Beliefnet
Inspiration Report

raise-3338589_640 (1)Gratitude is one of the most powerful emotions when it comes to fighting off depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, few people make a habit of being thankful. Instead, most people prefer to focus on what is wrong with their lives and complain. If you find you are stuck in a complaining rut or simply want to spice up your own gratitude practices a little, here are some easy ways to incorporate more thankfulness in your life.

 

Appreciate the Little Things

Most of life takes place in the little moments that too many people ignore. You may not have won the lottery today, but you still have a lot to be thankful for each day. Be grateful for a cup of coffee, a safe commute to and from work or your spouse’s smile after a long day at work. Being thankful for the little things makes a big difference in the long run.

 

Start a Gratitude Journal

If you want to make sure you think of something to be grateful for each day, start a gratitude journal or blessing jar. Pick up a new notebook or a clean jar and put them somewhere you will see them every day. Then, either first thing in the morning or last thing at night, write down something you are grateful for in the notebook or on a piece of paper to put in the jar. Then, you can review your thankfulness notes at the end of the year.

 

Write Thank You Notes

Thank you notes have largely gone out of style, but they are a habit worth reviving. When you receive a gift or even just have a good time with your friends, tell them you are thankful for the gift or their time. You can write a nice note on stationary or even just send a quick email expressing your gratitude. It will not take long, but it can make a big difference in both your life and that of your friend.

 

Be Thankful For Yourself

Most people only think about themselves either in a greedy sense or to berate themselves for being too stupid, too fat, too lazy, too this or that. Instead, be thankful for who you are and what you can do. If you have a healthy body, be thankful for that. If you have a sound mind, be grateful you do. Even if you feel you have nothing to be grateful for, remember that today was a day your heart beat and your lungs breathed. You are alive. Not everyone is.

 

Practicing gratitude does not have to require long hours of meditation or complex rituals. Something as simple as taking a deep breath when you open the curtains in the morning or jotting down a sentence at night can make a whole world of difference. So, what are you thankful for today?

Motion Picture Artwork © 2018 STX Financing, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Motion Picture Artwork © 2018 STX Financing, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Jennifer Lopez will be taking to the silver screen once more in December 2018. Her new romantic comedy, “Second Act,” will premiere on Friday, December 21, 2018. The film follows Maya, played by Jennifer Lopez, who is a 40 year old woman “struggling with frustrations from unfulfilled dreams. Until, that is, she gets the chance to prove to Madison Avenue that street smarts are as valuable as book smarts, and that it is never too late for a Second Act.”

The film is said to be an inspiring story of a woman who makes serious changes to her life. It is positive, motivational and Lopez’s role has been described as an “empowering, signature role that proves your dreams are always within reach.” The film also taps into real concerns and comedy that come from the social media age as the firm that hires Maya is misled into believing that she is an accomplished consultant due to a fake Facebook page.

“Second Act” is currently rated PG-13 for some sexual references and a bit of language. It was written by Justin Zackham and Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas and directed by Peter Segal. It stars Jennifer Lopez as Maya, Vanessa Hudgens as Zoe, Leah Remini as Joan, Annaleigh Ashford as Hildy, Freddie Stroma as Ron, Dan Bucatinsky as Arthur, Milo Ventimiglia as Trey, Treat Williams as Anderson Clarke and Larry Miller as Weiskopf.

The film was originally scheduled to be released in November, but following “incredible” screenings, the release date was moved back to mid-December in order to avoid competing with Thanksgiving releases such as “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Crimes of Grindelwald.” The trailer is now available online.

 

“Go home and get your affairs in order,” the neurologist told him.

John Paine, a successful businessman, was diagnosed with Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) 17 years ago. This condition is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, a condition that affects nerve cells and the spinal cord.

The average life expectancy following an ALS diagnosis is typically 2-5 years. At the time Paine was given his diagnoses, he thought he had lost it all. Not only was he dealing with a serious physical uphill battle, but also a heavy emotional battle.

However, during his painful physical deterioration, John discovered a transformation that he never envisioned happening. During this period, he learned to lean into God and when he did this, he discovered true loving.

Today, Paine trusts in God and is motivated by a desire to inspire and encourage others. He learned to relinquish control and intentionally live in the present and that decision has made all the difference.

His perspective on how this disease transformed his relationship with Christ is moving. His story also challenges us to think about how God wants to use life’s difficulties to transform our hearts and our lives.

Paine says, “If I were given the opportunity to be fully healed and be able to hold my wife’s hand again, and put my arm around her, hug my grandchildren, pick up a cup of coffee, not have to drink it out of a straw, if I was able to be healed again and fully well, but in doing so I would have to go back to my former relationship with God. If I had that option, or I remain paralyzed, eventually will suffocate, but I got to experience this incredible relationship with God, I will tell you I would not hesitate. I will choose every time to maintain the relationship with God that I have today over anything because this is true living, and it’s the reason why I admonish men daily to not wait until they’re dying before they start really living.”

He now continues his love for personal mentorship by challenging other men to passionately pursue deeper relationships with others and with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

In the documentary, “The Luckiest Man” which is told through interviews with Paine, along with family, friends and colleagues discuss these difficult circumstances and his outlook shift which allowed him to see that he still had an incredible life worth living.

Now “The Luckiest Man” is a memoir, where Paine tells his story, recounting the ways God intervened in his life, freeing him from all that prevented intimacy with God, even as he slipped into pain, paralysis, and further toward death.

cancer-1455445_640Andre Hal gave thanks to God recently for healing him of his disease. Hal had previously been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but the cancer has since gone into remission.

“First of all, I want to thank God,” said Hal. “Without God, I wouldn’t be here today. I had my faith in God, but I had confidence in myself. I did everything I could to beat this.”

Hal was diagnosed with the disease in May 2018, but decided not to undergo chemotherapy in hopes of being able to return to playing football during the 2018 season.

“I didn’t want to do chemo because I didn’t want to miss this year,” Hal said. “I don’t think people really thought I was going to come back and play, but I knew in my heart that I wanted to come back and play. I tried to do a ‘less harsh’ drug. So, I did Rituxan. I did that once a week for a month and the cancer went away.”

In addition to using Rituxan, Hal used a combination of traditional and nontraditional treatments. His other methods included acupuncture and a vitamin regime. Before undergoing his treatment, however, Hal stated that he would be leaning heavily on his faith during his fight with cancer.

“My faith in God and the support from my family, friends, teammates and coaches will see me through this difficult time. I will not let this diagnosis stop me from fulfilling my dreams, and I do not want anyone to feel sorry for me,” Hal said. “I know how to beat this and I will beat this.”

Hal’s success has since inspired teammates who are facing the same battle, including Texans defensive end J.J. Watt and Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph. They might get to see Hal return to the field this season as well as beat cancer. Hal is still on the reserve/non-football illness list, but he is working with team trainers and his doctors to determine if he will be fit to play this season as he had wished. One can only hope that he manages a victorious return to the game as well as an incredible triumph over the emperor of all maladies.