Gratitude Journals

12:17 PM

I am passionate about keeping a gratitude journal.  This little obsession of mine started about 9 years ago.  

I had three kids, my husband just started a company in a new state, we were buying our first home and life seemed to be working itself out.

But then it, almost over night, life seemed to get messy.  It seemed like none of our plans were working.  My husbands business was slowing down.  The financing on our home wasn't working the way we needed it to.  I was lonely in a state where I didn't know anyone.  My Husband was gone all the time, trying to make ends meet, and I was alone with three cranky kids ALL THE TIME!
Our life seemed uncertain, and we were really just going day by day, hoping something would work out.  

One night, I was inspired to dig out my journal and read it.  I was hoping to read of better times, and regain hope, and have courage to keep moving forward knowing it would all be okay.
But as I was reading my journal, I noticed a trend.  1.)  I didn't write in my journal very often!  There would be months, even a year, between entries!  2.)  I didn't write about better times.  Almost all of my entries were about trials I was struggling with.

I realized that I used my journal as an outlet, to vent, and to try to figure out how to deal with hard times.  That wasn't a bad thing, but it made me sad to think that my children would read that one day, and not KNOW how happy there Mom was.  That my personal thoughts and feelings were of worry and of heartache, not of hope and joy.

I decided right then and there, that I needed to keep a gratitude journal.  

I don't want to hide my trials, and to not have this outlet to write what I'm dealing with.  Not at all.  I figure things out as I pour my heart out.  And I want my children to know that they are not the only ones that have trials.  BUT, I wanted to to turn my struggles into blessings.  The only way I could think to do that was to write down what I was thankful for.

So I started writing a list of five things each night that I was grateful for.
Sometimes it was easy.  My heart was full and I could have listed a thousand things.
Other days it was hard.  My day was long.  My day was difficult.  

Then I started to realize that on hard days, I wouldn't try to over think it.   I would just write down things that I was grateful for in THAT moment.
One day I wrote :
Socks
lip gloss
hugs
pj's
baths
I don't know what I was dealing with that day, but I have a feeling, I just wanted to feel cozy after my long day!

As the years went on, I started writing down more detailed gratitude lists:

"I'm grateful that today when I volunteered at the School I got a text from Jason.  We got into a tiff this morning, and I am grateful that he is so forgiving."

"I'm grateful that tonight at dinner time I kept asking B. for help.  I could tell something was wrong, and after awhile being stuck with me in the kitchen, he told me about his day, and I was able to listen and hopefully help to cheer him up."

Now when I look back on my gratitude journal, I see a pattern.  

I am blessed.  And taking the time each day to reflect on my blessing has made me much more content with my life, even when things seem a little crazy!

I am a true believer that the more gratitude you give, the more happiness you will have.

I am happy!  It's hard to get down on myself, my situation, my life, my circumstance when I take the time to reflect EACH day on how much I truly have!
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