Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Living Grateful

Donald Latumahina wrote ten simple tips to become a grateful person. I am going to list his tips but if you want to read the whole article you can go here.

1. Realize how rich you are.

2. Realize what a healthy and prosperous life you have.

3. Realize what a Blessing it is to live in peace.

4. Open your eyes to see the good things in your life.

5. Maintain a "good things" journal.

6. Understand that there are positive things behind all the bad things that happen.

7. Have a special session of gratitude.

8. Meet positive people.

9. Focus on giving.

10. Decide to be a grateful person.

For the most part I agree with this list and I already do most of these things, except for the 'grateful journal' and realizing that there are positive things behind ALL the bad things that happen. That's a hard one for me, I understand that there are positive things behind SOME of the bad things that happen in life, but it's hard for me to understand the positive in ALL the bad things that happen (for instance, The Holocaust, I see no good behind the murder of millions, and I have no understanding of anything positive behind genocide).

But the biggest tip on this list that I have to try and follow is number nine ~ FOCUS ON GIVING.
I don't think my problem is that I'm ungrateful, I think my problem is more that while I am so very grateful for my Blessings, I don't act grateful.
I am grateful but I don't live grateful. I don't just need a change of heart, I need to act, I need a change of lifestyle. I just wrote to a friend this morning that I tell God all the time how grateful I am, but I'm wondering if He's getting tired of the lip service.

Last night I took five (not one, not two, BUT FIVE) 'spiritual gift' tests. Suffice it to say that I am spiritually bankrupt!

I'm going to admit something about myself here. I go to many, many uplifting blogs, wonderful people write such deep, astounding, prayerful posts. And others leave deep, profound, and prayerful comments. These people all lead good and giving lives. And they put me to shame.
In comparison, I make me feel bad about my life. And in the past, I would have done anything to avoid these people, blaming them for making me feel bad about myself!
Not this time. This time I am going to make an effort to change me. I'd be grateful for a prayer or two.


  1. HI EILEN -

    Of course I will pray for you as you explore ways to give back along your spiritual journey. PLease remember though that when God made you a Gramma - "UMma" the "giving back" is unyielding, endless and requires sacrifice in so many ways. I understand how you want to do more, give more but I must tell you that YOU put me to shame when I read of all the glorious and wonderful chapters you are writing with Jayden. His life, his chance, his memories, his ability to grow in to a strong,kind, gentle man are all, in big part, because of YOU. Some times gratitude and living a life of gratitude is not about doing more or different it is about realizing that our task is right before us and to be grateful to be able to "serve". ou are serving every day - and I for one am humbled by ALL that you do.

    Love and gratitude

  2. My dear village friend Eileen, I so agree with Gail! I too feel that I sometime "miss the boat" and am not the giving person I think I need to be,, when in reality you are giving, I am giving, so far we have just given to each other! Just by making contact! It is so true about Jayden and all the time you spend with him. Isn't this what it is all about? You find so much joy in that part of your life that you don't even stop to think that little spark is exploding into bigger sparks all around you ALL the time. :) Don't sell yourself short my friend. More Eileen in this world, would be a good thing......hugs and smiles...linda

  3. No one is perfect Eileen, I think we all try and do the best we can with what we are dealing with. We all strive to be better people and giving of oneself is the best gift ever. Is is so easy to see the good in others far easier than in ourselves. I took a spiritual gift test last night as well and I too am lacking...I want to be better, do better but I am going to focus on the positive and what I have and I am not going to give any energy to the negative or what I don't is so good good and God loves me....I find this very empowering.....I am off to visit that site.....have a great day my loving and kind friend......:-) Hugs

  4. Huh? You are a very grateful giving person! You always leave such uplifting comments on my blog and I'm certain you do this for many. And look what you do for your family! Isn't giving back (like you do continually) living a grateful life?

