Gratitude Day 197 – Signs of Gratitude

Fri., Jan. 18, 2019

Hebrews 12:28 – Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that can’t be shaken, let’s continue to express our gratitude. With this gratitude, let’s serve in a way that is pleasing to God with respect and awe,

“You sure have a lot of things in your house with the words ‘grateful’ and ‘thankful’ on them,” our 8-year-old granddaughter Ellie told me recently.

20190116_110619

We were sitting at my desk searching the internet for fun gymnastic photos for Ellie. When I looked up, I saw two items on my desk, each with one of those words.

20190116_110615

She had a point.

20190116_110639

My mind quickly began recalling the various other items in our house that express one of these words or a variation of them. Point is? Ellie is right. There ARE lots of things in our house that include these words.

Then came Ellie’s next question, “Why?”

20190116_110726

Why do I have a variety of things expressing these words?

Because these words mean a lot to me. They capture the essence of one of my core values. No matter what is going on in my life or the world, I have much to be grateful and thankful for. Rather than spending ridiculous amounts of energy focusing on things that disappoint me or I wish were different (and often out of my control), I choose to surround myself with the thousands and thousands of ways I truly am blessed. Having little reminders throughout our house is a way to subcontiously remind myself that I am truly blessed.

Because, I am.

DSC06200

Sure, I’d like to lose some weight. And be more productive with my time. I wish I would say all the right things in difficult situations, rather than the wrong things that often come out of my mouth. I’d like to be more humble and listen more. I wish I would stop comparing myself to others and be completely happy with who I am.

 

Most days, there is this little voice inside of me that tries to lure me to a place where I know I could easily become cynical and question why there always seems to be some crazy thing in my life lurking just around the corner. Before this becomes the most important thought in my day, I choose to counter these difficult thoughts with gratitude … thankfulness … blessings. Maybe having these little reminders scattered throughout our house is one way to remind myself that no matter what happens today, my glass is more than half full. I believe in a God who will help me navigate what ever challenge comes my way. At the end of every day, I have thousands of reasons why I am a very blessed person.

How did I answer Ellie? I told her I have items with these words scattered around our house because they are important to me. They are little reminders of what is most important, like she, her brothers and cousins. I hope these words will encourage other people to also be grateful and thankful.

I know this is a lot for an 8-year-old to capture. But, it’s how I feel. And why I surround myself with these words as daily reminders of what perspective I want to see life through.

So, what two or three words are the ones that inspire you the most? What few words do you want to have others see in you? How do you integrate these words into your daily life?

20190107_003737

For little reminders of what is most important to me, I am grateful.

Lord God – when life gets busy, full and overwhelming, it’s easy to lose sight of what is most important. Help us to find small, easy things to help us find our core values each and every day. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who will also enjoy it.

Gratitude Day 161 – Thankful

Thurs., Nov. 22, 2018 – Thankfulthankful

Psalm 118:29 – Give thanks to the Lord, because he is good. His faithful love continues forever.  

The pies are baked. The corn casserole for the community dinner is laid out, ready to be assembled in the morning and popped into the oven. Yes, I cheated and bought the dinner rolls rather than making them. Someday, I’m going to really learn how to make good dinner rolls. But not this week.

Instead of making dinner rolls, I had a meaningful conversation with a dear friend on Thanksgiving Eve night. In the moment, conversation was a higher priority than making rolls. And I don’t regret the choice.

A year ago, I would have tried to do both: make bread and carry on a conversation. These days, I trying to have a little less busy-body Martha in my life and a little more contemplative Mary.

Sometimes, I feel like I’m wasting time.

Sometimes, I feel like I don’t get enough done.

Sometimes, I delay doing something seemingly important for another day.

It’s hard to let go of Martha. But she’s trying.

Why? Because I don’t want to miss out on the little things. Too often, we focus only on the milestone moments of life: baptisms, first day of school, prom night, graduation, first car, first job, first apartment by ourselves. Marriage, first child and buying a house. A 40th birthday and then a 50th. All important events. All milestones. All significant.

But what about the afternoon sitting by the lake? The bike ride with a grandchild? The good book that just wants to be read?

When Hubby Rick and I were dating, I remember us promising each other to make sure we always would take time to just be with each other. We have … and we haven’t. More so because of my lack of prioritization than Rick’s. We have wonderful moments and we have days in which we don’t see each other awake.

give thanks

How might we find the important little moments of today? Put down our phones and have a conversation with the people around us rather than on social media. Turn off the television during dinner and go around the table and share something that you so appreciate in your life. And then, keep the T.V. off and play a game that works for all the ages present. Go outside and take a walk and marvel at the beauty of the world around you. And when you do pick up the phone, may it not be to check Black Friday deals but to call someone who you weren’t able to see today. Tell them that you love and appreciate them and make a date to get together soon.

