Browsing Tag

grateful

Living with gratitude: even in storms

Living with gratitude: even in storms

On April 1, 2010, I wrote Happy Day Moment #1 on my Facebook page. Now it’s five years later (no kidding!) and I recently posted #1900 (thank you, oh smartphone), and every day of every year I now think about “living with gratitude.” IT HAS CHANGED MY LIFE. Focusing on finding a “happy/grateful” moment in each day has made me powerful and positive and able to conquer disappointment and pain and innumerable hard places.

Most days we’re sunshine beaming and flowers blooming and birds singing and chocolate and laughter and hugs from children. The posts were written when joyful euphoric smiling winning laughing.

When I began this Happy Day Moment project, I did not realize what it was preparing me for… I WAS happy—a few bumps and bruises and inconveniences from that thing, but my life was full of love and activities with family, grandchildren, friends, work …smoothness, sailing on calm, lovely water.

THEN….a storm. The … unexpected.

storm2Where once when I made mistakes and I was forgiven, where once I loved and I was loved in return. Then suddenly where I made mistakes and I was not forgiven and my love was rejected.

A storm, a tempest I did not foresee. Turbulent waters. And in that storm, God made me brave. Brave to cling to Him and strong to live in that dark place, that hurt place, and yet to write flickers of light. To be prepared to see and write about moments of gratitude even when life is UNHAPPY.

Even in the midst of overwhelming and difficult and bewildering situations.

Battered and crushed with days of rain wind storms rejections sorrows. And yet. The posts of searching seeking discovering a Happy Day Moment were still written when depressed grieving sobbing troubled losing.

When it comes to the storms of life, we need gratitude to help steer us through.

Because it lifts us above circumstance.

Because it refocuses our attention.

Some days we wake up with body aches and heart aches and life is bleak and the truth is we’re tired and we know we just may carry sadness all day long. And then. We shift our focus, we look above, we refocus and we become grateful for love and for a God who can take our aches and replace them with joy, who can be light in darkness, a compass for direction ….even in the midst of storms and difficult places.

When we face a dark, formidable storm with bravery and gratitude, we WILL be changed.

Time and time again, that’s what I discovered. I found that whenever I navigated any rough terrifying circumstances with gratitude—even through storms and difficult Joseph-experiences and hard places, I was encouraged, strengthened, braver.

So, my hope and prayer for today is that no matter what our struggles storms hurts dark places, that we’ll choose to face all with gratitude, with discovering ONE moment of thankfulness.  A moment outside ourselves, above our circumstance. A moment looking for a blessing.

When we steer our way with gratitude, we declare that the darkness does not win.

Today: I challenge us to live from a place of gratitude and joy.

This is what will help us to discover a Happy Day Moment:

Let’s have more gratitude. More understanding. More compassion. More grace. More mercy. More community. More forgiveness. More kindness. More charitableness.

Let’s not be cruel or hurtful or selfish or judgmental or isolating or thankless or intolerant or vengeful or rude.

Let’s keep our perspective. Our humor. Our appreciation.

Let’s be brave.

Let’s fill our hearts and minds and souls with gratitude. And with noticing a Happy Day Moment. Every day. To see us through any storm.

And we WILL BE CHANGED.
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Happy Day Moment Echoes: 11.13

I’ve been tested.

And the test reveals a personality that wants everyone I know to be happy. According to the results, I am warm, empathetic, responsive, and responsible. I am highly attuned to the emotions and needs of others. I find potential in everyone. I thrive when I’m able to make things right for others. I am genuinely interested in the feelings of others.

And because I want the happiness of others, even above my own, I will let others chose where to go, what to do, or what to eat. When they’re happy, I’m happy.

Well, except for olives. If they want olives in or on food, then I will most certainly voice a robust objection.

CandleAnd because I want happiness for all, I have this urge, as much as is within me, to help make that happen, to fix the broken, to lighten the load, to alleviate the struggle, to buoy the spirit, to light a candle against darkness.

This is who I am.  Someone who yearns for the happy.  My personality profile also suggests someone who gets deeply involved in other people’s problems, trying too hard to not offend or disappoint anybody.

Sometimes that’s good. Sometimes not.

So, it was interesting this month when I tracked which daily post on my Happy Day Moment Facebook Page received the most activity. It was this:

It’s God’s job, not mine, to draw, touch and heal hearts.

Lots of you agreed. Not surprising. I wrote that sentence one day when my heart was in a certain fatiguing place as a reminder that, ultimately, all this happy business is in God’s hands. Not mine.

