Sunday, December 23, 2012

Make yourself grateful

Many years ago my mom gave me a gift - The Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude. It was a companion book to Sarah Ban Breathnach's book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy. At the time it came out in 1996 there was this big gratitude movement and I'm pretty sure the author appeared on Oprah. I never did read the accompanying book, but I loved the journal that mom gave me that had inspirational quotes and spaces for writing things that you were grateful for each day.

At the time I was a young sleep-deprived mom, buried in laundry and educational toys and books and sippy cups and changing diapers around the clock. Although you love your little one, those days are stressful and sometimes stepping outside of yourself and looking at the whole picture and recognizing all those little blessing can help you see things differently.

For most days that year I recorded at least 5 things I was thankful for that day. Not once did I have trouble coming up with 5 things to be thankful for and most of the time, I went on to write a dozen or so. Sometimes it was a warm coat or a long, quiet shower or ordering pizza or having clean drinking water. Just little things, but ones that you don't always take time to appreciate. And in the years since, I sometimes start up again with recording daily the things I am grateful for, especially when I find myself having a pity party over something pretty trivial. I often have to remind myself that I have a home, a place to sleep, food to eat, beautiful and healthy children and that I live in a free country where I don't have to live in fear for my life each day like some others in this world do.

In November, so many of my Facebook friends were posting things they were thankful for each day. I started in, too, but well, you know...sometimes life gets in the way and I didn't follow through 'til the end of the month. But I've realized that it's just fine if rather than writing it down you end your day by laying down in bed and saying a silent little prayer of thanks for those blessings. That may be even better than writing it down. As long as you feel it, that's what matters.

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