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A Plague Of Joy -- 100 Crickets Loose In My Kitchen

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So here we are. As much as we all willed it not to come back around, Monday morning is here again.

None of us are very happy about it, that's for sure. I just began to write out a list of examples to support that statement, but what's the point? We're all on the same page.

We don't like Mondays.

I bet if I went on some of your Facebook pages right now, I'd find some colourful statements expressing that sentiment. I've got this one friend where that's a certainty.

She complains about everything. Work is terrible. Traffic is a drag. The weather is too cold. No wait. Too hot. Why doesn't this place have Wi-Fi?

She'll always find something. Every day. She's very good at it.

Sometimes it seems like she's taking life too seriously, and it's drained all the joy that she should be savouring. She gets into a bad mood that's hard to shake, her negativity like a bear trap clamped around her ankle.

I'm not judging her or anything. I used to be a lot like her, until one ludicrous event changed everything.

This was years ago, when my sons were still little. It was Friday at the end of a really, really long week. Mike and I were going to have friends over for dinner and a glass or two of wine. Definitely two.

Just before I got home, Mike texted me to say that he had to stay late at work. I was now on my own to get everything ready for tonight.

Already running really late myself, I could feel the frustration brewing as I drove to pick up Haydn and Michael from school.

I rushed them into the car and informed them that we were making a few stops before heading home, and that they needed to help me tidy the house.

Both of them started whining immediately.

I turned and pointed a threatening finger at them, gave them fair warning that I was not in the mood to listen.

They crossed their arms and sulked. Michael even whispered under his breath, "this sucks!"

For the next hour I dragged the boys from one place to the next. The more I needed them to hurry, the more distracted and silly they became.

I told them to cut it out, but they didn't seem to hear me that day. My patience was wearing thin.

Just as we finished our last errand, the boys reminded me that we needed to stop at the pet store to pick up crickets for their bearded dragons. I promised, they said.

And they were right. I had. But in the frenzy of the day, I'd completely forgotten.

"Fine, but we need to be fast," I said, and we raced to the pet shop.

Fifteen minutes later, we were back in the car with some new passengers. One hundred live crickets in a clear bag.

I pulled into the driveway with only 45 minutes left to unpack the car, clean the house, and set the table before my guests arrived. I wasn't sure I was going to make it.

I started barking orders at the boys like a drill sergeant, but all they were focused on was pouring the crickets out from the plastic bag and into the top of their little cricket keeper thing.

My annoyance started to soar, and I yelled at them to hurry up, but to do so carefully.

I don't really know what happened, but the next time I looked up, a hundred crickets were jumping all over my kitchen, chirping chaotically, suddenly everywhere.

I screamed and scrambled up onto a chair to get away from them.

My frustration exploded, and rage suddenly gripped my senses. I could feel myself about to start yelling in a way I rarely do.

But then the most amazing thing happened. As I watched Haydn and Michael frantically trying to capture the crickets, it was like time slowed down, and I saw the situation clearly for the first time.

My sons were running around like lunatics, screaming with laughter.

I can only describe it as pure joy, and it was an amazing thing to watch.

In that split second I realized I had two choices. I could continue feeling annoyed and angry, or I could just let go and enjoy this ridiculous moment for what it was.

I chose joy.

Laughing uncontrollably, I jumped off the chair and started chasing crickets with the boys. They were everywhere! Every time we tried to put a cricket into the keeper, another one would jump out. It was like a comedy routine. We squealed with excitement and pretty much had the time of our lives.

It took us about fifteen minutes to get all of the little guys into their box. Once we were done, my boys enthusiastically helped me get ready for the dinner. We were all in such a fabulous mood.

Mike got home with ten minutes to spare. Anticipating the cold shoulder for leaving me to deal with everything myself, he was pleasantly surprised to hear about our cricket adventure.

We had a great dinner party, and for weeks after I could still hear chirping from some crickets that had evaded capture. It always made me giggle.

That moment is a constant reminder to me that I should never let frustration take away from being happy and enjoying life.

We can all get stuck in a negative rut from time to time. It's easy. Things go wrong, and there's nothing we can do about that. But we do have the power of deciding how we're going to react to things, and how we're going to let them make us feel.

Next time you're feeling that negativity bubbling up inside of you, just chill, take a few deep breaths, and try to think of something that makes you happy. You'll find something if you just try. Wouldn't you rather laugh than complain?

Choose to be happy. Choose joy.

You can start by cherishing every moment of this beautiful Monday.

Written by Heidi Allen -- Founder of the Positive People Army

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