spencedaniel

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A Practice of Gratitude

I’ve been counting my blessings for as long as I can remember. Throughout the years, I had even started a number of journals and notebooks where I recorded many of those blessings. Only for the most part, I seldom kept the practice up or the notebook going. In 2010, I began reading the book Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, and that is when I started the practice of keeping a daily gratitude journal. Gratitude is one of Sarah’s six principles and it’s as easy as writing down 5 things you are grateful for every single day. I do my best to write in my gratitude journal every day, but sometimes my life gets out of whack or I get busy or I forget. On those days, I am usually mentally giving thanks either throughout the day or as my head hits the pillow. In the nearly four years since I began my daily habit of gratitude, I have completed and packed up 5 journals, and in April I started my sixth gratitude journal. It’s called, MY LIFE JOURNAL, by Life Canvas and it might be my favorite one so far.

Gratitude Journal #6

Gratitude Journal #6

I’ve been asked by a number of people how to keep a gratitude journal and I thought I would share a few ideas here.

  1. Choose or find a journal, notebook, or book that you like and want to write in. I happen to think the look and feel and quality of the paper is important, but if finding the right book is going to keep you from getting started, a simple spiral notebook will work well too. I enjoy browsing bookstores and TJ Maxx and Marshall’s for great books and journals that I often find on sale. That way, I always have a stash of them ready for both gifts and my own use.
  2. I think having a pen (or pens) that you love is important too, but again use whatever pen or marker you have handy. It’s the words that are the most important thing.
  3. I generally write down my 5 gratitudes in the morning, but I know some people keep their gratitude journal next to their bed and write in it at the end of their day.
  4. I recommend dating each entry. It will give you a record for when you look back through your journal entries.
  5. A family gratitude journal might work well for you and your family. Put the journal and a pen (or crayons and markers) in a central safe place, where everyone in the family knows the location.

I love my LIFE JOURNAL’s happy and inviting cover, and the printed pages inside beckon to me too. Each page came pre-decorated or printed, only some of the pages are just not me. No worries. If you are like me and find the pages just don’t speak to you, or even if the pages of your journal are blank, you can easily add your own creativity by applying stickers, photographs, magazine or newspaper clippings, business cards, movie tickets, little paper items you find in your purse or wallet, and even thank you cards too. There are no rules.

Bountiful Produce Gratitude

Bountiful Produce Gratitude

In the above photo, these two journal pages were a work in progress over the course of many weeks. I peeled off stickers from fruit and produce and various food packages and applied them. I didn’t need glue, since they were already sticky. It was fun to see the pages come alive with color and all my incredible bounty. I only added a few words, because the stickers spoke my gratitude for me.

Scrapbook Inspiration

Scrapbook Inspiration

Sometimes, I do pages ahead, like these two INSPIRE pages. I cut out scrapbook paper pieces and used permanent adhesive tape (glue, rubber cement, or double sided tape would work too) to adhere them to the pages. The ‘INSPIRE’ was already printed on the pages.

Looking Up in DC

Looking Up in DC

All I added to this page was a photograph. It’s that easy. Someday this page will inspire me and I’ll write my words of gratitude. See what I mean about the cool pages inside this journal? Some pages were preprinted with words and messages meant to inspire or encouraging writing. Most of the time, I cover them up with paper tape, or something I’ve cut out, or stickers of some sort.

Paper Source Inspiration

Paper Source Inspiration

The above photo shows two pages that I doctored using cutout art from my favorite catalog on the planet PAPER SOURCE. I always find inspiration in their catalog pages and their stores too. I doodled along the edges of the pages with two different colored markers and was rather pleased with how it turned out. I don’t get creative with every page. Some I keep as the book was intended. I especially like the look of the creamy marble texture on the left side, and the spilled coffee and paper taped edges on the right.

Summer Gratitude

Summer Gratitude

The page above is more scrapbook paper and cutout graphics from my summer Paper Source catalog. I plan to write in it soon, before fall starts beckoning.

Remember, you might not decide to do anything creative with your gratitude journal. Or you may go crazy and find it soon becomes a wonderful art journaling outlet for not only your gratitude, but also a place to keep a plethora of your ephemera. I just couldn’t resist using those words again. Sometimes my creative efforts don’t turn out so well either and that’s okay too.

One of the greatest gifts of keeping a gratitude journal is that the more you record all your abundance and concentrate on what you have, instead of your lack, the more rich and abundant your life will become.

Today, I’m grateful for…

  • Air conditioning
  • My job that beckons
  • Lunch with a dear friend
  • My weekend plans
  • My family

How about you?

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6 comments on “A Practice of Gratitude

  1. dianescheurell
    August 28, 2013

    Today I’m grateful that I finished my book…again. And I sent if off to the publisher yesterday. Now it’s in God’s Hands and I’m grateful for that too.

    • spencedaniel2012
      August 29, 2013

      Congratulations, Diane! That is quite an accomplishment and no wonder you are feeling grateful. Sending you all kinds of blessings and good thoughts. Please keep me/us posted.

  2. Allison
    August 28, 2013

    I actually saw this video a while ago and thought of gratitude journals. I think you’d like it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHv6vTKD6lg&list=PLzvRx_johoA_QznlVHjbByQdHZAhWRQzr&index=6

    • spencedaniel2012
      August 29, 2013

      Allison, I watched this amazing video early this morning and it made me laugh and cry. I truly LOVED it! Thank you for sharing it. I plan to do the same.

  3. Ann Spence
    October 6, 2013

    Super inspiring, Sue. Your ease with teaching is showing itself. Always lovely hearing your heart.
    Ann

    • spencedaniel2012
      October 6, 2013

      Ann ~ what sweet and loving words. I am truly touched by them and so very glad you were inspired. You warm my heart.

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