December Thoughts

It’s cold outside. I came home from work, took care of my fur kids, have put up my feet and wrapped myself in a blanket. I’m feeling a bit under the weather. That means I’m probably going to be a little emotional and slobbery with my words. Just fair warning.

Two people were exceptionally kind to me today. Their kind words, thoughtfulness, and conversation meant the moon and stars to me. Some days I don’t experience kindness, so I’ve learned to really appreciate the goodness of people. Earlier in the week a Pastor from a local church told me how much he appreciated me. I felt that he was genuine and meant what he said, and I appreciated the words and thoughtfulness. Nice words are good to hear. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want or need constant ego stroking or compliments. But feeling appreciated once in a while is a very nice feeling, and a feeling everyone should experience.

This has been a very tough year for me. I have learned much about forgiveness, human behaviors, and living a Christian life. There has been enormous hurt, sadness, growth, anger, and absolute befuddlement. There have also been moments of joy. I am constantly learning to rely on God to get me through the days, knowing I cannot do it without him. And believe me, sometimes it’s very difficult for me to let Jesus take the wheel.

This evening, my thoughts are on what kind of human I am, strive to be, and don’t want to be. Here are a few:

  1. I want to express appreciation to people whenever I feel appreciative of them.
  2. I do not want to ever make someone feel less than a person.
  3. I want to extend kindness to everyone, even those who have been unkind to me.
  4. I do not want to be vengeful, and am thankful I’m not.
  5. I want to be a good friend.
  6. I want to learn to be more loving than I am.
  7. I never want to be cruel to anyone.
  8. I want to give God the glory for every blessing in my life.
  9. I want to keep growing in my Christian walk, recognizing my shortcomings, and asking God to help me with those.
  10. I want to simplify my life.
  11. I want to be less judgmental, and more understanding.
  12. I want to show compassion for those who are struggling, whether it’s emotionally, physically, or financially.
  13. I want to better take care of myself, so I can better care for others.
  14. I want to recognize when I’m wrong and apologize when I should.
  15. I want to build people up, and not tear them down.
  16. I don’t want to spread hurtful gossip.
  17. I don’t want to make hard judgments of things I don’t understand.
  18. I want to appreciate more of the small blessings in life.
  19. I want to heal.
  20. I want to both give and receive joy; experience more joyful moments with both friends and strangers.
  21. I want to have more possibilities than regrets.

I usually don’t get this reflective until December 31st, when I’m pondering the past year and looking toward the new one. I’m just a couple weeks ahead of myself this year. Maybe this is a sign I’m working on my procrastination issues. I am hopeful!

Take care of you…

Gratitude

What are you grateful for?

It was on the Oprah show that I first heard of a Gratitude Journal.  Then everyone was talking about a Gratitude Journal.  Articles in magazines, YouTube videos, Pinterest. Put Gratitude Journal in your search engine and you can read all day on the benefits of keeping one.

I’m going to keep it pretty simple, because that’s what I do best.  A Gratitude Journal is a notebook, piece of paper, tablet, or anywhere else you record a list of all that you are grateful for.  It can be in your phone or computer.  Mine began in a $1 notebook from the Dollar Tree and has now progressed to a leather wrapped looseleaf notebook.

Each day, I jot down at least one thing I’m grateful for that day.  Oprah says she writes five things she’s grateful for.  You might like to list ten, the choice is yours.  What’s important is that you write it down so you can see it, so that it sticks in your mind.

Oprah said,

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

Oprah knew what she was talking about.  Focusing on what I have makes me realize how blessed I am.  I have a home with a roof on it.  There are many people in the world who do not.  I have enough food to eat today; many do not.  Things I’ve always taken for granted, I now see in a new light.  A pillow under my head at night.  A blanket to keep me warm.  Clean clothes to wear and shoes on my feet.  These are all blessings, and I am grateful.

Having gratitude for what I have helps keep me focused, and often a bit humble.  When I think I want something more, I realize I have enough.  When I read back over all the things I’m grateful for in my life, it makes me realize that God does provide what I need, not what I want.  I couldn’t ask for anything more.

I will be honest, there are some days I’m feeling out of sorts and grumpy and I may struggle to find one thing I’m grateful for that day.  But I write it down.  And often, once I start writing, I will think of another thing I’m grateful for, and another.  Soon, I will have the page filled with gratitude’s I didn’t even know I had.  It’s a nice surprise!

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.                        ~ Philippians 4:6 NIV

To have an attitude of gratitude has made such a difference in my life.  It makes it easier to distinguish between my wants and needs.  When I’m upset over car trouble or a leaky faucet or the cost of electricity to heat my house, I get out my Gratitude Journal and pretty soon I’m thanking God that I have a car, a faucet, and electricity.

Being grateful has improved my mood, lessened anger, and quieted my nerves.  It can change my day from one that really stinks, into one that’s not so bad after all.

What are you thankful for?