I have blogged and taught often about the importance of writers keeping journals. However, this journal may be the most important journal for everyone--even writers--to keep daily. It is the Attitude of Gratitude Journal.
I know that many of us know about gratitude journals, but I recently got a fresh look at this old idea. It came from my Pastor Reba Rambo-McGuire of Streaming the River Church (streamingtheriver.com). She suggested that we stop counting our troubles, sufferings and trails. Instead, she reminded us to count our blessings--with deep gratitude! Pastor Reba challenged us to write at least three things a day that we feel gratitude.
Counting our blessing is one thing. Taking the time to be really grateful for them is very different. For example, we can say: "Thank you Lord," in about a word per second. However, gratitude requires you to take the time to feel thankfulness in your heart. Gratitude is an action of the heart and not a casual or quick string of words. Gratitude makes our hearts happy and joyful. Any daily activity, ifyou repeat it long enough, will become a change in lifestyle. Imagine having a joyful heart as a lifestyle and not just an occasional, passing moment!
Here is what I wrote on Day 1 of my Attitude of Gratitude Journal:
1. I am deeply grateful for my friends Donnie and Reba Rambo-McGuire who open their home each week for our church services. .Donnie and Reba lead our group in heartfelt singing; tearful prayers; loud laughs; and warm hugs. The church group is filled with talented, Christian songwriters! Yet, their talent does not over-shadow their dedication to use their talents for the Lord! I am grateful for each member of our church!
2. I am grateful for my great friends, and songwriting buddies, Christopher Pernishek and Tery Wayne. One night when I was almost out of gas, they lead me to the nearest gas station in an area of town I did not know well. Unfamiliar places can be really feel scary after dark. Chris and Tery not only lead me to the station, but they would not leave until they were sure I was OK. (Hint: Great co-writing begins with building great relationships with co-writers. More on that in a future blog).
3. My Multiple Sclerosis has taken a heavy toil on my body’s immune system. So every 21 days, I have to be given an IVIG (Intravenous Immunoglobulin Infusion). In laymen terms it is an infusion of donor, white cells. It takes about 6 hours a day times two days. It can be painful, and I often feel like I have the flu, for several afterwards. But I am grateful for my insurance company giving my case a special approval. I have friends with my same condition, some worse than me, who cannot get this treatment, due to the lack of insurance approval and/or coverage.