Tag Archives: Gratitude

Have an Attitude of Gratitude


Some might ask: How can I praise the Lord when everything is tumbling down? How can I give thanks in all circumstances? My life is upsidedown.

We all do things in love for people. Whether it’s loving, cooking, shopping, repairing, teaching, listening, sharing, or whatever you give of yourself for another’s good; it’s a gift.

Parents spend many years raising children, instructing them in life’s ways. Besides teaching them the rules of life, parents also share their love by supporting, encouraging, and nurturing. Although they are not seeking pats on the back for things they do, it is always joyful to parents when a child appreciates their efforts and shows gratitude and thanks them.

Wikipedia defines ‘thanks’: “gratitude, appreciation, or thankfulness is a positive emotion or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive”.

It is a positive emotion to give or receive thanks. Do you give thanks? I don’t mean the polite, politically correct and etiquette kind of thanks. I mean thanks that come from positive emotions of gratitude. Wikipedia describes ‘gratitude’: a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation; “he was overwhelmed with gratitude for their help”.

It’s hard to give thanks or feel gratitude when the economy is poor; there are wars and rumors of war; heated disagreements over how the government should be run; yours or another’s job loss, foreclosures; and that’s not even counting personal problems caused by these things. It is disheartening that there are mega problems that surround us today. A hopeless feeling might come over some of us. Have you even thought of giving thanks for anything recently?   What are you thankful for?

God talks to us via the Bible and tells us:

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” Psalms 100:4

“Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his mighty acts; praise him for his excellent and surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the stringed instruments and organs, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.” Psalms 150

Some might ask: How can I praise the Lord when everything is tumbling down? How can I give thanks in all circumstances? My life is upside down.

Again, the Bible speaks to us:

The Lord tells us in Psalm 32:8 – “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.”

God wants us to be happy. His Word in Scripture reflects this. He instructs us in His Ways in the Bible and His instructions pave the way to happiness, peace and prosperity. How do we know that God wants us to be happy? He tells us in Proverbs 17:22:

“A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.”

One of the ways you can get happier and over the disillusionment of life’s events is to start praising God and thanking Him. There are uncountable things we can thank him for and show true gratitude for. They can be little things; in fact, it’s the little things that change your heart from downtrodden to a cheerful heart. I thank God for opening my eyes to see every morning and being able to get out of bed. I thank Him for the capability to drive, work, exercise, read, share love with my family and friends and for every meal I partake. These are all gifts and blessings from God. Not everyone has them.   We all have so many blessings we take for granted.

I don’t pray every minute – but I do give thanks a lot. It’s a habit now. For every close call in a car, or every misstep that didn’t end in a fall, or even if I get to the bank just as they are closing the door, but let me in, I give thanks to Him and Praise Him. ‘All good things come from God’. They don’t have have to be lottery wins, or windfalls or extraordinary happenings. The more I praise Him and thank Him, the more cheerful I become. The negative things in my life become less prominent. Two matters cannot occupy the same space. My praises highlight the thankfulness; my thankfulness highlights the good and negates the bad; my gratitude is mind-changing.

Become aware of all the good things in your life. Start praising God for all the good things; give Him genuine gratitude. And you will find that you will achieve a happy heart and a cheerful mind. And when you become uplifted, don’t forget to thank Him and praise Him for that, too!!

Marie Coppola June 2013

Actions Have Reactions ~An Epiphany ~

We had a visiting priest who is known for his wonderful homilies. He gave a homily
and requested that we didn’t come up to him after mass and tell him how wonderful his
homilies are but to pass his homily to others.   Here is his story retold in my words
Recently, just before Christmas, this priest experienced passing some kidney stones that put
him in the hospital for surgery. While he was recuperating, a hospital volunteer came by with a
sealed Christmas card for him. As he put it, “she was ‘older than Moses’ ” and yet there she was
close to a holiday time giving out Christmas cards to patients. The priest put the sealed card on
the table next to his bed without opening it. A day or so later, he developed a fever and the only
relief he felt, was to reach over to the table, pick up the envelope and fan himself with it. He
thought about the volunteer and how her action to be kind resulted in a reaction of gratitude
and thanks from him for being so.

He then spoke on how actions have reactions and sometimes, no actions have reactions. He asked us, “Have you done any actions lately that resulted in reactions”?

His homily on that Sunday’s celebration ~ the Epiphany of the Lord ~ followed. The word “epiphany” comes from the Greek epiphainen, a verb that means- “to shine upon,” “to manifest,” or “to make known.” and was connected to the visit of the magi also known as the three wise men.

