9 things I’m grateful for this year

It’s hard to be grateful when you’re feeling down, hopeless, and feel like the world’s against you, but if there’s one thing I learned during hard times was to be grateful in whatever circumstances I am in.

Whenever I feel like ranting about how bad my day was, I try to be grateful first and it would remind me of life’s so many blessings.

In an article published by Newsweek, it said “Gratitude, from the Latin for gratia, which means grace or thankfulness, is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. It helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”

It added, grateful people are more hopeful and healthier, has improved sleep quality, increased self-esteem, helpfulness and empathy, and resilience.

I’d like to think that being grateful has helped me in so many ways, especially in surpassing our most recent trials.  And because it’s Rianna’s 9th birthday, I am listing down nine things I’m grateful for this year:

  • Rianna’s second life. Today is Rianna’s 9th  birthday. It’s been almost two years since she got sick with mycoplasma encephalitis. We almost lost her. But thank God for giving her another life – a second chance at life. Since then we try to celebrate her birthday even in simplest way. And because it’s her special day, even I have work today I couldn’t miss this for the world. My time and work are valuable, but Rianna’s most precious to me. My only wish is for God to grant her complete healing and full recovery and that she’ll be blessed with good health, long life, and happiness.

  • Best parents. They say you can’t choose your parents, but I’m glad I didn’t have to because God gave me the best. My parents are not perfect. Growing up, I used to question everything they do for me – on why we were raised this way, why they only gave me exact baon, why they won’t allow me to go out at night, sleep over, get drunk, have vices, have boyfriends. But now I finally understood their purpose because it made me who I am today and how I was raised me guided me in every decisions I make today. Thank you mom and dad. We really miss you.

  • Siblings. I used to wish I had brothers instead of sisters. But now, I’m just grateful I had siblings because I have someone I can turn to. Imagine if I’m an only child? Life would be boring. My relationship with my sisters is not perfect, we still have disagreements, we don’t talk to each other at times, but I think they’re normal and at the end of the day, we are still sisters. I would like to thank them for loving me and accepting me for who I am (you have no choice!), for understanding my mood swings, for being honest and patient with me, for backing me up and supporting me. I am still holding on to your promise to help me take care of my future kids.

  • Fresh start. Rianna’s sickness turned our lives upside down. They say the “emotional toll from a traumatic event can cause intense, confusing, and frightening emotions, and these emotions aren’t limited to people who experienced the event or survivors, but also witnesses and even those repeatedly exposed to the horrific images of the traumatic event.” I lost my focus, enthusiasm, and passion for everything that time so I had to quit my job. Quitting my job was not just some “rich kid” problem as some people would say. What happened to Rianna was a life-threatening event – a very traumatic one that I needed to recover from. But I’m grateful now I was given a fresh start – a new job, new environment, and new friends.
  • True friends. I agree that hard times will always reveal your true friends. I don’t have to mention each and every one of my friends who were there when I needed them the most. They know who they are. Thank God for those friends who reached out and offered a helping hand, who initiated and helped promote our fundraising campaigns, who listened to my happy and sad stories every single day, who comforted me and pushed me up during my lowest times. Life is so much better with true friends.
  • Thank God for relatives who visited us at the hospital, who celebrated with us during special occasions, birthdays, and holidays, who brought us food, who provided financial assistance, who gave us comforting words, who texted/called us, who spent their birthdays with us, who inspired us and gave us hope, and who was there when no one else was.
  • Church service. I can serve any parish I want, but if there’s one thing I can’t let go of the Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish is my second family – my churchmates. I’ve been serving the parish for 19 years now. You only get to meet people with whom you share the same faith, passion in serving God once in a lifetime. To my churchmates, thank you for appreciating my talents and efforts, for accepting me as I am and understanding my personal/family struggles, and for pushing me up.
  • My writing. I’ve always found solace in writing, blogging, and journaling. When I don’t post something on my blog, I assure you, I am writing something in private such as my hopes, my dreams, my fears, my disappointments, my prayers, and many others, which I cannot share to you for now. Nowadays, I am trying to blog regularly, thank God for a group of bloggers who inspired me to blog again.
  • Lastly, to you my love. Every day, I am thanking God for giving you to me. Thank you for believing in me, appreciating me, accepting my flaws, and for making me feel like I’m the sexiest, prettiest, and most amazing girl in the world. Thank you for listening to my stories (and rants), for making me laugh and cry, and for always coming back and not giving up on me. I still hate this long-distance thing, but I know someday, we’ll find our way together and we won’t be apart anymore.

Before I end, let me greet again my baby Rianna a happy, happy birthday. Your second life is our constant reminder that God is good, how He has been good to our family, how He provided for all our needs, how precious life is, and how every single day counts and must be celebrated. We love you and we will always be here for you.

To my dear readers, I hope you find reason to be grateful everyday. Your life is one reason enough. Don’t forget to be grateful for that.

Published by Mylene Orillo

Mylene Orillo is a contributing writer at My Pope Philippines. Prior to that, she contributed to the Health & Lifestyle magazine.  She's a former correspondent at The Manila Times; former editor-in-chief of TravelPlus magazine; and former assistant editor of Health & Lifestyle, Zen Health, and DiabetEASE magazines by FAME Publishing, Inc., a company owned by cardiologist Dr. Rafael Castillo who has given her the much-needed break and opportunity in the health industry and medical field.  Her previous job as a Media Consultant at the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and Writer-Researcher at the Headquarters Philippine Army ignited her passions for charity, volunteering, selfless service, and love of country. As a young girl, she loved reading her mom's collection of Mills & Boons pocketbooks, which started her passion to write romance stories.  She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Sto. Tomas in España, Manila. She is now working towards earning her master's degree hopefully this year. She loves traveling, long-distance running, reading romance and non-fiction books, watching Korean Drama series, feel-good rom coms, military movies, and documentaries during her spare time. Someday, she wants to meet Prince William and Pope Francis, settle down with the love of her life and have a family and kids of her own; and become a bestselling romance author.

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