And because my personality finds it natural and easy (sometimes) to communicate ideas and opinions, these are my other Echoes of November’s posts (#happydaymoment):

  • Grateful eyes can see grace and goodness, even in complicated and thorny packages.
  • Be kind and patient and forgiving to old people. And to children. And to teenagers. Oh, just be that way to everyone.
  • You should do what you know is right regardless what others do or say.
  • You must choose to love, even when the other person’s faults make you crazy. Choose love. Choose forgiveness and grace.
  • Living a life of gratitude is living out what we were created to do.
  • Giving thanks always and in everything is the only way to live through whatever comes before us.
  • Seek to have powers of love and forgiveness and you’ll be super.
  • Love those who treat you right. Pray for those who don’t. Life is too short to be anything but happy.
  • Faith becomes significant in adversity. Sorry. That’s just the way it works.
  • Reach out and make someone’s day a bit brighter. We all need encouragement.
  • God will resurrect good things out of this. Hold on.
  • Show kindness to one another. God will show you how.
  • Hold your head high. Keep joy in your heart. Let your light shine.
  • Whatever fills you nurtures you replenishes you is worth fitting into your day.
  • The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
  • Be brave. Look at this stuff in your life and declare: You will not defeat me.
  • Choose to embrace who you are. Release the stress that comes from always trying to prove your worth to others and to yourself.
  • From the fullness of God’s grace we receive one blessing after another.
  • God’s up to something good in your life. Even when you’re hurting.
  • I am wrong. You are wrong. Why can’t we just hug and make up? Life is short.
  • God’s grace and blessings are never in short supply.
  • Patience can lead to all kinds of strength and many blessings. If we can wait and let it.
  • We need each other. Life’s just better that way.

I’m always glad to hear from you about which post touched your life….

photo by: spcbrass

Happy Day Moment Echoes: 10.13

Sometimes it’s just plain hard. Life. Life pushes you against a hardness you never expected. You elbow and shoulder and try to move it. You can’t. You can’t control that hardness. Sometimes you just can’t control circumstances.

What do you do? You can decide to find a small spot in that plain hard place. A small spot that is a Happy Day Moment.

Rock hard placeEven in the mystery of the hard places, you can ease down, relax and breathe. You choose to turn around and look away from the hardness. You can control what you do in those circumstances.

You can alter your vision – choose to see differently. Life is not without mess or trials or hard places. You have stress and loss and hurts and sickness and rejection and periods of pushing against hardness. But there is still good and grace and love and worthiness, even when difficult things happen.

No matter what, life is a gift and you and I can choose to live with gratitude.

Being happy is a choice that comes from the inside out. You don’t need to be happy because of a certain situation, outcome or circumstance. You can choose to find a “happy moment” because you are alive.

It takes practice, believe me, but you can learn to be happy (even for just a moment) each day by simply being grateful.

This “living with gratitude” mindset  is affirmed in the Echoes of October’s posts on my Happy Day Moment Facebook Page (#happydaymoment tweets).

Take a minute to reflect on each and let me know if one pulls you away from your hard place.

  • If you find yourself in a place you never thought you’d be, remember, there is no place God is not.
  • Realize this: it’s not the happy that makes you grateful; it’s the gratefulness that makes you happy.
  • There is no shortage of supply from the treasures of God’s mercies.
  • You are made for a life of meaning and purpose. Capture the fire of your significance.
  • The happiness paradox: you find greater happiness when you stop looking for it and instead help others to feel it. Serving others develops joy.
  • Live so you never regret the chances you didn’t take, the love you didn’t let in, the gifts you didn’t give.
  • What you cannot get back: Words that you speak. Time that is spent.
  • Bend into kindness one more inch, just one, and that shall be enough.
  • Give away love and peace and they shall return to you.
  • Perform a “stealth kindness” — something nice for someone without them seeing you do it.
  • The kind of relationships, the kind of friendships, that matter are about selfless, sacrificial love.
  • Kindness and forgiveness trump being right. Every time.
  • Keep doing fun things.
  • God’s love can bring you through emotional earthquakes, can lift you out of betrayal and hurt. It can deliver you from any mess.
  • Two things: Love God. And love your neighbor.
  • Yes. Think on the good. Look for the good. Be the good.
  • Gratitude may seem like a simple emotion, but it inspires kindness, connection, and powerful life changes.
  • Don’t cheat yourself out of discovering a priceless moment in each day. Your real life is today. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow.
  • You can choose to respond with grace even when others are not gracious.
  • Never grow tired of doing good, for in due season you will reap, if you don’t give up.
  • Whatever you cherish in your heart is what will flow out.
  • You can do without loving, but you cannot love without doing.
  • Forget the failures of your past and focus on your present opportunities.
  • Keep a daily gratitude list as a simple way to make thankfulness a habit.
  • Don’t bear a grudge against your kinsfolk. Love your neighbor as yourself. — Leviticus
  • Listen with an open mind instead of a wounded heart.
  • Be encouraging. Be uplifting. Be the voice that heals.

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photo by: feltip1982