the-practice-of-gratitude

The future has never appeared more bleak.

After the kids are in bed each night my husband and I lay down for a few minutes in our own bed–to make sure all little ones stay tucked in–and quietly scroll Facebook.  What used to be a fun little diversion of other people’s new babies and funny articles has become dangerously depressing.  Thoughts on the coming election clog my feed and each night I feel even more hopeless.  The obligation to vote is beginning to feel like a burden.

It’s hard not to spiral, to roll over in bed and moan and cry over the situation we are all in.  With no other options I have taken the situation we are in as a nation to prayer and have begun to offer daily fasting.  But even this does little to brighten my mood.

In reality, however, my life is quite sunny and wonderful.  The weather here in Kansas is amazing right now.  My kids are a continual surprise and each day we spent loads of time laughing and singing (as well as fighting and crying).  I am home with my kids, able to sit and read book after book to them.  Life surpassed good long ago.  And, although it is news to no one, I have discovered that there is one sure-fire way to pull myself out of the election blues: GRATITUDE.

Counting my blessings, living in thanksgiving, being grateful–this is how we are able to grab a hold of yourselves and reclaim our joy.  It is something I have started to deliberately practice each week and not only is it affecting my mood–I’m finally doing something I have been trying to motivate myself to do for years.  I’m writing down a few of our families golden memories.  Memories of little ones and chubby baby legs and first steps and silly messes.  You know, the stories we laugh over at dinner that night and think we will remember forever, only to find that we don’t.

I’m finally writing all of these little gems down in my little gratitude journal.  The journal is SUPER simple (you can get this one at cost for $8 right HERE).  Or you can just grab a plain notebook and make your own.  But, dear momma, do it.  Write down those beautiful moments and truly be grateful.  Gratitude is powerful.

simple-gratitude-journal

Here is a little something I wrote in my journal this week about my Dominic.

Dominic, who turned 2 in June, is finally really talking.  I just love this phase because after months and months of babble and frustration I finally get to see what is really going on inside of that little mind–and, as with all the other kids, it has been fascinating and hilarious.

Largely influenced by an older brother, Dominic spends a lot of time thinking, and now talking, about Star Wars, super heroes, farm machinery and animals of all kinds.  And he is cracking us up!  He adamantly calls lions bears, bears tigers and dogs lions and shouts “NO!” whenever anyone dares to correct him.  Spotting tractors as we drive sends him into near hysterics of joy as he screams, “Momma, tractor!  Tractor!  Grandpa!  Tractor!”  And he is constantly on the phone with Yoda.  Seriously.  Earlier today I was trying to get him to come for lunch and he put one finger up, looked at me very seriously and said, “Mom, Yoda!” as if to say, “Mother, please don’t interrupt.  I’m on the phone with Yoda!”

I just can’t get enough of this kid.

gratitude-journal

 

There now.  The sense of foreboding is gone.  I feel happy and so very grateful.

I have added the practice of gratitude journalling to my life because I know I need it.  I need it to pull myself back from the darkness–because friends, this election is going to end in just a few weeks, and one of those two are going to win.  Heaven help us.

Living in gratitude and actually writing down something you are grateful for every day can radically change your life. ( Proof here, in case you doubt, which I know you don’t.)  Giving thanks has real transformational power.  I have felt it already.  Although I do practice gratitude every day in simple ways (saying “thank you”, giving thanks in my nightly prayer and during the day,) the organized habit of keeping a gratitude journal is making me very happy–and there is nothing like looking back on the pages I’ve already filled out, and recalling those golden memories–or even sharing them with the kids.  The gratitude journal, although it is a new practice in this house, is already a family heirloom.

the-practice-of-gratitude-journaling

So that is the plan–to write one entry a week about something very simple that I/we have to be grateful for.  That’s it.  I made a very simple template (because these are my memories and I don’t need anything other than blank lines) and printed up a little book for myself, once again using my buddies over at lulu.com.  If you’d like to order one, you can find it here for $8–or grab the file below and print your own.

graditude-journal-page

See, told ya it was simple.  The PDF of this can be found HERE.

And because I am exceedingly lazy, I plan to make this even easier (and more fun to look through) by including a picture on each entry.  This way I can actually print and use all of those pictures I have on my phone, that don’t make it any further than Instagram.  So many pictures…

I have never succeeded at scrap-booking.  I couldn’t tell you any of my kid’s first words–even though Dominic hasn’t been talking that long.  But this, keeping a GRATITUDE JOURNAL is working for me.  Once in a while I print up some cheap prints and grab them while at Walmart running other errands and then I take 10 minutes to jot down a few happy memories.

simple-gratitude-journal-josie

Because in these bleak times we need to remember that no matter what happens in Washington, the Lord continues to shower us with blessings.  And for that He deserves our gratitude.

Once again, if you are interested in this VERY simple journal, with pages for 52 weeks of gratitude, you can click the image below to get it for $8.  It should arrive at your home in less than 2 weeks.

gratitude-journal-from-do-small-things-with-love

And, have I mentioned just how grateful I am for you!  Seriously, I love you.

In Christ,

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