I Am So Grateful

[Previous Rural Farmgirl, April 2009 – May 2010]

Have you ever had the experience of awakening and just for a moment lying there and thinking of all the reasons you are grateful?

A while back, maybe a year or more now, I decided I was done focusing on all the things that were “wrong” in my life, and that I would greet each day by giving thanks for all the things that were “right.”

In the beginning it was really hard; I had to re-train my thought process. But I decided that before my feet hit the floor every morning, I would read my devotions and spend a little time being grateful for all that I had. I don’t want it to sound like my life has been a bed of roses. My life, like most people’s, has had its challenges. I am just choosing not to camp with them.

Over time, I have learned that there are some core beliefs that we need to grab a hold of in order to change our outlook. One of them is the conclusion that those who raised us did the best they knew how to do. I am not saying that we always got what we needed, just that we choose to blanket our upbringing in grace. Secondly, we must come to an understanding that people can’t give what they don’t have. For a lot of years I made the mistake of wanting more from some of the people in my life than they were actually capable of giving. I was always left hurt by my unmet expectations. When I finally realized that my happiness isn’t in the hands of others, I was so much happier. I know now that my happiness is my responsibility alone and that I don’t need validation for my accomplishments.

I have often said that the last couple years of my life has been a lot like weeding a garden. I have removed everything that was crowding out the things that I wanted to grow. Some things I have transplanted elsewhere, and some I just let go. It sounds harsh, I know. But recently I read a little ditty in an email that says people come into our lives for a time, a reason and a season. I think sometimes we hold on longer than we should. There were also those in my garden that I thought were weeds, but when I pulled out some of the other “stuff,” they turned out to be great producers. It takes work to know which is which.

I am glad I did the hard work back then. Now, more often than not, I wake up full of gratitude. I have a job that fulfills me with a boss and co-workers I genuinely respect. I feel honored to be in their company. I have a home life that is at peace, kids that I am proud of, and friends that are supportive and push me into being a better version of myself.

Many of us have bought into the view that we are victims. In truth, we can choose to move past everything that life has thrown at us to date. We can go to bed tonight and say, “My feet will not hit the floor in the morning until I say 10 things that I am grateful for.”

Maybe you are reading this and thinking, Yeah, but my life isn’t working, my marriage is falling apart, my kids are constantly fighting, and I have a job I hate. I know first-hand that the first step in toward change is gratitude. Your job has you miserable?Think, Wow in this economy I am so grateful that I have a steady source of income. Your marriage is stressed? Try, I am so grateful that today is a new day to be the best partner I know I can be. Kids driving you nuts? I am so grateful that I have children because my life would be so different without them.

I have discovered that I have the power to change anything I truly want to change. You do, too. And I am so grateful for that.

Leave a comment 0 Comments

  1. Kim says:

    Thank you. You have no idea how much I needed to hear this message today.

  2. Marie says:

    I was so ready for this article! This is the first time I have read your blog, but I am definitely going to have to follow you now because you spoke to me! I also am in a place in my life where I need to do some mental and spiritual ‘housecleaning, and you have the right idea. The realization that only you are responsible for your own happiness is something that hit me hard about a year ago, but once I accepted it, I felt such freedom! It is very empowering!

  3. TheresaB says:

    Amen, Sister!

    Love it!

  4. april woolley says:

    I agree in ways I cannot explain. I am trying so hard to pull my weeds and let go of the things that hold me back it is difficult and I am doing the best I can. The great thing about gardening is that if you pull something out that you weren’t suppose to you can always replace it with something even more spectacular. And in the end life and gardening are building, growing, fostering, learning and just plain respecting the life we have created. Thanks for the great post.

  5. Gary says:

    Well said Rene’…
    I have a feral Kitten, "Midnight", who adopted me, and he begins each day with an Attitude of Gratitude.
    I didn’t want to get a Animal Companion until after my move back to the Smokey Mountains, but he is a stubborn lil’ Cat and was quite Insistant that we be Friends.
    Before he came, I thought often about the delays I have experienced in my plans to move back to the Country. I believe God sent him to show me how to settle down and appreciate the Good, which is given in each new day.
    So here’s a Smile to the day we’re given, and…
    GodSpeed to Y’all…!
    Gary
    in Tampa

  6. Pam deMarrais says:

    Rene’, you are such a blessing. God has gifted you with a tender heart and oodles of wisdom, and I praise Him for sharing you with all of us.
    Your words are a light unto my path, and I am grateful for each message you bring.

     

    Pam,

    I am so touched by your words. Thank You so much for them.

  7. Carrie Meerwarth says:

    Rene-

    I totally agree with you on this! For more than 30 years I had such a hard time being able to say that I loved my dad. I just didn’t! But I finally came to the place where I realized that he gave me the best he had. He isn’t perfect, but the Lord has helped me to see just how much my dad did give to me, and even though there was a lot of hurt attached, it was what he had to offer. I used to hate to hear people say that I was like my dad in any way…now I’m proud. He is a strong man and successful. I’m proud to be his girl and I know that he is proud of me and the grandkids I’ve given him.

