Giving thanks focus of Factor

Published 8:22 am Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Rev. Den Irwin, pastor of St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in Troy, encouraged the packed house at the November luncheon of the Female Factor to make Thanksgiving a lifestyle.

Irwin used the words of author and clergyman, Charles R. Swindoll, to impress upon the women the importance of attitude in their lives.

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life,” Swindoll wrote. “Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than success, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill.”

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“Charles Swindoll said that the remarkable thing is that we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day,” Irwin said. “He said that we cannot change the past or the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing that we can do is play the one string we have and that is attitude.”

Irwin said that Swindoll was convinced that “life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it.”

“We should all choose an attitude of thankfulness,” Irwin said. “We should look for things to be thankful for. It’s all in how we look at things.”

He gave an example of two children, one an optimist and the other a pessimist.

Each was placed in a room alone. In the room with the optimist was a pile of dung. The pessimist’s room was filled with toys, yet she began to cry because she couldn’t decided which toy to play with.

“The optimist began to dig in the pile of dung, saying ‘With all this dung, there’s got to be a donkey down here somewhere,” Irwin said. “What do we look for in life? We need to stop looking for things that are wrong in our lives and count our blessings. Notice and give thanks for the sunrise and the sunset. They are gifts we have.”

Attitudes can be changed and Irwin encouraged the ladies to change directions if their attitudes are negative.

“If you don’t change directions, you will end up where you were going,” he said. “Be thankful and show appreciation and see good in everyone.

“Being thankful is easy when times are good but not so easy when times are hard. But hard times form us into who we are. Life is what we make of it. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift, that’s why we call in the present.”

Irwin closed with a challenge to the women to develop attitudes of thankfulness, not only during the Thanksgiving season but all year long.

Dottie Black, a member of the Female Factor board, said Irwin’s presentation was in keeping with the mission of the women’s group.

“We want to Female Factor to be unique,” she said. “We want it to be a time for women to come together, have a quick meal, visit and get information that will be beneficial to them.

“The program on Thanksgiving was our fourth. At the first, we developed personal profiles, the second was on life balance and the third on stress and how it runs our lives.”

The Female Factor meets the second Wednesday of each month at The Studio on East Walnut Street and is sponsored by Troy Regional Medical Center, Troy Bank & Trust, KW Plastics, Green Hills Memorial Park, Troy University, Jones Medical Supply, Pink Parlor, Troy Cable, The Messenger, Troy Health and Rehab and the Troy Arts Council.

Board members are Dianna Lee, Stacy Graning, Jean Laliberte, Ann Gates, Lois Finley, Ashlee Henderson, Betty Jo Savoy, Cheryl Snyder, Jennifer Ventress, Dottie Black, Karen Herring and Stephanie Baker.