I’ve decided that if I’m going to follow Father Gregory Boyle’s advice on Delight, to “delight in what’s right in front” of me, then I better start noticing those things. Those everyday, mundane, average things.
Which I think, is a concept we affirm, right? We all want to start noticing the big and little things in our lives. This is why Ann Voskamps’s “1000 gifts” resonated with many of us. We want to be reminded to be grateful. We want tour guides of the everyday life to make us stop and observe.
“Look here,” they say, “see the potential in that sinkful of dishes. See the laughter in your child’s eyes? Isn’t it beautiful? Isn’t it worth remembering?”
I’ve decided that this year, I need to listen to more of these thoughtful tour guides. These Poets and noticers remind us to rest under the canopy of trees, and consider the ants. I want their infectious wonder to rub off on me.
Today one of those tour guides, Carrie Newcomer, offers an important piece of advice, delight comes on the heels of gratitude.
“Three Gratitudes” by: Carrie Newcomer
Every night before I go to sleep
I say out loud
Three things that I’m grateful for,
All the significant, insignificant
Extraordinary, ordinary stuff of my life.
It’s a small practice and humble,
And yet, I find I sleep better
Holding what lightens and softens my life
Ever so briefly at the end of the day.
Sunlight, and blueberries,
Good dogs and wool socks,
A fine rain,
A good friend,
Fresh basil and wild phlox,
My father’s good health,
My daughter’s new job,
The song that always makes me cry,
Always at the same part,
No matter how many times I hear it.
Decent coffee at the airport,
And your quiet breathing,
The stories you told me,
The frost patterns on the windows,
English horns and banjos,
Wood Thrush and June bugs,
The smooth glassy calm of the morning pond,
An old coat,
A new poem,
My library card,
And that my car keeps running
Despite all the miles.
And after three things,
More often than not,
I get on a roll and I just keep on going,
I keep naming and listing,
Until I lie grinning,
Blankets pulled up to my chin,
Awash with wonder
At the sweetness of it all.
I love this poem she read on Krista Tippets, “On Being” podcast. It’s been a source of delight and inspiration for me.
I think one of the reasons I loved urban ministry so much is I practiced gratitude pretty regularly. I had to. It was almost a defense mechanism. When things got hard, when we got bad news, when we questioned the goodness of God in the face of injustice, I forced myself to get out in the community and see the good. I listened for laughter. I followed my nose to the neighbor making stew with the tomatoes from her patio garden, and slowly, surely, sweetly, the wonder rushed in, “awashing” my soul, drowning out discouragement, entitlement, or worse of all, discontentment.
I’ve decided to pick up my practice of gratitude again. I want to love Los Angeles the way I loved New Orleans and Boston. I want to see the sacred ordinary wonder-filled aspects of both my suburb and my city. I want to delight in what’s right in front of me. But first, I need to decide how I’m going to practice gratitude.
To help me, I’ve put together five of my favorite resources to start a habit of gratitude.
You can check out and follow my “Attitude of Gratitude” Pinterest Board for more resources.
Five resources to start a gratitude habit:
1: Happiness Jar by Mommypotamus
2: Gratitude prompts for journaling/blogging by Local Adventurer
3: Beautiful art prints on gratitude for my home (my favorite if from my3monsters)
5: Gratitude Journal
Since everybody and their mama extols the benefits of a gratitude journal, it can get overwhelming choosing one, so here are my five favorite journals.
Five Favorite Gratitude Journals
2: 30 days Gratitude Photo Challenge from Positively Present
I really like the 30 day model for building a habit, especially with something so “in my head” as gratitude. The set time frame gives me the structure I need to be self- disciplined and the potential for celebration when I complete the journal energizes me.
I really love pdf/printable resources too. That way I can print whenever I’m ready and put it in my Life binder. It’s way more cost effective, too!
I’m going to choose one of these journal ideas in the next couple of days and I’ll show it off on my Instagram. I’m also going to give one of the above printable resources away to someone who comments over there too, so if you’re into Instagram and you want to help develop an attitude for gratitude, then would you come say hi to me over there?
Seeking Shalom in a well planned gratitude journal,