| The Change That Lasted |

Same Habitat, New Habit     

     Right then and there, I decided there was something I could do


Grateful for the song of crickets.

Grateful for the new awareness blossoming from deep inside.

Grateful my kids are playing nicely.


It started after another failed attempt to keep a gratitude journal. I’d heard so many inspirational talks; I understood the value of taking the time to write what I was grateful for each day. Most of all, I knew I needed this habit more than ever as life was throwing challenges faster than I could catch them.

I had a stack of colorful gratitude journals that started well for a few pages, and then when inspiration wore off, turned into pages of to-do lists.

During a conversation with some friends, I made a public confession about my desperation. They all agreed it’s a great habit to work on but, “Nu vuz dit men? What are you going to do?” they asked.

Right then and there, I decided there was something I could do. I started a group chat for the five of us. I made a commitment aloud to text three things I’m grateful for every day.

For a year, I made sure not to go to sleep at night without posting. In the beginning, it was me plugging away while the others just chimed in. Later, my friends would post earlier in the day, which encouraged me to stop and think about what I can be grateful for at that moment.

Sometimes I was stuck and feeling anything but grateful, but the sometimes witty, sometimes profound, and sometimes simple texts from my friends spurred me to find at least a little something I could be grateful for, even in tough times.

Our group grew and dove even deeper when two more friends joined, and our level of gratefulness moved beyond the blue sky and fresh cool water.

Slowly the consistent messaging reprogrammed my brain. I pushed myself to pause when I was feeling angry, irritated, frustrated, or lost. I took a deep breath and thought about three things I could feel grateful for.

The support from my friends and the knowledge that they, too, know life is tough, but we can all choose to focus on the sunny side, help me sail the stormy waters.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 758)

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