2011 Ranch Hand Guide: #3. Some People Grin and Bear It. Other People Smile and Change It.

I love my life out here on the ranch, but it is not without its hardships and disappointments.  Everyone has his or her burdens to bear, but the key to putting them behind you is what Rule #3 is all about: choice and attitude.

The Seed

During college a friend of mine once commented on my “always up” attitude.  He alluded to the fact that because my happiness always seemed so extreme that my sad times that he never saw probably had to be really, well, sad.  I think he must have just come from one of those freshman psychology courses and wanted to be the first to diagnose me.  It gave me reason for pause, and I waited for those “really sad times” to present themselves.  They never did.


Last summer I attended a luncheon with a group of ladies.  The hostess began our luncheon by reading “Complaining,” an excerpt from Wouldn’t Take Nothing’ For My Journey Now by Maya Angelou.  Every person listened intently as the final part of the passage was read:

“Sister, there are people who went to sleep all over the world last night, poor and rich and white and black, but they will never wake again. Sister, those who expected to rise did not, their beds became their cooling boards and their blankets became their winding sheets. And those dead folks would give anything, anything at all for just five minutes of this weather or ten minutes of that plowing that person was grumbling about. So you watch yourself about complaining, Sister. What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain.”

Complaining.  That’s what this rule is about.  When I got home I quickly created a little tile with our picture and this excerpt written on it.  I put it in my underwear drawer, so when I am getting dressed in the morning, I feel that tile.  It reminds me to be grateful for waking up to another day.


I’ve experienced 17,000 days.  I can’t say that they’ve all been great days, but at the end of each one of them I somehow continue to find the rainbow after the rainstorm.  It is a conscious choice that I make.  I would like to be able to say that I’ve never complained about anything.  That isn’t true.  I complained yesterday morning, but then I remembered that I choose my attitude.  The afternoon was much better.

The evening was spectacular.

I added this church bench to our porch that faces the west. No day is perfect, but that sunset reminds me to be thankful for it.

Ranch Hand Guide Week 4 – Click here. ~ Ranch Hand Guide Week 2 – Click here.



7 thoughts on “2011 Ranch Hand Guide: #3. Some People Grin and Bear It. Other People Smile and Change It.”

  1. Thank you for the wonderful article. You have a perspective and understanding beyond your 46 1/2 years. You have an outlook on life that would be good for more of us to understand. Thank you again.

  2. Thank you Anna for adding “gratefulness” to this piece of writing. It IS what would naturally come next after the complaining ceased, or complaining would stop if you focused on being grateful. Either way, it’s a much better day.

  3. I’ve been thinking about this as well–in the form of making it my goal to nurture gratefulness. I’ve been consciously looking each day for at least one thing to enjoy and foster a conscious gratefullness. A red cardinal sitting outside my window, the beautiful snow covered trees, small stones in a little dish to remind me of my ocean walk…and the list goes on. If gratefulness becomes part of life, complaining surely has to cease. Thanks for the affirmation!

  4. So much of life hinges on our attitude and I always appreciate reminders that this is one of the few things I can control! Thanks, Julie!

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