Today is the youngest you will ever be. Live like it.
- Mark Cuban
It had been one of those days.
One of the dogs had thrown up on the living room carpet. My editor had passed me over for a major project. The air conditioning in our Ford Explorer had gone out. And I’d spilled orange pop all over the front of my white blouse. I just wanted to go home, throw on my nightgown, and relax in the recliner.
My mind replayed the stressful day as the girls and I headed home. I was caught up in the feeling-sorry-for-myself mode when my thoughts were interrupted by a high-pitched squeal coming from the backseat.
“Look, Mommy!” Allyson shrieked with glee.
“What, honey? Look at what?” I asked, glancing out my side window to see a field full of Holstein cows.
“Look, Mommy! A Dalmatian cow!” she said.
It took a moment for my mind to process what she’d said.
“Oh, you mean those black and white cows in that field?” I asked, trying not to laugh.
“Uh-huh,” she said, excitedly. “I’ve never seen a Dalmatian cow before. They must only have them in Texas.”
“You’re probably right,” I played along. “Those Dalmatian cows sure are neat.”
“Can we get one?” Abby chimed in.
“No, we don’t have any place to keep a cow,” I answered. “Besides, you’ve got two dachshunds at home who would be very jealous if you gave all of your love to a Dalmatian cow.”
“OK,” Abby said. “We won’t get one.”
As soon as I got home, I called my parents to share with them Allyson’s unique observation. We all had a good laugh about the field full of Dalmatian cows.
Kids are funny, I thought. They see things in such a different light.
As I loaded the dishwasher that evening, still feeling a little depressed about my terrible day, my mind kept drifting back to Allyson’s Dalmatian cows. The more I thought about it, the more I realized there was much to be learned from her comment.
I had looked out the SUV window and all I had observed was a field full of Holstein cows–a sight I’d seen hundreds of times in my life, so I didn’t give it a second thought. I certainly didn’t appreciate it.
But Allyson did.
She looked at the same field and rejoiced over Dalmatian cows.
I realized that it had been a long time since I’d been truly thankful for anything that God had done for me. Sure, I praised him a little every day during my quiet time, but I certainly wasn’t looking for new reasons to sing his praises. In other words, I wasn’t searching for fields of Dalmatian cows to appreciate him.
I determined in my heart to make a change that very moment.
Help me, Lord, to see things as Allyson does, I prayed. Help me to be quick to notice the good things you’ve done.
Then I began praising God for the many blessings in my life. As I praised him for my godly husband, my two precious children, my wonderful parents and in-laws, my sister and brother and their families, our good health, our home... the fog began to lift.
The more I praised, the more the disappointment and discouragement I’d felt earlier that day drifted away. By filling my mouth with praise, my heart was filled with peace. So I kept on.
Lord, I praise you for butterflies and ladybugs. I praise you for the sunshine today. I thank you for sending Abby and Allyson nice friends in their new school. I praise you that I was able to find our lawn furniture on clearance...
After 30 minutes or so, I was so excited, I almost squealed like Allyson had when she saw the cows. I felt like a new person. All of sudden, I could see how blessed I was, and I never wanted to lose that perspective again.
Ally saw those Dalmatian cows more than 15 years ago, and I still think about them quite often. So, am I singing God’s praises all the time? Well, let’s just say I’ve gotten better at it over the years. Now when I am having one of those days when the dog has thrown up on the carpet or an editor has rejected one of my articles, I “get my praise on,” and soon the fog lifts.
If you’ve been a little “foggy” lately, just raise your hands to the Father and pray: Father God, I praise you right now for who you are and all that you’ve done for me. You are an awesome God. Thank you for my family. Thank you for my job. Thank you for my place to live. Thank you for good friends... You get the idea–get your praise on!
Pretty soon the fog will lift in your life, and you’re liable to see some Dalmatian cows.
(And to all you mothers out there, Happy Mother’s Day. I salute you and call you blessed!)
Michelle Medlock Adams is an award-winning journalist and best-selling author, with more than 60 books and 1,000 articles for newspapers and magazines to her name. She was won several SELAH Awards (best children’s book and book of the year for God Knows You in 2014 and best children’s book for My Big Book of Prayers in 2012), and her book Divine Stories of the Yahweh Sisterhood was named a Family Christian Bookstores Premiere Pick in 2006. When not working on her own assignments, Michelle ghostwrites books for celebrities and some of today’s most effective and popular ministers.
Michelle is married to her high school sweetheart, Jeff. They have two college-aged daughters, Abby and Allyson, as well as a small petting zoo. When not writing or teaching writing, Michelle enjoys cheering on the Indiana University Men’s Basketball team, the Chicago Cubbies and the LA Kings. Find out more about Michelle at her website.