And simply be thankful. Give thanks not for the big things in life … but for the seemingly insignificant. Appreciate the young boy’s comments about his Mom. After she died of cancer, he was asked what was the most special memory of his Mom that he had. His answer? When she sat with him on the couch and they ate popcorn together.

Sit with someone and eat popcorn today. And cherish every minute of it.

Everything else can wait for a day. Even the dishes could wait.

I am convinced the most meaningful times in my life will always be the simplest of times that I would love to recapture. Like going for a ride with my Dad and talking cows. Snuggling on the couch with a grandchild. Having a cup of coffee with my Grandmother. Picking out fabric with my Mom. Matching my hand in Hubby Rick’s hand.

These are the things I am thankful for today.

20181121_095220

And this card. It was made by one of the kids from one of the churches that I used to serve. It came in the mail just recently. Somewhere, somehow this little person knew to include God in the card, along with Thanksgiving. Just a little reminder that God’s love endures forever.

20181121_095247

For the simple and deeply meaningful moments in life, I am grateful.

In some ways, it seems to silly to need a day in which we stop and remember to be thankful and grateful, Holy God. I pray we find your love and blessings in the littlest of moments of every day. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who will also enjoy it.

Gratitude Day 63 – Attitude  

 

attitude of gratitude

Mon., June 11, 2018

Acts 24:3 – Always and everywhere, most honorable Felix, we acknowledge this with deep gratitude.

For the last two-plus months, I have reflected with gratitude upon some simple aspect of my life through words. Something that happened in my day, a little aspect of Hubby Rick and mine’s life or something that I have observed.

I have a very blessed life. A very blessed life. I have everything I need and a whole lot of stuff that I want. I have some “stuff” that I’m not sure I need or want. Life is so much more than possessions. It is relationships, opportunities, challenges and every-day life realities.

Today, we will begin this day and we will determine what our attitude is about this day. Only I will decide what my attitude for today will be. Yes, others can influence it. People I know and may not know will test it. At the end of the day, when I crawl into bed, I alone will determine if I represented the attitude God longs for me to represent. Have I embodied an attitude of deep gratitude, even for challenges? Or was my attitude adversely affected and portrayed to others?

And then, I will repeat this tomorrow and the next day and the next day. The next week, the next month, the next year (God willing.)

When I think about possible challenges in my life, it takes me about .5 seconds to think of someone else who has way more significant challenges than I do. People will real challenges. I pray that I never loose sight of this. Even on my worse days, these days are still better than so many other situations people endure day in and day out.

I pray my attitude of gratitude is honest, consistent and God-directing. Only I will choose my attitude today. I pray it is a good one.

Almighty God – I pray that my attitude reflects your love and grace in my life this day. May my attitude be grounded in your place in my life. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who will also enjoy it.

Gratitude Day 33 – Give Thanks

give thanksMon., May 7, 2018

2 Corinthians 1:11 – Please help us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks for the blessings we receive in answer to all these prayers.

During worship on Sunday, there came a time when I truly felt at home. Many years ago as a pastor, I began using the song “Give Thanks” after the offering rather than the Doxology. Some people really love the Doxology. I really love “Give Thanks.”

Why? Early in our marriage, Hubby Rick’s eldest son was killed months before we were married. There were times it was a challenge to make sense of this accident. Nate was just 21. So much life to live. Sed quickly because of a snowmobiling accident.

Many days, Rick would come home and sing, “Give Thanks.” It was a purposeful way for him to remind himself that in everything, he wanted to give thanks. In the good days, give thanks. In the awful days, give thanks. In the days that are too busy, give thanks. In the days when life is too difficult, give thanks. In the days that may seem boring and predictable, give thanks.

Simply, give thanks.

Read (or sing) the words of this worship song:

Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son

Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son

And now let the weak say, “I am strong”
Let the poor say, “I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us”

And now let the weak say, “I am strong”
Let the poor say, “I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us”

Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son

Give thanks.

Today’s bible verse reminds us of something important in our daily lives. Most Christians pray. What tops our prayer list? Our needs, our wants, where we want God to intervene and intervene now. Here, how are we encouraged to pray? For all the blessings we have received because of answered prayer. It seems so much easier to criticize God for unanswered prayers than to give thanks to God for answered prayer. Too often, we dwell on the prayers that don’t get answered as we desire and give little credit for when a prayer is answered in an amazing and surprising way.

As we stood and sang this song during in worship, my heart felt very full, blessed and at peace. I just wanted to express my thanks to God for all the answered prayers, the blessings in our lives and the ways God works in our lives we take for granted. I just wanted to give thanks.

For this, I am grateful.

Almighty God – I pray we give thanks to you this day: for things we see and the things we don’t see. For our place in our lives even when we take it for granted. For all the prayers you have answered which have had an impact in our lives. We give you thanks. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who also enjoy it.