Gratitude Journal: January

Good morning! I started the gratitude journal that I shared with you yesterday. Below are all the questions typed out with an example to share from my quiet time. I wanted to make the journey easy if you are considering keeping a gratitude journal. Feel free to copy and paste the questions and start your own. Once I’m finished, I will share the journey, and, I would love to hear from you.

There is always something to be thankful for….

What made you start this journal?

Attending church one Sunday, the pastor shared a “word for the year”.  The word for 2018 is rooted. I immediately had a vision of a beautiful tree with 12 roots deeply planted within the rich soil of the earth. For each 12 roots I began to think of words that support a healthy mind and spiritual blessings. Gratitude was the first word. God has given us so much and in return I desire to show gratitude with intention and purpose.

What is different today from a year ago that you are grateful for?

As I’ve grown old with my husband, we’ve moved away from diapers and daycare to grandparenting, adult children, college aged children, and a middle schooler. We have more responsibility in our positions, but more time to plan alone time together as a couple. We can, at times, be more spontaneous.  So, on a day in which we both had off with no children or obligations, we took a road trip to eat by the fire, dance under the sun, and ice skate in the freezing cold. I’m grateful for him, our love, and spontaneous play.

 

 

What do you love about your best friend?

The gift of friendship is something to be truly grateful for. Friends come and go with the seasons of your life. You drift apart due to graduation, moves, loss, or significant changes. There are few friends that remain through it all. What I love most about my best friend is how she makes me feel after being with her. Maya Angelou stated that “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

No matter what kind of day we are having after a get together I feel refreshed, validated, loved, and accepted. To be with someone that you can pour heart and soul out to and not feel judged or abandoned is truly a blessing and a rare gift.

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What is something beautiful that you saw today?

 

 

What is the best thing that happened today?

When you set your intentions to think of the question throughout the day, you find yourself being more mindful and purposeful. Often, we must practice being in the moment without trying to control it, but I chose to create “the best thing that happened”. After reading my chapter in my book that my mother gave me for Christmas, I asked her to come over and sit with me to discuss the questions the author had created for discussion. We  had a great time talking about the beautiful, Creator, God and His love for us.

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My Journal from 2014

Other enjoyable activities were working with a good friend from work, planning my syllabus, gathering around the table to eat as a family, and starting the journey of taking down the Christmas decorations.

 

 

What are the best compliments you’ve ever received?

When a child honors you as a parent with random poems, notes, or cards your heart sings! You find joy in knowing that you are making a difference and courage to face another season of parenting.  I have displayed in my room some very special poems and pictures from my three girls. The mother/daughter picture is from many years ago, but remains my favorite.

 

 

In an effort to remain in the moment, I also received a wonderful compliment from a friend at work who mentors and leads me as a new employee. She gave genuine praise and feedback on a project that I helped to create. I believe that we can make a difference in the workforce by seeking opportunities to give specific praise in growth and effort. So often we take people for granted–“It’s your job so get it done”, or we wait for perfection–“That’s not good enough”.

What aspects of yourself are you thankful for?

Today was a challenging day. You know the kind of day where Murphy shows up. Today I practiced gratitude. I believe that one of my character traits or aspect of myself that I’m thankful for is that I love a personal challenge. The mere fact that I’m keeping this journal, and I am trying to remain consistent are aspects of myself that I appreciate and serves me well. I am devoted to my marriage, consistently support my children, and I am optimistic and creative in the workforce. I have my days, but for the most part these are true statements.

What made you laugh today?

Oh Sandy! You made me laugh! Just sending out the question sparked hilarious conversations which reminded me of connection. My sweet aunt Polly loved to laugh. She called it getting the yucks. Today I got the yucks with Sandy, Sophia, and from a little bird who flew into my bedroom. Yes. A bird. In my bedroom. He is safely outside.

What made you smile today?

A letter of gratitude from my oldest. A picture of my Little Lamb.

What is something you love in nature?

