When we live with a grateful heart, we strive to focus on the good. It seems so easy and simple, but we know it’s not.

I like to remind the kids when they start complaining, “There is always something to be grateful for,” or when they have chores to do, “do these things with a grateful heart.” I stand by this advice because in my experience, this practice can shift our minds to focus on the good, and find the joy in the simple things.

It has been a gloomy, wet, and cold January here at the farm. That kind of weather for so many weeks in a row can really take its toll on the mindset. But I am so grateful because today, the sun is finally shining. For me, this really put things into perspective. I, like many of you, have the tendency to take the small things for granted, sunshine included. Today, seeing the sunshine, and taking the time to appreciate its warmth, has completely lifted my spirits. It serves as the perfect reminder that if I take the time to appreciate the gifts the Lord gives me, big and small, I will be a happier person.

With that being said, I know that sometimes it seems impossible. There are days when it takes so much extra energy to find the good, and those days seem to be the ones where we simply don’t have energy to spare. I can’t lie to you friends, I’ve had those days. I want to remind you that sometimes, its okay to not be okay. In those times, I remind myself its fair to be sad, or upset, or overwhelmed. I give myself the space to feel the hard feelings. I find that by embracing what my heart is feeling authentically, I am able to move out of that space and back into gratitude much easier. It is so important to honor your emotions, positive and negative, and give them the time they deserve. When you give yourself that grace, you’re actually giving yourself the type of love that is essential for healing. With that, you will be able to find your way back to the light.

As a Christian, it is important that I humble myself before God. This allows me to be thankful for all my many blessings. One of the ways I’m promoting gratitude in my home is by creating a “Gratitude Jar” for the family. The idea is to fill the jar with all the things we’re grateful for: big or small, silly or serious. I can’t wait to get started, not only because i know it will be a positive force in our house, but also because I can’t wait to see what the kids write! Their little minds are so active and expansive, I’m sure they will come up with things I would never have thought to add! This will be a fun way to look back and appreciate all of our many blessings, but it will also be useful to look back to on the hard days, as well.

Another tool to encourage gratitude is to use a “Gratitude Journal”. Each morning, before you get out of bed, take the time to write down three things you are grateful for. Then, each night, before you go to sleep, jot down three things that happened throughout the day that brought you joy. This way, you are both beginning and ending your day with gratitude in your heart.

I encourage you to find the good in every day, even the smallest detail. That’s a great place to start, then build from there. I think you will be surprised how your mindset moves toward encouraging thoughts.

Until next week,

“Begin each day with a grateful heart!”