Make it Nice

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Yesterday I was busy plugging along, trying eagerly to finish a writing project I was working on, when I saw it.

A ‘tweet’.

You know, a little status update thingy of 140 characters or less on Twitter.

It was from my friend and North Carolina resident Marybeth Here is what it declared:

Not a cloud in the blue sky. Writing outside with the sun warming me. The iPod playing a private concert. Perfect Sunday afternoon.

A sweet, innocent ‘tweet’ from my sweet, not-so-innocent friend (she and I get ourselves into all sorts of shenanigans, but that’s a post for another day!)

I quickly got in touch with my inner sarcastic side and replied to my friend:

Hey @MarybethWhalen: & I’m trying to write inside on a hail-snowing gray freezing day in MI complete w/ wind & thunder. Shut it already!

That’ll teach her!

Then, still another Southern friend ‘tweeted’ about her 80 degree weather.

Then my own daughter, who too calls NC home, mentioned in her Facebook status that she was driving with her windows down, listening to country music and enjoying the warm weather.

Upon seeing these happy words dance across my laptop screen, my  mind immediately migrated to , “Gee….must be nice”

Must be nice….

You must understand, at the time… Well,  I was sitting in in my home office, in the middle of Michigan, in the middle of nasty, barely 30 degree weather, a gloomy mix of snow and mini- icy hail, gray skies and thunder!!!

I was not sipping sweet tea.

I was trying to warm up by drinking coffee.

I was not contemplating taking a blanket outside to sit in the sunshine and work.

I was pondering the fact that my son’s homeschool varsity baseball double header will most likely be canceled today.

That would mean that for the third time in a row, ‘opening day’ has been pushed back due to weather.

Must be nice…

How many times do we look at someone else’s life, home, situation, car, handy (or handsome) hubby, publicly-behaved kids, or assumed pants size and declare.

Must be nice….

It is Satan’s oldest trick in the book.

Hello? Anyone else remember a chick named Eve?

She had a gorgeous garden she never had to sprinkle with miracle grow.

Had a hubby who’d never even seen another woman, let alone the airbrushed images of perfection Hollywood cranks out.

No babies yet….so no stretch marks!!!

Nor had she had her heart stretched waiting for that final call to come from the adoption agency.


Miss Eve’s life emotionally and physically was a beautiful, blessed breeze.

But still, she wanted the one item she didn’t have.

I think you know the rest of the story.

So yesterday, even though my situation was a minor one, I decided to shift my thinking from “must be nice” to ‘make it nice’.

I can ‘make nice’ the fact that I live in a home with heat, even though I must run the furnace in April.

I must remember that I  could be out in the cold due to an earthquake-ravaged home.

I ‘made it nice’ by not looking around at what I didn’t have, but being thankful for what I do.

Did you know it can be a blast to play ping pong with a 16 year old son on a gloomy gray day?

I have a healthy son who has a mean serve and, although I may not get to see him strut his stuff on the ball field today, I can enjoy his laughter as he returns my pitiful serves in our basement game room.

I can make hot cocoa to serve to my kids and their friends who too are trying to hide from April’s wrath.

It makes for a nice afternoon despite the deal I’m dealt.

What about you? Anyone else need to stop muttering, “Must be nice” and instead put their big girl bloomers on and ‘make it nice’ instead?

Maybe we don’t need a different set of circumstances.

Perhaps all we need is a little shift of perspective.

And if you want a ‘hands-on” lovely way to be visually thankful, visit with Ann Voskamp today at You’ll be grounded and centered on God gracious gifts by doing so.

Grateful Blessings,


  1. I would say my envy comes in because I pray for our finaces to change. It has been really hard on us this year.Then I look at others who God seems to bless them with an answer to there needs. I also Pray for my son to come back to God because he has moved awy from his beliefs he is now 30 and I have been praying since he was 18. I have an 18 year old who is following in his brothers foot steps. Listening to you has given me a new outlook and I am going to ask my self these questions. I am so thankful God led me to read your story today. Thanks Miranda

  2. I so enjoyed your message today, Karen. Especially the part of as a little girl, folding your hands and praying but Dad didn’t come home. That immediately infused a dose of the Lord’s compassion as I pictured my friend in that word picture.
    I constantly need to remember to count my blessings. God is so good to us.
    Thanks, L

  3. We moved to Northeast Ohio from middle Georgia right after Christmas. While the snow was fun for a while, I surely miss the warm sunshine, trees leafing out and kids playing outside. Friends back South were planting in their yards this past week and weekend while we were bundled up during our spring break in the snow. I am told that the summers will be nice -compared to the South which are pretty hard with a ton of humidity and scorching temps- here supposedly very low humidity and the temps will allow the kids to play outside a lot longer. I guess it is a trade off. I think we are blessed with this adventure for now. Learning to be content in all circumstances and choosing to find the joy.

