Journal Your Gratitude


Happy Thanksgiving week! In honor of giving thanks, I’d like to pass along a simple but powerful idea. Something that’s changed my life over the past two or three years — and can change yours, too. Something that can alter your perspective at the end of any given day. Something anyone can do.

The life-changing practice I’m alluding to? Keeping a gratitude journal. Now before you think there’s no way you can add one more “chore” to your life, let me assure you I’m not talking about writing lengthy entries of polished prose. I’m talking super simple and super short (unless you just get on a roll and want to keep going!).

At the end of your day, simply think about something that’s happened that you’re thankful for and jot it down in a journal. The journal doesn’t have to be fancy. When I began journaling my gratitude, I used a tiny spiral notebook. After I realized what a treasure it could be, I started using a beautiful journal given to me by a friend (thanks, Teri!). I discovered that having a pretty journal to write in helped make the practice more of a treat to carry out.

I try to jot down my notes of thanksgiving every day. If possible, I even take my journal with me when I travel. You’d be surprised how quickly the days blur together and how fast you can forget the things you’re thankful for if you let it go for awhile. I record anything from major blessings like a long-awaited answer to prayer to smaller things like a short wait in the doctor’s office or an encouraging comment left here on the blog.

If you have a hard time imagining how journaling your gratitude can change your life, just give it a try for a week. I’ve found that on particularly stressful or unhappy days, my spirits are always lightened and lifted when I stop at the end of the day and think back to something good that happened.

Maybe you’ll thank God for the moment you enjoyed watching the leaves drift their way to the ground. Or you might remember the parking spot that opened up at just the right time. You might even thank God for the warmth and protection of your home.

I’m sure you can see how the possibilities are endless — just like our God and His desire to touch our lives with good things. Sometimes we simply forget to notice His blessings. Keeping a gratitude journal will help you be alert to the ways your heavenly Father is watching over you and blessing you, even on the difficult days. It will foster a more positive attitude about the day’s events and give you a more positive outlook for the future.

So go ahead. I challenge you to start celebrating Thanksgiving every day. Treat yourself to a pretty journal and start recording some of your blessings. You will be blessed, God will be blessed by your gratitude, and one day in the future, a loved one may treasure your journal even more than you did! Happy Thanksgiving to all!

“Let us come before him with thanksgiving…” Psalm 95:2a

*I’ll be skipping my mid-week post this holiday week. I’ll be up to my elbows in flour :) See you next week — I’ll be kicking off the Christmas season with a fun little giveaway! :)

*Flickr photo by madelyn * persisting stars, Creative Commons License


  1. What a great idea Cheryl. I am definitely going to start this week. I have had some really bad days these last few weeks, so maybe this is exactly what I need.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!!!

  2. Lisa, so glad this idea hits the spot for you! Such a blessing to hear — thanks for letting me know!

  3. Love the idea and have tried my hand at it in the past. Will try again, this time with a little more “heart” in the matter!

    Happy Thanksgiving. So glad that God has weaved our paths together in blog land.


  4. Wonderful idea, Cheryl. I’m going to try to do this. I have much to be thankful for.

  5. I have a good friend who has been doing this for 20 YEARS! She uses plain spiral notebooks and this is how she starts out her prayer time every morning. She said that it helps get her focused to praise God before she starts pouring out her requests. And, of course, she has kept them all to help remind her of God’s faithfulness during times that she feels He’s distant.

    Ironically, as much as I love to write, I’ve never been a truly successful journaler. I’m inconsistent at best. But the Gratitude journal is a little easier for me to keep up with.

    Thanks for sharing the idea.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. What a beautiful idea. I began journaling this year. I talk so much but have struggled to write the last month. I think I will kick off Advent w/ a gratitude journal.

    Thanksgiving blessings to you.

  7. What a blessing to hear that so many of you are going to start a gratitude journal! I am thankful for you, my friends in blog land! :)

  8. Oh Cheryl I love this idea! I’ve decided to go out and buy really inexpensive notebooks and have my kids decorate the fron of them to make them “personal” and this will be something my whole family begins doing.

    I’m going to blog about this tomorrow and link to your post! Thanks for sharing!!

    Your Friend,

  9. Cheryl,
    Why is it so easy to forget our blessings and concentrate on our have-nots? (Maybe it’s just me.) I love the idea of a deliberate pause to reflect on our blessings. It’s a great way to re-gain perspective.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  10. Kelli and Sonya, so glad you guys liked the gratitude journal idea, too! It has been wonderful to hear of so many who are going to incorporate this practice into their lives. Sonya, good luck with full family participation. Sounds like a great thing to do with your kids! Happy Thanksgiving to you both, too!

  11. Hi Cheryl!!

    I was visiting Sonya earlier this week and she had this mentioned in her post.

    I do quite a bit of journaling, and I think this is a wonderful idea. And guess what my daughter sent me for my birthday–without either of us knowing anything about this?

    A pretty journal instead of my usual composition books. So, this journal will be the start of My Thankful Journey.

    I’ll be posting about this after I get home from work today with a link back to you–okay??


  12. Hi Beth, so glad you came over from Sonya’s blog! Isn’t that amazing how God brings things together? Looks like He definitely provided that new journal for you to record your thanks, doesn’t it? He is so good to us!

    And yes, I’d love for you to link back to me in your post today. It’s been such a blessing to see this idea take off in so many directions. Thanks!

  13. Thanksgiving and Christmas blessings to you, Cheryl!

    Enjoy that delicious pleasure of baking and baking and baking.


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