  5. Hi Eileen, I recently had a conversation with my Pastor about something similar. I didn't know if I was spiritual enough. So many others are forever feeling blessed and singing the Lords praises publicly while I just pray to myself and don't shout it out loud. He assured me that as long as I believed that Jesus died for our sins,then I too have faith. And that is my spirituality. He went on to say that some people just feel more excited about it than others and it does not make me any less of a christian for not yelling hallelujah praise the Lord to everyone I come across. He assured me that the Lord knows how we feel and even when we are not as perfect as we'd like to be, he doesn't love us any less.

    If you are not happy with how you feel about yourself then by all means work on changing things. But do it for yourself Eileen. Do it because you feel the need not because you think you should be more like someone else. I happen to think very highly of you as I am sure our Lord does too. I love you the way you are. So does God. It is how we feel about ourselves thats important. If you don't like some things about yourself than change them.
    Love Di

  6. Thank you each and every one for your very generous comments! You girls are really cheerleaders!

    I thank you all for your kind thoughts and appreciate them and your prayers especially so much.

    I think Diana is right, it's how I feel about myself, it's what I feel is in my heart, or rather what is lacking in my heart and in my life. If I don't feel good about myself it's because I feel that something important is missing from my life.
    I seriously feel that Faith-based action is missing from my life, and those spiritual tests that I took validates that for me.
    I feel that my relationship with God is pretty much one-sided, He does all the Giving and I do all the taking.
    It's something I'm going to pray about and see where that leads.

    And, Bernie, I was aghast at my low scores on each and every spiritual test!
    I'm too embarrassed to even tell you all what my scores were!


    Well, thanks again, girls!
    Love to you all!, Eileen

  7. Wonder how anyone and everyone would score on those tests and where you found them, sweetie. Were they based on the acts of wonderful Mother Teresa?

    I do believe that we are called to stretch ourselves spiritually even when we are doing good as there is no limit to how good we can become, so no one ever 'arrives' and is all good except for Jesus who is God and His holy mother. We have to stay in 'spiritual shape' or things go wacky.

    This reminds me of a story about Mother Teresa. I don't know if you heard it but Mother Teresa would fast daily and only eat one meal, so as a penance for her, her confessor told her that she MUST eat at least twice a day. Mother Teresa realized that there was a teeny sin of pride in the one meal a day because she resisted changing at first.

    I firmly believe that we are called to do all the good we can right where we are and that may require 'wake up' calls like Bernie had when she went out of her way to help that girl in the doctor's office after she left.

    A spiritual journal is a great way to keep on track and see how many times we smiled when we didn't feel like it or helped someone in a practical way or at the very least via prayer.

    This is gonna be a Mother Teresa (which is so good) comment because I also like to recall her answer when people visiting her or coming up to her after she would go abroad to give talks and get donations for the poor. These people would ask her if they should be doing what she does and giving up everything and going to India even though they have responsibilites and family here. She answered that what they need to do is go home and really LOVE their family and neighbors if they want to do good.

    So please don't pack your bags for India, Eileen!

    blessings and hugs for a wonderful person,


  8. Eileen...I sat here without typing for a while...after I read your post. I wanted to have the 'right' words to say to you...but I'm not sure that I have 'right' words...I just talk (type) from my heart...and I want you to know that you have the heart of a very kind and loving person. I know that there are those that write and speak eloquently (I 'ain't one of those....and I know that...I just type what I feel...) and I admire someone who can speak and pray "spiritually"....I just don't happen to be one of those people. There is nothing 'wrong' with either type. People are different...have different personalities...different gifts...different ways of showing love. Some of the most wonderful Christians I know are the ones that are the quiet humble people....never calling attention to themselves....putting others first....and, to me, that is a gift...humility. Love is the greatest gift...and my dear sweet friend, from what I know of you, you love 'unconditionally'.....and if that wasn't on the 'gift' test...the test was invalid...:)) I think you are filled with the Spirit....and how you express those feelings is what makes 'you' "You." God made "You." He didn't clone you from someone else...and doesn't expect you to try and be like anyone else...except our Savior.
    I have my pom poms out....and I'm jumping up and down....and cheering....and doing a split (OK...I'm not doing a split..) but I am one of your biggest fans....and I love you, my friend.

