For a long time, I kept a gratitude journal. Every night before I went to bed, I wrote down five things I was grateful for. Just a simple list of five things. Of course, I'm always thankful for God's love, family, friends, food and shelter, good health, etc. Writing those in my journal was easy.
But after a few days, I had written the obvious things. It got harder to find things to write down. It was my goal not repeat items on my list. How on earth could I find five different things every day for months and months? Then I started looking at my day differently. I began seeing the small things—things that were part of my daily existence, things that didn't always register in my brain.
I learned I was very thankful for the colors in the morning sky. For the smell of bacon frying. For warm socks. I was more than grateful for a refrigerator. And books. And the sound of leaves crunching under my feet.
Pretty soon I was going through my day with more awareness, loving the hunt for something to add to my list. I would make a mental note of the "thankful things" all day long—a cup of hot tea, clean towels, silence—and I looked forward to those few minutes at bedtime when I could write them in my book. The smell of lemons and limes. A wild turkey walking across the road. Swinging.
On hard days, I would go back and look over my lists. New windshield wipers. Sharp scissors. Candlelight. There were pages and pages of my "five things." Southern voices. A thank you note in the mail. The person who picks up our trash every week. What a reminder of my many blessings. Crisp apples. Light that comes on with the flip of a switch. Purple yarn.
When you've lived long enough to reach the grandmother stage, you know that there are some days when it is not easy to be thankful. That is part of life. On those days, it is more important than ever to to find those "five things." Five small things. And to give thanks. Always give thanks.
I am taking a Thanksgiving blog break. Family arrives tonight and my focus will be on keeping everyone fed, reading bedtimes stories, listening to grandchildren and keeping things out of Baby Girl's reach. I'll be back in about a week.