Gratitude in Just Five Things

We all know the game. We all know how to “look for the beauty,” “appreciate the small things,” “be grateful for what you’ve got.” And it’s true. It’s just annoying.

My kids’ school started this habit at the beginning of the academic year. I was completely obligated to “play along” when the Find Five Things was sent home in their backpacks, on neon green paper with bold font splashed across it. Ellie, Tommy and Livy expected me to literally TAPE THE REMINDER to our fridge and refer to it each day.


I have a lot on my mind. I have big things and little things and unexpected things and sad things and frustrating things and unfamiliar things that take up permanent residence in my brain. I don’t need (want) this Game to clutter my very organized thought process.


But. This little habit, kind of like “high low unexpected,” made a positive difference. Surprise, surprise, surprise. It affected how we chose to see our day, how we saw life, the lens through which we viewed our memories.

And, it’s just five things. Five. One hand. It’s not exactly heroic.

When you start thinking of five things you’re grateful for, you feel pretty silly at number one. You feel a little trite at number two. At number three, you have to work a bit harder, and you feel surprised at how that little thing, that brief text conversation, that one question asked to you, oh right, that acknowledgement of a job well done actually made you feel pretty nice. Then you find, you’re WANTING that number four, and grateful for the number five. And. Like magic, your day looks pretty awesome, pretty blessed, a far cry from the I Like To Be A Victim picture you were painting (you meaning I).

During this time of great unknown and real sadness and loss, I find myself glancing at that green sheet and struggling to make it to three. You? You know what I mean, how I feel? I sure hope so. I sure hope I’m not the only woman out there struggling against Wishing It Was Different and striving more for I Am Blessed.

Here are mine today. Do you have any?

  1. The warm, sunny weather. We needed it after yesterday.
  2. My wool dryer balls came in. (I know, see, I am REALLY having to reach today).
  3. I could go for a walk with my kids and not slow them down. Which means my gait’s improving. Praise the Lord.
  4. My experimental chicken in the crock pot smells good, and we have high hopes for success. If nothing else, my house smells Delicious.
  5. I’m so grateful that, unlike other times of crisis that I have experienced, we have power and water and cold milk. And Steve and I aren’t sorting jelly beans by their flavor (yes, if you want advice on that, I’m your girl, because yes, I have sorted the whole bag. Not the little bag, but the resealable, family size one).

“Blessings on your eyes. Blessings on your children. Blessings on the ground beneath you. My heart is a ladle of sweet water, brimming over. Selah.” The Red Tent.

2 thoughts on “Gratitude in Just Five Things”

  1. I am always, always working on contentment. I don’t do a daily 5 list, but I do actively seek the good in situations.

    1. Awesome kids. Teenagers stepping in to be the leaders at home while we work.

    2. Most amazing community, not just church, but from all areas of life.

    3. Bedroom tv. 🙂

    4. Cake in the break room!

    5. Technology that allows me to stay connected to dear friends.

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