  9. Eileen....was that a lonnnnng comment or WHAT!? I just know Marcy is going to come back in here and toss me out....:))) I posted and looked back up there and thought, "My word, Jackie. Can't you write the 'condensed' version????
    Then, I answered myself. "Nope!"
    So here I am again......and I'm gone again.

  10. Dear Eileen...You are way beyond most people in the fact that you even question yourself and feel you need to make some changes in order to feel better about your spirituality...I agree with's not about how much one gives or does...or comparing oneself with another's actions...we all have different responsibilities and abilities...It's our thoughts and motives in our everyday life actions, our appreciation of others as well as ourselves, our grateful attitude and compassion toward awarenes of how we affect the world around us...either in a good way or bad way! I think you affect it in a very good way Eileen...maybe you're just not as aware of it as you should be...Start a journal on the good in you...your positive attributes...the good that you already do!


  11. Remember that most blogs present our best "side"! Don't compare yourself with the best in others. In fact, don't compare yourself at all! My husband just used this text for his sermon last Sunday: Galatians 6:2-5...which tells us to test our own actions (aligning ourselves with God's truth & plan for us)...then he or she can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else....! Isn't that encouraging! I'm cheering for you. These inner nudges that we experience come to strengthen us - not destroy us!

  12. Eileen, I've read all the comments, and they are wonderful, and say it all, so I will make this as short as I can. I don't want to sound weird here, but just to point something out. We have an enemy, his name is satan, and the Bible tells us that he stands continually accusing the saints. "Guilt" that is felt with the absence of sin against God is counterfeit, and not from God. Satan is a great counterfeiter,and he loves nothing more than stealing joy from God's,me, many of us here in blogland. I have felt that way,and I think those that love the Lord feel that way from time to is an indicator that your heart is RIGHT, not WRONG. I have two people in my home that need me, and I can no longer "serve" as I did before...does that mean I don't give? No, my time and my love are sacrificially given t those that God has given me responsibility for. One more thing about the spiritual gift tests, I have also taken them many times...they have a purpose, but that purpose is not to lay guilt on you for not doing enough or doing it perfectly. Remember, Eileen, none of us will EVER do enough...that's why we have to rely on the blood of Jesus to please God.

    Okay, I didn't make it short, but I said only what I felt I had to say, even though the other comments were excellent. I pray that you will lay that heavy load you're carrying at the feet of the Lord, where it belongs. One more thing, the fact that you shared your heart with us is an indication that you have a very tender and loving heart. Don't let anyone tell you that you don't give enough...including the president of the united states.

  13. Marcy ~India??!!! I am laughing so hard! India!
    And, yes, I did hear that story about Mother Teresa and I was so happy to hear her say that it was easy to serve God in your everyday life with your own family.

    And everyone here is right too about me comparing myself to the spiritual growth of others. But this time when I compared myself I am happy with the fact that I still stuck around. I'm not kidding you when I say that in the past, when I saw myself coming up short, instead of trying to change my ways I would just leave. I remember recently saying to my sister, "These people are all so good, they all get such joy out serving others, they look for the good in everyone, and I read them and I feel horrible about myself, I'm tired of feeling bad about myself." I projected my feeling bad about myself onto the fact that you people are too good! Who does that??? Talk about being spiritually bankrupt!
    And also in the past, in order to make myself feel better about me, I'd shop or do something equally insane. It did make me feel better for the moment, but then the emptiness is back. It's like I didn't want to face myself so I filled the void with spending money. And now I'm forcing myself to do some self-examination.

    I liked very much all your suggestions too, and I know that I will most likely never be the "Hallelujah!" OUT LOUD type of Christian, that's just not me, but I would like to have more of the servant's heart.

