UK: The Power of Gratitude

UK: The Power of Gratitude

2 keys to happinessI love reading other people’s blogs and sometimes a post just stays with me and I go back to it a number of times because it is worth reading over and over again. Last August I read a post by Glennon at Momastery and she summed up my stance on life in such a fabulous post, one that quickly went viral.

Go and have a read if you like and then come back, or alternatively, here is the low-down. Glennon starts by saying she posted a picture of herself in her kitchen on Facebook and very quickly people started to comment on her status with offers of help. Help to update her kitchen, pictures for inspiration and advice of how she might move away from her kitchen of clutter, mismatched appliances and 80’s style work surfaces.

Guess what happened? Within minutes Glennon had moved from her place of contentment and was converting a shiny new kitchen, one that did not make her look lazy and dated. She then talks of going to bed that night and remembering a quote from Thoreau’s Walden: “I say beware of all enterprises that require new clothes and not a new wearer of the clothes.”

In her words “Walden reminds me that when I feel lacking – I don’t need new things, I need new eyes with which to see the things I already have.” Of course the next morning as she walked into her kitchen her eyes were aligned very differently and instead of a craft covered refrigerator and overflowing sink she saw plenty of chilled food that could sustain her family and easy access to clean drinking water, things that much of the world cannot take for granted.

I can’t urge you enough, dear friends, to choose to be grateful for what you have in life. Of course your life is not perfect, no-one’s is but there is always joy to be had in every day. Around the same time as I started to write my personal blog seven years ago I adopted the stance that we all choose how our day would go. I had baby twins and a toddler and life was full-on, I could feel myself spiralling into late-onset post-natal depression and I knew I had to make some changes to help me.

The big change was to choose to be happy, happy with what I had in life, happy that I had been blessed with three small demanding children and happy that my life lay ahead of me and that I had the freedom to choose how it might look.

This choice, combined with continual talking about how I felt, led to me feeling so much better, and the depression started lifting. I know I was lucky, it is not always that easy to rise out of the blackness, but my faith and belief in God’s goodness really helped me.

In 2011 I started a new series on my blog called Reasons to be Cheerful and this is an excerpt from the launch page – “Do you know what I believe are two of the fundamental keys to happiness? One, is to choose to be happy and the other is to want what you already have! Endless seeking of things, money, status, time or anything else will never fulfil you! This is where the gratitude comes in….“ And over time I just felt my contentment grow.

For me as a Christian it is important that I express my gratitude as the bible tells me ‘to give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever’ (Psalm 106:1) but you do not have to share my faith to believe in the power and necessity of practising the principle of gratitude. I am living proof that gratitude makes a massive difference in your life. With practise when you choose to look for the good and see where you can be thankful rather than focusing on the bad you will find your mood, your health, your outlook on life and your contentment lift. It is a precious gift indeed to feel content.

So I urge you next time you see someone else’s shiny new kitchen and you start to think that yours needs an update, try and delve a little deeper and see what it is you are really missing, as its unlikely to be kitchen units. What has caused this dissatisfaction? Then once you have pondered this, turn it around and share your #3GoodThings for that day and watch the low feeling disappear as you revel in all the goodness and beauty you already have in your life.

As my lovely friend Karin always says “Not every day is good but there is good in every day.”

What are you grateful for? How do you seek happiness when things are not going well?

This is an original post for World Moms Blog by Michelle Pannell of Mummy from the Heart. Photo credit to the author.


Michelle Pannell

Michelle’s tales of everyday life and imperfect parenting of a 13-year-old boy and 9-year-old twin girls and her positive Christian outlook on life have made her name known in the UK parenting blogosphere. Her blog, Mummy from the Heart, has struck a chord with and is read by thousands of women across the world. Michelle loves life and enjoys keeping it simple. Time with her family, friends and God are what make her happiest, along with a spot of blogging and tweeting, too! Michelle readily left behind the corporate arena but draws on her 25 years of career experience from the fields of hotel, recruitment and HR management in her current voluntary roles at a school, Christian conference centre, night shelter and food bank. As a ONE ambassador, in 2012 Michelle was selected to travel on a delegation to Ethiopia with the organisation to report on global poverty and health. Then in 2014 she was invited to Washington, DC, where she attended the AYA Summit for girls and women worldwide. When asked about her ambassadorship with the ONE Campaign, she stated, "I feel humbled to be able to act as an advocate and campaigner for those living in poverty."

