Gratitude: Out of Anxiety and into Joy

Mondays are for gratitude…counting to 1000 and beyond…

The past few weeks, I have been industriously looking for a “contemplative cottage” here in Seattle, an apartment or little house that embodies certain characteristics: peaceful, lovely, quiet, prayerful, creative, domestic, welcoming, conducive to study, and the list goes on.

oregon extension cottage
An Oregon Extension Cottage (far up in the mountains)

On the slightly more practical side, I made a list about what this dreamy abode would include, quiet being most important, good public transit, convenient to my church, cat-friendly, warm in winter, a fireplace, a view of trees or something beautiful, a deck or patio for those infrequent days of dazzling beauty, and an exposure that is bright even on the gray days.  I will be at home most of the time, working on my dissertation, so the environment is important.  Inexpensive is also on the list–a tall order in this current market.

I was surprised to find that there were also some hidden desires on my list, like the allure of early 20th century craftsmanship and living in my old neighborhood of Queen Anne.  I came face to face with these as I put a deposit on a circa 1962 apartment with most of the practical items I listed, but little of the impractical charm.

In the midst of praying and pondering and feeling anxious, I drew a card from a word of the day deck. Yes, gratitude was the word, and such a timely reminder.  I sensed God encouraging me to consider these questions:

  • Can I have an attitude of gratitude toward this place, focusing on all that it has, not what it lacks?
  • Can I learn to live and write and pray no matter the atmosphere, depending on Christ for inspiration, not the decor?
  • Could I remember in prayer all those who do not have any housing, adequate or life-giving housing?
  • Can I learn to embody, with God’s help, the very qualities I want in the brick and mortar of my home: peaceful, loving, quiet, prayerful, creative, domestic, welcoming, conducive to study, and warm?

So today, I’m thankful for…

180. A place to live in a solid building with good windows, water, electric, stove and fridge, conveniences I take for granted.

181. Public transit just outside my door.

182. Quiet, no traffic noise.

183. Inexpensive rent.

184. A fireplace.

185. A huge balcony overlooking trees.


186. Top floor.

187. Large enough to host get-togethers and dinners.

188. Really nice managers, who have been patient with me as I figured out the public transit options.

189. The best part:  as I’ve practiced gratitude, the anxiety has transformed to excitement and joy!

And some other things I’m thank-full for from this past week:

190. My mom’s surgery was a success and she is doing fine (!!!)



191. An evening at Gasworks Park, happily taking photos.

192. A delightful Sunday: Church BBQ, then afternoon tea and conversation, dinner with dear friends, and yummy ice cream!

holy experience