The Thankful Life

The Happiness Secret

Why are so many people unhappy?

I don’t know the secret to happiness, and I have yet to meet anyone who does. What I do know is that gratitude makes a difference. Being thankful, even for the smallest blessings, can change the way we look at life.

As I celebrate another birthday this week, I can look back at the past year and remember it in two ways. I could focus on the bad things that happened, or I could celebrate and give thanks for the joys instead.

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” – Philippians‬ ‭4:12-13‬

Happiness vs. Contentment

The Apostle Paul had certainly seen his share of adversity prior to writing to the believers in Philippi. But throughout his trials and imprisonment, he knew that his brothers and sisters in Christ loved him. They were praying for him. Paul also knew that Jesus provided him with the strength to persevere. Paul found contentment regardless of his circumstances.

My brother and I celebrate our TWO January birthdays with Mom

I may not be happy with everything life dishes out, but I am learning that contentment is more precious.

I sometimes feel sad that my mom no longer remembers who I am. It’s frustrating that she remembers her granddaughter’s name, and my brother’s name, but not mine. Yet I know beyond a doubt that she loves me. Her face lights up when she sees me, and she loves being with her family. I am content sharing her joy.

Although dementia has taken over my mom’s life, I am still her daughter. In this role, I am content to be her cheerleader. I can help find the word she is seeking, or guide her next steps with her walker. These may seem like small gestures, but they can make a world of difference to someone in need. Contentment has helped me to be more patient, more thoughtful, and even more creative in the ways I communicate with her. This has made a difference in my everyday life.

Sunday thought for the day: Sometimes happiness is found when we finally relinquish control of a situation, and give it over to God.  Why? Because God loves us. He always has a very specific plan and purpose in mind. And so, we can be thankful that life’s dilemmas are no longer our problems to figure out. 

Isn’t that a happy thought? 😊

 

 

Soaking Up the Son

Today I gave gratitude for the first full day of sunshine in a week. It was glorious waking up this morning and seeing those golden rays!

Although I had a full day of indoor activities planned and didn’t have much time to sit in the sun, I was grateful nonetheless. After a solid week of soaking rain, the sun’s warmth brightened every room and lifted the gloominess I had been feeling. I heard so many birds singing and I watched from our kitchen window as the spring’s first fledgling sparrows tested out their wings and visited our feeders. They are so much fun to watch! Our peonies are responding as well, no longer drenched and drooping over onto our patio. They are going to burst into full bloom this week. I will be sure to take some photos to share.

Also on this day, the Day of Pentecost, I gave gratitude for the Son of God — for Jesus Christ who promised the gift of the Holy Spirit to all who follow him. No amount of rain can diminish its divine light or keep it from filling our hearts. It is a gift of freedom, redemption and salvation, and it can never be taken away.

I am so grateful today for the sun — and the Son — which lift away the fog and clouds in life, bathing us in warmth and light, and filling us with fresh hope for each new day. What a blessing!