Steps Of Gratitude

June 23, 2013

I recently read a book by Rhonda Byrne called “The Magic”. If you haven’t read it, I strongly suggest you do. The book is about gratitude, and helps you take steps to be more thankful in life and explains the benefits of doing so.

In one part of the book, the author talks about Albert Einstein. She says he demonstrated gratitude to people and for his circumstances hundreds of times a day. She expresses her belief that his immense gratitude is one of the reasons he was so successful.

I am a firm believer that, the more we express our gratitude, the more reasons we will be given to be thankful. Here’s a suggestion from that book that works very well for me, and I wanted to share it with you today. There’s an action plan in the book called steps of gratitude. The author explains that the first thing she does after waking up in the morning is say thank you for each step she takes from her bed to the bathroom. One foot is thank, and the other is you. Another suggestion is that if you walk anywhere throughout the day, say thank and you for each step you take. As you do this, think of something or somebody specific to be thankful for.

You may ask, what if I can’t think of specifics? In that case, just say thank you. As you continue to say thank you, even in general, you develop the positive feelings of gratitude. As you do, you will be prompted with something specific to be thankful for. It works every time.

What are you thankful for today? Focus on it with each step you take. On these beautiful summer days, I recommend you take a deliberate walk, and with each step say a simple, heartfelt thank you for even the smallest blessings in your life.

As I mentioned, the more thankful you are, the more reasons you will be given to be thankful. I’ve seen it in my own life, and it only makes me want to express my gratitude even more. When you are thankful, you will feel more positive and happy, and you will have greater impacts on others. It’s a win-win situation. It doesn’t take an Einstein to figure that out. Thank you so much for reading. Have a wonderful day : )


An Amazing Way To Make Someone’s Day

April 24, 2013

The other day, I had a few extra minutes before leaving to work. I decided to check my Facebook timeline. As I read the notes from the past 12 hours, I found a wonderful compliment from a friend about something I had written. It was a heartfelt compliment, and it meant the world to me. My entire day was affected.

It’s amazing what one compliment can do. For me, I had a good night’s  sleep and an easy schedule at work, so it was probably going to be a good day anyway. However, this compliment put it over the positive edge. Think about days that were not going to be so good. Can you remember a day where you were struggling, and thinking that your efforts weren’t good enough? Then you received a compliment from someone that completely turned your attitude around. All of a sudden you felt like your efforts were completely worth it. I have had many days like this.

Would you like to make someone’s day? Give a heartfelt, sincere compliment. Show someone how much you appreciate them and what they do.  People crave appreciation. Sometimes one word of appreciation can make you a friend for life. It makes a major difference, and you can significantly impact someone’s life in a positive way. It’s also amazing that when you demonstrate gratitude and shower people with sincere compliments, it comes right back at you. You will be appreciated for what you do as well.

Before I close, I will say that I have received many beautiful compliments from my wonderful readers. Every one of them means the world to me, and are absolutely cherished. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for that positive encouragement : )

Ok, now I challenge you to think of at least one person you can sincerely compliment today. You have the potential to put a wide smile on someone’s face and totally make their day. I’m quite sure it will put a smile on your face as well. Enjoy the blessings : )


It’s Great To Be Alive

April 12, 2013

As I was thinking about today’s writing topic, I thought back to some gifts I received at Christmas when I was a kid. I was big into games and electronics. The two I most remember are my first Monopoly game, and a Coleco Electronic Quarterback game (I waited months for that one). They were both great gifts. Sometimes I won, and sometimes I lost. I don’t like to lose, so these gifts would upset me sometimes. However, I was still very happy to have them.

I think of some of the wonderful gifts I have today, such as my family. They too are great gifts that sometimes disappoint and upset me. However, I still truly treasure them.

My point is…life is a gift. It will sometimes disappoint and frustrate you, but if you treat it as the true gift that it is, you will treasure it and be blessed. Don’t let the difficulties of life get you down. Know that you may lose sometimes, but you were made to win. Like one of my blog’s messages says…life is sweet. Enjoy it!

To drive the point home of treasuring life, I’ve included a link to my favorite Christian song of 2012. Enjoy!


What Has He Done?

April 4, 2013

Ah, the beauty of blogging : ) I say that because what I’m about to write here today has nothing to do what I originally intended. It’s happened before, and it’s one of the quirks of writing that fascinates me.

