I started a gratitude journal this week... an idea I stole from my friend Nancy. I've kept one before, making lists of the things I'm grateful for each day, but I get too busy or too distracted and the next thing you know it's been months since I've taken the time to write them down.
I think about my blessings every day, when I'm walking the dogs, right before I go to sleep and often in between. But, as Nancy pointed out, thinking of them is not nearly as therapeutic as writing them down.
And let me tell you, I need the therapy! Lately any positive thoughts I have are like the hummingbird I saw buzz up to the back deck yesterday... beautiful and amazing for an instant, but easily spooked. They disappear as quickly as they come and you're left wondering if your imagination was just playing tricks on you.
My negative thoughts, on the other hand, are like the nasty little gnats that invaded our house last week, getting in my face and my food and my cheap Pinot Noir... tainting and tenacious!
But when I write my blessing down, it's like setting up a tripod for my camera so I can really focus on that hummingbird... I can snap some shots that will last forever... proof it existed.
Each day I'm going to think of three things I'm grateful for. Three different things. By not repeating myself, I hope to move beyond generics and generalizations (my kids, my husband, my family, my friends, my health... ) and get into some nitty-gritty details that I've overlooked and taken for granted.
Since I'm being a copycat anyway, I'm following Nancy's lead and also listing 3 things I accomplished during the past 24 hours. Most of the time I feel like I'm slipping farther and farther behind in my to-do's; this way I'll focus less on all of the many things on my list(s) that I never got around to that day - instead, I'll see that my day wasn't completely wasted.
I've added another section, so it's not a complete rip-off of Nancy's version - I'm listing the three things at the top of my prayer list that day.
I thought of an easy way for me to keep track of my journal, so it doesn't go the way of my written journals, scrapbooks and photo albums (in other words, shoved off onto another to-do list. I know myself too well.) I compose each day's entry in an email to myself, collected in a folder (named "Gratitude" of course.) It's always accessible, as long as I have Internet access, anyway.
For each of these sections, I could list more than three things once I got going, I know. And I might at times. The rules are pretty loose. But the idea is to make it quick and easy so that I'm more likely to keep up with it.
My Gratitude Journal couldn't have come at a better time...
Yesterday morning I received a call from my sister Brenda letting me know Daddy had called an ambulance for my mom. They were already in the emergency room and Brenda really didn't know anything else at that point, but promised to keep me posted.
As soon as possible, I requested prayer everywhere I could - on Facebook, through emails, the church prayer line, text messages and phone calls. The result was overwhelming - such a flood of responses, offering prayer, love and support... more than I could ever have imagined.
By that afternoon, I had talked to my mom in her room at the hospital, even joking and laughing with her like we normally do. She was waiting on the doctor to see her and for more tests to be run, but she wasn't in the Intensive Care Unit - a very good sign!
I'm feeling optimistic, like this is a blessing in disguise and they'll be able to figure out what dozens of doctors haven't been able to so far... why she can't breathe and why nothing helps.
So last night's journal entry was easy...
... I'm grateful that my mom is better, that she's in good hands and having tests run, and I'm so, so, so grateful for the tidal wave of love, support and prayers that have been focused on her.
Thank you all so much! And please continue to pray!