Be Grateful Always

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All over social media this month, you can find daily posts of things for which to be thankful, what people are being thankful for, and, of course, the daily “thankful status” updates. I have noted these over the past several years, and even taken part in quite a few from time to time; however, this year, I thought maybe I’d take a little different approach by writing my “Grateful List” here on this blog (a 31-numbered list to represent every day of the month, plus a bonus), many of them including what I will call an “emphasis question,” to further prove the point, and maybe also share why I have a philosophy to be “grateful always”…

Even as you read, if you and I simply disagree on our likes and dislikes, I do encourage you to at least skip to the end and read a little more…you might find we don’t disagree as sharply as you might have first assumed. 😉

(*Look out:  this is a little lengthy, but on social media, this would be a “once a day, every day for 30 days” status update…)

30 Reasons To Be Grateful (please note, after #15, these are in very random order! 🙂 )
#1 – I am thankful to love a God who loves me beyond measure, forgives me beyond reason, and redeems me beyond understanding…How could I ever ask for more?

#2 – I am thankful for a husband who seems to love me almost unconditionally. (That’s actually not humanly possibly, but I bet he comes pretty close! …you can’t tell I’m a little “love-blind,” can you? ) He is my best friend, my love, my confidante, my coach, my “cheerleader,” and my secret admirer…Why would I ever look anywhere else?

#3 – I am thankful for our two boys who bring so much life, joy and excitement into our lives! I love watching them grow, mature and become the men God has called them to be…How could life get any better than this?

#4 – I am thankful for the life I have with my little family…great God, great family, great church, great job, great town, great state, great nation (I definitely agree, it has it’s issues and problems, but hey, I’m not in prison, this land is still free, and we are still able to vote, speak, and do so many more things that are protected by our Constitution!). Sorry, that was surely too many “greats” in one sentence, but I suppose I really couldn’t help myself…Why would I want someone else’s life?

#5 – I am thankful for a terrific extended family who love mine, and me, and are willing to support “up close and personal” or “from afar,” allowing us to set the boundaries needed in the seasons of need and plenty. They are a blessing!…Why would I ever try to be demanding or have ridiculous expectations?

#6 – I am thankful for a church family who loves mine, and me, and is supportive and encouraging…not all church families are the same…Why should I ever expect perfection when we’re all just human?

#7 – I am thankful for the breath I breathe, the ability to walk, to talk, to move, to run, to rest, to do so many things in life…Why would I complain about a little ailment or pain?

#8 – I am thankful for two sons who are growing into two “fine, upstanding young men” who love God with all their hearts and have deep convictions for their faith that I know could have only come from Him above…Why would I ever try to hinder their faith or temper their passion?

#9 – I am thankful for two children who are so very different, and yet, both came from my womb. They have different personalities, different likes and dislikes, sleep and eat differently, and even share their faith with others differently; however, they both bring so much joy and feelings of pride and love to my heart…Why would I ever let differences or similarities cause me to favor one over the other?

#10 – I am thankful for the little things in life: the laughter of our boys, the breeze that blows, the wink of approval from my husband, an encouraging note sent from a friend, the simple, “Have a great day” from the Walmart check-out cashier…Why would I want to be grouchy simply because things don’t always go my way?

#11 – I am thankful for good friends…friends who are friends for life, friends who are friends for a season, and even friends who are friends only for an ‘event.’ I learn so much from these; each one leaves something for me to grow from, learn from and ponder upon…Why would I ever take for granted what we have had?

#12 – I am thankful for enemies with whom I have had an encounter, for they each sharpen my resolve, strengthen my faith, and develop my character…Why would I not want to rise up to this challenge and fight for those things I love and cherish?

#13 – I am thankful for the smiles of my children…Why would I want to cause them agony or strife?

#14 – I am thankful for the good country in which I live. As stated above, we’ve got our problems, and we’ve got our issues, of this, I am fully aware. However, this nation was founded for freedom; we still have our freedom, and for this, we can be forever thankful!…Why would I want to live elsewhere…and why would I ever want to be so focused on what’s wrong that I miss out on the stuff that’s really great?

# 15 –  I am thankful for hard times and the hardships along the way, for I learn from the perseverance. I gain assurance from the trials, and I grow in character through the challenges…Why would I ever shy away from the tough seasons when it is there that I find my wisdom and grace?

#16 – I am thankful for beautiful waterfalls to hike to and upon which to gaze. There is strength in that sound…Why would I want to miss out on this beauty?