As far as my intended topic today, that will have to wait. Instead, I write about something I read about twice in today’s Bible reading. Usually, that means God is trying to tell me something. Since He told it to me, I will share with you.

The first reading is from Deuteronomy. Moses is about to die, and he is giving a farewell address to the people. In this address, He reminds the people of all the great things God has done for them and all of the miracles they’ve witnessed. I then read Psalm 78. The message was the same! It was a reminder of the great things God has done for the people up until that time. I will say that I did not purposely read these verses. It just so happens that they were scheduled for today on the one year Bible plan I am using. Coincidence, however? I don’t think so.

This caused me to reflect on my life today. In one sense I have a very happy life. In another sense, I am far short of some of my goals, and I seek greater things. I may be getting a bit personal here, but it definitely helps communicate my point. I take the 6 main areas of my life and what I am shooting for:

1. God – As good as it is, my faith can certainly be better.
2. Family – I am still not the family leader I believe I could be.
3. Money – I am still far from the goals I have set.
4. Career – My dream is to touch thousands of lives a day by writing from home or traveling to speak and motivate others. Not there yet.
5. Health – I want to be in better shape and have more energy.
6. Friends/Extended Relatives – I strive to be a better friend and relative.

Am I complaining about the things I mentioned above? Not really. I’m just saying I am striving for great things. However, as I thought about this today, here is what I was reminded of:

1. God – Jesus died for me, and God is extremely proud of this creation. I am special and worthy in His eyes.
2. Family – I have been blessed with the most wonderful family. Better than I could have ever asked for.
3. Money – I have a house, two cars, computers, smart phones, readily available food and clothing. That means I’m richer than 90% of the rest of the world.
4. Career – Although politics have ruined it, and I strive for greater things, my dream job was to be a teacher. I am in my 10th year teaching, and I write this on my Spring break.
5. Health – I look and feel better than I should for someone my age. Also, I have never had any major injuries or sickness in these first 46 years. Neither has anyone else in my immediate family.
6. I am blessed with the most wonderful relatives and friends.

I don’t say this to brag by any means. I haven’t done anything to deserve it, and they are all gifts from above. I say it as a reminder based on what I read today. Let us look back on our lives and realize how much God has done for us. Let us remember the miracles He has already done as we seek greater ones. Even if your life has been difficult, there are things I’m sure you can find that are blessings.

One final thought is this…it has been proven to me that the more thankful we are for what we have and the more we reflect on what God has already done, the more the blessings continue to pour into our lives. I challenge you to reflect on the miracles you have seen in your life, and the great places you’ve been, whether you can count them on one hand, or you have a long list. Focus on them and be thankful for them. If you do, you can expect more to come. Enjoy!


The Gratitude Chain

February 21, 2013

I am a firm believer in the snowball effect. For example, a person does a good deed for someone, then the recipient does something for someone else, and so on. The result is that the lives of many are blessed in a major way.

During the past few weeks, I have felt the desire to spend my life in constant gratitude for the blessings in my life. I have always been thankful, but I am really focusing on being thankful for even the smallest things, like the air that I breath, the clean water I drink, the heated home that keeps me warm, etc. It has really helped me appreciate my life more, and has brought me even closer to God. Also, many little things that would bother me (someone driving way under the speed limit in front of me) barely even come to mind.

I am trying to spread this attitide of gratitude as far as I can. On a daily basis, my family and I write down the things we are most grateful for and reflect on them. I have shared this with other people close to me as well. However, I want to take it further. I asked God how I could do it, and this idea came to mind..

I would like to start a gratitude chain. I will start by sharing 5 things I am very thankful for. I will also ask for your input. If you have a few extra seconds, please share your top 5 thankful list here, and I will pray for you that each one continues and multiplies. I also challenge you to start your own list and get as many people as you can to share their gratitude list. Let’s see how far we can take this : )

Here’s my top 5 list:

1. I am thankful for God for His love, protection, blessing, grace, and everything!
2. I am thankful for the great parents and siblings I have, my wife and kids, and my extended family.
3. I am thankful for great health.
4. I am thankful for my job…the one I have and the dream job He is providing.
5. I am thankful for my house, cars, and all of my material possessions.

