By Dr. Mark Richrds
I hope you had a great Christmas and new years. A lot has changed for me and my family this year. The biggest change, moving here. But there were some other major changes as well, me going from a full time student to working full time, and for my wife Amanda, the opposite, going from working to being a stay at home mom. When we first moved here, it was initially difficult, we were home sick, missed our friends and family back in New York, but we adjusted quickly. We were very busy with unpacking, getting into new routines, learning the area, etc, which all helped with the home sickness.
This Christmas break we went back for the first time since the move. I had some mixed feelings about the trip. I was obviously excited to go but at the same time was anxious about reminding myself of everything we left behind. Would it cause me to question if the move was the right thing for our family? It would be very easy to get somewhat depressed when I visited the newly built ice arena in my hometown, something I’d been waiting for my whole life, or when my youngest got to ride the tractor with his grandpa (something he had been talking about for weeks leading up to the trip), or just being able to spend time with my and Amanda’s parents, knowing we couldn’t do those things here in Georgia.
Knowing these thoughts or feelings might creep in while we were on this trip, I knew I had to make sure I was thankful for our place in life, and I knew I would have to choose joy. It is really a choice, from within, not something that can be achieved from outside influences. Every day we have a choice to dwell on the negative things in our life and be upset and unhappy, or we can look at what we do have to be thankful for, and choose joy. My family and I have a lot to be thankful for here in Georgia, a secure job, a great church, great schools, a home, new friends, etc. We just have to make the choice to be thankful for what we do have and not focus on what we don’t.