A few years ago, I was sitting at a program with my three (at the time, now I have four) young kids. My husband wasn't able to get out of work to come with us, so I was alone wrestling my littles and trying to keep them quiet and still in their seats. Needless to say, it was a frustrating task. After a few minutes of managing my little circus, a woman that I absolutely adore from my childhood neighborhood walked into the room. She sat near me and took in the scene. We hadn't seen each other for a few years, so she hadn't met all of my children. A little while later, she put her arm around my shoulders and said, "oh, Julia. You are so blessed!" I immediately felt a lump in my throat as I looked at each of the three sweet little faces that surrounded me. "Yes, I am." I replied. That day, I had become so caught up in the stress and chaos that I had temporarily forgotten what a blessing it was to be a mother.
It's all too easy as we wade through the day-to-day of our normal lives to take amazing things for granted. About a year ago, I implemented a 'gratitude practice' in my life that helps to keep me focused on the unending good aspects of my life, rather than any parts that may seem less than perfect. I personally choose to journal each day about three things that I am grateful for, whether they be big or small. That may be something you'd enjoy doing, or following are a few other ideas to make gratitude a more central part of your life:
- Each morning as you wake up and prepare for your day, silently go over a list of all the things you are grateful for. This helps to set you up with a positive outlook for the remainder of the day.
- Once a week, send a card or letter to a person you are grateful for and let them know why they are special to you and how they've impacted your life.
- Make a photo journal of what you are grateful for. This is something I would like to implement in the New Year... what an incredible way to document 2017!
- Share gratitude with your loved ones daily while you are gathered together at the dinner table.
- Take a hard look at difficult aspects of your life and find ways you can be grateful for them. For example, when your baby is crying, take a look at the beautiful perfection of their tears!
Of course this is just a tiny sampling of the numerous ways you could implement gratitude in your life. I'd love to hear how you personally practice gratitude, and/or what you're thankful for in the comments!
Have a beautiful Thanksgiving!