The account of the magi is rightly celebrated as an Epiphany of our Lord. The main significance of this account is that God so wonderfully revealed the identity of Jesus as Messiah and King of the Jews to these Gentile magi. It seems to be a wonderful fulfillment of the prophet Simeon’s prophecy, that Jesus would be, “a light of revelation to the Gentiles” (Luke 2:31). To shine upon ~ as the Light of the World. The homily told a story of actions to reactions – of the birth of Jesus, the visit of the magi, the threat (action) of Herod to first-borns, and the flight (reaction) to Egypt to escape it.

We were asked again if we had done any actions recently that resulted in reactions.  He suggested we might imitate the volunteer who doesn’t know that she is spoken of at every mass to many parishioners or that her action resulted in the reaction of comfort to an ailing patient.

What could we do to mirror her actions of giving and sharing? Can we manufacture good reactions? Can we forgive someone we are at odds with? Could we send a letter of forgiveness to someone with whom who we are angry and/or have stopped talking to?

Could we make amends for some miscommunication or a bad attitude? Can we have our own ‘epiphany’ over some matter that we only saw our side on? Can a ‘light of revelation’ be found in the actions of others and our reaction to them? Can we cause a chain reaction of kindness through our actions? We might gather balm for others as well as for ourselves if we see matters in another ‘Light’.

Have you had an epiphany over anything lately? Or about God? If not, think about special feelings or events in your life and see if there is revelation or epiphany that you missed.

I recalled one as he spoke.  Once I had a dream in which God told me He was sending me a gift. It was a pleasant and great dream and shortly after, I received two gifts on the same day which could only be from God.  I wondered if one of them  was the gift of my dream. Off and on I wondered about this.  They were both wonderful gifts.

But which one was ‘my dream gift?”  And one day, much later, I had an epiphany. They were both from God and so are so many other blessings He has bestowed on me. Everything He sends me is a gift.  And in His Wisdom, I felt He sent me two together and knew I would wonder and think on this.  It took a while, but I got it. All good things come from God and all are His gifts to me and I give gratitude not just for one, but for all.

Actions have reactions. And no actions have reactions, too.  Pass along an action that will make someone react in happiness especially to those for whom it will surprise. It will be balm for both of you.

I told the priest after mass that my reaction to his homily is to create this blog article and pass on his words.  I also told him his homiles were wonderful.

We had a visiting priest who is known for his wonderful homilies. He gave a homily
and requested that we didn’t come up to him after mass and tell him how wonderful his
homilies are but to pass his homily to others.   Here is his story retold in my words.
Recently, just before Christmas, this priest experienced passing some kidney stones that put
him in the hospital for surgery. While he was recuperating, a hospital volunteer came by with a
sealed Christmas card for him. As he put it, “she was ‘older than Moses’ ” and yet there she was
close to a holiday time giving out Christmas cards to patients. The priest put the sealed card on
the table next to his bed without opening it. A day or so later, he developed a fever and the only
relief he felt, was to reach over to the table, pick up the envelope and fan himself with it. He
thought about the volunteer and how her action to be kind resulted in a reaction of gratitude
and thanks from him for being so.

He then spoke on how actions have reactions and sometimes, no actions have reactions. He asked us, “Have you done any actions lately that resulted in reactions”?

His homily on that Sunday’s celebration ~ the Epiphany of the Lord ~ followed. The word “epiphany” comes from the Greek epiphainen, a verb that means “to shine upon,” “to manifest,” or “to make known.” and was connected to the visit of the magi also known as the three wise men.

The account of the magi is rightly celebrated as an Epiphany of our Lord. The main significance of this account is that God so wonderfully revealed the identity of Jesus as Messiah and King of the Jews to these Gentile magi. It seems to be a wonderful fulfillment of the prophet Simeon’s prophecy, that Jesus would be, “a light of revelation to the Gentiles” (Luke 2:31). To shine upon ~ as the Light of the World. The homily told a story of actions to reactions – of the birth of Jesus, the visit of the magi, the threat (action) of Herod to first-borns, and the flight (reaction) to Egypt to escape it.

We were asked again if we had done any actions recently that resulted in reactions.  He suggested we might imitate the volunteer who doesn’t know that she is spoken of at every mass to many parishioners or that her action resulted in the reaction of comfort to an ailing patient.

What could we do to mirror her actions of giving and sharing? Can we manufacture good reactions? Can we forgive someone we are at odds with? Could we send a letter of forgiveness to someone with whom who we are angry and/or have stopped talking to?

