*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you purchase an item from a link provided I will receive a small commission.*
We are three weeks into 2018, friends. And OH MY, what an eventful three weeks they’ve been for our family. In just this short time frame we’ve had our fridge go out of commission, jury duty, car trouble (for both vehicles), and now–the flu. All minor annoyances, true, but when packed together in a such a short period of time, it doesn’t feel minor. It feels like a full-on assault on our sanity, a year already earmarked for Murphys Law.
But here’s the thing that’s strange about all of this…despite every minor annoyance, sickness, breakdown, and chaos that all of this caused, I still feel that this has been and will continue to be the best year of my life.
Nothing has changed; in fact on surface level the only changes have been annoying at best and downright chaotic at worse. Nothing but me. Yeah, I guess the biggest change that happened to usher in 2018 was a change in my heart.
I’m not sure what prompted this change entirely. I definitely didn’t make this a resolution or even part of my intention for the year. It kind of snuck in the back door, wormed its way into my heart and started to work its magic before I even consciously knew what was happening.
What was this change, you ask? GRATITUDE. Simple gratitude.
Sure, I guess I had always been grateful. I have lived a pretty blessed life, and on some level I was aware of that. I have said “thanks” and prayed prayers of gratefulness for all of our blessings multiple times. But I would never, ever say that I lived a life of gratitude. I would more characterize my life as one of distracted dreaming. Always busy, letting the noise of the world drown out the noise of my heart. Always dreaming, my heart and mind leaping to the next big thing that I was sure would bring me happiness, contentment and peace. And oddly enough, in that distracted dreaming state I never really could find it.
Seems so simple, but it took me 39 years to get.
Once I realized that I wasn’t ever going to be happy if I kept looking outside and started to do the real hard work of examining my heart and my soul, I realized that I needed to change to a life of worship and gratitude. And time was ticking. I needed to do it fast.
So every night, starting on January 1st, I decided to write down five things I was grateful for each day. FIVE. It seems like such a small number. It seems so simple. Yet you’d be surprised that it can be kind of hard unless you’re looking out for them. Because I didn’t want to be thankful for just the big grand things in my life; you know, the house, the husband, the kids, the dog. I wanted to dig deeper. I wanted to focus my life, each day, on gratitude for the small things.
And you know what, at first it was hard. I had to stretch to find them, not because they weren’t there but because I was too distracted to notice them. I had to focus. I had to be mindful. I had to stop and live a life of gratitude, not just practice gratefulness. And each day it got progressively easier. As I focused my attention on gratitude, five things turned into six which turned into seven which turned into ten. Even the smallest things were cause for celebration. Gratitude became worship, as Normal Lear called it in The Wisdom of Sundays.
My first sip of coffee on a quiet morning became something to savor, not move quickly past. Gazing at the freckles on my daughters nose was a moment to linger over with silent prayers of thanks for the blessing of her sweet spirit. Household chores that used to annoy me to no end morphed into a time to thank the Lord for the blessing of having a house and a family to care for. Sitting in front of a warm fire on a cold day caused peace, even when my kids were screaming and fighting because they’d been stuck inside with the flu for 4 days and were forced into that inevitable purgatory between actually feeling sick and being well enough to go back to school.
Now I’m not going to say that gratitude changed everything about my life. I still desperately want a new couch and a living room makeover. I really wish my oldest would go to bed without a fight and finally sleep through the night peacefully. And I definitely need a vacation away with just my husband for some peace and quiet and couple time.
But it did help me to stop and recognize that all things come from He who gives me life, both the big parts and the little. That is worth being grateful for. And I know now that this is the only thing that can truly bring me the peace and contentment I’ve been seeking my whole life.
So here’s my challenge to you, friends. Take the FIVE THINGS test. There’s a great book and journal that was out years ago that can help guide you called Simple Abundance . Or you can go it alone. Either way, for two weeks write down five things at the end of the day that you were grateful for. I can promise it will change you, even just temporarily. And I can also promise that it can only change you for the better.
As for me, today I am grateful that my sick babys fever broke and he’s finally on the mend. I’m grateful that the rest of us, at least for now, have escaped the wrath of the flu. That’s something to celebrate, for sure.
So I’m sharing this delicious and healthy immunity boosting smoothie with you today. I know so many people nursing sick kiddos right now and if I have one thing to share, it’s this–you can never go wrong with fighting the flu from the inside out. Feeding the body with real food, nutritious targeted food, can only help heal. And as a plus my son also swears it tastes great and that kids will love it. I use Halo Mandarin Oranges because they have less pulp and blend better in a smoothie than a regular orange. For the kids, I sometimes strain it out, too; which makes for a more child-friendly texture. Packed with vitamin-c from the oranges, anti-inflammatory tumeric and ginger, and hydrating coconut water you really can’t go wrong making it for the whole family.
Give it a try. Both the smoothie and the gratitude. I’m excited to hear your thoughts on both.
Vitamin C Immuni-Smoothie
- 1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I used Unsweetened Vanilla)
- 1/2 cup coconut water
- 2 Halo Oranges, peeled and as much pulp removed as possible
- 1 banana, sliced and frozen
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon tumeric
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup (more or less depending on taste)
- Step 1 Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender in order listed.
- Step 2 Blend to desired consistency (may take a bit longer than expected due to the oranges)
- Step 3 Taste and adjust sweetness with maple syrup if necessary.
- Step 4 Enjoy!