    I’ve heard this kind of thinking called "treasure hunting"…when you struggle with something in your life, look for what might be the gem in it all. Sometimes you have to wait awhile to see the fruit of it, but if you’re paying attention, you’ll find it!

    Love your heart and your spirit…I miss you already!

    Carrie

    Carrie,

    I have said so often, that "people cannot give what they dont have". Most of us find out that those that seemily  failed, did so from a place of just not having it… not from Not wanting to give it.

    I love the concept of treasure hunting….. we can all find some little treasure.. cant we? Something we can hold onto.. plant until it goes into that life changing gratitude. I loved meeting you!  You are simply the best of the best.

  8. Judy says:

    This is just what I needed to hear. I have a great job, but I hate working all night. Lately, I’ve been trying to just be grateful for it. The thing that really bothers me is having to sleep when it is so beautiful outside this time of year. I keep thinking that I’m sleeping my life away. I have tried to ignore that thought, but the feelings that go along with it are difficult to ignore. I’m going to try harder to find a new way of thinking because I feel things won’t change until I learn to love this way of living, or at least accept it.

    I’m going to copy your words and put them by my bed so I can see them when I wake up. Thank you so much. I love following your blog.

  9. Staci Wickard says:

    Rene-
    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and wisdom. You’re a blessing.

    I too have taken responsibility for my own happiness lately and it is sooo freeing.
    Along the way, I realized that the opposite is true, too. I am not responsible for other people’s happiness. I work on being the best mother, spouse and friend that I can be.
    If that isn’t enough for some, well, I guess I try not to let that be my problem.
    And I try to give others the same grace I need for myself.
    Blessings on you and yours!

  10. Rose Perron says:

    Rene,

    It is the first time I read your blog and love it. I too was a farmer when I grew up and the farm is the best place to be. I have the best memories in the whole world. When we drive to the country and see all the beautiful scenery I think of the city people(Some of them) that never left the city and miss all this lovely nature. I get up in the morning and admire my flowers and thank God for having them and be able to see them.
    I grew some potatoes this year in my flower beds here and there and I feel like I am farming again. Just love it.

    God bless you and your family.

  11. Cindy N says:

    Rene,

    Love and Gratitude. My mantra. Full of Love and filled with Gratitude. That is how I survived the death of my youngest daughter, Sian.
    Yes, there have been (and still continue to be) other trials and tribulations, some mountains and others mole-hills. Like you, I gave/give them each the grace they deserve and I move on. Life is too short to shoulder all that weight! Being weighed down by the heaviness of it all, you tend to miss a lot of things. They can just pass you by…
    If you live in the moment, each moment, no matter how painful; you come to appreciate the gifts it can bring. Forgiveness does wonders too! It is healing and freeing. And never forget to forgive yourself as well – we can sometimes be our own worst enemies.
    Also, let us not forget Hope. "Hope is a belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one’s life". We all should write that one too on the bathroom mirror for inspiration!
    My family has a little ritual we do every night before my eldest daughter goes to bed. This is how we coped with the pain of our loss and made sense of the utter chaos we found ourselves in. We do ‘Gratefuls’. We each take a turn sharing things that happened that day that we are grateful for. Trust me, even when you’ve had the worst possible day you could ever imagine; you can find something – be it a tiny thing, or something you may think seemingly insignificant – to be grateful for. This thing could be ANYthing! Like; the sun was shining, a butterfly flew by the window, a stranger smiled at me today, I felt the rain on my face, or; I made it through this day, and; I;m grateful for you. My daughter can come up with some really amazing ‘gratefuls’ – Universal love and gratitude come so naturally to our children and should be nurtured!
    This, this does such wonders for the soul – filling yourself with Love and Gratitude! Breathe it in and let it radiate from you!
    I am grateful for the many blessings I have and continue to receive.
    I am grateful for the good, and the bad. The joy, and the pain and for all the patience, grace and wisdom I have gained from experiencing all of these things.
    I am grateful for the darkness, without which I would never know the light.

    With Love, Light, Hope and Gratitude,
    Cindy

  12. Patrice says:

    Today your blog came into my in-box. What fun I have had looking at your essays. They sound so like the farm-girl that I am way over in Maine and the little messages I write in my own blog about the world outside my window. Our country is a big one and it goes to show how alike we are no matter where our wild world takes us. I enjoy a natural business with a partner who sees through the same eyes. I will peek in on you often to see how life on the other side of this great country of ours is going.

  13. andrea says:

    Rene,
    That was very touching,and so true.If we all hold on to pain from the past we will never move foward to have a peaceful and positive future,even if it means letting go of someone thats makes the pain…let go and be free to love youself your life and all the good it has to offer and GOD knows there is so much life has to give us if we just open up to it.
    P.S. I turned 50 yrs old and really learning so much about people and what makes them tick and to be gratfull every day I awake.
    Thank You

  14. Melanie says:

    This is an old blog but I just found this blog and i’m so glad I decided to read all of these because this is exactly what I needed to hear and God Bless You for giving you know knowledge to write such a thing and help others. Have a blessed day.

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