Why is it so hard to hold onto gratitude, to give thanks for the multitude of gifts that each moment contains? How easily I forget to open my eyes, to look beyond the dirty diapers, muddy floors, squabbling siblings, and interrupted sleep to see the sweetness in these days. I know that one of the keys to the joy I so long for is to cultivate thankfulness, to recognize the grace that is abundant in each moment. Like most habits, it's one that takes discipline and work. Grumbling and becoming irritated seem to come so naturally to me. I have a long way to go, but I want my heart to be overflowing with gratitude, leaving no room for complaint.
After reading Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts last winter, I began jotting down in a notebook things I'm thankful for. My goal was to try to write down ten things a day, but I admit I've gone through long weeks where I don't even open my little book. I've found the practice of writing them down really is helpful. I read somewhere that the act of writing heightens awareness; you pay attention to little details that might otherwise go unnoticed. This is true whether you're writing a journal or a story, and it's the same for thankfulness. When I'm in the habit of giving thanks- and recording it- I find more and more things for which to be thankful.
My friend Rae who lives in India, my sister Alyssa, and another friend, Lisa, have been sharing things they're thankful for and I thought it would be fun to join in. I don't have any aspirations toward posting something every day, but will try to share from time to time. Here are a few I've jotted down in my gratitude journal in the last few days:
- My mom coming over and making chicken soup for us while I'm not feeling well.
- The way Pearl blows kisses, little hand flapping at her mouth, so pleased.
- Misty mornings, sunny afternoons.
- Hot tea with lemon and honey, soothing and delicious.
- Reading Peregrine's birthday letter aloud to him, seeing his face beam.
- Raphael's "hundred kisses" at night and how he says "I'll love you in the morning!"
- Root Vegetables, their earthy sweetness and jeweled colors.
- Pignoli cookies, fresh from Philadephia.
- Spider webs shimmering in the cold sun.
- Late night snuggle and talk with Poppy.
How do you cultivate thankfulness in your life? How do you help your children develop thankful hearts?