By Kari Pike
I need to practice finding more humor in the challenges life throws out there. I realized the other day that my blog posts of late have been pretty heavy. So, I started taking "gratitude walks." (Inspired by my friend Jenny Christensen and the book she has written about her battle with cancer.) Each morning, after my bike ride, I walk around the block a few times and ponder on the abundance with which I have been blessed. I try to hold a conversation with Heavenly Father and thank Him for everything He has blessed me with - praying with gratitude and asking for nothing. The first couple of days, I found myself slipping into the asking mode within the first couple of minutes. Being grateful and not asking for anything turned out to be hard work!
But, you know that scripture that teaches us that what we sow, we reap? Well, it applies to the power of gratitude. By day three, I made my bike ride part of the gratitude journey. I had such a sweet experience. With the cooler temperatures in the morning, I started my ride later than usual. The sun was higher in the sky, adding light where before I had only seen shadows. I expressed gratitude for a new perspective. I saw the same houses, the same bridges, the same trees and canal. But they were different. I noticed architectural details I had missed before. The grass and the trees looked greener. Instead of just a ribbon of murky, dark water, I could see life in the canal: carp, turtles, ducks, and insects. I came across a school of carp (they are fish..so I assume you call a large group of carp a school) sunning themselves just under the surface of the water. They took turns rising just high enough that their dorsal fin stuck out of the water and made them look like they were pretending to be sharks. I could just imagine the "teacher" fish instructing the rest of the school on how to act as fierce as their large salt-water cousins so they could intimidate the local fishermen.
I have been immensely blessed by the power of gratitude. My daily challenges remain, but now I see them in a different light. I have the same twenty-four hours in the day, but I can see more clearly how to use my time. Focusing on the resources and blessings available to me gives me hope. Hope motivates me to try harder to be better, to do the best I can with what I have, and to trust in the Lord.
I am grateful for wise friends who teach me how to be and do better. I am grateful for this magnificent world that the Lord created for us. I am grateful for life and knowing that someday I can return to live with my Heavenly Father and thank Him in person. Now how cool is that going to be!
just for smiles:
2-year-old at lunch: "Gimme more!"
Dad: "Can you say a nice word?"
2-year-old: "Nice word!"
Dad: [face palm]
oh..and I'm super grateful for two-year-olds and sticky hugs and yes, even scorpions...but that's a story for another day.