About a year ago my husband and I were on a quick trip back to where he proposed. We love Bryson City, NC and there are a number of cute shops to explore. In a rare excursion without kids we picked up some antiques and (OF COURSE!) I had to check out a little bookshop. I came across a journal called “The Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude” by Sarah Ban Breathnach and I felt led to purchase it. It is actually not something I would usually buy because I am on a journey to simplify my life and having something I have to write in daily can seem overwhelming to me. Still, I got the journal, and I’m so glad that I did.
So…what is it?
It’s a dated journal with a few prompts and quotes about gratitude but for the most part is blank with 5 lines under each date for you to fill in things you are grateful for that day. Simple enough right? Well, at first it is. Them come the days you may be thankful for simply surviving the day, and that’s ok.
Where the magic comes in is that over time your perspective begins to change. You notice the overlooked blessings in life. I began to be in a state of gratitude more than not, and that change rippled through in my daily life and relationships. We faced some rough times those first couple months, life is life. How I viewed those times was dramatically different.
I remember one week in particular over the summer. We got to go on a family beach trip and it was easy to feel gratitude at getting away to my favorite place. But soon, all four of my kids took turns with a stomach virus. I remember writing how thankful I was that in being up all night with a sick child, we got to sit on the porch to see the sunrise together over the ocean and share a special moment.
The next day I began to miscarry and we were so heart broken because we had been trying and praying and instantly our excitement was crushed. I chose to see the things to be grateful for instead of the pain. Of course I was upset but I chose to be grateful for the children I have, being able to get pregnant, and the chance to try again. I also have 2 angel babies I will meet in Heaven.
The same beach trip ended up with me getting a serious burn on my neck, and at that point it was almost comical the disastrous turn this “vacation” had taken, but we didn’t focus on the negative, we chose JOY. We were able to make the best of the situation and give praises for all the blessings we have. Despite everything, we had a memorable trip with the ones we love.
I’m embarrassed to think back to the times (and they still happen) when I let something silly cloud my joy and my focus, and choose to let it ruin my day. Being the mom, the keeper of our home, my attitude trickles down and these little people absorb that energy. Good or bad. What amazing future adults we could raise by training them to see the joy in life by bending our minds and hearts toward gratitude instead of cultivating a discontent spirit that’s drawn to negativity.
It’s so easy to implement a daily gratitude journal or list for yourself and your family. You can use a guided journal like I started with or a blank pretty journal you date and write lists in. We event implement gratitude into our homeschool days by having the kids journal or draw pictures of what they’re grateful for that day. Here’s a picture of what I am using now and I love that it keeps everything together that I’m recording in one place. I picked this one up at Michael’s Craft Store in the calendar section. It fits into my planner and is super convenient.
The sky is the limit, the point is tune your heart to gratitude! Simply start focusing on the right things and watch your life change for the better. I dare you.