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Showing posts with the label gratitude

The Courage to Love: Expressing Gratitude

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I stumbled across a study on the power of gratitude. Yes, researchers are studying the impact on both the giver and receiver of gratitude. Their findings? There's power in saying thank you. I appreciate you. You mean something to me. 

What if we had the courage to do this every day -- to express our love by showing gratitude to others?

Read more: The Power of Gratitude.

Mommy, Mommy, When You Pray - Book Review

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Mommy, Mommy, When You Pray, is a delightful children’s book for ages 3-5, written and illustrated by Kimberly Cook. In this little gem of a book, children learn about the virtue of gratitude. Mommy is thankful to God for all He blesses her with, and she shares those thoughts with her children. The illustrations are colorful and engaging; surely to capture your child’s attention and interest. This little story will open up dialogue between you and your child; for the two of you share what you are thankful for, and why. Kimberly Cook has a knack for capturing the everyday occurrences of life and highlighting them as special – worthy of thanks! Cook has a lot of love packed into 24 pages. As you traverse through each page/scene, you will quickly see... Read more...

My Kids Taught Me The Key to Joy

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“The secret of happiness is to live moment by moment and to thank God for what He is sending us every day in His goodness.” –St. Gianna Beretta Molla As I raised a large family on a small farm with little disposable income, I received free Christian cognitive therapy. It was my children who taught me how to live in the present moment with joy. I couldn’t help but learn how to live a child of God because I was surrounded by a crew of little people who greeted each morning with wonder and awe. Gratefulness is the key to spiritual joy, no matter how little we think we have in the eyes of modern society. In fact, St. Teresa of Avila once said she “thanked God for the things she did NOT own.” St. Teresa always stressed the need for gratitude: “In all created things discern the providence and wisdom of God, and in all things give Him thanks.” When Joy Eludes Uscontinue reading

Ungratefulness is Ugly: Count Your Blessings, Be Grateful

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Do you know “Debbie Downer?” She’s that person that always has something to gripe about. You never see her in a good mood. She is too busy feeling sorry for herself to ever say “thank you” for anything. Debbie doesn’t have many friends, and maybe that’s because ungratefulness is ugly.

We tend to steer away from the Debbie Downers of the world, because as human beings we are drawn to the good, and virtuous qualities, we see in others. Innately, we like to be around positive people, because they lift our spirits. If you are a Debbie Downer, or know someone who has negative traits (and don’t we all know someone who has those traits?), then consider the need for a mind shift.

Changing the Heart from Ungratefulness to One of Gratitude
I think we could all call ourselves Debbie Downers from time to time, especially when...Read more...

Grief and Gratitude on Good Friday

Great griefs are like great joys: they bend time. My sister died twenty years ago. Sometimes it seems so long ago that mercifully, I can barely remember the details. Other times, those details rush back at me so sharply I have to steel myself for impact.

Suicide does that.

I can smile now at the memory of my sister. I felt disloyal the first time I did that, as though permanent grief could be the only fitting monument to her memory. Time, mercy, and God’s grace have done their work, bit by bit.

For the first time since her death, I am writing about her and about losing her. This is an anniversary, and the time is right. For years, I thought she had taken Easter away with her and left nothing behind but wreckage. Gradually I found that she left me other things: a greater appreciation for the gift of my family, and how to live with gratitude despite wounds that are bone-deep. Those aren’t compensations. They don’t cancel out anything. They are gifts nonetheless.

I extend my hand to anyo…

Facing Struggles? You are Never Alone!

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Do you ever get the feeling that when you are facing struggles, you are alone? That no one other than you face such challenges? That everyone else seems to have it so much easier? That is exactly what happened to me recently.

Back in 2008, when the US suffered the financial meltdown, and many people lost their jobs, I was one of the lucky ones who maintained my job. Selfishly, at the time, I didn’t give this national problem much attention, because it didn’t impact me directly. Now eight+ years later, with an unemployment rate lower than 5%, my husband lost his job in August, and at 63 is having difficulty finding a new job. With such a low unemployment rate, we don’t know anyone else in such a position – therefore, we feel as though we face this struggle alone.