Could we make amends for some miscommunication or a bad attitude? Can we have our own ‘epiphany’ over some matter that we only saw our side on? Can a ‘light of revelation’ be found in the actions of others and our reaction to them? Can we cause a chain reaction of kindness through our actions? We might gather balm for others as well as for ourselves if we see matters in another ‘Light’.

Have you had an epiphany over anything lately? Or about God? If not, think about special feelings or events in your life and see if there is revelation or epiphany that you missed.

I recalled one as he spoke.  Once I had a dream in which God told me He was sending me a gift. It was a pleasant and great dream and shortly after, I received two gifts on the same day which could only be from God.  I wondered if one of them  was the gift of my dream. Off and on I wondered about this.  They were both wonderful gifts.

But which one was ‘my dream gift?”  And one day, much later, I had an epiphany. They were both from God and so are so many other blessings He has bestowed on me. Everything He sends me is a gift.  And in His Wisdom, I felt He sent me two together and knew I would wonder and think on this.  It took a while, but I got it. All good things come from God and all are His gifts to me and I give gratitude not just for one, but for all.

Actions have reactions. And no actions have reactions, too.  Pass along an action that will make someone react in happiness especially to those for whom it will surprise. It will be balm for both of you.

I told the priest after mass that my reaction to his homily is to create this blog article and pass on his words.  I also told him his homiles were wonderful.

©Marie Coppola December 2016

 

©Marie Coppola December 2016

If You Have No Expectations ~ There Will Be No Disappointments


As we look around and see results of the recession in some lives of family and friends, we can see how expectations for a good life can meet with disappointments. We can learn from what caused the recession.

“It’s a boom-bust world” says Kenneth Rogoff . When asked what caused the worst recession to grip the globe in decades, Professor Rogoff, a Harvard University economics and public policy professor, said history shows the pattern. Recessions follow booms.

Expectations for prosperity caused great disappointments. We can say these circumstances were beyond our control and yet, they cause disappointments. Big, major disappointments.

What if we add all those big ones to all those little disappointments we experience each day? If we depend on circumstances to gauge our happiness, we are in jeopardy because circumstances are constantly changing. And like the big ones, they are beyond our control. You might say you don’t do that. In a day’s time you may do it more than once. I use to.

I have felt like that when a great promotion was coming up that I just knew I was ready for; it was ‘my time’ in the department to move up, and I ‘sensed’ that I would get it — and I didn’t. I ‘expected’ the schools to close due to the bad weather, but it didn’t, and I had two teens bored from being indoors with ‘nothing to do’ while I had made my own plans for that day. I expected’ that I would get an “A” I worked hard for in my writing class, and instead, I got a “C.” No way! I expected my best article ever to be selected for a contest, and it didn’t. I set myself up for these disappointments because I ‘expected’ them.

When you place your expectations on people, you will usually be disappointed. A good friend whom you thought would never betray you, may have told another of a secret you told him. Or your child may turn off into another path you had not envisioned for them. Or an illness in the family changed the dynamics of plans you had made. You may be having a divorce which separates the family into a lifestyle you never thought or expected would happen to you. Crushed expectations; big disappointments. Life and people change; the unexpected happens. To us all.

I know that men and women can never fulfill all of each other’s needs. Only God can fill that place in my heart that needs that fulfillment. But I use to expect them to and in those expectations of them, when they don’t or cannot, I was disappointed. Disappointment is ‘the first seed of doubt’ and can lead to defeat or depression.

So how do we learn not to expect things from others, not to lean on others for our joy or happiness? Can we unlearn the emotion of expecting others to fulfill our needs and do the things we think they ought to do?

Yes, I believe we can. God made all of us in His image – not everyone else’s image. We are all separate beings. He did not make a commandment saying, “Thou shalt expect others to fulfill our needs and do what we want them to do.” Actually, the commandments are a compilation of honoring and doing good to others ;not expecting them to do good for us.

My answer to “Have no Expectations – Have no Disappointments”, is to experience gratitude and thanksgiving. By daily acknowledging gratitude for all the gifts and blessings I have in my life, I make them more important than the things I expect or want from others.

I had a tremendous expectation turn into disappointment with my teen-age son. It was a turbulent time and I loved him, but did not like him much. The disappointed expectation turned into a life role play where I was the mother of expectations and he was the child of disappointments. I had visions of what he should do with his life and he had much different views of what he wanted. So much so, that it affected our relationship and the whole family was affected.

I finally went to a trusted family counselor and gave him my story. He wanted my son to come in to hear his view. That being done, he then told me my son did not have to come back, but I did. What? Is there some mistake here, I am paying for this session and I’m the disappointer?

