One of the many things my mother taught me was the importance of being polite.  Saying “Please”, “Thank you”, “You’re Welcome”, giving someone a sincere apology and many more.  Common courtesy went hand in hand with proper etiquette.  Treating others as you would like to be treated….the Golden Rule.  Yes!  Showing respect for others and their belongings; handle anything loaned to you as if it were your own.  Great values, yes.  I do my best to adhere to these every day.

Something I have come to realize is equally, if not more important than all of that is Gratitude.  Being grateful for the gifts and blessings I have received throughout my life.  The key, I have found, is to be grateful every day and literally giving daily thanks.  I’ll explain why.

Since last December, when my mammogram showed an abnormality (you can read about that by clicking on this link), I learned so many valuable lessons during the 8 days while I waited to find out what was happening inside my body.  One of the most important of those lessons was to express my gratitude for the gifts I have received.  And on December 7, 2012, I received the news that everything was fine.  My gratitude for that news went beyond anything I had ever experienced.  Immense joy flooded every fiber of my being, unlike anything I had ever felt.  And I find even more gifts and blessings have been bestowed on me as what I know and believe to be a direct result of expressing my appreciation for all that I have received.

Every day since then, when I wake up in the morning, I say “thank you” for another day of life.  I express my gratitude for what the day may hold.

This year I’m reading the Simple Abundance again, but with new eyes and new understanding.  The author,  Sarah Ban Breathnach, recommends keeping a Gratitude Journal in which you write down five things at the end of every day for which you are grateful.  It can be anything.  Just five things that happened during your day that you are thankful for.  She says this is one of the ways that the Simple Abundance path will work for you.  If you want to find out more about living an abundant life, I highly recommend Sarah’s book as a starting point.

You would think that coming up with five things on any particular day would be easy.  Most days it is, but I do find, from time to time that I get stuck on number five.  However, I always come up with my five and go to sleep with a certain amount of contentment and well being, because of all the good things in my life.  Yesterday, one of my top five was seeing the elk herd early in the morning.  The occasional glimpse of that herd is very special for me and I’m always grateful to see them.

I can tell you that keeping a Gratitude Journal works.  It helps to keep my mind on track, finding importance in the simplest of things.  But you know what else?  I’ll let you in on something I’ve discovered that I think is even more important.  Giving thanks, being grateful, opens up a wealth of gifts and blessings in your life that you could not imagine are possible.   I have found I receive so much in return by the simple act of acknowledging my appreciation daily.  It opens your heart to the rewards of giving your friendship and love to others.  Happiness is infectious and contagious.  I assure you all of it is a direct result of gratitude.  The more you give, the more you receive.   Those pleasant unexpected moments happen more frequently.  Just saying thanks in the morning and the evening (the first thing you do when you rise, the last thing you do before you go to sleep), you will be rewarded with more joy and love in return than you can imagine.

I’m not kidding.  It’s all true.  I know it because I’ve experienced it and I live it every day.  Just in case you doubt any of this, give it a try, see what happens, it doesn’t cost you anything to try….I think you will be more than pleasantly surprised by the results.