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookPinterestGoogle PlusYouTube

NETHERLANDS: If That Had Been Me

NETHERLANDS: If That Had Been Me

7030695503_423da3c922_zMy eldest daughter and I are waiting in line at the chocolaterie. We both love ice cream and we’re discussing which one we would like best. My girl is impatient, giddy, excited. She wants ice cream and she wants it right now! But she can’t have it just yet because the older gentleman right in front of us is not done with his purchase.

He takes his time picking his pralines – the choice is huge and all of them look delicious. Pistachio. Orange liqueur. Coconut. With or without nuts. He can’t make up his mind, but until he does, we can’t get ice cream. My girl grows more and more impatient. “I want ice cream, why do we have to wait for so long?” The gentleman makes his picks, but asks the lady to make another bag of pralines for him, which she does. And then he asks her to gift wrap each little bag separately. She’s not that quick either, the lady behind the counter, and she takes her time, choosing the best fitting box, the right colour of ribbon to go with the chocolate box.

In all honesty, I am growing somewhat impatient too. My child is close to having a tantrum. I have a tram to catch to go back home, errands to run, a dinner to cook. But I wait. Because if that was me, I would appreciate other people’s patience so that I would be able to buy a beautiful gift for someone I care about.

And that’s what I tell my daughter: that we need to wait sometimes, be patient, try to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.

Soon enough, we get our ice cream. I take pistachio and mango, she takes strawberry and vanilla. After all, we had a lot of time to choose our flavours. And then, we’re on our merry way back home.

Since then, I’ve been trying to stick to this one sentence: “If that had been me”. If that had been me, I would want someone to help me, I think when I see a heavily pregnant woman picking something up from the floor. Or when I notice an older gentleman reaching for some item at the supermarket but struggling because his hands are shaking so badly. Or whenever I see someone who may need help. Putting myself in their situation helps me relate to people more, making me get out of my shell and offer help. It’s tricky sometimes. I am an introvert who would rather not talk to people unless she really had to. So asking someone if they need help is not that easy at all. But I do it, because the gratitude and relief people feel when they get the help they need is absolutely amazing.

Of course I can’t always rely on “if that had been me”. Sometimes I think people need help when they’re doing just fine, thank you very much. I once saw a pregnant woman in the street, hugging her belly in pain. She was in the last month, ready to give birth at any time. On the ground beside her was a heavy-looking bag with groceries. I approached her and asked if there was anything I could do. I was afraid that she was having contractions! She said everything was fine, and I really hope it was.

You can’t help someone who doesn’t want or need to be helped.

Neither should “If that had been me” be used to judge other people. “If that was me, I’d never let my children watch TV, eat sweets or behave like this”. Maybe you wouldn’t do these things, but I am sure you’d make other mistakes, so relax.

But when you’re out and about running errands, going about your day, or just going for a walk, look around, notice all these people and ask yourself, “if that was me, what would I need?”. And then go on and ask. Because it’s not really about you: it’s about other people. The very worst that could happen is that they won’t want or need you, but if they do, you’d be glad you asked.

Do you stop to help strangers? How do they react?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Olga Mecking, The European Mama, of The Netherlands.

Photo credit: Richard North. This picture has a creative commons attribution license.

Olga Mecking

Olga is a Polish woman living in the Netherlands with her German husband. She is a multilingual expat mom to three trilingual children (even though, theoretically, only one is trilingual since she's old enough to speak). She loves being an expat, exploring new cultures, learning languages, cooking and raising her children. Occasionally, Olga gives trainings in intercultural communication and works as a translator. Otherwise, you can find her sharing her experiences on her blog, The European Mama. Also take a while to visit her Facebook page .

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:

TEXAS, USA: The Attitude of Gratitude

TEXAS, USA: The Attitude of Gratitude

GratitudeWe have heard the word “gratitude” many times in our daily language.  Some people have devoted blogs to it and others have a gratitude journal which they may write in daily.  But how often do we actually take the time to really think about what gratitude means?  How often do our own children understand the concept of gratitude? According to, Gratitude is “the quality or feeling of being thankful or grateful”. (more…)

Meredith (USA)

Meredith finds it difficult to tell anyone where she is from exactly! She grew up in several states, but mainly Illinois. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana which is also where she met her husband. She taught kindergarten for seven years before she adopted her son from Guatemala and then gave birth to her daughter two years leter. She moved to Lagos, Nigeria with her husband and two children in July 2009 for her husband's work. She and her family moved back to the U.S.this summer(August 2012) and are adjusting to life back in the U.S. You can read more about her life in Lagos and her adjustment to being back on her blog: We Found Happiness.

More Posts

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

A photo my mom chose for this post of us from 1999!

