So Very Thankful by Theresa Byrne


So very thankful,
Incredibly grateful,
Unbelievably blessed!

Without the cloves, cinnamon and ginger, the pie is mundane and tasteless. So it goes with life….a little Joy, Thanksgiving and Gratefulness adds flavor!

The past year or so it has become very apparent to me how important it is to be grateful. As the thought-provoking question goes, “If you were able to keep everything you were grateful for today, what would you have?”

When I seriously look at my life I see how I have been so blessed, but it’s so easy to get caught up in the “what I don’t have” or the comparing game.

Thrift shopping, I overheard a conversation between a grandmother and a small grandchild, that she had on an outing. The child loudly, obnoxiously hollered in the middle of the store, “I want to go to Chick-fil-A, not stupid McDonald’s!”

Ugh, is this what we have become? I remember the first time I went to McDonald’s it was on my honeymoon. Growing up, going out to eat was a very rare, joyous occasion!

For me, having children is the best way to see where my attitude is at. They reflect me. As a stay-at-home, homeschooling Mom, there is no one that they rub shoulders with more than me. The more I have become aware of their attitudes, the more I know me.

When my seven-year-old daughter started yelling more at her siblings, I stopped and saw me. When my nine year old son kept getting frustrated in school and repeating, “I’m not comprehending,” I saw me. And so on and on we go.

The positive I have learned through this, is that I can change my attitude, and just like the bad, the good also rubs off. In the past year I have tried to be more consciously grateful. …For the beautiful day, for a warm home, good food, the people I love. While this has been a huge positive, I realize that in order for my kids to pick it up I must verbalize gratefulness.

So I try. During the day I will say things like, “Thank you for this beautiful day, Jesus,” or “We are so blessed to have this good food!” The more I have verbalized gratefulness, the easier it has become. Just like the yelling rubs off, so does the gratitude.

It warms my heart when my very hungry four-year-old gushes, “Thank you, Jesus, for this beautiful food!”

As we have begun to practice gratitude more and more, we have found more to be grateful for. The negatives can turn into a positive. For instance, “Daddy has to work late again tonight, but we are very grateful he has lots of work and we might be able to do something as a family, with the extra money.”

In general, I feel that gratitude has made us more happy and joyous. Sometimes I can feel the joy bubble over, and I believe that has become the side effect of gratitude….

“When gratitude becomes your default setting, Life Changes.” -Nancy Demos

It has also made me more aware of the lack of gratitude. When we were young, mom would go shopping and usually bring us home a little treat from the Health Food Store. We would always work very hard to have the house sparkling clean, and we were always very grateful for our stick of licorice or stevia soda.

So one day, when I got home from a shopping trip, and my son demanded, “What did you get for me?” I thought, “Uh-oh, what am I creating?”

Next time I went to town, I skipped the treat….and that seemed to make the impression… that it is not something to be demanded or expected, but to be grateful for.

I feel like gratitude has helped us make a big deal out of little things for us. We are grateful to make homemade fries, to go on a walk, to have a bonfire. It is beautiful, simple and I feel blessed!

This Thanksgiving, our family is trying to remember the spices of Joy, Thanksgiving and Gratefulness! It just makes the pie so much better!

“A true wife makes a man’s life nobler, stronger, grander, by the omnipotence of her love ‘turning all the forces of manhood upward and heavenward.’ While she clings to him in holy confidence and loving dependence she brings out in him whatever is noblest and richest in his being. She inspires him with her courage and earnestness. She beautifies his life. She softens whatever is rude and harsh in his habits or his spirit. She clothes him with the gentler graces of refined and cultured manhood. While she yields to him and never disregards his lightest wish, she is really his queen, ruling his whole life and leading him onward and upward in every proper path.” J.R.Miller

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In With God in Russia, Ciszek reflects on his daily life as a prisoner, the labor he endured while working in the mines and on construction gangs, his unwavering faith in God, and his firm devotion to his vows and vocation. Enduring brutal conditions, Ciszek risked his life to offer spiritual guidance to fellow prisoners who could easily have exposed him for their own gains. He chronicles these experiences with grace, humility, and candor, from his secret work leading mass and hearing confessions within the prison grounds, to his participation in a major gulag uprising, to his own “resurrection”—his eventual release in a prisoner exchange in October 1963 which astonished all who had feared he was dead.

Powerful and inspirational, With God in Russia captures the heroic patience, endurance, and religious conviction of a man whose life embodied the Christian ideals that sustained him…..

Captured by a Russian army during World War II and convicted of being a “Vatican spy,” Jesuit Father Walter J. Ciszek spent 23 agonizing years in Soviet prisons and the labor camps of Siberia. Only through an utter reliance on God’s will did he manage to endure the extreme hardship. He tells of the courage he found in prayer–a courage that eased the loneliness, the pain, the frustration, the anguish, the fears, the despair. For, as Ciszek relates, the solace of spiritual contemplation gave him an inner serenity upon which he was able to draw amidst the “arrogance of evil” that surrounded him. Ciszek learns to accept the inhuman work in the infamous Siberian salt mines as a labor pleasing to God. And through that experience, he was able to turn the adverse forces of circumstance into a source of positive value and a means of drawing closer to the compassionate and never-forsaking Divine Spirit.

He Leadeth Me is a book to inspire all Christians to greater faith and trust in God–even in their darkest hour. As the author asks, “What can ultimately trouble the soul that accepts every moment of every day as a gift from the hands of God and strives always to do his will?”
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