|my husband Patrick and our kids, Dani & Nate a couple years ago|
Around thirteen years ago, I read the book Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach which was about getting what you wanted out of life thru the use of all sorts of visualization techniques in all sorts of journals. At the time I was working full time with two kids under 15 so I decided that if I did everything she suggested I wouldn't have time to pee let alone become a highly respected artist. But I did take one idea away from the book - keeping a gratitude journal.
And that gratitude journal changed my life. It sounds a little melodramatic, but it's true. It changed my relationships with my family because I was focusing on all the good instead of the day-to-day drudgeries and cuz I was no longer complaining about my job in every single conversation. And it changed my relationship with God because I realized if I was thankful, I must have someone to thank.
"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow." - Melody Beattie
I made up pretty little journals and gave them to friends. I gave simple little books to everyone in my family and to everyone in my women's group from church. I don't know if anyone ever used them or if using them changed their lives. I just know how important it was to me.
Life is hard and times are tough for most of us much of the time yet we still have so much to be thankful for. It's human nature to talk negatively more than positively as anyone who deals with the public can tell you - or anyone who's turned on the TV prior to the elections. And I'm no different - when I don't spend enough time reflecting on the good, I lack a certain graciousness in my speech and actions.
So it's definitely time to remind myself again about all I'm grateful for:
time to do my art
steady contract work the last four years
getting almost out of debt
getting wiser as I've gotten older
etc, etc, etc.....................