A photo my mom chose for this post of us from 1999!

Today, on Mother’s Day, I’m here in Disney World at the Disney Social Media Moms conference, while my mom will be celebrating her day with my sisters, not me. So, although we aren’t together today, I want her to know how much I love her.  I want her to know that even though there are many things we see eye-to-eye on, as well as, some things we don’t, she has been my biggest influence in life and part of the reason why I am here.

She taught me that if something isn’t being done for you and you want it done, then you have to get up and do it yourself.  You see, there was a time that she wanted the hedges cut in our backyard and my dad wouldn’t have time to do it himself, so she would tell me to get my sneakers on, and she’d be out there using a large electric hedge trimmer on a ladder, and I’d be raking the leaves and branches below her. We got the job done together before dad got home from work.

Or when she needed a room painted, I would help her.  Or when she needed the bathrooms cleaned — that was my job every Saturday morning.  Or the lawn mowed…you get the picture. My dad did a lot, but mom always wanted stuff done straight away, and still does!

She taught me that there doesn’t have to be any time spent waiting around. That I should just roll up my sleeves and get the job done, if it was something important to me.  I apply what she taught me today to running World Moms Blog with our editing team.  When there’s something that we see that needs to be done in the world, we consult our fellow World Moms, roll up our sleeves and find a way to get the job done.

Here we are, over 50 of us from around the world, running a global website that we all feel like the world needs, as we tell the stories of mothers around the world. We are getting to know each other, learning our differences and embracing our commonalities. We are pointing out things that we want changed in the world or finding ways in how we can deal with them as they are through our voices. We are also breaking the barriers of “us” versus “them.” And on the path to creating just an “us”.

So, Mom, I’m at this amazing Disney conference, rolling up my sleeves and getting the job done and working on this project I started with the help of many amazing moms.  And, I want you to know that I’m so glad that we cut those hedges together when I was a kid, even though I probably didn’t want to. And I promise that although it may not be by operating large power tools on a ladder, I will find a way to pass this gift you gave me to my daughters. You can count on that.

Love, Jen

Today, in many countries, Mother’s Day is celebrated. World Moms Blog sends a virtual hug out to all the mothers, present, miles away and who have passed on. And we thank them for the difference they are making or have made in a child’s life because it is, in turn, the difference they are making in the planet’s future. 

*This post is being linked up to our contributor Nicole Morgan’s blog, Sisters From Another Mister for the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign, which advocates for vaccines for children who need them most!

Jennifer Burden

Jennifer Burden is the Founder and CEO of World Moms Network, an award winning website on global motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. World Moms Network writes from over 30 countries, has over 70 contributors and was listed by Forbes as one of the “Best 100 Websites for Women”, named a “must read” by The New York Times, and was recommended by The Times of India. She was also invited to Uganda to view UNICEF’s family health programs with Shot@Life and was previously named a “Global Influencer Fellow” and “Social Media Fellow” by the UN Foundation. Jennifer was invited to the White House twice, including as a nominated "Changemaker" for the State of the World Women Summit. She also participated in the One Campaign’s first AYA Summit on the topic of women and girl empowerment and organized and spoke on an international panel at the World Bank in Washington, DC on the importance of a universal education for all girls. Her writing has been featured by Baby Center, Huffington Post,, the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life, and The Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists.” She is currently a candidate in Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in the Executive Masters of Public Affairs program, where she hopes to further her study of global policies affecting women and girls. Jennifer can be found on Twitter @JenniferBurden.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:

SOCIAL GOOD: Teaching Children Gratitude

SOCIAL GOOD: Teaching Children Gratitude

After a remarkably stress-free and soul-inspiring vacation in the Olympic Peninsula, my family of four settled back into reality, which for us is defined by a combination of preschool, daycare and two working parents. I work from home on Mondays and recently incorporated my five-year old into my workday.

He has his own small desk and an assortment of colored paper, pens, markers, scissors, stamps, etc. For a little while he does okay working independently beside me. However, soon enough he is wriggling and anxious for my undivided attention.

At midday I take a couple of hours “off” to spend outdoors with my son so we can both burn off a little energy before spending the afternoon indoors. On this particular day, nothing satisfied him. Not the dozens and dozens of books in our home. Not the hundred or so Legos that he typically adores. Not the puzzles, superhero figures, plastic dinosaurs, scorpions and spiders nor the plentiful assortment of recently acquired birthday gifts.

I want a new toy!

These are boring!

All my friends have way more toys than I do!

Have I set the stage for a less than awesome afternoon? (more…)

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

More Posts