    And, Rebecca I loved the idea of inner nudges coming to strengthen us and not destroy.

    Jackie, you can come here and go on and on and on and on all you like! Who wants the 'condensed' version anyway?

    Gail, Linda, Bernie, Jill, Diana, Marcy, Jackie, Wanda, and Rebecca ~ THANK YOU!
    It's like walking through the storm with a Band of Angels at my side.
    Love and Thankful Prayers,

  14. Oh, Mary, I missed your comment! Sorry!
    I love what you had to say, and I laughed at the last line! And I agree.

    I liked what you said about our time and our love given to those that God has given us responsibility for. And right now I am going to start with that, and I'm going to try to view it as doing it for God and doing the things I do with a happy heart.
    So many times in the past things were done out of a sense of obligation, and yes, out of love, but certainly not with a servant's heart and certainly not with a happy heart.

    I'm glad I met you, Mary, you along with so many others here that God has been kind enough to Bless me with, have been such an inspiration to me.

    It's funny because I this has been weighing on my heart for awhile, and then when I took those spiritual test (and kept taking them hoping each one would give me a different/more positive result), I really felt desolate. I wasn't going to blog about it though because I felt that everyone would feel a need to say something nice about me, and I wasn't 'fishing' for that, but something moved me to write it anyway, and I'm glad I did.
    It was a soul cry and the Good Lord sent His helpers with all sorts of good advice for me.
    I'm just going to try and start small.

    My husband and I trying those 'baby steps' to financial freedom.
    And now I'm going to try 'baby steps' to spiritual fulfillment!

    Thank you!
    Love, Eileen

  15. You're precious, Eileen! I have felt exactly as you have felt, and still do at times. I just have to remind myself that my feelings can lie to me and I have to take that thought captive, and grab hold of the truth, which is that I am a daughter of the King, who has given me His Holy Spirit to guide my heart and my actions, who will love me and hold on to me, and will never allow me to stray from Him. And that goes for YOU, too!

    You are welcome!!!
    Love you back,

  16. Eileen, just popped back in to tell you that I love the site you were at......I am still the same me and that's okay, I pray you will always be the Eileen we have come to know and do God's work every day, by taking care of your family...Love you....:-) Hugs

  17. So very happy to hear you are not headed to India! Ray is such a nice guy and he would have challenges visiting you on week ends!

    Seriously, you can see your own spiritual growth in the fact that you have not 'walked away', so give yourself a big pat on the back.

    Also, I totally agree with Mary that Satan does some of his dirtiest deeds by making us feel despondent or 'hopeless', so give him a kick in the hiney next time you feel that way.

    more blessings and tons of hugs,


  18. Oh Eileen...after reading your post and all the comments...I'm sitting here with tears..because everyone else has already put my thoughts on here so well, that I wouldn't know where to even begin..You are such a sweet lady Eileen. You shouldn't down yourself as you do...Your love for others and your family shows through in every one of your posts. Since we've met you've done so many kind things for me...I am so very, very blessed to call you my friend :)
    Your kind words mean so much to me with every comment. I've been struggling with the fact that being a housewife and waiting on it enough...I feel bad because I'm not doing more...not just spiritually..but physically too. I think God has a purpose for each of us and as long as we're praying for God to lead us..that he does and that we are serving our purpose. I agree with Linda and Gail...well actually everyone....You are such a blessing to be in Jaydens life...and you are such a blessing to be in all of our lives too!! Marcy is right...Satan wants us to feel bad and he gets quite happy when we are feeling bad about ourselves...So, just put on a big smile and try to not feel so bad...I think you are an angel..and I think lots of others would agree!!
    Lots of Love and Hugs!!!! Jerelene
    PS...did you get my e-mail I sent you last night?

  19. Hi Eileen, I am always thinking kind thoughts of you when I see your comments everyday on my blog, this is my little prayer for you my dear.