It started when my husband was diagnosed. My best friends provided for me to go to a ladies retreat. I think it saved my life. The speaker, Rachel Carmen, said "Write down all the 'Plagues of Your Life' that God has carried you through." And so I did. I wrote everyone of them down. The big ones.
I was so taken aback after following through with the exercise that I purposed myself to begin a gratitude journal right then and there. That was five years ago and I haven't stopped.
I didn't call it a Gratitude Journal. The title on the first beat up spiral notebook says 'Blessings' on it. But that is what it is. As I look through them now, I can see a difference in my thinking then and my thinking now. I realize that the things (or persons) I am most thankful for were repeated over the years. And they were usually big things...at least of that moment or that day.
I never numbered them and never thought to until I read about Ann's gratitude journal. I have no regrets and know that these journals saved me many days. Some days I struggled to be grateful..... Funny how it becomes easier as you do it.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18What I am learning this year is that it isn't always the 'big' things that produce gratefulness in me.
Mostly it is the small things in the day that I value so much when the day as a whole seems so ordinary. After learning about the gratitude community, I realized that I too want to recognize daily the small endless blessings from God, intentionally. Those things that you can miss if you are not looking for them. And really, they are already there, waiting to be noticed. And really it is the small things that make up the big things.
"The best things are nearest: breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of God just before you."
Robert Louis Stevenson
I also want to teach this attitude of gratefulness to my girls so that they will see it too. I can't imagine what a different person I would be if I had known then what I know now...and also, I want to pay it forward somehow.
I decided to start a fresh. For several reasons. I see the power it gives me in my life. Just to recognize these small simple tokens and expressions of love.
It transforms your thinking when you are constantly looking for His gifts and purposing yourself to look up and out.... particularly when things aren't always going as I plan or wish... It makes you look at everything differently. Like having your eyes widened. Or like having a film peeled off your eyes. It helps you to see things more clearly. To see Him more clearly.
When I started rummaging through my closet looking for these old blessing journals, I found a pretty celestial decorated journal that was my mom's. I had bought it for her before she died. It was never used. I didn't even know I had it. It was like it was waiting for me, after all these years, to find.
So I begin my journey. This time, more refined.......I cannot wait to discover what I will learn from it....and I can't wait until I get to a 1,000!
Thank you Lord for.....1-- the smells of little girls
2-- sleep and the slow rise from sleep to wake
3-- a good friend to run with and
4-- burning lungs
5-- Finding George MacDonald
"The careless soul receives the Father's gifts as if it were a way things had of dropping into his hand... yet he is ever complaining, as if someone were accountable for the problems which meet him at every turn. For the good that comes to him, he gives no thanks - who is there to thank? At the disappointments that befall him he grumbles - there must be someone to blame!"
6-- breathing deeply
7-- the Most Beautiful Woman I Know
8-- the opportunity to serve dinner in a homeless shelter
9-- seeing humbleness and awkwardness in my girl's faces when they too served
10-- even Gabrielle, at four, who exclaimed a little too loudly, "You mean they don't have houses?!?!!"
"How rich is anyone who can simply see human faces."
Corrie Ten Boom
11-- our old worn out vehicles that still run
12-- My new book I am reading, Sabbath
"Who is it that can make muddy water clear? asks the Tao Te Ching. But if allowed to remain still, it will gradually become clear itself." Wayne Muller Sabbath
13-- Memorizing the Beatitudes with my girls... and learning.....
"He said blessed are. Not "they will one day be blessed, " but they are blessed right now. The poor are blessed, even in their poverty. Those who mourn are blessed, even in their grief. The meek, the merciful, even those who are persecuted--blessed, blessed, blessed. Not later. Not when their trials are over. Not when they are fixed. Right here, right now. There is a blessing for you here, now, in this very moment."
Wayne Muller Sabbath
15-- Winnie The Pooh...
"Well," said Pooh, "what I like best," and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called. ~A.A. Milne
Wanna come too?
From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.