THE GRAT­I­TUDE JOUR­NAL

Activated - - NEWS - Sally Gar­cía is an ed­u­ca­tor, mis­sion­ary, and mem­ber of the Fam­ily In­ter­na­tional in Chile. ■ By Sally Gar­cía

I can´t re­mem­ber how to spell that word! How do I ex­press this idea cor­rectly? I can’t seem to get my thoughts onto the pa­per!

I was see­ing how rusty my writ­ing was. I hadn't had much op­por­tu­nity to or­der my thoughts into writ­ten para­graphs since my school days, and I was facing the ob­vi­ously poor con­se­quences. Then I re­mem­bered how much I'd en­joyed a creative writ­ing course in col­lege.

That's how the idea for my praise jour­nal was born. I'd pre­vi­ously kept track of my days in an ab­bre­vi­ated log fash­ion, mainly for or­ga­ni­za­tion's sake. My en­tries said, “April 8th: Sent a pack­age to my daugh­ter and vis­ited Mary,” or “Went to the doc­tor, be­gan flu treat­ment.” But this jour­nal would be dif­fer­ent. I would do more than just list events; I'd take the time to con­tem­plate all that had hap­pened that day and then ex­press my thoughts and feel­ings.

Most im­por­tantly, I laid down one con­di­tion: I wouldn't al­low my­self to ex­press neg­a­tive re­marks about peo­ple or si­t­u­a­tions. What­ever I wrote had to be from a praise­ful heart— even when the sit­u­a­tion seemed un­fair, the per­son con­trary, or the day to­tally bleak!

It was ther­a­peu­tic. I learned to write pray­ers that com­mit­ted the un­pleas­ant si­t­u­a­tions into God's ca­pa­ble hands. The more I wrote from this pos­i­tive per­spec­tive, the more I be­gan to have clearer un­der­stand­ing of si­t­u­a­tions, the more pos­i­tive I be­came about other peo­ple, and the more ideas I got for pos­si­ble so­lu­tions. This way of jour­nal­ing re­minded me to “give thanks in all cir­cum­stances” know­ing that “all

1 things work to­gether for good to those who love God.”

2 Along with re­count­ing the many bless­ings of each day, this has also taught me to com­mit the un­pleas­ant as­pects to prayer. Th­ese writ­ten thoughts and pray­ers are like dec­la­ra­tions of faith that I can look back on as I re­view my en­tries. It's be­com­ing more nat­u­ral to view the events in my life through the prism of praise.

As a bonus, with the prac­tice I'm get­ting, my spell­ing has im­proved and my writ­ing is more creative. I bought a cal­lig­ra­phy pen for the page ti­tles, and some­times I even do a bit of fancy let­ter­ing or il­lus­trate the spe­cial en­tries with lit­tle ink sketches. Daily I am re­minded that “if we pause to think, we have cause to thank.”

3

Bet­ter to lose count while nam­ing your bless­ings than to lose your bless­ings by count­ing your trou­bles.

—Malt­bie D. Bab­cock (1858–1901)

Grat­i­tude is the heart’s mem­ory.

—French proverb

1. 1 Thes­sa­lo­ni­ans 5:18 NIV 2. Ro­mans 8:28 3. Au­thor un­known

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