The words to this old hymn by Henry Alford (1810-1871), set to music by George J. Elvey (1816 - 1893) illustrate that gratitude - the attitude of gratitude - can indeed make the difference in the "harvest" we reap. Will our harvest be joy or sorrow?
Gratitude. Appreciating our lives as they are right now makes all the difference as to whether we're happy or sad. Feel abundant or deficient.
We all have imperfection in our lives to some degree. Will we focus, to the exclusion of that which is good, upon the things that are not? Or, will our focus be upon the "good harvest" that is safely gathered in?
If we place our focus upon "that which is safely gathered in" - in other words, appreciated and acknowledged, we will be far happier and content.
This is the Season of Gratitude. Let us be thankful, grateful for our bountiful blessings!
It doesn't have to be big, palatial, or costly. But it can be!
It can be a one room studio, an apartment, condo, trailer, or a camper.
A place we own, rent, lease, or drive.
It doesn't have to be your dream home. But, it does have to be where you dream your dreams. The place where you lay your head.
It is the place you go out from and gratefully come back to when the day is done.
It is where your favorite, comfy chair or sofa resides. You know, the one that has that little (or big) sag where you always sit to gaze out the window, enjoy a cup of tea, read, or just sit and think.
Home. Something we may take for granted until we risk losing it.
Home. Where we entertain family and friends, but not foes.
Home. Where we can truly relax and just be.
Home. Humble to some, but always a comfort and sanctuary to self.
Home. Where would we be without it...
A place of ones own to call Home.
Be it ever so humble, let us be thankful and grateful each day that we have a place to come Home to!
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He is the happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home. ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Home, the spot of earth supremely blest, A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest. ~Robert Montgomery
Every house where love abides And friendship is a guest, Is surely home, and home sweet home For there the heart can rest. ~Henry Van Dyke
There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.
Thanksgiving is coming! Good food, conviviality, family, and friends. A bit of history to celebrate, too.
My family has a Thanksgiving tradition I'd like to share...
As we sit around the table we take turns relating what we're thankful for.
In this run up to Thanksgiving, now a mere week away, let's all begin to think about what we're grateful for.
I'm grateful for my family, my home, my gardens, my community, my wonderful friends, my pets (including the Chicken Girls), my health, my faith...
A good start!
In this week before Thanksgiving I've decided to make an extra effort to express Gratitude more often each day. Oh, I do keep a daily gratitude journal and I do express gratitude upon arising for the new day and that I'm here to enjoy it. My evening prayers consist of thankfulness for the blessings that have transpired during the day. Still, can I ever be grateful enough for all the blessings I have? Blessings both large and small?
So, for the next week I'm going to make an even greater effort to say, thank you, to those whom I encounter each day, and to God throughout the day.
Many believe, and so do I, that by giving thanks for the good in our lives we open ourselves to ever more blessings. Of course, receiving more isn't the reason we give thanks, but it is one of the benefits of acknowledging the good in our lives.
Being grateful in thought, and in action by expressing it verbally, prayerfully, and through the written word aids us by focusing our thoughts in a positive direction. We come to know happiness and contentment.
If we focus our mind on what we lack the results are feelings of deprivation, misery, and lack.
This week up until Thanksgiving, focus your mind and heart upon your blessings. Count them one by one! See if you don't feel happier and receive even more to be grateful for.
If you use this week to be super-grateful, you will have started a habit of gratitude that you can continue for all the weeks of the year and beyond!
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He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. ~Epictetus
Gratitude is the best attitude. ~Author Unknown
We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. ~Thornton Wilder
I once read that the surest path to happiness is to be satisfied with what you presently have and how your life is right now.
If we put off our joy until we've made the big bucks, have acquired the dream home, or the luxury car with the large price tag, we're essentially putting off our happiness to a future time and conditions that may never arrive.
Be happy now! Be happy with where you live, be it ever so humble...
We only have this present moment. Despite whatever "warts" it may contain, there is good to be found in our lives the way they are right now.
There will never be perfection in life...maybe in Heaven...but we're here right now, not there (if we're still breathing)!
