“Gratitude” has been one of the key words I have focused on during this past year in the Philippines, and even though developing a mindset of gratitude and thanksgiving is not always easy, it has probably been the most beneficial discipline I have ever focused on for a variety of reasons. Possessing a spirit of gratitude has made me more aware and thankful for the tiny moments throughout my day, it has made me more resilient during the difficult moments, it has given me a more positive outlook on the future, and a more forgiving memory of the past. Gratitude allows me to live more fully, embracing the everyday details that give me joy and a sense of well-being. Most importantly, gratitude has deepened my spiritual connection and drawn me much closer to God. By having a mindset geared towards thanksgiving I am more able to focus on the many splendid blessings rather than the few challenging circumstances. I am able to see God’s hand working throughout my day, in small and grand ways, and my dependence on this relationship has deepened into something beautiful.
Living a life of gratefulness and thanksgiving is transformational. In the mornings and in the evenings I meditate on everything I am grateful for and praise the Lord for even the minutest of aspects. Being grateful shifts my attention from all of the negative aspects that fill life and helps me focus on the many beautiful things constantly present throughout my days. Being thankful lightens my stress and worry and makes me happy. It is a discipline that takes time to foster but the rewards or unlimited. Here are a few things, both big and small, that I am thankful for here in Cebu.
I am, of course, always grateful for the amazing friends and family I have been blessed with all over the world. I love living with an international community and I am incredibly blessed to have such a wonderful support system. I am also grateful for the wifi box in my house which allows me to keep in touch with these people much more than I thought would be possible.
I am grateful for the chance to live in a tropical paradise full of mountains, waterfalls, and a crazy massive church dedicated to Mother Mary.
I am grateful for the fan in my room which keeps me resting well/staying alive. I am also thankful for the electricity which powers the fan and charges my phones and laptop.
I am incredibly thankful for the organization I work for and the wonderful people I work with here. I am grateful that my office overlooks the ocean and that a nice breeze is keeping me from sweating.
I am grateful for running water so I don’t have to get it from a well outside, and for a tiny washing machine which keeps me from having to hand wash all of my clothes.
I am thankful for a hard-drive full of movies, a kindle full of books, and for the lovely people who have sent me care packages during my time here.
I am grateful/scared that I am finally enjoying rice multiple times a day. I am grateful for the wonderful hugs I receive from the girls at the shelter. I am thankful for $3 massages and free trips to the beach.
I am grateful for a patient host family who gives me all the space I need and takes care of me everyday. I am thankful for community and conversation. I am grateful for small connections with people. I am grateful for people who braid my hair for me.
I am thankful that I am healthy and have not been horribly sick here. I am grateful that I do not have to drive on ice or wait for my car to defrost. I am thankful for opportunities, no matter how small. I am thankful for airplanes and the chance to go home for Christmas. I am thankful for the new underwear my aunt just sent me. I am thankful for the chance to learn and work hard everyday. I am grateful for umbrellas which protect me from the sun and the rain. I am grateful whenever the jeepney (public transportation) driver remembers where I live so I don’t have to say anything. I am thankful for beautiful weather that allows me to walk outside everyday with nothing more than an umbrella for protection. I am thankful for a small toaster oven to make cookies. And I am grateful for all of the million details that fit together every moment of every day…
I am thankful for this abundant life and for having a God who loves unconditionally.
Much love everyone!