For the last few days the weather has been grey and rainy. We’ve come off a few days of ice and snow. I took notice of my mood and attitude towards the lack of sun. Going in and out of the house, I would feel the rain on my skin, and instead of desiring to see color, I was okay with grey and black cast that rain and winter brings. Every season has its beauty.

 

 

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View from upstairs office looking out over our Pergola

 

 

What is something you are good at?

I’m really good at working with beloved coworkers to create a product or finish a project. I love to create, and I love to create with others to better our world.

“The only unique contribution that we will ever make in this world will be born from our creativity!” Brene’ Brown

What do you like about your job?

I love that I can create with others in my job. I also love that our mission is to change the trajectory of education through a system of support! My role as systems coach is a way for me to serve in a larger capacity and make a difference in the lives of children.

What is a proud moment in your life and why?

Each one of us desires to live in a world with peace. In your current profession and roles that you play, you offer peace. You reach out and offer a hand, encouragement, and because of the task you completed, you made our world a better place. It’s the small things like an engaged customer service worker, a co worker who stops and offers an encouraging word, a parks and recreation employee who keeps our parks clean, a mother who teaches her child not to hit but to use their words, a spouse who forgives and shows mercy. It all matters. Gratitude Question for today:

What is a proud moment in your life and why?

I challenge you to not think of a huge accomplishment like a graduation, but to acknowledge your day to day work and be proud of the peace you are offering the world around you.

With that being said, I am proud of my devotion and abilities to maintain the work and tasks that are needed in our home to support our goals and dreams. My youngest is trying out for specialty centers in her school district. The fun tasks of preparation have been in our home! What to wear? What’s the process? What will you sing?

My youngest has been singing since she was a small child. Here is a precious song she made up many years ago about Jesus.

 

 

 

 

What abilities are you grateful for?

I am grateful for the ability to sing and my love for music.

 

What is something unique about your family that you are grateful for?

We enjoyed asking our children this question. From the responses, our family is truly unique in that we continuously support each other even when things get a little messy or challenging. We work things out and forgive knowing that we are all human going through our own journey.

 

What are you grateful for and why?

I am grateful for the opportunity to exercise. I have a friend from my previous job that introduced me to hot yoga. I’m grateful for the 90 minutes of detoxing, working on my flexibility and improving my health. It’s a time of total peace and challenge at the same time.

Bikram Yoga: http://bikramyogarichmond.com/

What was your favorite family outing that you went on this year?

One of my favorite outings from years past was a trip to New York with my oldest daughter, who at the time, was in high school. She had a dream to consider performing on Broadway. From the gracious extension of a dear friend’s daughter who offered her apartment for us to stay in, we experienced New York as a “local” to some degree. We walked everywhere and experienced the city. We also took the subway to visit a church called Brooklyn Tabernacle in Brooklyn, New York. We had read the pastor’s books and bought the choir’s CD, and we were able to experience sitting in the church and worshiping!

Reflecting on my previous year, I was truly grateful that my family went to the beach with me in the spring of 2017 to say goodbye to my 23 years of work, and celebrate my new adventure within my current job. As a new employee, I could not take vacation during the summer, so we all celebrated together in the spring of 2017. Thank you beautiful family for being there for me.

 

What is something that was hard to do but you did it anyway?

I posted this question on Facebook and the responses varied from getting up in the morning to significant life changing events and a new set of norms. I did not realize this question would deeply move people. I appreciated their comments and honesty even if it felt uncomfortable.

With that being said, the hardest thing for me on a daily basis, but I do it anyway, is to believe in the power of hope and the goodwill of mankind. Each day we make a choice to be bitter or bewildered by the beauty, angry or accepting the moment and being amazed at hidden opportunities, frustrated or focused, desperate or determined, apathetic or approachable, jaded or joyful, sick and tired of it or solid, prideful or prayerful, judgmental or joined by common experiences.

Two great songs to ponder…

Young at Heart

What a wonderful World

 

Link: https://vimeo.com/53624508

What accomplishments in life have brought you the most happiness?

