good life by aggie aviso
Part of cultivating a good life is cultivating a grateful heart.
All I have is all I need.
This was the caption of an old blog I had when my husband and I were just starting a family. And I can’t tell you how many times that sentence has turned my perspective around and allowed me to realize and become grateful of things I have (and take for granted) – a roof over my head, three meals a day, electricity to bring us light, water from the faucet, etc.
If you come from a place of gratitude, your perspective always changes and you end up happier.
When you start with a grateful heart, everything becomes a blessing.
It all begins when you come from a place of humility. When you put yourself in a mindset that whatever comes to you is a gift, then you see things in a different light. You feel lucky – a better word is blessed – to be given things you don’t deserve.
How many times have we become bitter when things don’t go as planned, when we don’t get what we think we deserve? Probably too many times. I am guilty of that one, too.
Cultivating a grateful heart means thanking Him for everything, even for the bad things.
This is hard. I admit. Too many times, I may have questioned God about the “perfect” timing of his “trials.” They always seem to come one after another. But when I shift my mindset to something that allows gratefulness to enter, trials become bearable.
2013 year was a hard one for me personally. I lost my dad, I felt like an empty nester, and the whole cancer thing running in our families was just too much. I felt frustrated most of the time. Hurt. Scared.
After a particularly low blow after my dad died and before my sister got married, I decided I will never be able to control everything, so I changed my mindset. Before diamonds become what they are, they are first passed continuously through fire. And it was through God’s grace I realized that trials aren’t really “punishments” but “refinements” to my character and my attitude to be worthy of whatever reward God has prepared for me.
I still am trying to be grateful for the trials; but instead of questioning, I tell my Father to help me get through it. I may not (and probably never will) understand the whys, but I want to pass trials by fire not burnt but polished.
Cultivating a grateful heart makes you aware how much you live a wonderful life.
I started scrapbooking as a creative outlet. I simply wanted to create something pretty with all those papers and pictures. But it evolved into a deeper appreciation of the craft. I began documenting the everyday – the breakfast my 7-year old boy made, the kids holding hands when they sleep, the intense concentration of my youngest when she watched Lion King when she was three – and from there bloomed a great appreciation of the kind of life I lead. I don’t live a glamorous life, but I am happy with mine. When the focus became internal, gratitude bloomed. My kids are 8 and 14 now. And I feel such a sentimental tug whenever I go through their albums. I feel so grateful not only to capture those little things, but I also feel so blessed to be able to live life the way I want it, to be able to take care of my kids myself while trying to make a living at home.
Let’s start with a grateful heart.
What I have learned is that a grateful heart is a happy heart. And this is something you don’t magically become but something you continuously work hard on. It will always be a constant pull between fear and trust, power and control between faith. But whenever you are grateful, you will always win.
Aggie is a member of our 2015 Creative Team. She lives in the Philippines with her husband Edil and two children Matthew and Martha.