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Have a Gratitude Attitude

Days trickle or race by, depending on what each one holds, and helped of course by the sun or challenged by the dull, gray, cold, and rain of winter. I walk with my dog, shivering despite my heavy coat and thick gloves.


And then I see them, the tiny purple irises that appear to be pushing their way through the apparently barren ground--they appear every year--dozens of them, crowded together.

Their smiley faces mirror the smile on mine. Suddenly the day is not so grey!


Then I notice other signs of life-- the daffodils are emerging; there are buds appearing on some of the trees-- spring will come again! My heart responds with gratitude.





We raised our children with the song ‘Have a gratitude attitude” (not sure where it is from) and The Butterfly Song (Brian Howard). In this, every stanza ends with the words, “I just thank you Father for making me, me.” (I'm sure those both date me!) If you are not familiar with the Butterfly Song and have kids, do look it up. We used to sing the chorus one by one to each of our girls, inserting their names—such a good memory!


And the idea of being grateful has stuck with me.


Paul says, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) God’s will, hmm, —reminds me of the Lord’s Prayer—"Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven!”


 All around us every day, life flows with countless gifts. The challenge is to notice, to stop long enough to breathe, and to give thanks. Thanks for being alive!  Thanks for every breath we take! Thanks to the trees for gratefully accepting the carbon dioxide that would poison us and releasing the life-giving oxygen that feeds every cell in our body!  Thanks for the beauty in creation around us! Thanks for the food we eat: the farmer who grew it; the workers who harvested it; the truckers who carried it; the grocery shop workers who shelved it. Thanks for the people who fill our days with joys and challenges!



Years ago, inspired by Ann Voskamp through her book, One Thousand Gifts, I've cultivated a practice at the end of each day of sitting quietly and reflecting on the happenings of the day and the gifts wrapped up in each.



Life is, of course, not always full of sunshine and blessings. My friend Jeff Savage shared his practice of holding grief in one hand and gratitude in the other-- not either/but both/and. So, as I look back over my day, I allow both emotions to be present and, aware of the challenges, I'm learning to stop and wonder what the gift is.



In my Bible study group, we started a new practice I read about somewhere-- we have a rose (this time of the year an artificial one) that we pass around. Each girl gets to talk about what is beautiful in her life that week and what is the thorn. The interesting thing that has emerged is how often the things shared are actually both the greatest gift and the biggest challenge.  I'm learning through this to look at what I once would have overlooked as I say “thank you” to God.




My Gratitude Journal:


Each page is headed with the words “Thank you for the gift of…” I write the date and the number. I sit and think through my day. What has brought me joy? What have I faced today that has challenged me? Where is the gift in that? Is there an invitation here from God? Often that comes in the form of forgiving myself and allowing His grace and mercy to capture my heart again. Who has been in my day? Such a beautiful way to remember how each person is a gift.




Thus, the  evening closes with my gratitude. What a beautiful way to end a day and so to bed!

 

Right there is gratitude😊






Does this sound enticing? Is there an invitation here for you to examine your day-- not to focus on what you've missed being/doing—not what you think you could’ve/ should’ve/would’ve done…but focusing on all that have been gifts from the Father above, that generous God, who pours out his blessings upon his children,

and such are you.


I suggest you get a separate journal to have as your Gratitude journal. You don't have to write every day, but when you have time in the evening, make the choice to do so. You will be glad you did. On the grey days, you can look back and read some of your previous entries. I can guarantee you will smile and your mood will lift.

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