Recently my blog was featured on the Top 50 Family Blogs ( https://blog.feedspot.com/family_blogs/) and it got me thinking, I bet most people agree that some version of family is important to them. I think a lot of people had an idea for what that would look like as they grew up too. Maybe they wanted their family to look just like their grandparents’ beautiful love story and the holidays at their grandparent’s home. Maybe they envisioned being the cool mom. Maybe they envisioned being the one that all the kids spilled their hearts out to and all the house that all the neighborhood kids wanted to come to. Maybe they envisioned a high-powered career but Sunday dinners with their parents. I would be willing to bet that no matter what an individual dreamed; their life looks a little different. (Hey, if we could simply dream our lives into existence, I would be married to Jonathan Taylor Thomas and driving a bright yellow VW beetle, thank you 7th grade self.) We are human and with humanity comes being perfectly imperfect. It comes with having little control over what life actually looks like (don’t’ get me wrong, you can create your life and go after goals, but that’s a whole different post.) You don’t get to choose that your grandfather will get sick and pass away before ever meeting your children. You don’t get to choose who your kids are. You can’t choose everything along your path, and you don’t get to choose a lot of your family members. But you have a choice every day to live in the moment you’re given. You have choices to choose joy, to love the ones you’ve been given. It’s interesting to me how we value this idea of family and hallmark holidays, but when our lives don’t reflect that, we can easily become discouraged. Who cares if your gifts aren’t wrapped to Pinterest perfection?! Are you choosing to love your family when it matters, to show up? Are you creating the Sunday dinner tradition you thought you’d have? Our lives may not look like what we imagined, but everything in our story has shaped who we are. So why not choose joy? Why not choose to love where we are? Let’s try to treasure the family we have, even the difficult members, being grateful for the lessons we learn from them instead of being bitter that they exist. I think this simple shift in attitude can be the catalyst for joy. It all starts with gratitude.