Year 4-Day 1: Today, we begin again. Day one of 366 (yes, it is a Leap Year). Today, I am grateful for my new "one little word" I have chosen for inspiration in the new year. I am grateful for the word "vision".
The youth at church began a tradition (since they are now on year two) of claiming a life verse. I stepped down from leadership this year, but was invited back for an evening of serving and sharing. They shared this year's life verses...and asked if I had one.(I love those kids!) I hadn't prepped anything, but this one came to mind. It has been a new memory verse for me and one I have journaled. Habakkuk 2:2 -
I have decided to move my daily gratitude over to a true blog-spot. I already had one from my paper crafts.. so I am simple recycling. What you see and read is still "From Valerie's Heart". Remember when your read it...that from my heart means it is not perfect!
I pray at each post that the Lord moves my hand and wrangles the letters into words that encourage and lift the spirits of those who visit. This is so much more fun with friends and family.
You will still see artful things, as they are a way I express gratitude... but I am making "daily gratitude" more the focus of this spot and more accessible for those who do not "do Facebook" and have expressed an interest.
I will see how it works with Facebook. I know for some...that is the easiest place to go. So I will put the link there...it is also the easiest place for comments (which, I confess...bring joy and affirmation).
Facebook started this gratitude story...and I just couldn't quit. I missed the November 2013 30 day challenge. News of my best girlfriends cancer recurrence came Halloween and I missed the challenge in the midst of other things. I decided to commit to 31 days of gratitude in January 2013.
After only one month, I was hooked. I couldn't stop. I was afraid to stop. Just as misery loves company...it seems that gratitude is equally contagious. A few friends and family were so positive when I considered another month that I committed to February 2013...and here we are on January 1, 2016. Another new beginning.
Gratitude...seeking gratitude...has become a lifestyle choice. The past three years have held joys and sorrow. Death, weddings and new life. My brother and I have both buried our father and best friends in that short time. My uncle battles Alzheimer's. Close family members have lost a great grandson, grandson and child. Our mother's health has declined. The love of my life had a motorcycle accident that left him broken and bruised. My brother-in-law has fought another cancer battle (Monte 2:Cancer 0) and claimed another victory. Another dear, dear friend was just begun his cancer treatment.
There has been more...but you get the point. Life happens. Heartache has not diminished gratitude...it seems to have unleashed it and the by-product is joy. Yes...there are tears at times...unexpected times. But, that doesn't change the truth. Love is worth it. Love endures all things. Love always wins.
My nearly 20 years at St. Jude are still very much a part of my world and my heart. So are the children, their families and their stories. I have learned the greatest lessons in gratitude in the valley of the shadow of death...and grieving my own sister's death when her life was just beginning was the first big lesson. Gratitude infuses good into the toughest times. It helps us continue to live when we are brokenhearted.
Sometimes, a working sump pump or electricity is all we can find, but I guarantee, those days will be far and few in-between. And...a working sump pump and power are something to celebrate that are often overlooked.
Gratitude reveals the gift of this day and this moment. This day demands we choose misery or gratitude. We have the power of choice...a power unique to man. We can whine and complain about what we want to have. Or, we can learn to hold loosely to material things and embrace the real gifts of this life. The chance to know and love God more and the opportunity to love our neighbors...all of our neighbors.
This year, I want to live with a clearer vision of the work the Lord has placed in my path. Not always the work I get paid to do, but the work that restores my soul. I want to learn to be more present and fully engaged.
Today, I am grateful for an opportunity to "write the vision, make it plain on tablets". It is my heart's desire to be clearly grateful in 2016. Happy New Year to you all!