#17 – I am thankful for trees…large, small, fat, skinny, it does not matter to me; however, I do have a bias toward big, Live Oaks and large, wispy Hemlocks. There is refuge and solace among them…Why do I not climb up in those now that I’m grown?

#18 – I am thankful for the mountains…rolling hills, high and lofty, sharp and rugged. I’m not sure I have a particular preference. There is breathtaking rest on top and and incredible peace below them…Why would I want to stay on the asphalt, suffocating from the fumes every day?

#19 – I am thankful for dishes, laundry and beds to make…not because I really “like” these things, but rather, I am thankful for these items, because they are an indicator of the people who “dirty them up.” If I didn’t have these to clean, it would indicate these people, whom I deeply love, were no longer here. (*note: I don’t always act so thankful for these “messes” …just another ‘work in progress.”)

#20 – I am thankful for all the people who have made, now make, and will one day continue to make up the tapestry of my life…the past, the present and the future. For these are the people who, “like iron sharpens iron,” chisel and fine tune me to be a better “me.” …Why would I want to isolate myself from this pruning and growth?

#21 – I am thankful for a car that runs smoothly and transports me and my family to wherever we must go. There are so many, all over this world, who have to walk miles and miles to arrive at their destinations…why should I get so annoyed at those who cut me off, ride my bumper or drive too slow when I’m in such a hurry?

#22 – I am thankful for the times my 13 year old son comes up to give me a hug for “no apparent reason.” These precious moments are slipping by like sand through my fingers…Why would I want to be too busy to stop and take notice?

#23 – I am thankful for clean clothes to wear, a roof over my head and food on my table. There are so many by whom this would be considered “high-cotton living.” …Why would I want to complain about what I don’t have when I have so much?

#24 – I am thankful for the moments at bedtime when my 9 year old son asks for “just one more snuggle.” This heart rendering request won’t always be spoken…Why would I want to be so consumed with motherhood responsibilities that I don’t take the extra time to show love?

#25 – I am thankful for the ability to pour my heart out with pen and paper, and, while I am living, maybe some of those words will never be read by anyone but me ; yet, maybe one day, those very words might just bring comfort, strength and refreshment to a weary soul…Why would I stifle a gift I’ve been given?

#26 –  I am thankful for pure water to drink. There are many countries who don’t live with this luxury…Why would I want to be wasteful of something so life-giving?

#27 – I am thankful for the journey of this life and for the destination for which my hope awaits. The best is yet to come…Why should I be fearful of the future, the unknown?

#28 – I am thankful for sunrises, sunsets, moonrises, ocean tides, mountaintops, and all the moments in between. The memories made can never be forgotten…Why would I become so worldly focused that I miss out on these beauties of my Creator?

#29 – I am thankful for this blog and for those who read it. It is a great outlet for my pondering and a wonderful avenue for gaining knowledge, confidence and appreciation for those with my same likes and for those with more differences than mine.

#30 – I am thankful for a month where people become thankful, simply, because they are reminded there are things for which to be thankful!

#31 – I am thankful for a designated day upon which we can join together with other people, especially family and friends, and remember so many things for which we are thankful. Happy early Thanksgiving!

Well, if you read all the way to here, I am honored you stayed with me. That was quite a long list! I was thinking the same thing long about the 18th reason, and I realized I was barely over halfway done! haha. However, I am thankful (there it is again!) to have kept the tenacity to finish the list. These are things for which I am always grateful, and I’m glad that now, I have a reference point to which I can return often, especially, when my mind begins to forget a few things, and I’d rather complain than be thankful.

Perspective:
I did not write this blog, or post this list, to brag or to somehow imply I have a perfect life. I did not pen these words to try to prove everything is without trouble, sadness or pain. I simply jotted down these notes, because this is the way I live my life. I strive to see the little things and appreciate them. I strive to keep my mind on good things rather than dwelling on the bad moments of life. I seek to keep my perspective tuned into higher things, happier seasons, better memories instead of allowing my focus to become distracted by the realities of evil, fear and violence to which our times are plagued.

It’s not that I don’t have hard times, sicknesses, pain and sorrow which I encounter and see all around me. It’s not that I am blind to the suffering and turmoil of this world. I would probably have to shut myself away in a hidden cave to avoid all of this; however, it is a daily choice I make in the way that I live. It is a matter of perspective. It is a matter of choice. I will make a conscientious effort everyday to seek out truth, to search for love, to look for joy and to reach for peace.

I will choose to keep a positive outlook.

I will choose to not only be thankful one month or day out of the year.

I will choose to be grateful always.

“…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18

 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Philippians 4:8

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

Philippians 4:11-13

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