Many moons ago, my mom gave me a book called a "Gratitude Journal." It was meant to be written in each day and each day you were supposed to list three things you were thankful for that day. It got to be a pleasant routine to write in my book at the end of the day. When you stop and count your blessings, it makes you a happier person. It makes you appreciate what you have. It makes you look at the world through a different set of eyes - washing out envy, spite, contempt, jealousy and pettiness. You focus on the good and the bad or unpleasant things take a back seat. It really affects the way you look at the world around you.
From time to time I still pull out a journal and jot down a few things, but it's no longer a regular routine. After a while it doesn't have to be. You tend to say a prayer of thanks in your head at the end of the day for all you've got and committing it to paper isn't a priority. It's there and a grateful heart is the long-term effect. Often it was hard to narrow it down to three items and I soon upped it to five. There was never a shortage of blessings to recognize -- things as simple as a warm bed, running water, food to eat made it on the list. People who are important were entered on the pages. Experiences that were meaningful and memorable were added.
If I were to pull out my journal and insert a few items tonight, some that easily come to mind are many:
hearing things with my ears
being impressed by son's essay