story.”

“Oh, good.”

Apparently this idea stuck with her because she prayed about it about a month later. And while it was a pretty funny thing to be thankful for, she is dead on. Thank God when I drive my kids to school the worst thing I have to expect is traffic on I-35 and not a stampede of hadrosaurs.

This got me thinking about all the things I take for granted in my life. Sure, I don’t really need to be grateful for things that never existed, but Olivia’s outside-the-box prayer of thanksgiving made me realize how important it is to be mindful of our daily experiences and our daily (sometimes mundane) blessings.

La Lupe never lets an opportunity pass to give thanks to God. You can hear her whispering “gracias a Dios” as she eats her last bite of a meal or upon unlocking her door when coming home, or when we get out of the car. Prayers of thanksgiving are never far from her lips.

Of course we should give thanks to God for our blessings, because God deserves our never-ending praise and thanksgiving. But I think being thankful also deeply affects us. It makes us happier because it makes us refocus on the good things in our lives. Sometimes I can get so bogged down in what I want to improve or what is going badly. My mind is constantly turning over ideas on how to be more productive, more efficient, how to set up a better routine, how to be more disciplined, etc. My mind is bent on constant improvement, and it doesn’t allow me to just be happy with things as they are now. Stopping and thinking about the roof over my head or the food I put in my mouth or even a husband that does the dishes every night may not allow me to cross anything off my to-do list, but it does give my to-do list meaning. Giving thanks reminds us that life is not just a set of hurried tasks or goals to be accomplished, but that it is about the purpose of our actions and the way in which we add to our community.

Gracias a Dios.


Don’t forget that Busted Halo® wants to hear your stories of gratitude this Thanksgiving. Send your submission to the “Airing Your Attitude of Gratitude” writing contest today! (The deadline is tomorrow!)

 
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The Author : Vanessa Gonzalez Kraft
Vanessa, a Notre Dame grad, loves the Catholic Worker Movement, Catholic education, and overbearing Mexican mothers, which she may or may not be. She lives in Austin with her husband and three daughters and is a freelance writer. You can find Vanessa at v.kraft.im or follow Vanessa on Twitter @laluped.
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