Sunday, November 23, 2008

Gratitude journaling

Welcome if you've found your way here from my devotion. Feel free to introduce yourself and maybe tell me what are you thankful for at this moment on this day.

If answering that question is surprisingly harder that you expected, maybe you should join me in staring a gratitude journal. I've keep one in the past and I can tell you it is certain to stoke the fires of gratefulness in your heart, and bring the many benefits of "thank you power" I wrote about in the devotion linked here. You just have to commit to doing it several nights a week - it only takes a couple minutes.

"God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say 'thank you?'" ~ William A. Ward

So how do you start? Simple. First choose a book to be your gratitude journal. It can be a journal book, a small sketch book, or a small spiral bound notebook - whatever works for you. Just make sure you find it visually appealing. You can decorate the cover of a subject notebook if you wish- try ribbons, stamping, photographs, or maybe decoupage. If you do create yours, I hope you'll post a picture of it on your blog and then leave the link here in the comments so we can come see it. Until I see yours and get inspired to decorate one myself, I'm using the one pictured here. It's by Dayspring.

Place your journal beside your bed along with a pencil or pen. All you do is at the end of the day, sit with your journal and write down 5 things your are thankful for. Once you've completed your list, whisper thanks to God (from whom all blessings flow).

At first it might seem hard to list 5 things every day. Also, your lists might look the same a lot at the start, and that's OK. Just remember you can list "big" things (grace, health, family, job, friends) and also "little" things (bird you spotted this morning, the friendly waitress who made you laugh, the house down the street that looks so festive at Christmas time, minty-fresh toothpaste). Anything positive will do, so long as you can be honestly thankful for it.

What if you come up with more than 5 things one evening? Great, feel free to jot more down. What if you come up with less than 5? Look back over past entries and see if that helps get your mind going. You can always list precious promises like salvation or God's promise to never leave us!

My deal with myself is that if I can't fill a list of 5, I'll copy into my journal a verse from the Bible (like Psalms) that speaks about being grateful, or that gives me a reason to be thankful to God. I also enjoy including motivating quotes in my gratitude journal such as:

"I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder." ~ G.K. Chesterton

The gratitude journal shouldn't take long to fill out each evening. And as the days and weeks go on and you make this a part of your routine, you'll find yourself making mental notes through out the day - I'm going to remember this and write it in my journal. That's when gratefulness becomes the lens through which you look at your day, and the benefits of "thank you power"start kicking in.

So give it a try and let me know how it goes if you choose to start a journal. If you don't plan to start one right now, just post a comment here and tell us what you're thankful for today.

  1. I'm thankful so far today for a warm house on this wintery morning.
  2. For the kisses my little boy just gave me.
  3. For my morning green tea, and the health benefits it has.
  4. And for the holiday coming on Thursday ... because while my husband likes the "routine" days of life, I like the "punctuation" marks like holidays.
  5. I'm also thankful you visited!


  1. I'm thankful that you're there, reminding me that God is real and He loves me.
    I'm thankful that I can walk to work even in the sleet and snow.
    I'm thankful that my hisband has not taken a drink in the last 24 hours - one day at a time sweet Jesus is the way to live with an alchoholic!

  2. I'm thankful for my 1 month old baby boy that I'm rocking right now! I've been up with him for most of the night because he's sick, but I'm grateful that I can cuddle and feel the warmth of him sweet body.

  3. I am thankful for God's Word and Truth that never changes. He is our portion.

    I am thankful for my husband who loves God and his family.

    I am thankful our children are off from school this whole week so we can have pajama days and prepare for Thanksgiving dinner.

    I am thankful for friends, sisters in the Lord, and how I see Him reflected in each one uniquely.

    I am thankful He allows us to serve Him and be His vessels.

    I am thankful for you, Rachel, and all the gals at P31! :)

    Warm, cozy Thanksgiving sishes to you and yours!

  4. ooppss! :) That's "Thanksgiving Wishes"......I don't know what "sishes" are!!!

  5. I am thankful for God's grace and strength. My husband died while fighting a fire on Nov. 17. We just buried him on Saturday. The whole day I felt the Lord's prescence and know the "celebration" will be used to further the spreading of the Gospel and the goodness of God.

