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Gratitude Journal

Henry and I are sick as all get out right now. Correction, Henry is sick as all get out; I’m just garden variety sick, something that hadn’t happened since before Covid started.

And yes, we both finally caught Covid this week.

I lay in bed this morning, listening to Henry cough and sneeze while letting out the odd, quiet moan, my head throbbing gently, shoulders tight, mouth parched, and head fuzzy. I began musing over the upcoming conservative leadership race announcement, ever-rising grocery prices, and the predicted financial ‘super bubble’ collapse.

Just your average 5:30 in the morning thoughts.

Thoughts that led to feeling helpless and overwhelmed.

But something in me rebelled. Yes, from all reports, the world seems to be falling apart, but what of God’s promises?

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Mathew 11:28-30

Or this, one of my favourites:

‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’ Philippians 4:6-7

That brought me to the last verse of this passage:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

I’ve got a choice. Dwell on the bad or highlight the good.

My friend Kim says our brains look for evidence to prove that what we believe is true, is true. Believe the world is falling apart? Your brain will happily find evidence to prove you right.

Believe there is good in the world? Your brain will find evidence that that is true.

The problem is, we live in a broken world, and our old nature brains default to brokenness rather than the divine. Living out Phillipians 4:8 only happens with intention. It takes work, day after day, month after month, year after year. We can’t do it in our own strength. Not for long.

This brings us back to all three verses of Philippians 4:6-8

Prayer, thanksgiving and a mind for all that is true and right, one that looks for beauty and excellence. Not in our own strength, but in His.

Thus journalling, a gratitude journal specifically.

I’ve kept a gratitude journal in the past; one of Kim’s writing classes had us write down 3-5 things we’re grateful for every day, and that was a great practice, but I feel the need to elevate it this time.

The world feels heavy and dark, storm clouds gathering, piling higher and higher. My brain needs something concrete to remind it of all I have to be grateful for.

So I came up with the Gratitude 2.0 30-Day Challenge.

A 30 Day visual gratitude journal.

Every day for 30 days, I will post an image of one thing I’m grateful for that day.

Taking a cue from Kim’s recent 31 Days of Blogging challenge, I’ve adopted her sensible plan with an addition of my own:

  • Keep it simple

  • Done is better than perfect

  • A single photo and a few words are enough, but it can be more if the inspiration is flowing

  • the image can be taken with my ‘big’ camera or my iPhone (my addition)

With the recent hijacking and loss of my Facebook page, I decided to post this journal on my corner of the internet, my website, one that can’t be stolen by someone else without repercussion. While I may also post on Instagram, this will be its permanent home.

Today is Day 1.

Isn’t the late summer light on this enormous fern I just brought in from the garden stunning?

The fern won’t look like this for long; Alberta winters have notoriously dry air. Add to that heat from the furnace and this glorious plant will slowly shrink and brown until come spring, nothing will be left.

But in the meantime? I’m grateful for the sheer extravagance of green filling the corner of my living room—the perfect canvas for the golden afternoon light that dances on its leaves.

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