I had a birthday last month, but alas, I have reached an age where birthday candles pose a fire hazard, or an opportunity to toast marshmallows. Turning 69 used to be an age I considered old, if not downright ancient. Now that I have lived for seven decades, I don’t feel old. Yes, I have a few more aches and pains, and unwelcome pounds, not to mention a receding mane of graying hair. Hey, I am grateful for every one of those silver marks of distinction. The way I look at it, the grayer the hair, the longer I have lived, the more blessings I have received.
Speaking of blessings — If you want to feel rich, count your blessings. So says a bumper sticker I saw recently.
Truer words were never spoken.
Have you counted your blessings lately?
During a recent visit to the home of one of my daughters, she explained how she, as a homeschooling mom, was teaching her seven-year-old son how to write cursive. She used a journal titled “My Thankfulness Journal” as a tool. Every day, her son would first write over the lightly written cursive words, “Dear God, Thank you for the blessings of this day.” Then he would write, in cursive, five things for which he was grateful.
Scanning through his journal, I chuckled at what things this seven-year-old found worthy of being grateful. Here’s a sample:
Cousins Gum Oxygen Good guys (not bad guys) Being seven-years-old. Music
I think this young one already realizes how rich he is.
Reminds me of an exercise I did a few years ago. From 2014-2016 I kept a daily prayer journal, writing down my thoughts, my needs, my prayers. When 2016 began, I purposed to be more deliberate about expressing my gratefulness to the Lord by writing down three things EVERY day that I was grateful for.
Do you know how hard it is to think of three things daily and not repeat yourself?
There were days when I could quickly jot down three blessings. And there were days when I would just sit quietly and ponder the ebb and flow of life events. My expressions of gratitude began to reflect the joy of simple things — the beauty of a rose, the smell of good cooking, a safe drive through stormy weather, time spent walking with a good friend, the joy of grandchildren, and having a God who I can call Father.
In my post of March 6, 2019, Gratitude: Cause or Effect?, I wrote, “An attitude of gratitude keeps our focus outward rather than inward. Gratitude is the fertile soil in which a spirit of generosity can grow.” I mentioned the power of gratitude again in my January 9, 2020, post titled Blue Monday? I no longer write down my blessings daily, but the experience of 2016 ingrained in me a routine habit of expressing to God and others the ways they have blessed my life.
And should I ever run out of ideas, I can always sneak a peek inside my grandson’s Thankfulness Journal. Come to think of it, I too am grateful for cousins, gum, oxygen, Good Guys, being sixty-nine, and music.
How about you?
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18