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Remembrance and gratitude

FG Editor Lynn Olsen Published on 12 November 2012

Do you ever stop to think about what brings you happiness in life? Aboard an airplane a few weeks ago coming into Madison, Wisconsin, I looked down out of the window and saw fall colors on the leaves of the trees.

Even though I have been to that part of the country before, this was the first time the bright reds, oranges and yellows were putting on such a spectacular show during World Dairy Expo, and it was truly breathtaking.

I don’t particularly like to travel and was tired from staying up too late the night before, so my mood up until that point on the trip probably wasn’t as positive as it could have been.

But as we came into view of the airport and those beautiful colors of autumn emerged, I couldn’t help but feel gratitude for the scene below. My mood improved, and I was more excited about the week and the things that were to come.

How does gratitude relate to our happiness? Although I do not know the source, one of my favorite quotes states, “It is not happy people who are thankful; it is thankful people who are happy.”

I truly believe that when we learn to recognize and appreciate the things we have, we are happier. And, as Melody Beattie has been quoted as saying, “Gratitude turns what we have into enough.”

Some days it is so easy to get caught up in all the things that are wrong in our lives, all the things we don’t have or the things we wish were different. But as we learn to appreciate what we have, large and small, we can learn to find joy and appreciation for the many ways in which we are blessed.

I have had a frame on my desk for the past several months that contains a printed quote which reads:

“Ask yourself, ‘How did God bless me today?’ If you do that long enough and with faith, you will find yourself remembering blessings. And sometimes you will have gifts brought to your mind which you failed to notice during the day, but which you will then know were a touch of God’s hand in your life.” – Henry B. Eyring

At the end of each day as I have prepared to go home, I have taken time to read that quote and ponder for just a few moments to reflect and find something that has blessed my life during the previous 24 hours.

I have truly been amazed to find that never has a day gone by that I couldn’t find at least something to be grateful for, even on the so-called “bad” days.

In the same talk in which the above quote was given, Henry B. Eyring also went on to say that “Remembrance is the seed of gratitude.”

That’s really the key, isn’t it? We have to give ourselves time to remember how blessed we are, especially on the days when it might not seem as easy to find something to be thankful for.

Do you remember a few years ago when Oprah Winfrey started talking about keeping a gratitude journal?

Although probably not a unique idea, she suggested getting a small notebook and writing down five things each day you were grateful for. And, she promised, “the more grateful you are, the more you get.”

I think the idea behind “getting more” is that our mindset changes. It’s not necessarily that our circumstances change, but we become more positive and learn to look for the good around us.

It really is about training ourselves to be more aware of the things in our lives that we should consider blessings.

One of the hardest things to remember is that sometimes those blessings come disguised as trials or difficulties. And we need to be grateful for those, as well, not just the “easy” or obvious things.

I’m going to continue my quest for the joy and gratitude in the coming year. And I’d like you to share part of that journey with me.

Each Friday, starting November 16th, I’ll be making a post at the Progressive Forage Grower blog and on our Facebook page  with something I have found to be grateful for that week. I hope you will join me with comments to share what you are thankful for, as well. And together we will “...rejoice in every good thing.”  FG

Lynn Olsen
Progressive Forage Grower