Aaron Engelsrud

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

Gratitude Journal - April 8, 2021 Today, I am grateful for the American Red Cross and blood donation. Many years ago I needed blood and it was there to help save my life. So today, and each opportunity I have, I give blood. I am forever grateful for the service that American Red Cross provides. For this, I am grateful.

Mindfulness Journal - April 7, 2021 - Day 9 of 365 Stuggling to find consistency in my morning routine. Today was disrupted by some overnight work requirements and lack of proper sleep. While I was able to get my meditation in it felt rushed and not very helpful. Morning is key.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

Gratitude Journal - April 7, 2021 Today, I am grateful for televised professional baseball. While many of us cannot get out to the ballpark to watch a game in person, being able to watch an afternoon game on TV brings back a certain sense of normalcy. We all need a little normalcy. For this, I am grateful.

Mindfulness Journal - April 6, 2021 - Day 8 of 365 I had a very good meditation session today, though it was mid-day rather than early this morning. I’m finding that I am getting better at not only letting go of thoughts as I’m meditating, but also better at refocusing once my mind wanders off. The time goes by so fast. I am enjoying this process.

“No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.” Luke 11:33

Gratitude Journal - April 6, 2021 Today, I am grateful for the feeling of disappointment. Being disappointed in an outcome helps me recognize that I need to continue to work hard for the things I want in life. If I am focused and driven in the things I do, I will be more successful and suffer disappointment less frequently. The activation and drive that disappointment brings help carry me forward to my next achievement. For this, I am grateful.

Mindfulness Journal - April 5, 2021 - Day 7 of 365 Today’s meditation was an exercise focusing on my mood or the emotional quality of my mind. The truth is that often we are not aware of how we feel because we are so busy doing things or thinking about various things. We miss identifying the very emotions we are feeling because of the busyness of our minds.

I think I often intentionally miss the emotions I am feeling intentionally. If I don’t acknowledge that I’m angry, I don’t have to deal with the anger. During this short meditation, I realized that I am mad a lot of the time, and I rarely deal with that anger. Anger comes at me in waves, and I usually try to ignore it or push it aside or carry on as best I can - but I never deal with it. I’m not sure how to “fix” this problem or if I can, but I hope that identifying it will help me better deal with it more readily.

“You shall have no other gods before me.

You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.

Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

You shall not murder.

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not steal.

You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. You shall not set your desire on your neighbor’s house or land, his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” Deuteronomy 5:7-21

Gratitude Journal - April 5, 2021 Today, I am grateful for my professional accomplishments. I’ve been fortunate to build a solid career with a company of which I am very proud. I have accomplished much, and I still have a lot more ahead of me with any luck. Many of my peers have spent their careers moving from employer to employer, trying to gain a step up. Meanwhile, I have forged a rewarding career with a solid company for almost 20 years. For this, I am grateful.

Mindfulness Journal - April 4, 2021 - Day 6 of 365 Today was Easter and a busy day. Finding time to slip in meditation was not easy with family coming over for brunch and a lot of activity. I failed to get up early and get it done before the house woke up on top of everything. So, I was stuck doing this evening in a very active home with a lot going on. All of this left me with a sub-par meditation, but I still found some calm and a resolve to get back after it in a better fashion tomorrow.

“The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”” Matthew 28:5-7

Gratitude Journal - April 4, 2021 Today, I am grateful that God sent his son Jesus to die for all our sins on the cross. This sacrifice give all who believe in him eternal life. For this, I am grateful.

Mindfulness Journal - April 3, 2021 - Day 5 of 365 I am halfway through the ten for ten beginner program, and I am enjoying the process. I find the increased guidance in the daily meditations helpful, and the tips included are beneficial to keep me on track. I’m looking forward to moving on and continuing the journey. Once again today, I completed my session first thing in the morning in a quiet house. A peaceful and calm place is the only way it works for me. I find myself to be too distracted and unable to focus otherwise.

Additional note: I’ve been using some Headspace sleep meditations to fall asleep while working overnight at the fire station. After a call, I sometimes find it challenging to fall back to sleep. These meditations, particularly the “switching off” meditation, work very well for me, and I find I fall asleep very quickly (less than 5 minutes) when using them. Good find! I wake much more rested ad feeling much better.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Gratitude Journal - April 3, 2021 Today, I am grateful for the quiet of the early morning. In my house, I am typically up before everyone else and, because of this, the house is peaceful and quiet. I use this time to read the Bible, meditate, exercise, and sometimes think. The morning is my time. For this, I am grateful.

Mindfulness Journal - April 2, 2021 - Day 4 of 365 I recently started reading Andy Puddicombe’s book on mindfulness. The section I read last night before bed discussed how, at times, the mind could seem very busy, and trying to tame it and find a clear space is difficult. Likewise, this morning my mediation was focused on paying attention to how much work it can be to not think about your thoughts.

The concept of finding the blue sky beyond the clouds is helpful to me in overcoming this challenge. There is always blue sky (a clear mind) beyond the clouds (thoughts of all kinds), and if you just let the clouds pass, you will find the blue sky. Today was a good day.

The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness: How Mindfulness Can Change Your Life in Ten Minutes a Day

“And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”” Luke 9:22

Gratitude Journal - April 2, 2021 Today, I am grateful for friends. Good friends make the bad times tolerable and the good times better. They are there when you need them and understand when you need time alone. For friends, I am grateful.

Mindfulness Journal - April 1, 2021 - Day 3 of 365 I failed to get up early and get things done while the house was quiet today. So my only option was to meditate tonight in a busy home with too much going on. I would say it was not very productive, but I think that would be an understatement. I guess every at-bat can’t be a home run. I will be getting up early tomorrow and finding some peace - and hopefully for the next 362 days.

“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?” Luke 9:24-25

Gratitude Journal - April 1, 2021 Today, I am grateful for common sense. In today’s society, we lack common sense and fail to think about things calmly and rationally. We respond with fear or emotion rather than logic and common sense. For those that can employ common sense successfully, I am grateful.

Mindfulness Journal - March 31, 2021 - Day 2 of 365 Today I had an interesting experience during my meditation. Several years ago, I was going through a difficult personal time, and I was using Headspace, particularly the beginner sessions, to find some peace. Those were the same beginner sessions I am going through now.

This morning during my meditation, I experienced a flashback of the anxiety and pain I felt all those years ago. I could actually recall the room where I was and the details of what was going on. I’m sure the process just dug up some crap in the back of my mind and brought it forward. The difference now versus several years ago is that I recognized it for what it was and moved on. I didn’t get caught up in the thoughts. I merely saw the cloud, let it move past, and found the sunny sky beyond. Today’s session proved to be very calming and peaceful.

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” Psalms 40:1-2