Develop an Attitude of Gratitude

As all my blogger friends in the US celebrate Thanksgiving this week, I am reminded of my decision to live a life of thanks and to give thanks EVERY DAY.

Earlier this year, I came across a brilliant book called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp and her blog called A Holy Experience. I was challenged to start my own Gratitude Journal which can be found at the top of my blog. I have not managed to record something every day as I had planned BUT I have chosen every day to find something good.

Many of the photography challenges these last couple of weeks have had a theme of gratitude and I have been encouraged to take up the challenge again of recording the things I am grateful for daily, rather than every week. It really is amazing how choosing to live a life of thanks can change your focus. Keeping a gratitude list has been scientifically proven to decrease anxiety, enrich relationships & make you 25% happier! These last few weeks I have seen the proof of that in my own life.

You see, I live daily with chronic illness. I have multiple health problems; 2 heart conditions, Ankylosing Spondylitis, fibromyalgia, nerve damage to my arms and my right leg (from a car accident in 2009), chronic fatigue… I live with severe pain on a daily basis. I am told I hardly complain BUT I used to cry out to God daily asking, “Why me??”

I raised my 4 children alone for 12 years (they are all adults now); my eldest son is a prodigal, my youngest daughter suffers anorexia… and I continued to cry, “Why me??”

My new marriage was falling apart after just 12 months and I was having huge struggles with my 5 step-daughters… and I cried, “Why me??”

I wanted to live daily with Thanksgiving… I wanted to live Eucharisteo!!

MORE THAN ANYTHING, I wanted life to be different, to be happy in the mess of ill health, lost children, a struggling second marriage, problems with step-children… I knew that the only way to be happy was to live in THANKS. So since April, I have been counting. I became slack for a while and only counted one a week but I am getting there! After reading Ann’s blog over the last week of her trip to Ecuador with Compassion, I was challenged again to get back on track with counting the things I am grateful for daily.

Many of the circumstances in my life are still the same. And YES, living in thanks DOES change your life, decrease anxiety, improve relationships and make you happier (maybe more than 25%!!). Living in Thanks, Eucaristeo, Gracias… and I am happy again.

In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

I am thankful for my, now even LARGER, family. I am the middle child of 5 children, and have 4 children of my own, a son-in-law and almost 2 grandchildren (my oldest son has an 18 month old son, and a daughter due in December). My husband is the middle child of 5 children and has 5 daughters of his own.

My beautiful family (taken at my eldest daughter’s Sarah’s wedding on 27th March 2010)

Back – My sons, Ben (now 20) & Daniel (22). Front – Bec (19), me, Sarah (27), Oscar (Sarah’s husband), and my wonderful parents.

My husband and his 5 daughters (taken on our wedding day 5th December, 2009)

From L to R: Jessica (now 16), Amy (23), Michael, Tamsyn (20), Lizzie (14), Kathryn (18).

Michael & me (May 2011) – Photo credit to RAD Photography (my daughter, Bec)

My amazing best friend Nat & her husband Greg (Sept 2011) – Photo credit to RAD Photography (Bec)

 

And also thankful for more:

45. For rain to soak the dry earth.

46. For rainbows after the rain, signalling His promise.

47. For joy.

48. For 5 more daughters to love.

49. For time to breathe.

50. For time to love.

51. For time to laugh.

52. For time to cry.

53. For time to live fully in Him.

54. For blessings in time of need.

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13 thoughts on “Develop an Attitude of Gratitude

  1. next to God… family is everything and it is the eucharisteo that holds it all together… in Jesus
    lovely honest post… I will keep you in my prayers
    blessings, one day at a time 🙂

  2. Wow. Very thankful to have found your blog!

    I am wondering, after an experience I wrote about some on my blog (but not completely yet), if the HARD Eucharisteo is the kind that brings us deeper into understanding the truest Christlike joy. Your blog post is confirming my suspicion. 🙂

    Blessings,
    Cristal

  3. Beautiful image of the flower petals and a wonderful quote to accompany it.

    Family is so very important – I don’t know what I’d do without mine.

  4. I love your gratitude theme. It reminds me to do the same, to be thankful for what I have, not to continue looking over my shoulder or at other people’s lives. I am going to make my own gratitude journal and replace my focus back where it belongs.
    We have even more links Liz, my mum has Ankylosing Spondylitis and rheumatoid arthritis. I have fibromyalgia (but thankfully not as bad as it was). The fact that you continue to have a life is a testament of your inner strength, love and courage. Go girl, you have so much to live for and offer hope and inspiration to me. xx

  5. You have such a beautiful, blended family! Thank you for sharing your heart so beautifully. It is easy some days to give thanks, and some days it only comes through struggle. I’m humbled to see your circumstances and the way you’ve chosen eucharisteo in the midst of adversity. And yes, this: “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18”

    Many blessings to you, Liz, as you make the hard choices and glorify Him in all things.

  6. It is so true…giving thanks breathes life into a hurting soul. I pray that you will continue to count daily and that you will find the winds of healing through each blessing counted.
    blessings to you,
    ~a

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