  6. I'm Thankful for God in my life and the encouragement I receive from Him each day! I just lost my brother two months ago and I'm sad to celebrate this holiday without him - but God keeps lifting my spirits! As my Pastor said yesterday, We can be thankful "in" all things (even the trials), not just be thankful "for" all things! Pastor calls it "thanks-living" - Isn't that great?
    1 Thessalonians 5:18. "In all things, give thanks. Amen Sisters! Have a beautiful Thanksgiving!

  7. I am thankful for the email that was lost this morning. (It wasn't to be)
    I am thankful for my husband getting his tooth pulled today. (No more pain)
    I am thankful for the sunshine! (Better to drive to NYC to get the tooth pulled)
    I am thankful for lunch today with my daughter.(pulled tooth, NYC, she works there)
    Mostly I am thankful for Jesus (love, peace, wisdom that He gives)
    God's blessing & Happy Turkey Day to all!

  8. I'm grateful for women who know how to encourage other women!

    Thanks for the journaling idea...I've decided to do this with my two younger children at bedtime. (I can't hang with my 19 and 21 year olds' later bedtimes :-)

  9. I am thankful for my kids and the honesty of my 3-year old son who told me this morning that I smelled great!

    I will be starting a journal this evening. What a great idea!

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    In Him,

  10. Rachel,
    I am thankful that God is such a loving God. That no matter how much I mess up, He picks me up and holds me in His arms and tells me it's okay and He loves me. I am thankful that inspired to give us His word in the Bible and He inpowered you and other women to spread His word to encourage and help others. Thank you and P31 for all your hard work.
    PS Journaling is great and Since this has come up more than once maybe God is telling me personally I need to. Just a thought. Hmmm :)

  11. Hey all! I am so very thankful for two of the most beautiful daughters in the whole world! They are 5 years old and 3 months old! I am also so very thankful for a hard working, loving hubby who loves his family and provides for us! Praise GOD! Having a heart of thanks does lift your spirits!! Thanks! Julie

  12. I'm thankful for ....
    this devotion this morning
    my husband
    my 3 healthy little ones
    holding my 5 yr old's hand this morning as we walked to kindergarten
    god's forgiveness

  13. I am thankful for the gift of life. For my precious husband and 3children. I thank God that my husband loves the Lord and has chosen to serve him all the days of his life. I am thankful for our upcoming 10th wedding anniversary and for the surprise trip I have been planning for 5 months now. God is good because I asked him to provide the finances to make this work and he has and I can't wait to reveal the big surprise to my husband in 23 days time. He makes Everything beautiful in His time! Thank you Rachel for reminding us to be thankful and for this blog.

  14. 1. I'm thankful for my mother and the mighty woman the Lord has created her to be
    2. I'm thankful for the promise that me and my household will serve the Lord
    3. I'm thankful that my niece was born healthy
    4. I'm thankful for the blessings that are to come
    5. I'm thankful for great worship music

  15. Dear Rachel, God's timing of your devotional is amazing! The Lord has been placing this truth on my heart the last week and last night I was sharing this with my two boys(they are 12 and 15). We were talking about the law of inertia: an object in motion stays in motion while an object at rest stays at rest unless acted upon by an outside force! The Lord confirmed this truth with your devotion this morning! Thankfulness can be that outside force that puts an end to depression, etc. and moves us in the right direction! If you begin the habit of practicing a thankful heart then your life will continue to follow this will become who you are ... a thankful person... shining in this dark world for the Lord's glory! Through Christ we can obey and just start thanking Him in all circumstances and His Spirit will continue moving us to become more and more thankful! Praise Him and Thank Him for His truth! :)

  16. I am grateful that in Laureen's time of great loss she was able to feel God. Also grateful that she shared that with us so we can pray for her. Blessings on you Laureen.

    I am also grateful above all else that I am able to know God.

  17. I'm thankful for this P31 ministries daily devotion, i'm thankful for my loving husband, i'm thankful for my two years old daughter who starts to imagine things and learning to talk, i'm thankful for God's favor that He pours everyday on my life. thank you for this message. God bless you!

  18. Rachel, I really enjoyed your devotional on Pr. 31 today, and came to your blog from there. I think this is something I can do each evening with my 2 kids who are at home.

