Every year, I give something up for or pledge to gain something during Lent.  This year, I didn't know what to give up since I was running for office and literally running pounds off.  Food wasn't important to me, no particular obsessions had priority…so I decided to focus on gratitude instead.  Each day, I've reflected on what I am grateful for.  The night of March 6th, Election Night, was difficult to feel grateful for anything, as we watched the numbers come in and they weren't where I had hoped or worked for months for them to be.  But I looked around at my friends and family gathered to support me, and knew that I was incredibly blessed by their love, and the love of my Creator.  This gratitude has lasted, and colored every moment since then.

Easter is a beautiful time of the year, in several ways.  The forty days of denial in Lent come to an end, the waiting season comes to an end, and the Savior and Earth are both reborn.  Jesus came back to us from days in the grave, triumphing over Death itself.  The world is renewed, green and budding.  Here in Texas, bluebonnets are plentiful and flowers trip over each other in their eagerness to show their blooms.

It is one of my favorite times of year, and a time to rejoice.  The long nights and days of the Lenten season, when we reflect on our humanity and the darkness within us, come to an end and we step out of the tomb with Jesus, into the light of the Son.

I plan to continue my gratitude, and might even start a gratitude journal, so that I can look back in tough times and see the footprints where Jesus has carried me along.  I encourage you as well, during this beautiful season, to look at your life, family and friends…and see where you can find something for which to be grateful.  It will change everything.

Gratitude by itself isn't enough, though.  Real gratitude begins when you recognize your place in the universe, and His place, and you long to build a personal relationship with the One who made it all.  It's not enough just to know who He is, or to be grateful for all you've been given.  You must deeply feel your need, place your faith, and begin a lifelong walk.  That is the true miracle of Easter, that we are even given a chance for that walk with Jesus.  On that day, He took on all our sins, erased them from God's memory, and held out a hand for us to join Him.

I walk that direction every day, but often fail.  I work on matching my footsteps, and pray that someday I will walk perfectly with Jesus, but that will be in Heaven, not here on Earth.  I recently wrote about when my personal choice to place my faith in Jesus began.  Click Here, if you'd like to look back on that post.  I invite you to make that most special choice today, on this day of all days.  Happy Easter, and may God bless you and your family!