Then one day, I was standing... Read more... 

Attitude of Gratitude; Time to Give Thanks

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An attitude of gratitude is in order as we approach Thanksgiving. We have come upon that time of year when we take stock of all that God has blessed us with and express our thanks. God’s Divine Providence is truly divine! He always meets our needs.

Whenever I have a bad, stressful day, I stop and take a few minutes to itemize the things for which I am grateful to God for providing for me. Somehow, rattling off this list always changes my mood. I begin to feel uplifted instantly. The chaos in my brain falls into order. The day’s stresses seem to dissipate. That’s because... Read more...

Envy Will Disappoint You - Every Time! Be Content!

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We continue with the second installment of our seven part series on the seven deadly sins. Today we discuss envy.

How many times have you wished that you could buy a fancy new car like the neighbors? Or take a vacation to an exotic place like some friend? Or get a big raise, like your older sibling just got? When you go down this road and allow envy to take hold in your heart, you only set yourself up for disappointment and sorrow – every time! How so? Envy is wanting what others have, that you do not. It is the opposite of contentment. Rather than counting one’s blessings, the envious person... Read more...

Hello Summer! Embrace the Season with Gratitude

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Today marks the first day of Summer. It’s a time of year when families come together to refresh mind, body and spirit. Perhaps it’s a trip to the mountains, or a week at the beach; whatever your pleasure, I hope that you experience much peace, joy and fond memories this summer.

Summer is a time when we can sit back and take stock of all of our blessings. Perhaps it is a stable job and health insurance. Perhaps it is news of improved health of a loved one. Whatever your blessings, I pray that the Holy Spirit fills you with... Read more...

My Heart is Not in Stuff

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A few years ago, a daily writing prompt asked writers if they could only take five objects from a burning house, what would be the most difficult things for them to leave behind?

Well really, the only objects I consider to be important are photos of family, my computer, passport and ID, a Bible and bank card, assuming I am wearing my wedding ring and gold cross like always. That’s it.
As for regrets, I really do not think my heart is in things. Since I was a little girl, I have felt content with what I have materially. Even now, when my adult kids ask me what I want for Christmas, I pause for a moment, with a blank mind.  I have to search to come up with a list.

Rather a strange state to be in because this is not the result of spiritual striving, fasting or prayer, it is just how I am. Living with little people has only strengthened an innate tendency to enjoy the little things, to be grateful to be alive and in communion with the Spirit.
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Remembering Christmas Eve Magic

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As I clean and get ready for our adult children to come home from university and work in the city, it is nice to remember the magic of Christmases when they were little. In fact, the scent of magic is still in the air, especially as our  five grandchildren join our family! When you live with nine children, even the most crusty curmudgeon cannot resist the magic of Christmas.
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Thanks Be to God and You!

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Thanks is an easy word to say… … but sometimes it doesn’t get expressed as often as it should. Therefore, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I want to take this time and space to specifically say thank you:
To God, for blessing me with abundant graces. He guides me every day. He loves me unconditionally. He forgives my transgressions and extends mercy on my soul.To my husband, for your never-ending, self-giving love, support and friendship.To my family and friends who share my joys and sorrows. Your love is pure gold to me.To all of my followers:... Read more...

A Parent's Guide to Teaching Gratitude

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Gratitude is attractive. The grateful person tends to be happier, healthier, and more satisfied with their own life. They have an easier time forgiving others and helping others. They worry less and are less likely to get depressed or stressed. Sounds pretty good, right? Who wouldn’t want to be grateful with that description?
But gratitude doesn’t just happen over night. After becoming a parent, I quickly realized that while it’s relatively easy to teach a child the habit of saying “thank you”, it’s much harder to help them develop the virtue of gratitude. Gratitude is more than a habit. It’s more than a good desire. Gratitude is a relationship. We are thankful for things, but topeople. In order to have an open and grateful heart, a person must have strong relationships. For Christians, the ultimate foundation of all gratitude lies in a relationship with God in which we realize who we are and who God is, and recognize all he freely gives us. Gratitude toward others becomes part of our…