    I am aware every day how much I have to be thankful for, and even in the midst of sorrow, there are things to praise God for. I was glad to read those who are grieving are still able to Praise the Lord.

    My husband died almost 2 yrs ago, and in our journey thru the valley of the shadow of death we found much to be thankful for. I have a different relationship with God because of it, although I've been a Christian for 36 yrs.

    Today though, I am thankful for:

    being able to share the thanks devotional with my family, including my son in the army who is having struggles with depression

    I'm thankful for friends who pray for us, and ask us to spend Thanksgiving Day with them

    God has provided so wonderfully for us, and I praise Him for it often

    I'm thankful to be able to stay home, and share my love with others thru sewing and quilting.

    I'm thankful for the Bible, and how God encourages us, convicts us, shows His love, through what we read.


  19. I started a "thanksgiving" journal in September that I try and write in four to five times a week. It has been a huge blessing in my life. I love it!

  20. I pplan on starting my gratitude journaling today. I was really inspired by the devotional and the blog post this morning. Five things that I am thankful for:

    I'm thankful for today's devotional that reminded me to e thankful about both large and small things.

    I'm thankful for my mother's morning phone calls that remind me of being back at home.

    Thankful just for being alive today.

    I'm t hankful for the joy that he continually gives me.

    I'm thankful for being able to fellowship with my church family yesterday.

    Be Blessed!

  21. Thank you for your God given word. My past just spoke on this on yesterday. I am greatful because the Lord say fit to put me and my husband back together almost a year ago. My husband was on drugs and alcohoic and once he got his life back on track he was engaged to another woman. But God turned everything around and we are back together and we are raising our children together and we are working in ministry together. This is just a breif statement of how much I have to be thankful for.

    Have a blessed day


  22. I am grateful for your blog on gratitude and especially keeping a gratitude journal. I have a gratitude journal but I have not wrote in it for weeks. Thank you for reminding me.

  23. I am thankful for

    1. God-loving parents who love me and who are healthy and have recently celebrated 50 years married.

    2. My husband who loves gently and privately and for the chance to grow by learning how to love him deeply in a way that enriches both of us

    3. Two adult daughters who are strong women and who are continually in my prayers.

    4. My faith which has grown radically this year due in a very large part to this blog and the community of women that opened up for me on line! You are all so special, words cannot adequately express how grateful I am that I met you and know you!

    5. My Lord and Savior who sustains me, fulfills me, carries me through tough times, and gives me knowledge, insight and understanding when I seek Him.

    I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams and I wish all of you a very blessed Thanksgiving full of God's love for each of you whatever your circumstances!



  24. I am thankful for my Heavenly Father who loves me and who has never left my side.
    I am thankful for my wonderful children that keep me young and happy.
    I am thankful for awesome sisters in Christ who are a blessing to me.
    I am thankful for my husband successful weekend at work.
    I am thankful for the joy that God gives me when I am experiencing pain.

  25. Rachel,
    As I sit here today watching my son fight a very tough fight with cancer, I have to admit that I am struggling with great sadness and fear.......and honestly, anger too. Life is so tough at times. And yet, I look around me and I am still thankful for so many things....

    Nick's determination and his spirit which NEVER complains

    My mom who has come to stay and help us 24/7

    My oldest son who is in his junior year of nursing and is home for Thanksgiving break and is so much help

    My husband who continues to reach out to others even in the midst of his pain

    My daughter who brings hugs just when I need them

    My friends who are here as soon as I call and need them

    A God who brings peace even today

    Thanks, Rachel, for making me take a minute to think about the "good things."

    Love, Tammy

  26. Thanks for the devotional and post this morning.

    I'm inspired :)

    I think I just might start a gratitude journal. And what a great idea that could be for kids, too.

    I'm thankful I have a happy and healthy 2 year old little boy. I'm thankful I get to see my family this week. I'm thankful for my new $7 leopard print purse. I'm thankful for my home, the food on the table, and clothes in our closets. Goodness....soooo much to be thankful for.

    I should focus on gratitude more often.