I did return and he explained that my son was perfectly happy with himself and in his choices for school, work and his future. I had different expectations for him and that was my problem. His remedy was that I should learn to love my son as he was and to compliment him each day on something he did that was good. I told him there was nothing he did that pleased me. And his answer was, ‘If he takes the garbage out, that is good – thank him.’

Which is the only thing I could do and the garbage taking-out WAS good and I did genuinely thank him. I’m happy to say that I did follow the counselor’s advice, I thanked my son for all the good things (and there were many I had overlooked) and downplayed what I thought was bad.

Within a week, the tension subsided and we were talking and smiling to each other. The mother of expectations and the child of disappointments were no more. I took stock of what the doctor told me and found that once I lost my expectation of what I believed was ‘good’ for my son, I found what was ruining our relationship.

Today, I am so blessed to have such a close and endearing relationship with this man – my son, who has done well in his life and succeeded without my expectations. Instead, he had my support, love and encouragement

I made a habit of gratitude instead of expectation. Don’t grumble or murmur if your mate forgets to put the mail out. Yes, you expect him to do that every morning, but he was in a hurry today. Instead, call him and ask him how his day is going and don’t mention the mail. It will get where it’s going. Expectation can become a habit and sometimes the more you expect, the more you want. Then you have to deal with more disappointments.

Marie Coppola © Revised November 2012

Gratitude Can Change Your Mind ~ and Give you a Cheerful ♥


 

We all do things in love – for people. Whether it’s loving, cooking, shopping, repairing, teaching, listening, sharing, or whatever you give of yourself for another’s good; it’s a gift. Parents spend many years raising children, instructing them in life’s ways. Besides teaching them the rules of life, parents also share their love by supporting, encouraging, and nurturing. Although they are not seeking pats on the back for things they do, it is always joyful to parents when a child appreciates their efforts and shows gratitude and thanks them.

Wikipedia defines ‘thanks’: “gratitude, appreciation, or thankfulness is a positive emotion or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive”.

It is a positive emotion to give or receive thanks. Do you give thanks? I don’t mean the polite, politically correct and etiquette kind of thanks. I mean thanks that come from positive emotions of gratitude. Wikipedia describes ‘gratitude’: a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation; “he was overwhelmed with gratitude for their help”

It’s hard to give thanks or feel gratitude when the economy is poor; there are wars and rumors of war; heated disagreements over how the government should be run; yours or another’s job loss, foreclosures; and that’s not even counting personal problems caused by these things. It is disheartening that there are mega problems that surround us today. A hopeless feeling might come over some of us. Have you even thought of giving thanks for anything recently?

God talks to us via the Bible:

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” Psalms 100:4

“Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his mighty acts; praise him for his excellent and surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the stringed instruments and organs, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.” Psalms 150

Some might ask: How can I praise the Lord when everything is tumbling down? How can I give thanks in all circumstances? My life is upside down.

Again, the Bible speaks to us:

The Lord tells us in Psalm 32:8 – “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.”

God wants us to be happy. His Word in Scripture reflects this. He instructs us in His Ways in the Bible and His instructions pave the way to happiness, peace and prosperity. How do we know that God wants us to be happy? He tells us in Proverbs 17:22:

“A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.”

One of the ways you can get happier and over the disillusionment of life’s events is to start praising God and thanking Him. There are uncountable things we can thank him for and show true gratitude for. They can be little things; in fact, it’s the little things that change your heart from downtrodden to a cheerful heart.

I thank God for opening my eyes to see every morning and being able to get out of bed. I thank Him for the capability to drive, work, exercise, read, share love with my family and friends and for every meal I partake. These are all gifts and blessings from God. Not everyone has them. I don’t pray every minute – but I do give thanks a lot. It’s a habit now. For every close call in a car, or every misstep that didn’t end in a fall, or even if I get to the bank just as they are closing the door, but let me in, I give thanks to Him and Praise Him. ‘All good things come from God’. They don’t have have to be lottery wins, or windfalls or extraordinary happenings. The more I praise Him and thank Him, the more cheerful I become. The negative things in my life become less prominent. Two matters cannot occupy the same space. My praises highlight the thankfulness; my thankfulness highlights the good and negates the bad; my gratitude is mind-changing.

Become aware of all the good things in your life. Start praising God for all the good things; give Him genuine gratitude. And you will find that you will achieve a happy heart and a cheerful mind. And when you become uplifted, don’t forget to thank Him and praise Him for that, too!!

Copyright © Marie Coppola Revised November 2012