When I got engaged, the angels sang, Mom cried, Dad was relieved – “Finally, someone who can afford her!” (Thanks, Dad.) and I bragged to all who would listen: “Mark is a cross between Prince Charming and Jesus!” True story. I was a missionary at the time, and that line went in my newsletter to all my supporters. (They were relieved, too.)
Then, I got married. Not that Mark wasn’t Jesus or Prince Charming. But we did think (before marriage) that we knew everything. And we did think (before marriage) that the other person was perfect and would love, perfectly.
Well, well. What does this have to do with cultivating a heart of gratitude? Well, everything. One day while fuming over Mark’s non-Jesus-ness and where-did-that-charm-go-anyway, I knew I should call my friend, Deb. Now I knew what Deb would say. I didn’t want to call her. But I did. And she said just what I knew she would:
“Sue, I want you to list ten things that you appreciate about Mark.”
I didn’t want to list ten, I didn’t want to list one. I wasn’t ready to give up my grousing. A pity-party of one is still a party.
I listed ten and maybe one or two had to do with Mark’s meticulous flossing habits, but a good trait is a good trait. By the time I made it to ten, my pity party turned to a thanking party, and we’re still married.
I’ve made more than one list in the past almost thirty years. And it always works.The heart follows the mind which follows the pen. Click To Tweet
My older and wiser friend, Liz (married since the Dark Ages, mother of five boys so I listen when Liz speaks) said one day at my table: “Sue, when my Tom gives me fits, – (well, she didn’t say it that way – she’s genteel and discreet and from Cape Cod) – I always find that it helps to say: “Lord, I thank You for Tom, I praise you for Tom.”
So I do the same, and God is pleased and my heart is lifted. And dear Mark meets a better wife at the end of a long day of working hard.
Thanking God in all things includes dull, non-romantic days full of diapers and disappointments and doldrums.
Making a list of what you appreciate in someone helps us climb out from a self-centered hole.
And if you really want the Prince Charming to re-appear, white horse and all, give him the list. Maybe along with his favorite floss (waxed, mint.)
As Ken Williams said,
“Gratitude not expressed is not gratitude.”
I’m convinced the more we list our gratitude, the better all our relationships become. I’m convinced the more we speak our “thankful’s” into another’s life, the more they live up to who God’s designed them to be.
Feeling you might be kicked out of grateful-hearts-club? I get it. Here’s a recap:
- Surround yourself with Deb’s and Liz’s – community who tell the truth in love
- Get a notebook and a pen that works – I love an excuse for a new notebook
- Tell God you are thankful for____________________ at least once a day
- Share your appreciation of the little things they do with those you love most and best (not just on their birthday!)
For a custom gratitude journal including scriptures, see The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pillows. List your thankful’s and pass it on. Connect to one another by sharing a heart of gratitude. Or bring it out every Thanksgiving and keep a record of the year’s praises.
Sue Donaldson and her husband, Mark, live in San Luis Obispo, California. They have raised 3 semi-adult daughters who keep them at the bank and on their knees. Sue blogs at http://welcomeheart.com and has been speaking for women’s retreats and conferences for the past 20 years with long pauses for babies, diapers and soccer pasta parties. Follow her on instagram: suemooredonaldson or everytabletellsastory.
Let’s Connect Beyond the Blog for the Holidays!
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting excited for the holidays! It’s a special time to be creative and spread joy throughout our communities and our families. The warm scent of cinnamon and chocolate layers the air in my home, and although I am never able to create every beautiful item pinned to my Pinterest boards, the idea of someday is enough to keep me happily dreaming.
Among my favorite gifts throughout the season are those handmade and homemade creations. I’ve received many through the years.
A monster cookie jar mix that provided a perfect rainy-day kid’s activity.
A beeswax candle that kept my home smelling fresh for months.
Sachets of lavender tucked within my drawers remained fragrant all year-long.
Delicately packaged sugar cookies, gingerbread men, and biscotti to line the dessert trays.
It’s this heart for investing time and love in creating personal gifts that is behind a very exciting announcement!
You’re invited to participate in:
Fresh Market Friday’s
Second Annual Holiday Gift Exchange!
Imagine being able to secretly place a special handmade gift or homemade treat on another blogger’s doorstep just in time for the holidays. And then imagine the surprise of receiving an equally special gift from a fellow blogger on your doorstep. How amazing to connect with each other more personally…beyond our blogs!
I believe bloggers are some of the most creative and talented people. This is an opportunity to reach beyond the blog page and share generosity, creativity and inspiration in a tangible and meaningful way. Because we never know how a single gift of love can make an overwhelming difference to just one! You can join the Holiday Gift Exchange by filling out the form HERE by November 28th! And be sure to add your link so we can all see who is joining the exchange.
Then be sure to link up HERE so we all know who is joining…it’s makes the anticipation that much better!
Sharing our blogs and connecting at the #BloggerGiftSwap #linkup! Click To Tweet Remember, you can join the Holiday Gift exchange by filling out the form here by Tuesday, November 28th!
Happy Holidays from Fresh Market Friday!
A special gift Just For You!
Need a new fresh twist on gratitude? Try Sensory Gratitude, and experience gratitude through the way we experience life….through our senses.
Follow 30 Days of Thanks-Living all month-long at the Facebook Page.Let's breathe in November and choose to live fully. Click To Tweet
Have you grabbed your Sensory Gratitude Printable for week #2 of 30 Days of Thanks-Living?
Join the Thanks-Living Giveaway!
If you’ve never heard of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pillows, then you are in for a treat! I’m giving away a beautiful Gratitude Journal from Welcome Heart which is all about cultivating a Sisterhood of Gratitude. The uniqueness of this gift is in the journey as it travels every few weeks from one person to another throughout the year and gratitude spreads from one end of the globe to the other.
If you’ve never been a part of Sisterhood, this is the perfect way to share joy and spread a spirit of ongoing “THANKS-LIVING!
Enter through Rafflecopter below to win this adorable gift and become part of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pillows Club!
One winner will be chosen on November 17th! a Rafflecopter giveaway
Before you leave…
Each week, it’s my pleasure to select one writer from the link-up to showcase on my blog for the entire week. As you know, I’m all about fresh goodness! And with so many amazing bloggers joining this community, I want to make sure Fresh Market Friday honors all who share the many areas they practice living out of a place of intention and passion.
So let me thank all of you for making this such a sweet place to gather every week as you share your passion for life and all the ways you practice living with intention! From doing what makes us happy @ A Day of Small Things to Combating negative talk @ HumbleFaithFamilyWellness…that’s the beauty of a fresh market. It offers something of value for everyone!
I’m excited to announce this week’s Featured Fresh Find is Sherry Stahl!
If you’ve never tried journaling gratitude or you’re still not convinced of its value to quality of life, then you’ll never think of gratitude the same after reading Sherry’s post. She tackles the connection between anxiety and gratitude and gives us plenty of science to back up the truth that defeating anxiety has everything to do with counting our blessings.
Won’t you please visit Sherry’s and share some Fresh Market Friday encouragement…because we all need a little encouragement! If you’re new to Fresh Market Friday, you can find more about the community here.
A few guidelines to ensure the best experience…
Share your piece of fresh goodness below…
I frequently join other community link-ups here.