    Have a lovely week:)

    - Kate

  27. For many years I had a cleaning business and as you can imagine, not a glamorous job and sometimes difficult to do. I regularly prayed a prayer of thanks on my way to work for many things including all of my accounts and found God gave me a spirit to pray for each family as I was cleaning their homes. This gave a me a more thankful and tender spirit each day. It also helped the day to pass much more quickly. I have since let go of that business and have been working in a different unrelated field. October 3 I quit a job because of unethical business practices and am now unemployed for the first time in many, many years. Yesterday in church my beloved Pastor was also preaching about thankfulness and being thankful in all circumstances. I had to ask myself if I am thankful for my unemployment status. It has been difficult and thankful is not a word I would have used to describe this situation. But I can say in honest reflection I have found many things to be thankful for in this difficult time. I am thankful for the time I have to read and reflect on Gods' Word. I am thankful for my mother-in-law who is helping financially, for the time I have to do many things I have not had time to do otherwise. I am also thankful knowing that God is faithful, He knows my needs, and has never failed me before and I know HE will not now.

  28. I found this devotional so very good that I sent it to a whole bunch of people....many of whom have had kind of bad attitudes recently. Maybe a word from YOU (since they do not know you) will be better received than a word from me. Gratitude is so very important in our lives. Thanks to you!!!!!! for sharing.

  29. I am thankful that in the midst of all things I can be thankful. Not because things are bad or good but because God created me and creates the days in which I live. I am thankful to unwrap each day and find out what he has for me.

    I am also thankful for P31 and the SheSpeaks conference. They have broadened my scope and bolstered my confidence in an infinite amount of ways.

    Thank you for your devotional Rachel. I truly enjoyed it.

  30. First I would have to give thanks to my Heavenly Father, His Son and the Holy Spirit. Without these three I would be nothing.

    I'm thankful that God spared my life twice and brought me to the devotion you did and started a bible study about women. I have learned so much from you, and others.

    I'm thankful for the friends I've made while learning to blog. The blog I am thankful for, which has given me something to do that reflects God's love. I have learned so much and He has taught me so much. My faith is stronger today than it has ever been, to God be the glory.
    Thanks and have a wonderful Thanksgiving,

  31. I am thankful to serve the living God.
    I am thankful for His Love and His Salvation.
    I am thankful that He desires relationship with us.
    I am thankful for a kind, thoughtful and compassionate husband.
    I am thankful for a church body that loves.
    I also am thankful for Rachel and the women of the bible study.
    I am thankful for all blogging friends.
    I am thankful that even when I get selfish and self absorbed and forget to be thankful...God still loves me...
    Happy Thanksgiving Everyone. God bless you all.

  32. I am grateful beyond words that my oldest son who has been incarcerated most of his adult life because of drugs has turned his life over to God and is sold out to Jesus.
    I am grateful that God does answer prayer!!

  33. Dear Friends,
    I'm an expat living in Australia. I've lived here for 24 years. I lost my 'church' and my marriage of 20 years 3 years ago, and am still searching to find a connection to another church family. I am thankful that in all the confusion, doubt and fears that surfaced over these, and several other, losses, I have never lost my faith in God. I know He has a plan for me, and will help me find a great place to settle into for worship, He will help me find the new job I desperately need, He will help me stay connected to my dying best friend in the US even if I can't go to be with her, He will help me find peace of mind and strength in all things...

    I am extremely greatful that He continually puts forward small blessings to express His love and HIs presence in my daily life... the laugh of a kookaburra still makes me pause every time! The laughter of the autistic children I work with, the love of my children, the wind chimes out in my backyard, the patch of blue sky I can glimpse behind the threatening clouds. As someone put in their blog earlier, I am SOOO greatful for the willingnes of other women to share their stories and their strength, so that we can encourage, and be encouraged by them. I will start a gratitude journal tonight. And on Thanksgiving, even though we'll probably be having sliced turkey lunchmeat instead of a great big bird, I plan to start a Thanksgiving journal, for each guest to write in, which I will bring out each year to share with whoever is able to come and share the day with us. Thanks for all the inspiration! God bless us all!
    Kris in Oz

  34. I am thankful for my husband, my family, and my friends. Most of all I am thankful for a loving
    Savior who saves all of us and is giving us the greatest gift of being Home with Him one of these days.

