Contentment, the Container Challenge, and a Cautionary Tale

Happy Friday, RISERS! I hope this week has been good to you. November has brought cooler temperatures, so much so that it felt as if someone flipped the “let’s go straight to winter” switch. I was hoping we could ease into the cold weather. I know it comes every year, but I am never ready for it. Please remember to “fall back” with your time Saturday night; if you don’t, you’ll be late to any planned events on Sunday!

Quote of the week: “My Thanksgiving is perpetual. It is surprising how contented one can be with nothing definite—only a sense of existence.” –Henry David Thoreau 

Book of the week: This might seem like an unusual choice, but I want to recommend the book The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. I get a tad emotional when reading books, and this cautionary tale is no exception. It tells the story of a child and a tree. The child continually asks for the tree to give him one more thing. Each time the tree grants the request, the tree loses more of itself until finally, it is nothing but a stump.

I have conflicted feelings about this story. As a parent, I want to give my children almost everything they ask from me. But sometimes, there is a limit to what I can give. Although the tree was happy at the end of the story, I felt that the child needed to be satisfied, at some point, with what the tree had already provided.

On the positive side, this book makes me more appreciative for those who try to give me the things I ask of them, whether it’s their time, advice, or any other need I might have. Be intentional, and thank those around you for the influence they have and for the contributions they make to your life.

Joke of the week: What do Thanksgiving and Halloween have in common? One has gobblers and the other goblins.

Nugget of Wisdom for the week: Frequently for the month of November, people post on social media about things for which they are thankful. I want to challenge you to find a container—it can be a jar or a vase—and when you are depressed or just feel like things aren’t going as you’d hoped they would, write down on a piece of paper something you have to be thankful for and place it in the container. At the end of November, look back through the slips of paper to see just how much you have been blessed.

I used to think that I needed lots of material things—just one more purse, or the latest DVD movie—but the older I get, the more I realize that I don’t need things. I’d rather have experiences with people, and I want to make sure they know that I appreciate them and am thankful for their presence in my life. While I have a good many cool projects going on right now, I could truly say that I am an extremely blessed person even if not a single one ever happened.

Have a great week. Remember, you are most awesome and YOU ROCK!

Marion Rhines is a foster-turned-adoptive parent. She lives in Knoxville, Tenn., with her husband and five children. She has written and published two children’s books as well as two foster-care-themed novels. She has a Facebook blog, Tips from the FLIP Side, and enjoys working with children of all ages.

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