My daughter, Candace, gave me a Gratefulness Journal last Christmas. The cover states it is a “journal to reflect on the good things in life.” It has caused me to take some time to reflect on the many blessings I have received during my life. It mentions embracing gratitude, not just by recognizing what one is grateful for but also by expressing it, which can enhance our current happiness and contentment. It might be a person, an experience, or just a special moment in the busyness of life. This should cause us to stop and reflect on all the things for which we should be grateful.

Also included in the journal is a section entitled “Your Reverse Bucket List.” I have always been a big planner, and I love to plan and then enjoy vacations, adventures, or events. Often, a large part of the excitement for a long-awaited vacation is the effort put into deciding where to go and what to do. I have a bucket list of places I would like to visit and things I would like to accomplish or experience before I die. But, instead of dreaming of everything we would like to do or attain in the next few years, the “Reverse Bucket List” instructs us to think about our lives so far and all the things we already have. What goals have you achieved? What makes you happy? What are you proud of? What great, inspirational people have you met, or how have you been able to impact others? What are some dreams that have become a reality?

On my reverse bucket list, I have an amazing, godly husband who encourages me daily in my walk with God. The Lord has blessed me with two wonderful children I am extremely proud of. They have both married, and our son-in-law and daughter-in-law have been an added blessing to my already overflowing cup. I have two beautiful granddaughters who bring me joy and laughter every day. Being a wife, a mom, and now a Mimi has been one of my life’s most fulfilling and important things. All the blessings along the way, whether homes or vacations or jobs or church family, I can see God’s hand in it all.

It brings to mind a quote I read: “Remember the days you prayed for the things you have now.” We have many examples in the Bible of people who needed a miracle in their lives, and God stepped on the scene and brought it to pass.

In Luke 17, we read the story of the ten lepers that Jesus cleansed. He instructed them to show themselves to the priests, and as they went, they were healed from their leprosy. Luke 17:15-16 states, “And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks.”  Jesus then questioned him about the other nine who did not return to show gratitude. Finally, in verse 19, Jesus tells him, “Arise, go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole.” When this Samaritan took the time to return and show his gratefulness for the mighty miracle Jesus had just performed in his life, he was not only healed but made completely whole! What a great example for us to follow.

What more could God accomplish in our lives if we would be willing to show Him the praise and thanksgiving He deserves?

Today, and in all the days following, I want to take the time to be more intentional in my gratitude and gratefulness. Psalm 103 is a great chapter to read to encourage us not to forget all God’s benefits. He has forgiven all our iniquities and healed all our diseases. He has crowned us with lovingkindness and tender mercies. His mercy is from everlasting to everlasting. Every day, I will remember to “Bless the Lord, O my soul and all that is within me, bless His holy name” (Psalm 103:1). Jesus, I am grateful!


Shelly Stringfellow is the blessed wife of one husband, Roy, for the past 38 years, proud mother of two exceptional adult children, Candace and Jordan, and Mimi, to the two cutest grandbabies ever, Ellainya and Selah. She loves reading and writing but is not a fan of ‘rithmetic! She attends Lighthouse Church in Princeton, Texas, where her son-in-law and daughter pastor.

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