Choosing Gratitude

Last time I talked about the difficulty in giving thanks during years like this one. Yet I know, from experience and from God’s word, that doing it anyway matters. Giving thanks anyway:

  • Reminds us that we do have much to be thankful for, even in hard times
  • Helps us find the small things and appreciate them
  • Gives us compassion for those with less to be thankful for
  • Heightens our awareness of everything around us, to notice the little joys
  • Boosts our mental health, as gratitude always does
  • Shows us the arc of God’s care for us, even when we weren’t looking or seeing
  • Is obedience, and that comes with its own peace.

So today, I’m going to look back at my gratitude journal in 2020 and list some of the things I wrote down. I hope you can find some, too. I admit, I’ve not been great at keeping this journal this year. But the act of doing it always brings me joy and peace. I highly recommend a gratitude journal. 

It doesn’t have to be preciously cute or Pinterest worthy. Mine is a solid red notebook my husband brought back from a medical convention. It says “American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery” on the front. You can see, I’m all fancy.

It’s such a good practice for our hearts and souls. Pick up a notebook form the dollar store, and start writing. I write three things a day. You do you. Here are some great ideas and options in case you need them.

If you want some ways to get creative and make it super fun, I love the ideas of bookending and decorating, talked about here.

And if you want to hear the whole TED talk about gratitude the above article mentions, view it here.

So here’s random list of 20 things I’ve written since April.

  • Coyotes looking at me in the backyard, while I’m on a zoom meeting (Yes. It happened.)
  • I’m learning new patterns of kindness
  • I don’t worry people will kill my white children
  • Garden art
  • Hamilton (How lucky we are to be alive right now!)
  • My new home office
  • The fun quotes I made and framed in my new office, like the one below.
  • Hummingbird feeders
  • Crickets in my house (I love them. I’m not sorry.)
  • The ability to learn new things (hello, zoom church)
  • Morning fog 
  • My husband home longer in the mornings (his gym at work where he went early is COVID closed)
  • Clean mopped floors
  • Almond tea
  • Daughters who decorate my house for my virtual graduation
  • That graduation! That dissertation DONE!
  • People who put the dishes away
  • Quiet mornings on the deck
  • Early morning sunlight filtering through the trees
  • The privilege of white skin, and the responsibility
  • New followers!

That’s a short list. You can see it’s pretty varied. Some big things. Some little things. Some serious and some just plain fun. In this year of hard, find the small things that give you joy. Write them down. Go back to that as often as you need to. Feed your soul on joy.

You are loved.

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