Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash
So often, most of us take for granted that we will live to see tomorrow, that everything will always work out, that we will always get another chance. But the truth is, we don’t know our fate. We don’t know what lies ahead for us.
How many of you have ever wished you had one last chance to tell someone you loved them, before they passed on?
I know there are a lot of us who can answer “me” to that question. But sadly, in this fast-paced world, most of us are too busy, and always think we’ll have the time and chance to say “I love you” or “thank you” or “I appreciate what you did.” Most of us never, as the saying goes, “stop to smell the roses.” We never stop to think just how precious time is, and how we should learn to be thankful for not only the big things in life, but the small things. We should all learn to be grateful and show appreciation for the things in our lives, such as: breath, life, water, rain, trees, sunrises and sunsets, good health, well-being, food, eyesight, being able to dream, having a roof over your head, smiles, rainbows, do-overs, pay day, work, strength, having friends, and so many other things. When we can get to the point where we can show more gratefulness, our lives will be better off, and have more meaning and purpose.
Let Bridget tell you all about gratitude and how it helps her in life, and how practicing the use of gratitude can help you.
Q. Tell us about yourself. Who is Bridget A. Thomas?
A. I am an author of two books. One is called, Every Day is a Gift, which is a book about gratitude. My second book, You Are Redeemed, is about finding your true identity in Jesus. In addition, I am a member of the Christians Reads Blog. In my spare time, I enjoy reading non-fiction, fiction, and classic literature. Also, I like traveling and crocheting. I live in Florida with my husband and two furbabies.
Q. Why should people listen to you?
A. I have seen the astonishing effects of gratitude, firsthand. I used to dread getting up each day. But after months of continually practicing gratitude, I turned my life and attitude around.
Q. What does gratitude mean to you?
A. Gratitude means taking the time to look around each day at the blessings in my life. It doesn’t matter if I’m facing small or large obstacles, keeping gratitude as part of my daily life is essential. It can help me to deal with each situation better. In addition, it helps me to see that even when everything is going wrong, there are still so many reasons why I should be thankful. In keeping that in mind, so often, I just go through the motions. Day in and day out, but the truth is that many people are stressed and tired because life can be difficult.
Q. What are you grateful for in your life?
A. Of course, many of the basic things come to mind – my family, a roof over my head, food to eat, etc. But, when I write down the things that I am grateful for each day, I also try to capture special moments that occurred throughout the day. For example, earlier today, as I was trying to work, my dog climbed in my lap and accidentally typed a bunch of zeros across my laptop screen. Often, it is these small moments that make up our daily lives. But if we don’t take note of them, we quickly forget them. And as a result, the negative moments throughout the day will supersede the positive things in our minds.
Q. Can you name an experience for which you are grateful?
A. In my book, Every Day is a Gift, I talk about a medical condition I had when I was a child. It was a very unpleasant time in my life, but one day my sister prayed for me, and I never had an occurrence again. Looking back now, I am thankful for that trying episode, which led to my sister’s prayer. Having that experience taught me that there is always a reason to be thankful. We might not understand everything that happens to us when it happens, but we can rest assure that God is working all things together for our good (Romans 8:28).
Q. Who are some people or what are some things that you have taken for granted, but should’ve been grateful for instead?
A. Unfortunately, I believe we all take things for granted each and every day, myself included. I believe the people in our lives are likely the biggest offense. We might not always give our loved ones our full attention or sometimes we may not take the time to go to dinner with a friend like we should. For example, I have a friend who died at the age of 34, and a sister who died at the age of 49. When I think about it, I wish I would have spent more time with them, while they were on this earth. With that said, we just never know when it might be too late. As a matter of fact, the death of my friend, Jennifer, is what prompted me to put the words, “Every Day is a Gift” in my email signature. Her passing taught me that we should cherish each day that we have on this earth.
Q. Why is it important to be grateful?
A. I think it is important to keep an attitude of gratitude throughout the day. Waking up in the morning with a grateful heart will help you start your day off on the right foot. And ending your day by writing down the things you are grateful for helps you to see that even when you had a bad day, there are still some good things for which to be grateful.
Q. What happens when you show ungratefulness?
A. I see this everyday, and it breaks my heart. First and foremost, we might forget to thank God for answered prayers. And so often, many people forget to thank their loved ones. Additionally, we take the blessings in our lives for granted when we don’t take note of the good things in life. In fact, many of us are wired to automatically focus on the bad things. If this type of thinking goes unchecked, it will in turn, cause us to complain and speak negatively; and in the end, we will wind up feeling bitter and resentful. And as a result, we can lose both our joy and peace.
Q. What have you learned about yourself as a result of having an attitude of gratefulness?
A. So much! I am amazed at the person I have become since I have begun practicing gratitude. My outlook in life has improved significantly. I am content with all that I have, whereas, I used to focus on all that I lacked.
Q. What’s the difference between being grateful and being thankful?
A. Sometimes, we might say the words “thank you” without much conviction. But when we are grateful, it prompts us to act on our feelings causing us to deeply express our gratitude. Perhaps, if someone did us a favor, we might look for a way to reimburse that person. Gratitude is not only saying the words, but also showing it with our actions.
Q. If you could give people advice about the importance of gratitude, what would you tell them?
A. First, I would say that gratitude is a choice that you have to make every day. Secondly, you have to understand that your days will continue to have good and bad things in them; but when you focus on the good, you won’t have as much room for the bad things. Lastly, it is a lifelong journey, and I hope you will take the first step today!
Q. Can you give some recommendations that worked for you, which could possibly help others to get in the habit of practicing gratitude?
A. It can be difficult to stick with gratitude at first. So, I would like to recommend a few things I did at the beginning of my gratitude journey that worked for me.
- I started writing things down that I was thankful for every single day. Some days were so busy that I was afraid I would forget to do this, so, I would leave my notebook on my bathroom sink where I would see it every day.
- I would wear a rubber band around my wrist all day. Seeing that rubber band would be a trigger to keep my thoughts on the right path.
- I would put sticky notes on my computer screen, in my car, and on my bathroom mirror to act as the same kind of trigger. When my mind went into a whirlwind of complaints, if I saw one of my notes, I would stop the negative thoughts and turn my attention to something for which I was grateful.
After a few months of doing these things, thinking more positively came naturally to me. And now sitting down each day to write the things I am thankful for has turned into something I look forward to. It is a peaceful time of the day when I can reflect on the blessings in my life. This has brought me true contentment.
Q. What is your contact information, just in case someone wanted to reached you?
A. Via my website at bridgetathomas.com
Click the link below to find Bridget’s books.
Question of the Week: What are you grateful for in your life?
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