I read an article one time on the discipline of gratitude. It was suggested in this article that we should spend time every day listing at least 5 things that we are grateful for. I have done this in the past in my personal journal but I thought I would take some time on here this evening to share a few with you.
The first thing that I am thankful for is my family’s financial stability. I think that most people would agree that financial stability should be up there pretty high on anyone’s list. It is also something that I have never experienced in my life until this past year. Now, it is entirely my own fault so I am not blaming anyone else for this.
In my 20’s, I could not keep money in my wallet. It is almost like I thought that someone would steal it if I didn’t spend it. I got myself into debt for a car and credit cards. I spent money on girlfriends when I should have been saving it. I owned way too many video games and cd’s for someone who was that behind on his bills.
When Elisa and I met, I was buried in debt. Collection agencies were lined up around the corner trying to collect on money that I owed people. All of that changed when Elisa came around. She said up front that my debt was not something that scared her. However, it had to go away. As I have stated in an earlier post, I handed our finances over to her and we have been on the way up ever since.
Three years ago, I began studying finances. It was not going to be good enough to just stick extra money in a savings account. With interest rates being so low, we might as well have just buried our money in a jar in the back yard. I started reading up on everything I could get my hands on in regards to finances. I subscribed to Money magazine and Kiplinger. I began investing through Betterment and Scottrade. I even put a little bit of money into Lending Club.
We used to live paycheck to paycheck. Now, we are a few paychecks ahead or ourselves. This is a tremendous blessing as it allows us to breathe a little easier about where we are headed.
Freedom of Religion
Another thing that I am extremely grateful for is the freedom that I have to hold the religious beliefs that I do. I think this is the first mention that I have made of religion on this blog since I started it in March but it is a huge blessing to be free to worship Jesus Christ.
I think sometimes we overlook this freedom in our country because we experience relatively little persecution. When you compare the amount of persecution that we experience as Christians in America to that which believers are experiencing in other countries, it should be mind-blowing. Not sure what I am talking about. Pick up a copy of Voice of the Martyrs magazine and give it a read.
I can go to church every Sunday morning without having to worry that someone might come into the building and threaten my life for being there. I do not have to worry that someone might come into my home and harm my family because of what I believe. At most, sometimes people will laugh at my supposed narrow-minded worldview. I would take that over having my house burned down any day.
Since moving to Virginia, it has gotten even more secure. We live about forty five minutes from Lynchburg where you find Liberty University and are located directly in the buckle of the Bible belt. We are tremendously blessed.
Now, this is not to say that I do not enjoy my job. My wife and I are in our sixth year of house parenting at our second children’s home currently. It is a fairly demanding (not physically, but mentally) job and is incredibly fulfilling when life is going good in the house. However, I love my time off and I have more of it now than I’ve ever had.
In Illinois, we worked a five on / two off schedule. Here, it is a seven on / four off schedule. I get two extra days off and that is fantastic. With two days, you get enough time to rest but you cannot really do anything. With four days off, if you plan right, you have time available to travel and still get back to work.
The fourth thing that I am grateful for is my education. I started college in 1999 and just finished my Bachelors degree this year. Granted, I did not go to school for the past seventeen years. I took a few years off here and there and nearly didn’t finish at all. This is another area of my life that I really couldn’t get going right before I met my wife. She was very insistent that I needed to finish college. She was right.
So, as of a couple of weeks ago, I am a forty year old college graduate. I have my Bachelors of Arts in Christian Ministry from Lincoln Christian University. I would someday like to continue my education and pursue my Masters work, possibly at Liberty University. However, for now, I am grateful for the education that I currently have.
The last thing on my list, and easily the most significant, is my family. I do not even know where to begin. I feel like my life did not really begin until Elisa and I were married. I always felt like my life as a single man was pointless. My life desire was a family but I spent a decade of my life in failed relationships and was nearly to the point of moving on from that dream.
Now, I have to absolutely amazing children and a wife who is so amazing that I see Christ at work through her. Sydney is half way to adulthood this year and that is crazy to me. It seems like we just brought her home from the hospital yesterday. People warned me that she would grow up fast and they weren’t kidding. I wish that I could slow her down and keep her as a child for a few extra years but I know that she will be grown up and out of the house before I know it.
I cherish this family that I have been given.
So much love……
Okay, there it is. Those are my five things. I would love to hear what yours are. Scroll on down to the bottom of this post to the comment section and leave me your list so I can see what has blessed your life.
And, as always, share me with your friends.