The happiest people are those whose focus is happiness. These folks don't dwell on what's wrong, but what's right!
Perhaps happiness is, after all, merely a matter of perception.
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Happiness is a conscious choice, not an automatic response. ~Mildred Barthel
If you ever find happiness by hunting for it, you will find it, as the old woman did her lost spectacles, safe on her own nose all the time.~Josh Billings
For some more great quotes on happiness and some interesting perspectives by a variety of thinkers on this subject, go to quotegarden.com
Money - usually not enough of it - is one of biggest causes of stress, worry, and disagreements.
How do we nourish our Souls if we’re worried about money?
There are many ways to nourish our Souls even if we are worried about money. However, through discipline and discernment we can eliminate the crushing stresses induced by debt and create a state of financial serenity.
How do we stretch what we have to cover our needs and wants?
It may not be a “stretching” that is needed. Simply living within your means is the most reasonable path. Another method is living “beneath” your income, which allows you to save more for that inevitable rainy day – illness, job loss, natural disaster, etc. Either method will allow you to have enough money to easily fill your needs and some special wants, as well.
Do we know what constitutes a need as opposed to a want?
After all, the media tells us constantly and unceasingly that this item (whatever they happen to be selling) is something you really need. But do you? Really?
It’s up to each of us to decide what we truly need. Needs and wants vary from person to person.
Over the years I’ve learned to want less so that it’s easier to have enough money to fulfill my needs. I’ve also altered the scope of my “wants” from simply material objects to less objective things.
Simple pleasures such as a good book – free because I’ve borrowed it from the bookmobile that serves our rural town, time spent savoring a cup of tea, sitting in the garden, chatting with a friend, journaling, knitting, or simply listening to music…a thousand Soul Restorative things that cost nothing but give simple pleasure.
Reducing our wants means we have less stuff to take care of, dust around or over, store, insure, move, worry about, organize...
Reduction of wants and stuff leads to simplification. Simplification is the heart of Soul Restoration.
If we owe our “soul” to the credit card companies we set up a cycle of worry, lack, obligation, and interest payments that go on for years! Sometimes decades.
The only way out of the credit card debt-trap is the hard way. The slow way. I’ve been there and I got myself out of it.
The interest you pay each month is not making you rich. It’s lining the pockets of someone else who’s already more than rich enough!
Take your highest interest credit card out of your wallet and cut it up so you don’t use it, thereby adding even more to your debt. Begin by paying as much extra each month as you can afford on the card. Make the minimum payments on the rest of your cards…that hopefully you’ve also removed from your wallet.
Pay cash or use checks for everything you need to buy! If you want something save up until you can afford to pay cash for it. This takes discipline, but it’s discipline that we need to get out of, and stay out of the credit/debt trap.
When that highest interest card is paid off don’t start using it again (hopefully you’ve cut it up which won’t ruin your credit rating and the company will send you a new one every few years). Continue your good habit of paying cash!
Then, take the next lowest interest card and make extra payments and so on until all the cards are paid off.
It may take a long, long time to pay off all the cards. If you get a raise at work or a bonus, use this to hasten the day of becoming debt free.
You’ll feel soooo good when you make that last payment that you won’t be tempted to run up the cards again. And, you’ll have developed a cash-paying discipline that will serve you for the rest of your life.
I believe that credit cards have a place in our lives, but it’s a very limited one. Save them for that emergency purchase you may not have the cash for…the fridge that does out, the major plumbing leak, that unexpected car repair bill.
Don’t use the credit card for the alligator purse, or on a sudden whim to take the entire extended family to Disney World (you can save up for that one and you’ll have a lot more fun if you don’t have to worry about paying the cost, plus interest, for the next three or more years).
Many of us don’t like to say, no, to the kids when they want something. While everyone’s immediate gratification will be filled in the short run, it’s important to teach kids (and ourselves) the discipline of waiting for things we desire. Kids are better served by learning to discipline their wants and how to responsibly fulfill them.
Simplifying our wants reduces stress and the amount of hours one needs to work to pay for stuff that won’t stand the test of time or is going to end up in storage.
More time for meaningful moments, and more $$$ in savings is nourishing to the Soul.