A few days before the New Year I was thinking about some of the things I wanted to do differently and better this year. As I posted here a few weeks ago, like Oprah, I also believe that when we know better, we do better. One thing I've learned over the years is that when we are grateful with what we have, more will be given to us. More than that, a grateful heart is a beautiful heart and one that truly enjoys life for what it is, not wanting more, demanding more or feeling frustrated or inadequate because we may not be where we want to be or have the things we wish we could. So, I decided to begin a gratitude journal on Jan.1st.
Since I'm always collecting inexpensive, pretty journals and stationery, I happened to have this brand new journal on hand that I bought from Michael's $1 spot last year. It makes the process more fun if you choose a pretty journal vs. a basic lined notebook. Inside, each page has enough room for two days per side so I have more than enough room for the whole year.
While I've always tried to take time every evening to reflect on what I'm most grateful for, I wanted to make it more of a daily habit by documenting 5 things each day-big and small. I also thought it might be a great place to remind myself of all of the blessings I've received in the form of answered prayers, which I've called 'A2P' and write any that occur on the particular day underneath. So far, there have been many for just 31 days and I love knowing that when I'm having a rough day or feel as if things are not where I would hope they would be, that I can turn my feelings and attitude around with all the positive and wonderful things that already exist.
Some days I'm grateful for the chirping birds outside my window that brighten my morning, the sunshine on a chilly day, clean running water, organic produce on sale, a delicious cupcake, God's protection over my husband as he travels overseas for weeks on end, good health or the close friendships I feel privileged to have.
organizing. Well, I did and got the most wonderful surprise in the process!
My hubby keeps some of his deceased grandparents' belongings for sentimental reasons-nothing crazy-family pictures, his father's army memorabilia, some jewelry and his grandfather's wallet. My focus this particular day was to organize our laundry room as it also serves many other functions and houses two large filing cabinets. I opened one of the drawers as I pondered what amazing transformation could be made and how I might get the filing cabinets out of the space. I've seen the wallet sitting in the drawer of our old filing cabinet in the laundry room before, but for some reason I felt that I was supposed to open it.
It's an old black leather wallet, nothing glamorous. While I wasn't sure why I was now poking around through it, I somehow felt compelled to pull out the photos of my husband and his mother from many years ago, some old identification cards, business cards, etc. That's when I saw something beige peeking under the bill fold. Tucked in behind a billfold under the lining of the wallet (where money isn't actually supposed to go) was money! I thought, wouldn't it be great if it was $20. Well, I pulled out several bills- four ($100 bills) and a single antique $5 bill from 1953 to be exact. I was ecstatic, I couldn't believe I had found $405! I e-mailed Paul immediately since he was overseas, and I was so glad he kept that wallet for the past 8 years. We both felt the best thing was for us to put it towards our January mortgage payment. That money couldn't have come at a better time, needless to say that was not only an answer to prayer but something huge to be grateful for so it was definitely noted on my new journal.
Last week I was saddened to read this post. A reader of one of my favorite decor blogs, Young House Love, had just finished decorating her dream home when an accidental fire broke out and they lost everything including her car! There is actually a horrific video of the whole thing that she shared. All I could do was sit with my hand over my mouth as I watched her home burn to the ground. I couldn't even imagine what that family is going through, especially in the cold of winter. Thankfully nobody was hurt but it's a reminder that we all have so much and need to be grateful for everything for as long as we get to enjoy it, including our current home even if it's not our dream home.
I have so enjoyed spending the last 5 minutes of every evening, cuddled up to my duvet, pen in hand while I recount how my day unfolded. Admittedly, there were a couple days within January that really tested my patience and challenged me to dig deep for what I was truly grateful for that day, but it's those times that always make me appreciate everything so much more and put it all into perspective.
Although I'm not entirely surprised, a wonderful thing has happened during these past 31 days, the more I have focused on what I'm grateful for, the more joy I feel and more increase I've personally seen in my life. All of a sudden opportunities have been flowing in a great and new way. Things that originally seemed overwhelming and frustrating have produced something positive and where unexpected expenses popped up, unexpected financial blessings have flowed in also. I can't wait to see how this process works on my heart over the next 11 months.
What about you? Have you ever kept a gratitude journal? Has it helped you see more increase in your life? Now might be the time to try it out for yourself. :)