africa · Intentional Living

Five Minute Friday: Grateful

It’s FMF time, which means I’ll be joining with hundreds of other bloggers over at Lisa-Jo’s blog to write together. Without planning, preparation, or editing. Want to join in?



Sometimes it’s hard to be grateful. Life’s hard. Stress levels skyrocket and things start to get a little crazy. Even when things seem to be going well, that can change in an instant. And when the road’s a little rocky, it can be hard to be grateful.


Having lived in Africa for 2.5 years, my perspective has changed a lot. I find it a lot easier to be grateful than before, because I see many more ways in which I’m blessed. I have a loving, supportive network of friends and family. My house has a sturdy roof and walls. I have many luxuries which I used to take for granted: electricity, internet, a smartphone, running water…

The list of things I could be grateful for goes on and on. Yet I still forget. <-Click to Tweet


Some days, I fail to see the ways God has blessed me. I don’t notice a beautiful sunrise or an encouraging smile from a stranger. I don’t even think about the overabundance of food on my plate or the fact that I’m blessed enough to own my own car.


Then I take a look at some of the pictures I took in Africa, and I’m reminded. The blessings overwhelm me. I am so grateful the Lord blessed me with the hardships I face while living in Africa, so I can be truly grateful.


If you’re feeling blessed today, consider blessing others. Lisa-Jo is raising funds for a community center in South Africa, to help people like those I lived with while I was in South Africa. Consider making a donation and sharing your blessings with others. They’ll even have a garden! Check it out here!



37 thoughts on “Five Minute Friday: Grateful

    1. I thought the exact same thing when I read your post! Great minds think alike… 🙂 And, one day….oh yes! One day, my friend.

  1. Where did you live in Africa? I’ve spent time (though not nearly enough) in Tanzania, and I’m in love. It’s so easy to remember to be grateful while you’re there and even for awhile after you get back, but then you get back into the swing of first world life, and you take things for granted again. I haven’t been able to visit my “home on the other side of the world” for over four years, and it’s so hard, but your post and beautiful pictures took me back for a few minutes. I’m so grateful for that!

    Visiting from Five Minute Friday:

    1. I lived in rural South Africa, mostly on the edge of the Kalahari desert. A little piece of my heart is there, as I’m sure you understand.

      Thanks for coming by, and I’m glad the post took you back to your time in Africa….that continent just doesn’t leave your heart.

  2. How much do I love that you plugged the Maubane Community Center at the end of your post!! So much to be grateful for just within arms reach. Your photos are amazing and speak to me in such a profound way.

    1. Thank you, Amy. I’ve seen how life-changing projects like the Maubane Community Center have been in South Africa (I worked at a similar type project for 6 months there). Talk about community transformation. Those families it will impact-I know so many families like them, and my heart aches for them. Praying it gets funded soon!

  3. This one post makes me excited to dig into the rest of your blog! Your heart shines through and your compassion is obvious. God bless!

  4. Just beautiful. I love your pictures. They make me want to go back to Africa. And you are so wise, we have so many things to be grateful for that we just so flippantly (myself especially) take for granted. Wonderful words, friend.

    1. Thanks, Marcy. I’m guilty of taking it all for granted too! It’s so easy to forget how truly blessed we are. Especially when it doesn’t feel like we are being blessed.

  5. Great! With what is going on in my life right now (see my latest blog) I am having a lot of trouble being grateful. I am so wrapped up in grief that I am blinding myself from my blessings. Thank you for helping me open my eyes a little to what’s really important, my blessings. God bless you sister!

    1. Oh friend, my heart aches for what you are going through. Know I’m praying for you. I know that He will be there with you and help you through every single step.

      1. Thank you so very much for your kind words, they are very encouraging and give me hope. God bless you sister! Have a wonderful God filled day! Thank you again!

  6. A beautiful reminder, my friend! I appreciate your perspective and your words. I remember reading a quote not too long ago that if you woke up tomorrow only with the things you thanked God for today, what would you have? How easy it is to take things for granted instead of taking time to be grateful.

    Have a beautiful, blessing-filled weekend, my friend!

    1. That quote gets me every time I see it. We are never grateful enough, I’m afraid. But I’m trying to be more conscious of it.

      Have a wonderful weekend too Judith!

  7. After living overseas for so many years, I still find myself grateful for running water, hot water, electricity that doesn’t shut off at the hottest moment, fast internet – wifi! So many things. Good baked goods!! Yes, it does make us forever grateful for the small things. 🙂

    1. Wifi! The miracle of the First World. 😉 And yes, baked goods….for me, meaning they aren’t cooked in a toaster oven, and have plenty of sugar!

  8. It is so hard to be grateful somedays, isn’t it. However, reading post like this and seeing your pictures makes me realize how greatful I should be.

  9. calling africa home for the past 14 years has forever changed me… had to come read when i saw your thumbnail and africa…

    comparing life today and first world probs with probs my friend face every day… well, it does help with perspective, just like you said. we’ve so much to appreciate and enjoy and instead, the temptation is to look at how much more we want.

    amen!!! to all that you’ve shared today. thank you! teared up at those photos, too.

    1. First World Problems are hard for me. I just can’t find them funny…but sometimes I feel pretty judgmental. 😦 Regardless, I’m grateful that I’ve been able to have the experiences I’ve had, and how they have transformed my worldview.

  10. Great post and perspective, Jen! I forget too. Thank you for reminding me of all the things I tend to take for granted in which I should be grateful for. Your words are powerful and on point. Blessings to you!

  11. I love how God uses us right where we are at that moment to teach us. Gratitude looks different depending on where we are in that moment but many times we need to look and listen a little more intently and we will see blessings with fresh eyes. Blessed that I visited you today for FMF!

  12. Hmmm… what I am grateful for right now? Off the top of my head, I’m grateful for the Sabbath and time to spend with God. I am glad I am learning how to love children who are rejected by society. I am grateful for exercising 4 days this week. I am grateful spring is finally showing up in my area. I am grateful that I have knowledge to pass on to the next generation as a teacher.
    Thank for presenting me with a moment to stop and thank my creator, because I have an endless amount of things to be grateful for. 😀

  13. Thank you for sharing your heart and your reasons for gratitude. I have a friend who is a missionary in the Philippines and truly he just amazes us with the stories of how God has provided. We are a privileged people.
    Dropping by from FMF.
    Have a wonderful weekend.

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