2020 Gratitude…Mine, Yours, and What It Can Do For Both Of Us

Happy Fall Y’all!

Years ago, I read a book by Ann Voskamp titled One Thousand Gifts and it revolutionized the way I think about the importance of gratitude. (Apparently it did that for a lot of people since it spent more than a year on the New York Times Bestseller’s List.) Since reading Ann’s book, I’ve tried to commit to either listing mentally or in a journal at least five unique things I am thankful for each day.

To take each day as it comes and find the good in it can sometimes be a challenge, but I’m always able to come up with five even if some of them are a little on the basic (yet essential) side such as, “I’m still breathing.” Hey, a win is a win.

But when I sat down today to think comprehensively about blessings from 2020, that list felt much harder to make. I’ve counted five blessings most days of 2020 so I know they are there, but yet when I look back on the year as a whole I can’t see them as clearly and instead tend to see mostly the sickness, division, and turmoil.

Maybe you are experiencing the same?

My theory is that it has to do with where our focus is.

Take this weekend for example. I spent Saturday and Sunday with my family enjoying some much needed time together. We ate together, we decorated for Christmas together (yes, I am that girl…and I make no apologies for it), and even watched a movie at home. It sounds simple but this much family time without work, homework, or responsibilities is a rarity and gift once your kids hit middle and high school. My focus was on being in the moment with my family and because of that I enjoyed smiles, laughter, and the bliss of being with those that I love.

But by the time Sunday night rolled around, my focus shifted to the unknowns of the week ahead. It had quickly ditched the warm fuzzies of the hours before and instead jumped on the 2020 hamster wheel of things I can’t control: coronavirus, the safety of my family, my job, school, the upcoming holiday plans or lack thereof, the state of our nation, and a million other things. (I know, so productive, right?)

Let me tell you…that wheel is wicked fast, my friends. It never stops and the only exit ramp is gratitude.

Please know that I am not saying to ignore the very real hardships and grief many of us have experienced this year. Gratitude is not the key that locks the door to a closet full of all our emotional junk.

The practice of gratitude is simply recognizing that there is good with the bad or we would never be able to tell the difference between the two. Name the good and celebrate it. Give it the microphone.

As it turns out some scientific studies have shown that people who practice gratitude are more likely to experience some extra perks like:

  1. Increased levels of happiness
  2. Better physical health
  3. Improved self-esteem
  4. More positivity
  5. More restorative sleep patterns

I want all those things! The year 2020 can keep its Wheel of Mayhem (here’s looking at you Joey Tribbiani). I’m content to count my blessings with both feet planted firmly on the ground thank you very much.

Since this is The Food Allergy Mom Blog, here is my top 5 thankful list from that perspective:

  1. A fabulous allergist who puts just as much value on a parent’s thoughts and observations as he does a child’s symptoms
  2. Epinephrine injectors that may save lives
  3. Amazing medical breakthroughs that every day are putting us closer to a treatment or cure for food allergies
  4. Companies that have had safe foods in stock when they were hard to find elsewhere during the pandemic
  5. God for helping my family put one foot in front of the other every step of this crazy food allergy journey

Now it’s time for a little amateur group therapy. Tell me something you are thankful for in 2020…food allergy related or not. Can’t wait to hear all the ways you’ve been blessed!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s