*Gratitude, appreciation, or thankfulness is a positive emotion or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive.*
Yesterday Faith and I went to the grocery store together. Journey had just fallen asleep for her nap and Brett was home, so I took advantage of the opportunity to go with just Faith. Faith is 14 months now and so full of energy, loving and fiesty. During our walk there she pointed out trucks and gazed up at the palm trees. Once we arrived at Vons she was a good shopping buddy. She insisted on helping to check out, so I let her push our number into the screen and when our change came out she picked up the coins and put them into the jar (for charity). Once we were outside she wanted a snack. So, I gave her a pitted cherry and she said “Thank You”! Not as clear as you and I say it, but very clear in her own voice. I was so pleased and it really made me proud that my 14 month old understands the meaning of Thank You enough to know when to use it. It is good manners to say Please and Thank You, but it is a gift to really have gratitude. I felt at that moment Faith was very thankful that I stopped to give her a gift she wanted; a very sweet cherry.  If my girls never learn anything else from me I want them to really value gratitude and appreciation for what they have.
It took me a long time to understand gratitude because before college I was always looking for ways my life wasn’t good enough and I didn’t have things I thought I needed. Now, I have learned to appreciate everything I have. I have never been a materialistic person, but I value everything I have in a different way. I don’t see it as me, I see my things as just that “things.” The only real things that matter are the people you love, the people who love you and being able to provide the neccessities you need to survive like shelter and food.
Having gratitude and being thankful for what you have is the key to a happy and joyful life. Have you ever met a person that was just so happy, chipper (really really happy) or so full of natural joy that you wonder what could they be so happy about? I have and I have always wanted to be that person. Learning to appreciate what I have has been one step that I have taken towards that. I always think in the back of my mind about the people that have been affected by all of these natural diseasters lately; tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes and floods. I think that if something like that were to happen to me what would be left. Not my clothes, furniture, or anything. Only myself and what is inside of me would survive.
That is why that moment outside of the grocery store touched me so much. Because at that moment and from that moment on Faith knows and has gratitude inside of her. With the help of the ones who love her, especially her big sister Journey she has learned to be thankful. I can’t really express in words how happy that makes me as a Mother. I am thankful everytime both of my girls run to me with open arms for a hug and a kiss, I am thankful for the affection they show each other, I am thankful for being able to spend so much time with them, I am thankful for waking up each day with a new chance, I am thankful for so many things (so I will finish my list on my Page 🙂 ).
So, I will leave you with a few quotes on how others feel about joy,gratitude and thankfulness. Everyone has so much to be thankful for no matter what our situation is. Just be thankful that you are alive and able to go on with your life and make choices about how you want to change yourself for the better or your situation. Each day is a new day–be thankful for the second chance! Kalisha
 “Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.” –Karl Barth
 “When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light, for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food, and the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies with yourself.” –Tecumseh

 “Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.” — Brian Tracy

 “If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.” — Rabbi Harold Kushner