Intentional Gratitude

I've heard the saying, "start each day with a grateful heart" a number of times over the years, and it's never really resonated with me. It's a great saying, but I've always forgotten about it when it mattered most: getting out of bed everyday at 6 AM, when I'm groggy and rushing out the door for work. 

Recently, life has been really fast. Everyday seems to pass without a moment's notice, and the next thing I know, I've gone through another day of work, without considering the tiny blessings that God has bestowed on me in my daily life. We were at our Gospel Community Monday night, and during the prayer someone said something along the lines of, "God cares about even the small details in our life..." and for some reason that really hit home for me. God cares about every aspect of who we are, he cares about every minuscule detail - every little hair on our head. So why don't I actively thank him for being in the details and for giving me so much every day of my life? 

The truth is, this has been on my mind over the last few weeks and I think He's really working in me, because the topic continues to come up and it's been a common theme in my life lately! There were a couple days over the last month where Chris and I were both buried in our work, and the anxiety had overcome us. I was so tired of both of us beating ourselves up and wallowing in self pity. SO - I grabbed a dry erase marker and asked Chris to stop what he was doing and tell me everything he was grateful for in that moment. Here we are, 3 weeks later and there's now dry erase marker ALL over the floor-to-ceiling windows of our condo. Honestly, we probably look like crazy people...and you know what? We are a little crazy, haha. But every morning I open my eyes and the first thing I see is a list of all the things I have to be grateful for. All the gifts that God gives to me daily. From every breath that I take, to my husband and my friends and family - it's a long list, but it sets the tune of my day and helps me to stop and take a moment to reflect each morning before I jump into the hustle of the every day. 

The funny part of all of this? The minute I started thanking God daily, and thinking about these things more often...the more God has blessed us. We have so many things moving right now between our full time jobs, VacayBox, and my freelance writing, that I'm amazed at how much He is stretching us. He is constantly reminding me that I can do this, that it's what I was called to do. Every time earthly doubt begins to swallow me up, He gives me a new opportunity or project. I'm taking this as a commandment to use the gift I've been given. I love to write. It fills me up. I love writing here in my blog, to the people I love, and I'm passionate about writing that helps local businesses grow. And for the first time in my life, I finally feel like I know what I'm doing, and even more, what I WANT TO DO. 

I wrote this post because I've begun to understand the importance of gratitude, and the difference it makes to ACTIVELY practice it each day. I've created a cute little worksheet called a GEBY (Gratitude, Exercise, Breakfast, You) that you can use every morning to help start your day on the right foot. Chris & I learned about this method by watching this video featuring Noah Kagan, the founder of AppSumo.com. It has helped Chris and I immensely and has opened our eyes to the abundance of blessings right in front of us. I find that by practicing intentional gratitude daily, I'm able to live more simply and that I'm able to be a blessing to others far more often. Also, I think it's made me less bitchy...but you'll have to ask Chris about that! I'd love your thoughts on gratitude, and how you remind yourself to stay present, think positively, and to be grateful every single day. Comment below or email me!