Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Staying in a state of gratitude.

Last night we had our weekly community group/Bible study. Our pastor handed us all a piece of paper that said "A journal of thanks..." at the top. I thought, Awesome. I love making lists of what I'm thankful for!

And without really listening I started jotting things down. The teacher in me should know better. Wait for instructions, Katie.

So that's when he told us that he wanted us to really hone in and focus on TODAY only. So, to start from the time you woke up, and really try to dwell on the little things (or big things) you were thankful for specifically in that day only. 

Naturally, I had to scratch out my first I-didn't-listen list and start over on the back. 

My list looked something like this.

-Waking up to Emeline smiles
-Cuddling in bed with her
-That my momma snuggles could comfort her when she fell
-Safety while traveling in the car
-My friend Kristen & being able to open up with her
-Chick-Fil-A playdates (and the food) :)
-Productivity during naptime (getting work done)
-Encouragement I got via email from readers
-My health & the fact I can run a 5K on the treadmill
-My husband getting home early
-A hot shower
-New Makeup
-A warm dinner/food in the cabinets
-In-laws babysitting & caring for Eme
-My helpful husband
-This small group

We kind of went around the room and people shared if anything on their list surprised them. You know, when you actually took a few seconds to THINK about your day, and the little things you're grateful for...did anything on your list surprise you? Something you may forget about daily, or take for granted...etc.

So I spoke up and mentioned that a few months ago, I would have never, ever written anything about running. But that when I really think about it, I'm grateful that my body can even run, when there are a lot of people who physically cannot run at all. So, instead of looking at it as a "I have to run"...this list kind of switched my focus to "I get to run". I am able to run. 

My friend spoke up about how on her list? She wrote how she walked to her closet that morning, and CHOSE what she wanted to wear. She had options. She has clothing. And some people don't have that luxury. A small thing that I know that I often take for granted. 

My other friend talked about how her foster baby (who is leaving today) let her, for the first time, hold him and he fell peacefully asleep in her arms. He normally pushes away and doesn't allow her to cuddle him much. But that sweet act of a sleeping baby on her chest just blessed her. And reminded me of how even that, in and of itself, is a gift. 

He encouraged us to consider taking a few minutes each evening to keep a list, a daily gratitude journal, where you do what we just did. Walk through your day and think about the simple things, the big things, the normally mediocre things, that we're thankful for. 

That staying in a state of thankfulness and gratitude actually keeps us closer to God, and connected. 

So I'm going to start doing this. Or trying to, anyway. 

You might be amazed at some of the things on your list like we were. 

Anyone up for the challenge?


  1. You're list is filled with wonderful things! That's such a great idea just to focus on one day. I may just have to start doing this!

  2. Tears today...especially when reading about your friend and her foster baby. Reminded me that I should be more thankful every night that I have a little girl who wants me to hold her and rock her to sleep instead of watching the clock...which I'm ashamed to admit happens pretty often! Love this idea...I'll be joining your challenge. :)

  3. I've blogged about this a few times before :) I'm a big promoter of a daily gratitude journal! On Thanksgiving I looked back at things I had written down thus far and felt so thankful for each one (whether big or small, silly or serious) all over again. Love this!!

  4. What a great challenge. I may borrow this idea and use it myself. So many times the day just goes by and becomes so busy that you dont really take time out to appreciate and be thankful for the little things, the things we so often take for granted. Great post Katie.

  5. That is such a great idea, its easy to get caught up in the rat race and only become thankful for the BIG things, when God is blessing us in little ways each and everyday. Love it.

  6. Up for the challenge... im thinking tomorrows post =)

  7. This really makes me stop and think about my life and what I'm able to do. Thanks for this post :)

  8. Yep, the foster baby got me too. I've always admired foster parents. It's not an easy job. So thankful my little guy is a cuddler.
    Also thankful for a decent car to get us around. We had a flat and weren't able to get it fixed until yesterday. Three days of being cooped up in the house was more than I could handle. :)

  9. Great challenge! I know if I focus on the daily things more I'd be less likely to complain. I really have nothing to complain about but it's one of those things you just find yourself doing even though you KNOW you are blessed.

  10. I have an absent student who I'm supposed to be seeing right now. So? I'm going to do this. Now. Stay tuned. :)

  11. That is a great list. It's crazy how we don't think about the every day things we should be thankful for.

    C and I came thisclose to getting into an accident this morning on our way to work. I'm thankful we are both safe.

    I'm also thankful I have your blog to detract me from work each day ;-)

  12. I used to write down 10 things I was grateful for every night, but I've totally slacked lately. I need to start doing it again, especially with all the stress going on about the mystery bruise/possible skin cancer. I have no doubt that it will help shape how I walk through these next couple weeks--thanks for the reminder!

  13. your church sounds amazing katie! Whenever you talk about it, it makes me want to move there and join :)

  14. Love your list and what an awesome discussion! So wish I would have been there, but you made me feel like I was :D I am going to give it a try! My brother told me he heard that ppl that write down what they are thankful for are less stressed than ppl that do not :) So YAY to less stress as an added bonus!! Love You!

  15. I am totally starting a Daily Gratitue Journal! Thanks for posting this...I need this inspiration!

  16. Great idea! This would be great for my journal next year or even my Project Life album. I need something just a bit beyond picture of the day.

  17. I love this. In high school I took a class where the first 5 minutes of each day we wrote in a gratitude journal. I had never heard of one until then. I learned so much from that daily activity that that year I got my mom a gratitude journal for Christmas. I really should start keeping one again. Thank you for reminding me.

  18. This is a great idea! I know they had a blog link up for Thankful Thursdays and that really made me think about what Im thankful for. Its amazing how we take so much for granted.

  19. Thanks for sharing!!! Always a good reminder of being thankful for TODAY!

  20. Today I am grateful for a child who forced me to sing who made the fishies swim for ONE HOUR STRAIGHT while we walked and freaked out if I stopped. I'm grateful that she asked me to replace "fishies swim" with every single word she knows. Why? Because it means I have a healthy little girl who is learning to communicate with me and to appreciate all of the blessings God has given her in her life.

  21. What an inspiring post Katie! I love seeing and hearing people being thankful for the little things in life. I've heard it be said these are God's love notes to us:) So true isn't it?

  22. I've thought about starting a gratitude journal for this purpose. You're right - if we just sat down and thought about the little things we bypass each day, with little thought, really, we'd have a long list! So much to be thankful for that we often don't give much thought to on a daily basis. Great post.