3 Good Things, Part 2 Choosing and Taking Action

Welcome  Yesterday I shared a post about my gratitude journal.  I shared one of my favorite prompts in the journal called, “three good things.”  I’m going to elaborate on that prompt today and a pattern I noticed in my own journal.

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Food For Thought  The prompt, in addition to writing down three good things that happened in your day, also asks for an explanation for why those good things happened.  The journal doesn’t really give a reason behind the prompts, but I have my own ideas for the extension of the “three good things” prompt.

Of course it’s always good to find at least three good things about your day and express gratitude for them, no matter how big or small.  But when you think about why they happened, you will likely see at least one of these three things.  First, when you see that you have made some choices that led to good things, you feel more in control and understand how to achieve more good things in your days.  This is especially important when you feel like most things in life are out of your control or you feel overwhelmed by moments of chaos.  The next idea is that if you see something good in your day that you have been praying about, it’s easier to see how the power of prayer is working in your own life.  In that moment of gratitude you can also express praise to the powerful God who has answered your prayers.  And finally, you will see there is a lot more involved in having good things happen than just “luck.”  There’s a cause-and-effect relationship going on here.

I’m going to share an example from my journal today because I want to illustrate the idea that we can make choices that impact the good things that happen to us.  This is one of my “three good things” prompts from mid-July.  Remember the task is to not only list three good things that happened in my day but also to think about why they happened.  When I wrote my three things and the why’s, I noticed a pattern.  The pattern showed that each good thing was the result of a choice and an action step taken on my part.

This happened to be a Sunday, so the first thing I wrote about my good day was the church sermon we heard titled, “Why Worry.”  This lesson had a huge impact on me and my spiritual thinking.  I knew how badly I needed it and it touched me greatly.  Why did this good thing happened?  My family and I had to make the choice a couple years ago to start going back to church after not attending for quite some time.  We had to make that choice, but then follow through with the action step–actually attending each week and to be present in the moment, aware of the lesson being taught and how it applies to our lives.

My second good thing I wrote about was that my husband and I scheduled our date for July.  Yes, the one I wrote about earlier in the week on Schedule that Date.  I was grateful for this, but it happened because we have made a choice in our marriage to make a date to spend quality time with one another as often as we can.  But since scheduling dates can be tricky, I took the action step to put it in the calendar.  We sat down with one another and put the date in our calendars so it was definite.  This works much better for me than saying, “Yeah, we’ll do that sometime…”

My third good thing was submitting some of my writing to some publishing groups.  Getting paid for my writing is a HARD job, but I continue to choose writing as my current career path.  With that choice, I must also take the action steps needed to get it submitted to the right niche areas for growth and, hopefully, income.  I have to be aware of deadlines and rules for submission and how each venue contacts me regarding acceptance or rejection.  I have to be honest with you, this requires a bit of courage on my part, so every time I complete a step to move my writing forward, I feel pretty good, and grateful.

So there you have it…a look into my gratitude journal and three good things.  I hope you will consider using a gratitude journal to think about all the positive thing happening in your life, but even if you don’t want to keep a full journal, how about doing a “three good things” page once a week, or so?  I think you will be amazed at what you learn about the good things happening in your life.

Today’s Scripture  Our faith is another area where we have to make a lot of choices and then act on those choices.  Faith and spiritual belief is not black and white with definitive answers.  I choose to believe in a God that I cannot see.  I choose to believe in His word, even though it’s 2000 years old.  My action steps are based on that faith, ranging from this blog to my personal Bible study time to the activities I choose to engage in or ignore.  With that in mind, this is the verse I wish to share with you today.


Today’s Recipe  My healthy eating journey (with a lot of detours, apparently) requires a lot of choices and actions.  I can choose to load up my dinner with lots of vegetables.  I can choose lean protein, like boneless and skinless chicken breasts.  I can choose high fiber options like black beans.  I can keep my ingredients fresh and wholesome by mixing up my own dressing with fresh citrus and herbs.  Those choices become action steps when I make my family’s favorite meal salad, Chicken Fajita Salad with Cilantro Citrus Dressing.  This is another simple summer supper because it comes together really quick, especially if you get your chicken ready to marinade in the morning. Zip top bags are perfect for marinating your chicken in the fridge until time to cook.  I also like to use small Mason jars for mixing up my salad, but you can use any type of jar with a screw top lid to shake the dressing.

My Amazon Products to help the recipe go smoothly:

Ziploc Gallon Size Storage Bags, Mega Pack, 150 count (I definitely prefer this brand and I use them for marinades and storing fresh cut vegetables.)

Clear Glass Beverage/Sauce Bottles, 12-oz, 12 pack (This is actually a more economic value, especially if you want to mix up several dressings or sauces to keep on hand.)

Casabella Silicone Cutting Boards, set of 4 (I like these because I can designate one just for poultry, and they’re dishwasher safe.)

Calphalon Classic Cutlery Self-Sharpening Knife Set and Block (I’ve had my set for 2 years now, and they’re still super sharp as they sharpen as they slide in and out of the block.)

Calphalon Signature Hard Adonized Nonstick Everyday Chef Pan (I LOVE this pan!  I use it practically every day, just like it says.  This is perfect for cooking the fajita chicken and onions in this recipe.)

Chicken Fajita Salad
Marinated chicken and onions served warm over a bed of greens, beans, and corn and tossed with a light cilantro citrus dressing.

 

Chicken Fajita Salad with Cilantro Citrus Dressing

For Chicken

  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (I actually use 2 because we like it spicy!)
  • 1 TBS chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

 

Cut chicken into strips and place in large zip-top bag.  Cut onion into rings and cut each ring in half; add to bag.  Add oil, spices, and salt to bag; seal closed getting out as much air as possible.  Squish the chicken and onions around in the bag so that they become coated with the oil and spice mixture.  Place in refrigerator until ready to cook (from 2-24 hours).  To cook, spray a large nonstick pan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat.  When skillet is hot, add chicken and onions to skillet.  Cook about five minutes, then turn chicken.  Cook an additional 3-5 minutes until chicken has cooked through.  Stir chicken and onions together.

For Salad Dressing

  • 2 limes
  • 1 large orange
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 TBS minced garlic (I buy jars of this in the produce section to always have garlic ready to use for recipes)
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt

 

Squeeze the juice from the limes and orange and add to jar with a screw top lid.  Add chopped cilantro, garlic, oil, and salt to jar.  Screw on lid and shake well.  Place in refrigerator until ready to serve.  Shake well before serving.

Cilantro Citrus Dressing
Cilantro Citrus Dressing

 

For Salad

  • 1 small bunch of romaine lettuce
  • 4 oz fresh baby spinach
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1 ripe avocado, cut into slices or cubes
  • cooked fajita chicken
  • cilantro citrus dressing
  • tortilla strips or crushed tortilla chips, for garnish, if desired

 

Chop lettuce and add to a large salad bowl along with spinach.  Add corn, beans, green onions, avocado, chicken and onions.  Shake salad dressing in jar then pour over salad.  Toss the salad to coat with dressing.  Garnish with tortilla strips, if desired.