Spotlight: Gratitude Journals

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Photo courtesy of http://www.lifepowertip.com

Today I am really excited to share with you the idea of “Targeted Journaling”. You may already be a a faithful writer or you may want to begin writing but are not sure what to write about.  Sometimes the idea of writing can sound boring or scary but I’m here to tell you, it does not have to be a bad experience. Writing is such an awesome way to communicate your thoughts with God and to clarify what you are thinking. I love to journal because I have so many thoughts, ideas, and plans that writing them down helps me see if I am really interested in following through or if it was just a passing thought. The good thing about having a journal is that you can choose the topic, the utensil, the colors and what you write about. Having a personal journal is very different from writing class, there is no grade, no time limit and best of all, you do not have anyone who will read it. This is solely for you!”Journaling “is different than a diary, this is your way to communicate to God and express yourself. Targeted journaling is even more different because it allows your book to have one main focus. The type of targeted journaling I am going to talk to you about today is having a gratitude journal. A gratitude journal is not a “woe is me”, “my life is crazy”, “LORD please help me!”, a gratitude journal has one purpose, it is to highlight the blessings in your life. It is your way to live out Philippians 4:8 which tells us to focus on the good things. Life can flash so many advertisements, posts, and chaos that it can become easy to focus on the negative and to feel life you are Eeyore but you must realize the devil wants you to focus on those things. It is in these moments where we are most tempted to move away from God but stand firm and find the joy.

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My prayer for you is that you would be Tigger. Bounce around with infectious positivity and happiness. So whether you are an Eeyore, as curious as Baby Roo or scary like Piglet, choose to be a Tigger by having a spirit of gratitude. Here is one way you can change your mind to change your life.

Step 1: Choose a journal

Look at the images below for ideas, your journal can be as decorative or plain as you want. The idea is for you to have your own go-to space to write your thoughts.

Image result for diy gratitude journal Image result for diy gratitude journal

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2: Start writing
One way to begin each day is to start giving thanks to God. As you begin to write, other thoughts will begin to flood your mind and before you know it you will have a list of things pleasing to you. I have also included some gratitude journal writing prompts that will help you.

  

Be encouraged to make this a family, team, group or church project. Encourage one another to focus on the positive things for a 30 day of gratitude challenge (feel free to make it longer). Your mind and spirit will be renewed as you focus more on what you have than on what is missing. This keeps negative thoughts from flooding your mind causing doubt, desire and the feeling that God is not moving because He has and is moving. You will notice the more you write the more  you see how blessed your life. A gratitude journal will put things into perspective of how much you have whether they are experiences or things, God has done so much for you, there is never a time when you can make a complete list. So resist the devil’s temptation to make you feel you are lacking, you have been blessed abundantly so start living it every day.

 

Be blessed, be positive, and most importantly, be a blessing!

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Counting My Blessings

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One assignment I had at the beginning of my program was to count my blessings. I generally was a person who thanked God for things in the moment but this was the first time I had just sat and taken time to consistently thank God for all the things He had done. By thinking of the blessings God had given me, it was easy to feel joy. The goal was to get to 50 and that I did.

(I will preface the list below by sharing this was the first time I had ever sat down to write down a list of things I am thankful for. My maturity and appreciation have grown since this was originally done. Check back soon for a new “Counting My Blessings” post.)

Below is my list of what I am grateful for, this list is a lot shorter than how blessed I really am!

  1. Knowing God
  2. My family
  3. Friends
  4. Education
  5. Teach for America
  6. Sunsets
  7. Visiting the Eiffel Tower twice
  8. Relaxing on Venezuela’s beaches
  9. Passport
  10. Learning Spanish
  11. My students and their families
  12. Ability to read, write and do math
  13. BBQ
  14. Lived in NYC (Brooklyn)
  15. Be bi-cultural
  16. Trip to Brazil
  17. Athleticism
  18. Singers
  19. My church homes (here and away)
  20. Love songs
  21. Gospel Music
  22. Mobility of my limbs
  23. Skype
  24. Rolling chairs and floor mats
  25. Fluffy cold pillow
  26. NY Pepperoni Pizza
  27. Mexican/ Venezuelan Food
  28. Avocados
  29. My sorority: Alpha Xi Delta
  30. My car
  31. My home
  32. India Arie
  33. Stevie Wonder
  34. Basketball
  35. Prayer Life
  36. Jesus
  37. Inspirational Quotes
  38. People who send inspirational quotes
  39. Motivational songs
  40. Love
  41. NY transit system
  42. Sunglasses
  43. A determined mind
  44. A curious mind
  45. Passion for success
  46. Having been in love
  47. Sunday School
  48. My mom’s job
  49. Curly hair moisturizer
  50. Curly hair detangling brushes

Chronicle: Sleep

This week was a great week of dreams.  I have been going through a major life change, I gave up my life of international travel and independence to move home and eventually, enroll in school. This decision has had more of an impact on me emotionally than I expected and it was affecting my sleep. Since I have been more active and have decided to embrace this new opportunity in my life, my dreams returned to me. My lack of sleep and awkward sleep pattern blocked my head with worries and regrets. But now I am able to embrace the new changes in my life and I am filled with all the wonders of my future. Now, my thoughts encourage and inspire me instead of depressing me.  God has room now to  show to me plans for my life through my dreams. This past week, I dreamed about old friends from college, special family members and just other visions that when I reflect on them, bring me to smile.
This assignment taught me to make sleep a priority. I did not let my sleep time become based on whatever time was left after I did all my other things on my to-do list. I set a goal for myself and, no matter what I was doing or still needed to do, I was going to be sleep at 10 p.m. By doing setting a goal for myself this week, my first thoughts in the mornings were thoughts of happiness and not grouchiness due to lack of sleep. Three times this past week, I woke up before my alarm, with time to relax before jumping into the day and I woke up glad to be awake. In the past, without adequate sleep, my first thought was “No! I want to go back to sleep.” My first thoughts were not toward God and I was not thankful to be alive and awake, instead I was beginning each day complaining and grumbling. This week taught me to have a gracious attitude because blessings are upon us as soon as I wake up and it is up to me to notice how blessed I am from the beginning of my day until the end.