No such thing

Several sources tell me that deep pink roses represent gratitude.  Yorktown, June 2005

Several sources tell me that deep pink roses represent gratitude. Yorktown, June 2005

“There is no such thing as gratitude unexpressed. If it is unexpressed, it is plain, old-fashioned ingratitude.”  — Robert Brault

One of the great blessings to come from this blog has been the ongoing task of reading many wise and inspiring words from all sorts of people, all over the world, from the earliest recorded eras up through now.  For every quote that shows up here, I would estimate that I have bookmarked or noted online dozens (maybe hundreds) of others, for which I haven’t had time to find a matching photo.  Suffice it to say that I have 20-30 books full of post-it flags.

Sometimes, a quote will hit me hard with the twin awareness of how true it is, and how much I personally need to hear it.  This quote today is one that really made me think.  I enjoy saying thank-you, and I do it a lot.  But I know there are countless people and blessings about which I have never even taken the time to express my appreciation.

So, without further ado, I want to thank everyone who is reading these words, right now.  Wherever you are, whatever your circumstances, I’m grateful for connecting with you through this online opportunity.  I’m grateful for all the supportive friendliness of the blogging community, and the many non-blogging friends who visit here to encourage and bless us during this difficult time.

I’m so thankful for the gift of technology, and the mind-boggling volume of information that is readily available at our fingertips.  Yes, there is a lot of misinformation, commercial misuse, and even dangerously predatory behavior in cyberspace.  But I honestly believe the good things that happen online outweigh the bad, and I’m determined to do what I can to raise that ratio.

But beyond that, I think of all the things I depend on daily, that I rarely think to feel grateful for.  The electricity that keeps this computer going.  The air conditioning that just kicked on automatically, without my having to adjust it or even feel uncomfortably hot.  The food I have eaten today and will eat tomorrow.  On and on I could go — and so could you.

Try this: think of someone or something  you enjoy so often that you scarcely notice how it blesses your life.  Then, make it a point, for a week or a month or always, to pause and express your gratitude.  I’ve found that feeling grateful is a contagious practice; the more I express my gratitude, the more grateful I feel, and the more others will join me in agreeing that we have so many reasons to rejoice.  If you feel moved to so do, please share some of the things you are grateful for today, in the comments below.  It might remind us of something we hadn’t thought to be happy about.

23 Comments

  1. When Jesus said to the devil: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” He was making us realize that we cannot take our next breath without the express will of the Heavenly Father. Our thanks for our daily bread is but a small votive expression for the overwhelming gratitude we feel when we realize that He wills into action our very next breath of life-sustaining air. (Matthew 4:ESV)

    • Yes, it’s easy to take something as continual as breathing for granted — until one struggles (or knows someone who struggles) just to breathe easily. In some of my most distressing hours, I have prayed for literally the strength to get through the next minute, and the next one, and the next one. Truly we are surrounded with signs of God’s love, all the time, even when things are worst.

  2. I am grateful to be blessed with so many who love me even when it’s hard. Hope you have a great day my friend. I love you.

    • Amy, you are one of the easiest people to love that I’ve ever known! Still, I suppose we all have our moments…hope you have a great day too! You know I love you too! 🙂

  3. hilzonsix

    Thanks, again, Julia. Most uplifting post.
    Marjorie Hill

    • Thank you Marjorie, I am so happy you like it. I appreciate your visits here!

  4. victoria k copp

    Gratitude is a virtue. But as frail human beings, we soon take it for granted and begin to feel entitled to blessings ordinary and extraordinary. For years, even though I knew better, I ate without thanking God who provides nutritious and delicious food. It is still a habit I need to develop. Beyond the words and the pause to express gratitude, gratitude redirects me to an appreciation of the love and goodness of our Creator. We meet God in the kindness of other people and we respond in gratitude, by being kind to other people. I know I need to work more on kindness and therefore, increased gratitude because sometimes, I don’t make this connection.

    • Victoria, I think many of us can identify with what you are saying. One thing that has partly fallen by the wayside in today’s rush-rush-rush world, where we seldom even sit down together for a meal, is the practice of thanking God before we eat. As you point out, we also need to practice being thankful to the many people whose work makes our daily lives easier. I think you are right that we grow to feel entitled to the richness of all that we have been given. But developing an awareness of our blessings really does make life so much happier. Thanks for being here, and for your comment!

  5. Jenelle

    Julia, you are raising that online ration with this blog and I appreciate you for it! I accept your challenge and will take the time to see what blessings I may take for granted and express gratitude. And I just may need to buys some pink roses soon 🙂

    • Thank you, Jenelle! I appreciate your visits here, and your encouraging comments. Cyber “pink roses” to you!

  6. Lydia

    To express our gratitude is a good virtue to practice. Thanks for this reminder, Julia. Your photos are always so inspiring. Agains, thanks for sharing the beauty of God’s world and man’s creativity. You bless me every day.

    • Thank you, Lydia! I am so happy you like the blog. It’s been a blessing to me just to focus on all the good and happy things around me, and I am always doubly cheered when I hear from others who like it. I appreciate your visits here, and your comment!

  7. What a thoughtful post Julia 😀 As always, thanks for inspiring. There is always plenty to be thankful for personally and believe me, I count my blessings daily. Living downtown, there are many sad reminders of those who struggle and seem not to have had as many blessings in their own lives. So with that, I will say that I’m grateful for a home, as temporary or as humble as it is. Shelter is everything. It’s where you build a healthy life so you can be part of the community.

