Friday, October 18, 2013

Thankful Every Day

Every now and then I like to thumb through a gratitude journal I began writing in in May 1999.

As I scan the handwritten lists of people and things I was thankful for at that time, I realize that I still have many of those blessings and that I remain as grateful now as I was the day I first listed them in the journal.

For example, the May 21, 1999, page included a mention of our house, which I referred to as a “nest of comfort.” It remains so even today. On July 2, 2011, I listed, “Having wonderful appliances, especially a washer and dryer. I remember well the years Mama didn’t have such luxuries.”

As I peruse the pages, I notice that “things” don’t get mentioned nearly as often as people and experiences and opportunities. For example, on January 18, 2002, I listed, “Sharing with Mother a few jokes I’d found in the local paper.” On Oct. 28, 1999, I wrote, “Ryan’s sweet message on the answering machine! They’ll be HERE in less than two weeks. Yeah!” [At the time, two-year-old Ryan and his parents were living in Hawaii, so my husband and I didn’t get to see them often.] 

On July 5, 1999, I noted that I was grateful for “exchanging e-mails with friends in far away places. It’s nice to know that friends are still friends despite the distance that separates us.”

On July 29, 2011, I mentioned “receiving an e-mail last night saying that one of the photos I’d entered into Better Photo’s monthly contest had been chosen as a finalist. It was one of the 14,000+ photos judges looked at before choosing finalists and then winners. What an honor!”

My gratitude journal contains many mentions of “intangibles.” Simplicity….Solitude…. Learning from all people….Loving and being loved....

I've also listed things in nature for which I was grateful. For example, “The Mandevilla plant that is twining its way up the handrail on the front porch steps. Its gorgeous pink blooms attract attention and give pleasure to the eyes….The birds chirping at daybreak. They are excited about the new day, and so am I.”

On April 21, 2000, I wrote, "I am thankful for all that I have," and then I added, “I am so blessed, blessed beyond all measure, blessed beyond words can describe, blessed far more than I realize.”

Indeed, I am! And so are you, Dear Reader, even if there are things you and I lack or things that are difficult, etc. So, whether we express our thanks by making lists in gratitude journals (like one of my recent pages shown in the photo) or whether we mentally contemplate our blessings, let’s just be sure we find some way every day to reflect on the blessings that are all around us and then to say, “Thank You, Lord, for giving so much to me!”

(C)2013 by Johnnie Ann Gaskill