80 Years Of Gratitude...And Counting

I hope you're pressing into 21 Days Of Gratitude. I am! I'm already seeing a change as I find myself looking for things to include on my list each day. Are you noticing a difference? Keep it up, and remember to BE SPECIFIC. According to the research, the more specific we are, the greater the impact.

Throughout this month, I've asked a few friends to share with us on the topic of living life gratefully. This week, it's my pleasure to share a post with you from renowned Author and Speaker, Luci Swindoll. World Traveler, Art Collector, Opera Singer, Corporate Executive, Risk Taker, Dreamer... These are a few titles Luci has worn along her illustrious road. But to me, her greatest role is "friend". There has never been a time I've left her presence that I didn't feel inspired, supported and challenged.

At 80 years old, Luci has earned a perspective that few of us enjoy. I asked her to share with us because I count her among the most grateful people I know. You can connect with Luci here on Twitter. And check out the end of this post for your chance to WIN AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY of my favorite book of Luci's!

Having chalked up eight decades of living, I can now tell you one of the most important attributes in life is to have a sense of gratitude. People with gratitude are generous, happy, fun and easy to be with. They know the difference between a catastrophe and an inconvenience. And they’re a joy to have as friends because they create blessings wherever they go. They’re not even conscious of this gift; even though they’re always giving it to everybody they meet. They’re simply thankful to be alive.

I learned this principle at a very early age from “Momo”, my maternal grandmother. Not only was she gracious, generous and grateful…she was also hilarious. Being with her always lifted my spirit. She’s the one in the family who used to say, “A day is wasted unless we fall over in a heap laughing”. But it wasn’t just laughter that turned her crank, it was recognizing the needs of others and figuring out how she could meet those needs. I can’t remember a time when she felt sorry for herself, even when she was sick, or broke, or left out. She always seemed to be counting her blessings.

Coupled with her joy of living and seeing the funny side of everything was her tendency to cater to the underdog or the stranger. Momo’s house was a harbor for people who were lonely or new in the community. She hated for anyone to hurt or suffer. And she gave all she had in time, energy and money to see that they were loved and cared for.

And creative? Oh my! She was the queen of imagination – poetry, music, letters, gifts – all of which were second nature to her. My grandparents had a big house with a huge front porch, and as children we went to dozens of parties there. We’d dress in costume, tell stories, sing our hearts out, quote poetry and play made-up games until late into the evening when everybody would sit down to a wonderful meal, prepared by Momo with the sweetest prayer of thanksgiving offered by Granddaddy. My brothers and I believed we were the richest kids in the world…and we were! We had everything money couldn’t buy!

And you know what? I’m still a rich kid. There’s not a day that passes I don’t look around and count the blessings that are mine. My gratitude knows no bounds!

So what if I’m 80? So what if it’s not as easy to lean over and tie my shoes or walk to the corner or hit the high notes? So what if I can’t do everything I used to? I can tell you this: it cost me a lifetime of living to get here and what I know now, I wouldn’t trade for all the youth in the world.

The actress, Sophia Loren puts it beautifully:

“So if you put on a little weight, find that you need glasses, get twinges of pain in your knees, and notice that a few dark brown spots are showing on your hands, don’t despair. There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age”. 

Doing LIfe Differently is my favorite book written by Luci Swindoll. I love it, and I know you will, too. You can enter to win an autographed copy by sharing this post via Facebook or Twitter. Leave a comment below letting me know you did. I'll randomly choose one or more winners on Monday, the 12th! Good luck!

Get a free copy of Chance's ebook, Quotable.