Celebrating Life with Gratitude

by Christine Sine
gratitude 1

post and photos by June Friesen,

A day has been set aside for all of us in the world to celebrate gratitude. It is interesting that in a world of beauty and bounty in so many ways for so many, we struggle with what I call an ‘attitude of gratitude.’ Over the past twenty years of my life, I have been repeatedly challenged at how often I quickly become ungrateful in my own life. Psalm 42 is one of my ‘go to Psalms’ and in the King James version it begins, ‘As the hart/deer pants for water so my soul thirsteth after Thee O God….’  A discipline that I was encouraged to develop through a book I was reading years ago was the key to my own development of gratitude along with Psalm 42.

PSALM 42 (The Message)

A white-tailed deer drinks from the creek;
I want to drink God, deep drafts of God.
I’m thirsty for God-alive.
I wonder, “Will I ever make it— arrive and drink in God’s presence?”
I’m on a diet of tears— tears for breakfast, tears for supper.
All day long people knock at my door,
Pestering, “Where is this God of yours?”

These are the things I go over and over,
    emptying out the pockets of my life.
I was always at the head of the worshiping crowd, right out in front,
Leading them all, eager to arrive and worship,
Shouting praises, singing thanksgiving—
    celebrating, all of us, God’s feast!

Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?
    Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God— soon I’ll be praising again.
He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God.

6-8 When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse everything I know of you,
From Jordan depths to Hermon heights, including Mount Mizar.
Chaos calls to chaos, to the tune of whitewater rapids.
Your breaking surf, your thundering breakers crash and crush me.
Then God promises to love me all day, sing songs all through the night!
    My life is God’s prayer.

9-10 Sometimes I ask God, my rock-solid God, “Why did you let me down?
Why am I walking around in tears, harassed by enemies?”
They’re out for the kill, these tormentors with their obscenities,
Taunting day after day, “Where is this God of yours?”

11 Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?
    Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God— soon I’ll be praising again.
He puts a smile on my face.
    He is my God.

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When I think of gratitude my heart is overwhelmed with so many thoughts, so much bounty, so many gifts God has given. However, along with that, I am also reminded of many who may not enjoy the bounty I have around me whether in nature, in a secure home, in daily provisions being met and they are often thankful for just waking up alive each morning. There are those whose bodies are handicapped sometimes from birth and sometimes from situations that arise along their life pathway. Yet I am amazed as well as blessed at their attitudes of gratefulness. A mother who is blind enjoys the touch and sound of her infant and child as they grow; a father who is handicapped, in a wheelchair, is able to have his child sit in his lap and they go for a ride, for families who have been separated for months because of travel restrictions caused by Covid who have been able to connect through zoom, face time, and maybe like I did – preparing fun parcel gifts to send in the mail. Life really is so much about attitude and it is an attitude of ungratefulness that leads one quickly into despair, anger, and bitterness which blocks one from embracing the beauty that is present, as little or small as it may be from time to time. I have shared with you here several photos of natural beauty that I have had the privilege of enjoying over the past weeks/years. Below is a varied bounty of food (limited as it is) that we enjoy not only because it is available to eat but because God has created us with a sense of smell and a sense of taste. 


Life is a gift from the beginning – 
That first breath, that first cry, as the heart beats and breath fills the lungs –
Life begins with a pulsating heart that courses blood throughout the body
Nourishing the cells;
Life continues on as nourishment fills the body with energy and growth;
Life grows into fulfillment day by day, year by year
As one learns to live and embrace the moment at hand, one by one. 
Gratitude is a gift that one learns when embracing a thankful spirit – 
A ‘thank you’ for a meal or a treat;
A ‘thank you’ for a flower or a gift;
A ‘thank you’ for a walk in the rain,
A ‘thank you’ for the fall of a snowflake on one’s tongue,
A ‘thank you’ for the crunch of a cracker or chip, 
A ‘thank you’ for a warm fire on a chilly day,
A ‘thank you’ for the breeze on a warm, warm day,
A ‘ thank you’ for a hug as one heaves a heavy sigh,
A ‘thank you’ __________________…..
So, in a world where we take all good things for granted 
Until they are gone or nearly gone – 
How does one carry a spirit of gratefulness within – and without?
It comes with a change of heart or what I call an attitude adjustment,
When it is extremely hot outside, I am grateful for a home with air conditioning/fans;
When it is raining outside, I am grateful for the new and continued growth it will bring;
When I sit down to eat I am thankful for my sense of smell and of taste;
When I miss my family who is far away, I am thankful for the telephone, letters, and parcels;
When I have to say that forever goodbye to someone dear, 
I may weep but I also choose to embrace the friendship and memories we shared;
Today I choose to be grateful for each of you who also chooses to be grateful;
Together we can not only celebrate, but we can invite others on this wonderful journey;
You, I and they will all become more grateful, especially grateful for each other.
June Friesen 2021
(The book where I learned of a gratitude journal is Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach)

Register and pay to join us for this virtual retreat experience with Christine Sine and Lilly Lewin on September 25, 2021 from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm PST. Check out our new sliding scale payment options. For more details, click on the image below.

Gearing Up for a Season of Gratitude 400

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