I admit, I have a hard time keeping a journal. If I am not beat by my internal fight to actually go to bed, (Why is that so hard?) I sometimes get stuck over analyzing my day, flipping through Instagram, or feeling defeated for not having a “noteworthy day.” Sometimes I worry that my kids or posterity may read my journal one day and see that I live a monotonous, vanilla-flavored life that reflects a lackluster routine. I am a working girl: I get up, eat breakfast, pack a lunch, go to work, come home, make dinner, do laundry, etc. I could just stamp date my journal and fill in the same thing every day. That attitude will certainly deflate and take the joy out of any day.

My perspective on journal writing changed one Sunday in Relief Society. A sister started sharing feelings similar to mine about how her routine is very set and most things will never change. She said that she can can, however, write one unique thing she is grateful for every day. She can always find something new to be grateful for. This mindset changed the way she viewed her day and helped her to make a conscious effort to see the hand of the Lord in the everyday of every day.

I decided that Sunday that I would stop journal writing and start gratitude keeping. And it has made all the difference in how I close my days.

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I start every entry with: Today I am grateful for:

– a sister who will help me find the perfect 90s costume

– the dollar section at Target

– the temple right down the street

– four-day work weeks and early morning hikes

– family and friends who will listen to my dreams

– sidewalk chalk paint, chocolate, and strawberries

The list will never end.

President Monson (the king of gratitude) said, “Do we remember to give thanks for the blessings we receive? Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, but it also unlocks the doors of heaven and helps us feel God’s love. . . . We can lift ourselves and others as well when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude” (The Divine Gift of Gratitude (2010)).

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One of my heroes, Corrie Ten Boon (author of The Hiding Place) is a fabulous example of showing gratitude. In her experience in a prison camp during World War II she shares how she and her sister, amid all else, could even be grateful for the fleas that infested their bunks. Her published gratitude journal is an example to me, helps me keep perspective during my trials, and gives me a little lift like President Monson promised.

I still am not perfect at journal writing, but I am becoming a fabulous gratitude keeper. I can find endless things to be grateful for. I am especially grateful for my Father in Heaven who loves me perfectly and wants me to be happy with the life His hand selected for me.

Posted by Ashley

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