When people pay good deeds forward, many are blessed, and if people did it consistently, it can literally change the world. I have read in several places that, even when one person changes from a negative to postiive state of mind, it has a major ripple effect, and can change the world around them. The same is true for feeling gratitude. Not only will people feel better about themselves, but it will have a snowball effect on the world around them, and make a major turn to the positive. My sincere prayer is that God makes it happen today. I appreciate your participation and pray for major blessings for you as result. I look forward to seeing what you are thankful for!


An Easy Way To Increase Your Talents

February 19, 2013

There are certain Bible verses that I have read numerous times and still have difficulty understanding. One such story is the parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30). It always bothered me a bit because it says whoever has much will have more, and whoever has little will have less.

Why did this verse bother me so much? Because there were plenty of things I had little of, and only few that I had much of. My question was…I have little money. You’re telling me that my only chance is to have less? I’m not very confident. You’re telling me my confidence will only weaken?

Not too long ago, I had a chance to look at this story again. It’s amazing how, when we persist on learning Scripture God eventually sheds light on things and they make total sense. If you’re not familiar with the story, I’ll provide the basic version. A rich, shrewd man is going on a journey, and leaves his wealth in the hands of three people. To one he gives 10 money units (these units are called Talents. Funny how it fits right in with this story. More on that later). To one he provides 5, and to the other, 1. The ones with the 10 and 5 talents invest wisely and double the amount, while the one with 1 is scared off and just buries the 1, getting nothing in return. When the manager returns, he praises the first two, but punishes the third for not trying to gain more. He takes the one talent and gives it to the man with 10. That’s when Jesus says that whoever has will have more, and whoever doesn’t will have less.

As I studied this story I found three commentaries which clarified the meaning of this for me. Before I share, I will say that I did not go looking for these explanations, but just found them all around the same time. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Anyway, here are the three commentaries:

1. According to the Life Application Bible, the story means we need to use the resources God provides us to the best of our ability. Whether we have many or few, we need to use them responsibly and according to His will.

2. One book I read said that it had to do with the thoughts we think and our overall attitude. The more positive frame of mind and attitude we maintain, the more positive results we see in our lives.

3. In her book “The Magic” by Rhonda Byrne, she uses this quote throughout, saying that the more gratitude we show and feel, even towards the smallest of things, the more reasons we will have to be grateful for bigger things.

I must say that I agree with all three of these conclusions. At this point, this previously unclear story is now as clear as the day. You have received many gifts from God. He expects you to use them wisely and responsibly, and will bless you as you do. The more you fill your mind with positives thoughts and outcomes, the more you will see greater positive results play out in your life. And the more grateful you are, the more reasons you will have to be grateful. It’s a simple, but true fact that your talents and whatever else you have will be increased proportionally.

Now that I am fully aware of the true meaning of that story, I do my best to act it out every day. I must say that my walk with God is closer than it’s ever been, and I am being blessed on a continual basis. Even if you feel like you don’t have many talents, God will increase them if you are resourceful, positive, and thankful. Enjoy the blessings : )


A Great Reason To Be Thankful

December 11, 2012

Thanksgiving here in the U.S. was almost 3 weeks ago, yet the hangover still lingers. I really believe God is trying to tell me something because everywhere I look, the subject of gratitude shows up.

I have many reasons to be grateful in my life, and I must say that I take time to thank God for the blessings I receive. However, as I study further, I find that I am not doing it enough. It’s amazing how many things we have to be thankful for in our lives. Yet how often do we get caught up in the fast pace of life that we accept our victories without acknowledging where our strength and power came from.

In the weeks since Thanksgiving, I have taken deliberate time throughout the day to thank God for even the smallest blessings. Examples are things as small as finding a close parking spot at a busy mall; making all the green lights instead getting stuck at the red ones; How it rained for my whole drive to work, then stopped when it was time for me to get out of the car. Then I thought of other things I take for granted. Things like running, hot water; not only food on my table, but a choice of what that food is; the fact that I have two cars that work well, along with excellent health.

The list can go on and on. Hopefully the same is true for you. I challenge you to look for things, even the smallest ones, that you can give sincere thanks for. When you do, you will maintain a positive attitude, and you will set yourself up for greater blessings.

The clincher for this philosophy came when I was reading a book by Christian Larson called “The Ideal Made Real”. There is a chapter on gratitude, and the author makes the following statement: “the soul that is always grateful lives nearer the true, the good, the beautiful, and the perfect than anyone else in existence, and the more closely we live to the good and the beautiful the more we shall receive of those things” (p. 65).

