This week, our travels through Italy by train bring us to Sicily. I chose this destination because it was as far South as we could possibly go, and in my mind, Sicily always sounded exotic. The deep blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea with the colorful homes built on the tall seaside cliffs. Sounds magical, let’s go!

Sicily is a large island off the tip of Italy. They legit load the entire train onto a ferry boat, float you across the Mediterranean to the island, then put the train back on it’s tracks. I didn’t even know that was possible, yet they do it every single day here.

So, here we are discovering the real world of Sicily. We don’t typically stay at high end resorts, instead we find AirBnb’s nestled in villages where the locals live with the intent of being immersed in their culture. We always walk away with a new experience and a broader view of life. Our Sicilian home for the week is a massive 3 bedroom home overlooking the sea with huge balconies, outdoor kitchen and shower, and very, very authentic. It was $97 per night. Imagine my delight booking it online!

Welp, here we are, immersed in the real culture of a summer in Sicily. Y’all I’m wearing my bikini right right now, not because I’m swimming, but because it’s flippin’ H-O-T! And guess what the locals in the colorful homes on the tall seaside cliffs don’t have … they don’t have air conditioning. Today is forecast to be 103 degrees.

We’re living as locals, and apparently locals just sweat. Non-stop. A lot.

This morning at 3 am, laying butt necked on the bed trying to catch any bit of breeze, it was 91 degrees. It literally warmed up in the middle of the night.

Now, I say all of this not to complain. In all situations there’s something to be grateful for, and it’s always up to us to look for it and dwell on it. Afterall, these are the things we remember most. You never remember the trip where everything went according to plan, you remember the one where you were stranded, with no luggage, eaten by misquotes. Am I right?

Our most memorable Christmas ever was the one we spent in Germany sharing nothing more than an apple and a few crackers because absolutely nothing was open on Christmas day. Our most memorable roadtrip was the one where the car broke down on the side of the road and our opportunity for a little make-out sesh in the backseat was presented.

You remember the week the whole world shut down in 2020, right? You likely don’t remember the week before it, or most of the weeks since then, but you remember the shut-down, the lock-in, the rocking of your world where everything changed and nothing was normal.

So I know we are in the midst of one of those incredibly memorable times right now. And I refuse to spend this time complaining or being miserable.

Listen to me, if you find yourself in the midst of a struggle where things aren’t the way you would have chosen them to be, you’re going to remember this. You are living in times when memories are forged their very deepest. Don’t allow yourself to choose misery. Don’t give yourself the option of dwelling in negativity. Woman, straighten up and count your blessings. You have so many of them, you will surely be counting all day!

A friend told me in these hot climates where air conditioning is a luxury not often afforded, locals will sometimes sleep on their roofs. Inside it can become so unbearably hot, the roof is a more comfortable option. Wow. Sounds like we may be taking pillows to the roof for tonight’s scorcher.

I was immediately reminded of a scripture I memorized many years ago. Proverbs 21:9 “Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.”

It may not be hot in your house right now, but it may be miserable. And guess what sis, you may be the one making it that way! It’s not so much the conditions, the conditions will be what the conditions will be, it’s your attitude within the conditions.

Listen to me, no matter what, you can be loving. You can be kind. You can be respectful. You can be in control of your tongue and your face. Yes, your face too, because girl we know your face be talking even more than your mouth sometimes!

As a teenager I could stomp so hard down the hall of our house that my feet would be bruised. I could slam a door so hard, it would shake the whole house. Quarrelsome. That’s what I was.

And guess what, I made it miserable in my house.

Now, as grown women, we may be doing the same thing in the homes we are responsible for. It is said that women are the thermostat of the home. We are responsible for the atmosphere, and dang we may be making it miserably hot up in here. Girl, that’s on us. We control the temperature, we set the mood, we create the atmosphere. And some of us are being dang near impossible to live with!

Lord, check us. Examine our attitudes. Reveal to us how we can be better.

I know you want to tell me all about everyone else, but God positioned you to be the one hearing this. He wants to start by working on you. I wonder how your whole house could be affected, starting with a change in you?

The state of my heart and the positioning of my mind creates the atmosphere in my home. My kindness and my gentleness create an environment, as do my stress and frustration. That’s on me. I’m affecting everyone in my home.

The problem is, we are acting more like a thermometer and a thermostat. A thermometer reacts to the temperature, a thermostat sets the temperature. Maybe you can’t change the people and the circumstances in your home, but honey, you can stop reacting to it. You always have the power to affect your atmosphere. You are always in control of your mood.

Where are you being quarrelsome? How are you making this whole situation worse than it has to be? How can you use the Spirit of God living within you and bring love and peace in the middle of your personal war zone?

Well, stop quarreling.

The Hebrew word for quarrel is derived from the snarling of a dog. Picture that for a moment. The dog is upset, defensive, ready to bite back at any moment. All snarled up with that crazy look in it’s eye. Is that you?

Understand, this is not God’s will for you. This is not within his best plans for your family. He never intended for things to be so miserable in your house that people would rather escape to the roof than be in the room together.

Now maybe you feel you have every reason to be quarrelsome, and maybe you actually do. However, God has not given you (his prized and precious, chosen and set apart daughter) permission to act like a snarling dog. Stop being a thermometer just reacting, and start being the thermostat and change the temperature!

Just because you can’t control everything, doesn’t mean you can control nothing. The problem becomes when all that we cannot control causes us to stop controlling what is ours to control.

You control your thoughts. You control your mood. You control your tongue. You control your face. You control your attitude. And God has given you the power to set the temperature in your house instead of react to it.

Sometimes life shows up with a reality we wouldn’t have chosen, and you know what that is … that’s an opportunity to practice responding like a Child of God who is truly wildly rich and ridiculously blessed.

Set your mind now. Choose your mood. Create the environment.

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