In one of my sessions as a professor, a student noted that her mother told her, “No one can ever take away your education” to encourage her to stay the course and follow her educational goals. God has seen me through all my educational endeavors and brought such happiness and joy in the rigorous process. I’ve always appreciated the relationships gained in new adventures.

What are some of the little things in life that make you happy?

  • Seeing a red cardinal in the trees.
  • A job well done with a colleague at work
  • My Bible and when Jesus talks to me through His Word
  • When my husband lovingly cooks for us
  • Valentina singing and playing the piano
  • Vivian wearing my robe and loving on me
  • Victoria when she provides help with organizing and caring
  • Spencer’s strong hands and care
  • Adelaide running to me
  • My parent’s prayers
  • A cool breeze
  • Coffee in the morning
  • Kindness of a stranger

When is a time that you made a positive impact on someone else’s life?

Last night I had dinner with an old friend. She told me how over 15 years ago I made such a huge difference in her life after the death of her husband. I had given her a little card with the serenity prayer. She carried the card in her pocket for years and hung a plaque on the wall at her office with the prayer to remind her of the things that are out of her control to give to God. She noted that it’s amazing how “a simple thing” can make a huge difference.

What do you like most about the current season?

I enjoy the cold, crisp breeze on my face and in my lungs. The anticipation of a possible snow day to slow down and play. I love the beauty of the red cardinal against the backdrop of dull, brown colors, and the hope of springtime.

What is one thing you love about yourself?

I love that I’m surprised by joy when I see the simple things like Adelaide’s smile, a sunrise, a good meal on the table, a butterfly, or a bird singing.

My husband is sitting with me. He loves that he is passionate about new adventures and everyday things, a genuine interest in people, and that he found a loving wife.

What do you like about where you live?

I love the home in which my parents live and grow old with us, the smell of coffee in the morning against the oldness of the wood floors, the corner spot for our Christmas tree, the new pergola which embraces our wisteria, the little play area for Adelaide, my comfy bed at night, and one day we will fix our fireplaces and use them. I love that we are so close to Richmond and can travel within 15 minutes to some pretty amazing restaurants, museums, and historical spots. I love the color of the sky from my front porch and the moon when she decides to show herself to us. I love dancing in the kitchen with my family, and all the holidays and memories. I love the piano and Valentina’s hands playing the keys and singing. I love the old key and lock and the sound of a loved one coming home, using their key in the door. I love my staircase–the climb when the day is done and a beautiful picture hanging on the wall and given to me by a friend that I read each time and say a prayer for our family. I love my laundry room and the times I over hear my mom and dad praying for us. I love how I can peek out my bay window and see if their light is on, and I see them in Bible study. I love when my girls are snuggled on the sofa and giggling. Thank you God for my home.

What do you love about your parents?

WOW! The list is long, but a few things are their constant prayers and support, their love for each other, their faithfulness and kindness, their love for our children. They are an exceptional couple who have done extraordinary things in their lifetime. I’m blessed to have been a part of my family tree. I’m so happy they gave me an appreciation of music and have shown me how much God truly loves me.

 

What freedoms are you grateful for?

I am grateful for the freedom of religion and the access to a Bible.  I am grateful for the freedom to vote, and the freedom to develop myself and select a career path.

What place are you most grateful for?

My eternal hope–Heaven.

What taste are you grateful for?

What a great question for me this morning. I’ve been on the new eating plan of Whole 30 and my taste buds have come alive! I’m grateful for my husband who loves to cook, and I am able to try new dishes that are healthy. My recent taste bud excitement was a seafood stew with shrimp, fish, cilantro, tomato/coconut base. Just as equal in fun are fruits like apples, kiwi, blueberries, and a good tangerine.

What kindness did someone give you today?

An encouraging text that spoke directly to my need and challenged me spiritually.

What have you learned from keeping this journal?

That gratitude is the key to joy, and I have so much to be thankful for. God is good.

Taken from: http://www.SimpleMadePretty.com

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