  35. Thanks for sharing. I quoted you heavily on my blog today but said it was from your devotion and linked there and here.

    I turn 40 in December. Not being married and not having kids and turning 40 has made me feel melancholy. I wanted to combat that and have the birthday be a positive one instead of a negative. In an effort to do that, I decided that for the 40 days leading up to my birthday I would post a gratitude. (People might be getting tired of them, but I think it is good for me.)

    I'm halfway through. I've scratched off all the surface things, so now it is getting a bit trickier, but I think it is a good stretch.

    I needed the encouragement today. It was a rough one. I'm trying to figure out what to be grateful for from today!

  36. I really enjoyed your devotion and plan to make 'gratitude journaling' a new practice! You are right! Giving thanks is truly God's will for us! I Thes. 5:18

    I have learned some lessons in thanksgiving the last few weeks. I have been following the blog of Emily Panter who suffered an anurism two days after giving birth to her fifth child. the last three weeks have been so tramatic for her family but as her husband reminded us, we forget that we need God in the small things of life as much as the storms!

    I teach a third and fourth grade Sunday School class and the past two weeks we have looked at being thankful in all circumstances. After the first lesson I was put to the test by a very trying day at work on Monday! I almost failed the test too! I caught myself focusing on every negative thing that had happened and then the Spirit nudged me gently and I began to focus on the positive things that had happened, it transformed my whole day! Later I couldn't even recall the day to my co-worker who had been off that day!

    Yesterday in Sun. School we had a meal together (without hands or eyes)that helped us give thanks for many of those things that we normally take for granted like hands to pick up food and drinks, eyes to see the food, noses to smell it, tongues to taste it, etc..

    The main thing this season that has helped me be more thankful has been thru a brother and an uncle that have decided not to believe in God, the Bible or any thing of faith. Until this year I have been protected and nieve, living in small christian communities, raised in church all my life. I knew not all people were Christians but I had no idea that there were people strongly opposed to what I believe! I wish I knew how to articulate how this revelation has affected me. I am hurt, not for myself but for God. He deserves praise and adoration from every living creature and to know that there are people, not merely uninformed but violently opposed to my Father that is Holy and full of mercy and grace! My heart is broken and I am determined that my praise be pure and genuine. No longer will I rotely sing in church but I will sing with passion--directly to my God, giving thanks always for the call He extended to me!

  37. Hi Rachel, just wanted to wish you a very Happy Turkey Day! I pray you have a wonderful one..your blog posts are so good! Hope to see you over the holidays, will you be coming to Charlotte?! love ya, Shari

  38. Rachel,

    It doesn't take much nudging to get me to start another journal. My prayer journal, family journal, and journals for each of my children beckon to me often. I will plan on heading out to find a journal this week. Instead of using it just for me, I think I will pass it around to family on Thanksgiving. That way I can pull it out for this special holiday.

    Thanks for the great idea.

  39. I am thankful for having a daddy who loved me enough to raise me in church which gave me the comfort to know that one day we will be together again in heaven .... Im also thankful for having a God who listens to and answers prayers!

  40. I'm thank-ful for sharing Thanksgiving with family and extended family today.

    I'm also grateful for also talking to family up north over the camera via internet, I'm grateful for such technology.

    I'm grateful for my home and I'm grateful for the blessings that come along with a home and family.

    I'm also grateful that I have a job to get up early in the morning to, for early bird shoppers.

    I'm also grateful for eating Turkey and the good and plentiful food spread we had. And thank God for providing for my family and I.

  41. I'm thank-ful for your blog Rachel.

    I'm also thank-ful for my children and husband.

    I'm thank-ful for my pets dogs and cats.

    I'm thank-ful for my sister's in my mentor group.

    I'm thank-ful for God in my life and dying to give me the abundant life. Praise the Father, Praise the son, Praise the spirit, three in one. Hallelujah!

  42. I am thankful to go to dinner with my husband today and pray with Him. We are separated right now. there has been drug use, lies and , spiritual,emotional, and verbal abuse, infidelity. I am thankful he is sharing what God is doing in his life while we are apart. I am thankful God keeps me and my 14 year old daughter safe in the palm of His hand while we go through these trials.


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