A Thanksgiving Plea

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Thanks to an outbreak of the bird flu this summer, grocers across the country are warning of possible turkey shortages – fewer and smaller birds for higher prices. Luckily, the bird flu didn’t affect our region too badly, so I’m pretty sure we’ll manage to get a tasty gobbler on the table, and I’m hoping that, in the end, all of you will too – unless, of course, you opt for ham, salmon or some other palate pleasing delight. Either way, please don’t let a vain bird, or any other main dish, steal the center stage. As Catholic families, one of the best favors we can do for our kids during November is to remind them that Thanksgiving is meant above all to be a feast for the soul. Continue reading at Eyes On Heaven.

Joy and Gratitude

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Grateful Hearts: Count Your Blessings!

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Grateful hearts humbly acknowledge that there is a need to be filled, via the talents of others. We consider it a blessing from God when someone steps up to address the need that we couldn’t otherwise fulfill ourselves. We are grateful to God and to our fellow man for rushing to our aid!

What are you grateful for these days? When was the last time you counted your blessings? I can attest from experience that when I count my blessings and express my gratitude to God, my mood improves. I have had many opportunities to do so, while going through… Read more...

Gratitude is Personal and Reverent

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Gratitude is personal. Here is an example. If a person needs to take a taxi to the doctor’s office, he simply does so. However, if this person were to receive a ride to the doctor’s office by a neighbor or friend, then this person would most likely feel a sense of gratitude. He/she would express gratitude by saying thank you for the kindness expressed. Therefore, for gratitude to exist, two human beings must be involved; one that gives, without expecting anything in return, and one that receives. “…gratitude is the expression of a personal encounter in human need.” 1 For the giver, an act of kindness, or the striving to meet another’s need, must be voluntary. No sense of quid-pro-quo should exist.

Besides being personal and voluntary, Father Romano Guardini offers a third condition for gratitude in Learning the Virtues That Lead You to God: Read more...

Thank You! Two Words Never Overused!

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“Thank you” can never be said too much. Gratitude is a sense of thankfulness to God and to your fellow man for kindnesses extended to you, expressed in word or in deed.

Everything good that comes our way is a gift from God. We came into this world with nothing. We leave with nothing. All that we obtain in between comes from God. Therefore, we say thank you to God for meeting our needs and blessing us in abundance; for providing us with possibilities and opportunities. We even say thank you to God for times of... Read more...

Leaping into the unknown: is it worth it?

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What happens when you begin to fear doing something you've done for much of your life? How to cope? This scenario has been playing out since I received a healing of my singing voice. God was calling me to go public again. I share to show that fear never conquers so long as we are willing to go where God leads and we trust in him.

During the fifteen years that I was a professional musician I went out on gigs, holding concerts and sometimes doing some public speaking. When my mother died in 2010, I stopped doing that sort of thing. Now, five years later, I've decided to dive back in.

It is not without fear and trepidation for I am rusty! While I had my years of experience to fall back on, I wasn't sure I would remember how to do it. Something once familiar to me had become unknown territory.

Was it worth trying? Yes!

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Dung Coloured Glasses

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I discovered a secret after years of mothering my tiny children. They
taught me to take my eyes off my exhaustion and to take delight in the plethora of tiny details all around me. Little kids are born with a sense of wonder and the ability to enjoy little things. My daughter’s retain an appreciation for detail; they all remember the little things. A friend of mine once asked Rachel, when she was about six, what she liked most about Christmas. She replied immediately,
“The pineapple.” My daughter’s answer astounded Martha. Similarly, one evening before dinner Emily, now a young adult, said, “I always remember the fresh smell of clean sheets every week.” Such a small thing, yet a child, with a heart full of gratitude, takes great pleasure from it. Psalms 33:8  ” let all the inhabitants of the World  stand in awe of Him.” continue reading