I don’t know about you, but I want as much as the good and the beautiful as I can get. And if the way to experience those things constantly is to be thankful for my blessings on a regular basis, then count me in. The same is true for you. Be grateful for even the smallest blessings, and you will experience great victories and miracles. That is definitely something to be thankful for. Enjoy the blessings : )

 


Thankful Ideas

November 7, 2012

I often discuss the importance of being thankful for what we have. We are still several weeks away from Thanksgiving, but I believe every day should be spent finding something to be thankful for in our lives. I firmly believe that the more thankful we are for what we have, the more new blessings we will receive in our lives.

Even though we all have things to be thankful for, it is sometimes difficult to think of things, especially the little ones, to be thankful for. I recently received an email from a friend about exactly that…some of the little (or sometimes bigger)things we can be thankful for. I felt the need to share that list here. It’s called 21 days of Thanksgiving. It presents one idea per day to focus on being thankful for. Of course, you can always add more to the list…

21 days of Gratitude

Be thankful for one thing each day

A friend

Health

A family member

A teacher (someone who has taught you something)

A time of day

An emotion

A freedom you have

A co-worker/classmate

A skill/talent you possess

A restaurant

A physical activity you can do

An experience you had

Something in your room

Something in your kitchen

Something in your home

A gift you received

A deficit that made you stronger

The one thing that you can’t part with

An animal

A trait that someone that you are close to possesses

Creation, nature

A book that has been meaningful in your life

The one thing that you love most about you

Your mom and dad

Have fun with this. Feel free to use other ones as well. Either way, being thankful is a great way to put a smile on your face and make your day better. Enjoy the blessings : )

 


A Joyous Way To Show Gratitude

October 8, 2012

My favorite song of this Fall so far is “Good To Be Alive” by Jason Gray. It is a very inspirational song about “living like there’s no tomorrow and loving like I’m on borrowed time”. I strongly suggest you give it a listen if you haven’t heard it already. I will include a link to the video at the end of the article.

There is another part of the song that I hadn’t noticed at first, but really struck my attention after the last time I heard it. It says, “all I want is to give you a life well-lived to say thank you”.

What a great way to say thank you to God for all he has given you. I love the message of this line. You can say thank you simply by living life to the fullest and being the best you can be each day.

I realize it is difficult for every day to be a great one. However, I can tell you from experience that the more you try to live joyfully each day, the more it actually plays out. And when you say thank you to God by living joyfully and adding to the joy of others, you will receive abundant blessings from Him. You will also see them with greater frequency.

The bottom line is that there’s a choice each day. You can allow obstacles and negativity to steal your joy and complain about all you don’t have. Or you can live joyfully and fully in gratitude of this wonderful life you have been given, enjoying the blessings each day. In my opinion, it’s an easy decision to make.

http://youtu.be/1-4qZ0Vx36g

 


Rejoice In The Success Of Others

August 22, 2012

…”there should be no division in the body, but its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. If one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is part of it” 1 Corinthians 12:25-27.

I begin with this quote because I have heard or seen this concept in several places recently. I guess that means I should be listening : ) Anyway, it is very true. The good news (or should I say great news) is that, even though we live in mortal bodies,  we are spiritual beings. We all originate from the one Spirit of our source and creator. We also reap the power of this wonderful Spirit. The bad news is that too many people live their lives seperate from that Spirit, and separate from other people.

This concept ties in to other things I’ve talked about on this site. Because we are all one in Spirit, what we think about others ultimately affects us. For example, when you think negatively about someone else, you are bringing these negative thoughts upon yourself. When you resent the success of someone else, you are basically resenting the fact that you would ever enojoy this success. We are all one body, remember? The opposite is also true. When you rejoice at the success of another person, you are adding positive and thankful thoughts to it. This ultimately helps manifest good to you too and adds to your own positive karma. We’re all one, remember?

This is not always an easy concept. I know there are times when I have deep desires, but the accomplishment of my goal seems nowhere in sight. Then I see another person enjoying the very success I am seeking. It is easy to become resentful or jealous. This is true even if it is someone close to us, even those that we love. However, the advice I am learning is that we cannot think negatively towards them. Instead, sincerely rejoice and thank God for their success. You are one in Spirit with these people, so these positive thoughts will affect those people, yourself, and everyone else around you. It’s some powerful stuff. Use it for your good, and the good of those around you. Enjoy the blessings : )