  4. Hmmm, this is so true. I found myself thinking similar things as I thought about some of my friends who work in the home rather than outside the home. Envy is not a good feeling though…

  5. Karen – Great post. I can usually “pollyanna” myself into seeing the good, but the weather this year (central Indiana) has me saying “must be nice” more than ever. Grrrr. And Treva – great saying. Thanks!

  6. WoW. I sat here laughing out loud, nodding in agreement and generally feeling that tug in my heart that says– let’s change–. Thank you for such a great great perspective!! I want to share it with my teen girls group– oh my, what a lesson! I love the way you express yourself!

  7. thank you for this post – – I , too, grumble, grumble, grumble about the cold weather. I, too, run my furnace in April (Pgh is home), but you’re right. People often ask me, if I complain so much, why do I stay living in Pennsylvania? Good question. But, I have 3 children, 2 amazing grandsons that I am blessed to watch M-F, and none are willing to relocate. So I’m here. My husband then blesses me with a just “he and I” vacation in Florida once a year and then blesses the family with a rented house in Myrtle Beach so we can all enjoy the sun. Guess that should hold us off – – but I’m gonna be thankful for what I have and (try) not to complain so much. Thanks. Blessings.

  8. Loved the message so much in this post,Karen,that I forwarded it to my sister and mother and saved it to read again.

  9. Thanks Karen for the reminder I sometimes need to shift my perspective. I also visited the blog you mentioned – powerful. Thanks for sharing.

  10. I struggle with this more often than I am comfortable admitting. I will definitely have to keep the “make it nice” mentality in mind!

  11. I love that, Treva. I may have to copy that page out of your book and use it for myself.;-)

    Karen, you always know where to hit home! I was having one of those ‘days’ last night. We just had the car fixed Friday, and wouldn’t you know it, something else is wrong with it! No matter what car I drive, there is always something going wrong with them! And right now, there is no spare money to be found for more repairs. But, I know God will find a way.

    As we drove home yesterday with the engine light on, the traction control making the car buck here and there… I began writing a post on my blog about what I’m thankful for. It helped!

  12. Wow! I too find myself saying those exact words when I’m envying someone else doing something I’d rather be doing. Envying is a strong word that no one wants to admit or hear but when I say to myself or to someone else those 3 little words, that’s exactly what I’m doing. I have a sticky note hanging on my computer “I’m not equipped for their good. I’m not equipped for their bad. I’m not equipped to be them in any way. I am however, perfectly equipped to be me! I’m not equipped to handle what they have, both good and bad.” Thank you for your post Karen!

  13. Karen – I really needed this today! As a fellow Michigander – gotta say that when we came out of church yesterday to gray skies, a mix of snow/rain/sleet and then thunder a couple of hours later, I was also feeling a bit sorry for myself yesterday (in terms of the weather). It is our school’s spring break, and many friends have flown south for the week and they are on facebook posting their beach photos and talking about the beautiful weather.
    BUT you know what happened yesterday? Our youngest daughter was baptized. She had accepted Jesus into her heart on Dec. 26, 2010 in our kitchen as she was helping me to make an apple pie for daddy’s birthday. Talking about her 20 year old college sister, she asked me where her “real” home is. And although my expected answer would have been “here,” something stopped me and instead I said that her real home was in Heaven because she belongs to Jesus; that the place we live here on earth is just temporary. And so the conversation began. And yesterday, in a warm church and warm water with a pastor we are so blessed to have and in front of a somewhat smaller crowd of people (remember some have flown south for spring break) my 6 year old told her world that she loves God, that Jesus lives in her heart, and that she wants to live for Him. What could be better than that?
    So WHY was I complaining about the cold? I don’t know!

  14. Love it, Karen! Thanks so much for sharing and making me smile. We drove about 4 hours in varieties of snow, rain, thunder and lightening in Michigan yesterday. I kept forcing myself to look at the beauty of the snow covered trees — ignoring the fact that it was April 3. However, every once and a while it would slip out, “Well, AT LEAST it is BEAUTIFUL because that is the only thing that will get me through this unbelievable weather!” Well, besides moving to NC! :-)

  15. For the record, I have asked you to move down here and join us more than once!! :)

    Loved your perspective on this– it reminded me so much of the theme of my new novel, “She Makes It Look Easy” and yet no one has it easy. The comparison game gets us nowhere and yet we all find ourselves it playing it from time to time.

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