"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: Gratitude

Monday, December 10, 2007


Growing up Laestadian, there seemed to be so much focus on the negative. "Don't do this." "Don't do that." "They are going to hell." "They aren't really saved."

Even though I've left Laestadianism behind, negativity still persists. Is it a Finnish thing? Is it a Laestadian thing? Is it just a "me" thing? In any event, it's a lot easier to be positive as a gnomelike persona on the internet than it is to be positive in real life. :-)

Anyway, I recently ran across an article by "positive psychologist" David Pollay about "building gratitude chains" that I thought was illuminating:

The challenge then is for us to find ways of becoming more grateful. One powerful way to increase your gratitude is by increasing the number of what I call “Gratitude Chains” in your life. Gratitude Chains are made up of links of appreciation for what contributes to the people and things we care about. Here are the four keys to building Gratitude Chains.

Cultivate Awareness
. . .
Cultivate Curiosity
. . .
Cultivate Memory
. . .
Link Your Gratitude Chains Together

For all the details, visit his site. I've started keeping a gratitude journal in an effort to become more aware of the things I am grateful for. Here are few entries I made recently:

  • I am grateful for family time, like yesterday when we all went to see the holiday displays together
  • I am grateful for my wife, she is such a good bargain shopper!
  • I am grateful for my daughter, her kindness, generosity, and maturity.
  • I am grateful for a warm house and cars that work on cold winter days.
  • I am grateful for my job and for vacation time
  • I am grateful for my wife, who makes me lunch, and is such a capable person.
  • I am grateful for my child, who brings me joy seeing how much she enjoys her life.
  • I am grateful for my mind and thoughts, which can dwell on interesting intellectual and spiritual pursuits
  • I am grateful for a hot sauna
  • I am grateful for my wife, who is such a good host and makes people feel welcome in our home.
  • I am grateful that I have a job, when the news says that recession is looming.
  • I am grateful for the Extoots blog, where I can post my thoughts about spiritual subjects
  • I am grateful for my daughter, whose happiness and wonder reminds me of what is good in the world.
  • I am grateful for my wife, who made me lunch of turkey salad today.
  • I am grateful for the Extoots blog, since it reminds me that there are others who have gone through some of the stuff I have gone through.



  1. Tomte, I like your gratitude list. I've tried a couple of times in past years to keep a Gratitude Journal, but I have never stuck with it. Time to try in earnest, I think!

    Thank you for the push...


  2. mmmmm..... Hot Sauna..... sounds nice

    I often let the people in my life know that I am greatful for them. I'll just write them a short note letting them know that they are awesome and tell them specifically how they are a positive force in my life.

    I have a small stack of such notes written to me. Whenever i have an off day I can just look through the notes and it brings up my spirits.

    Love God, Love People,
    This is the greatest commandment

  3. That hot sauna one made me a little wistful. I don't think I've had a hot sauna since I left the church. Maybe once at my brother's house...but that doesn't happen often since I seldom see them.

    I just don't know anyone outside of the church who has the same kind of sauna or who I'd feel comfortable going to visit for a sauna.

    Thanks for the gratitude journal reminder. I'm going to start one again tonight. I think it will give me a better outlook on life again.

  4. I too am grateful for the extoots blog. Thanks to all who keep it going and the hosts! Being able to come here peroidically and read of ex-Laestadians journey's has given me some clarity and strength. Thank you!