Monday, November 29, 2010

A Chance

Last night I went to a youth development center to spend time with the young men who participate, have a brief Bible study, prayer, and Communion.  I typically do this the last Sunday night of each month.  I'm grateful to have this opportunity.

I'm grateful the Chaplain there allows me this ministry.  He's a great guy and has become a friend, not just a colleague in ministry.  But I'm also grateful to my NC Conference Bishop.  I'm a Local Pastor and as such I can't preside at Communion unless it is at my appointment.  I can volunteer all I want at the YDC and the bishop has no say-so, but taking Communion is another matter.  My Bishop, working within the Book of Discipline and with the consent of the YDC Chaplain, made this particular YDC part of my appointment for the sole purpose of me being able to take these young men Communion; sharing this vital means of grace with them.  He believes in what I'm doing that much!  He believes in the transforming power of this means of grace so much more!  And I am grateful for this chance to play a role in these young lives.

I'm also grateful for the power of a hug and forgiveness, for family, and for healing attitudes.
I am grateful for an attitude of gratitude.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Benefits of an Attitude of Gratitude

In preparing for my Thanksgiving Eve sermon, I came across a lot of relatively recent research that's proving what God knew & advised all along.  That is that an attitude of gratitude has amazing health benefits; spiritual, psychological, and physical.  All the way from sleeping better to lower risk of viruses; from stronger marriages to higher income; from living longer to less stress; from being happier to having more energy; from having more friends to exercising more.

Better yet, for those of you who aren't optimistic, happy, and grateful by nature,,,and we know who you are! can change your attitude.    If you just can't see anything but a glass draining dry, forget half empty; if "pessimism" is your middle name...Good News!  Research also shows that an attitude of gratitude can be cultivated!  There are things that can be done to change our outlook!  Genetics is only responsible for about 50% of our mood...something can be done about the remaining 50%!

Steps to an Attitude Adjustment:
Practice being grateful.

Keep a journal and write down the blessings and good things that happen to you during your day.

Pay attention to all the good things other people do for you during your day; big or small, done by family, friend, or stranger.  Take note of everything.

Watch your language!  Don't complain about everything.  Talk in terms of thankfulness and gratitude.

Enjoy stuff!  Enjoy that first cup of coffee and its aroma, say "Thank you God" when you first open your eyes in the morning, smile at people instead of frowning or looking indifferent, sit and watch the sunrise or set, enjoy the changing and beauty of the seasons, do something positive for someone, play secret Santa for someone in need...especially if it's NOT Christmas, add to this list....

Share with us everyday something that you are thankful for.  Express YOUR attitude of gratitude!

I'm thankful for my husband who shares my life and supports what God has called me to do.  My calling is his calling.  I'm thankful for my children and son-in-law who are using their gifts and graces to make our world a better place.  I'm thankful for my little granddaughter who lights up every time she sees me and makes me light up, too.  I'm thankful my parents are 80 and in good shape for the shape they're in.  I'm thankful God has kept his hand on my brother.  There's much more.

What about you?  What are you thankful for today?  Let's see where life and gratitude takes us.
Have a most blessed and gratifying day!  Rejoice and be thankful!