    • Yes, I have always been so thankful for every home we’ve lived in. Moving around in the military, there’s been a big difference in the size, age and condition of our homes, but I learned that has very little to do with how happy we are in any particular place. I cannot imagine how hard it would be to live without a home. The Newport News area churches get together to take turns providing meals and emergency shelter in the church buildings during the cold months for people who are homeless. One Thanksgiving when we were working there and checking people in, I was asking each one how they were doing. So many would answer, “I’m really blessed tonight, how are you?” and they would say it as if they really meant it. Quite an appropriate experience to have on Thanksgiving Day, to see people who were thankful to have much less than I did. Then when we went back home that night to our cozy room and nice comfy bed, I thought of those people sleeping on those thin little pads on the floor, saying “I’m really blessed!” Not all the guests were so pleasant, but a great many of them were. It was a real eye-opener for me, something I’ve never forgotten.

      • Thank you for sharing that beautiful memory Julia. As you can imagine, there are plenty of cold nights here and I worry greatly about those seeking shelter. The City of Edmonton has often opened underground Light Rail Train Stops downtown when the weather gets fearful so that no one is without a warm place. I don’t believe anyone chooses that life, as some without empathy may think. Many of the homelessness in our city I think have mental illnesses and fall between the cracks. I can think of more than a few people I personally know who are a month away from homelessness without their jobs (no backup finances in place). I think it can easily happen to anyone.

        • Yes, one of the things that surprised me the first time I worked at the PORT shelter, was how many of these people had jobs and had to get up super early to catch public transportation to get them to work on time. Also how many are temporarily homeless (including families with small children) because of the exact situation you describe, being only a month or so away from having nowhere to stay. And then of course all those with mental illness who have more chronic problems related to their inability to understand or comply with the rules which all shelters must have to keep operating safely. The Olmstead Act was a step forward, but closing the institutions before having the needed supports in place has resulted in a great many people who do fall through the cracks. While we lived in northern CA the S.F. Chronicle had a great series about some of the more chronic homeless people in the city, a few of whom were habitually either in jail or having 911 called on them due to violent or dangerous behaviors. Reading that series, I came to understand what a terribly thorny problem homelessness is in many cases. There really are no simple answers because any sort of coerced services could have the unintended effect of crossing the line between individual liberty and the good of the community. I was stunned that Gavin Newsome’s “Care not cash” program was the target of so much acrimonious opposition.

  8. Sheila

    Julia,our blessings really are all around us if we just take the time to realize the importance of God’s gifts to be enjoyed in this lifetime. I had a life changing event two years ago, when I fell down a flight of stairs in our home and had to be airlifted to our hospital trauma center. I’ve told family and friends that God was with me and must have caught me and cushioned my fall. I just feel so fortunate, to be spared severe head trauma or worse. I am grateful for you and how you enrich my life everyday. Love, Sheila

    • Oh Sheila, what a scary thing to happen! I am always reading these frightening statistics about how people are killed in falls at home. Jeff scares the living daylights out of me when he insists on getting up on ladders and walking around the roof. Eric has a pretty horrible ladder story to tell himself. I hope you didn’t have too much pain! Stories like these remind me of the old saying about being thankful for all the things that DON’T happen! I am so glad you lived to tell the tale. Thanks for being here!

  9. Terri Wallacker

    Hi Julia,
    I appreciate your post today! You are an amazing and inspiring woman. Thank YOU! Sometimes when I go to bed at night I feel so overwhelmed with all that I need to pray about. Sometimes I am feeling down or discouraged. Last night it was a little of both so I just decided to let God know of all the things for which I am thankful. I don’t remember when or where I left off. There is no end to the blessings in my life and it is so much better to focus on those gifts than to let myself be burdened by the things that seem to be missing. Good timing for me to read your message! I need to let others know more often when I am thankful for them and all they mean to me.

    • Terri, I am so glad you found it helpful! I love the old song we used to sing in church, “Count Your Blessings.” Every verse has such a lot to say. I can’t help but wonder why we don’t hear that song as often as we used to – we have more to count than ever before, when you really think about it. But it’s so easy to see what’s missing instead of what’s there (or all the bad things that AREN’T there). It makes me very happy to know you like the blog. I hope you have a great day today and can rest easier tonight!

  10. Kathy

    One of my favorite authors was Eugenie Price. Besides writing wonderful historical novels she also wrote uplifting books for women about our Christian journey..she once said that our subconscious can be like a basket in which we may place positive thoughts, Scripture verses etc. She called them pearls of wisdom. And when the need arises the Holy Spirit will bring these pearls to our consciousness and we will be strengthened. I have found that so many of the beautiful phrases and life giving thoughts that you share with us day in and day out are like those pearls to me. They have popped into my head many times just ‘out of the blue’. I’m sure the Holy Spirit has done this! I am very grateful to have discovered this blog and grateful for your gift.

    • Kathy, that is one of the nicest compliments I have ever gotten about this blog. I grew up during the days when schools and churches placed a great emphasis on having kids memorize certain things, and I for one have absolutely no regrets about that; I have such a nice mental “treasure trove” of verses, songs, sayings and such that have helped me in many situations. I agree that rote memorization is not enough, but I think our children would do well to continue learning things from memory. To this day, if you asked me to put something in alphabetical order, I will start singing the ABC song in my head! Thanks again for a wonderful compliment, and for reading the blog!

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