Humility and Gratitude – The Cowboy Way

This is the time of year we pause to count our blessings, but fostering a spirit of gratitude year-round is a goal I strive to achieve. Did you know that people who make a regular effort to be thankful, live richer lives? Counting blessings and expressing gratitude for what we already have instead of focusing on what we don’t makes us happier.

Psychological studies have shown that a grateful attitude increases self-esteem, reduces depression, and makes us more resilient when hard times come our way. It improves our relationships with others, makes us more optimistic, and makes us more likely to be generous givers. On the physical side, studies have shown that fostering a thankful spirit reduces blood pressure, promotes relaxation and improved sleep, and can even shorten recovery time from illness.

I can’t help but think of the iconic cowboy. Humble, grateful for the little things in life, unbothered by the big things that reside outside his control. He’ll let God tackle those. He counts himself fortunate if he has a horse that don’t limp, a roof that don’t leak, and a wide open sky to gaze upon. He’s content.

I know that’s a romanticized ideal, but I like it. It helps me put things into perspective. But then again, maybe it’s not quite so romanticized. As I was searching the internet for ideas for this post, I ran across this story that ran on the CBS evening news back in September of last year. Not only did this story make me laugh, but it made me want to stand up and cheer for the humble cowboy who made a choice to do what was right and asked for nothing in return.

  • What simple things in life are YOU thankful for?
Karen Witemeyer

For those who love to smile as they read, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. Karen is a firm believer in the power of happy endings. . . and ice cream. She is an avid cross-stitcher, and makes her home in Abilene, TX with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at: www.karenwitemeyer.com.


42 Comments

  1. Maybe not simple things but a big event this year. Two big gratitudes: to have survived an unexpected illness I wasn’t expected to survive so I can be here now with my son, and for the folks who were there for him when he was alone because I was out of it and on my way, so to say. Also, a big gratitude to all of the medical people who were so very good and kind to me–and who still are as I work my way back. And of course last but not certainly not least, I’m just very grateful for such a wonderful, incredible son. (And also for my other son of the four-legged, furry variety who’s always at my side, including now as I type this.)

    1. What a tremendous blessings, Eliza. Praise God for your healing and for the support system around you to help tend your son. I can only imagine how precious each moment is for the two of you to spend together after that scare.

  2. I am delighted with my new grandson. He is now 4 1/2 months old

    1. What a joy, Debra! I haven’t reached the grandbaby stage yet, but it’s probably coming in the next 5-10 years. I’m looking forward to loving on those little ones yet to be.

  3. Karen, Jerry Lewis once noted in his Labor Day telethon for muscular dystrophy that giving is a selfish thing, really… because it makes us feel so good. 🙂 It’s an odd conjecture, but true because a giving heart, a servant’s heart is a wonderful thing.

    Thanks so much for this reminder of that very thing.

    1. That is an odd dichotomy, isn’t it, Ruth? God designed us to be grateful, and when we follow that path, our bodies, minds, spirits, and relationships all benefit. Time to hang up the complaining hat and break out the thankful one!

  4. As a senior on a fixed income, I am grateful for food to eat and a roof over my head.

    1. Things we often take for granted. I echo your thanks, Estella.

  5. I am thankful for my family and friends.

    1. Amen, Quilt Lady. Some of the best blessings of all.

  6. Karen, I love your post! I am thankful for such much…..my family and their good health ,and even though my mother is dealing with dementia, I am thankful that she always knows us and is in no pain.

    1. Sometimes it’s hard to find the blessings in time of hardship, but when we do, clinging to those give us the strength to carry on. Thanks for sharing your perspective, Melanie.

  7. Oh wow, I hadn’t heard of that cowboy save! I love the cowboy code and hard working ethics. I am thankful I grew up on a farm and can teach that mentality to my kids, too.

    1. Didn’t you love that story? It had me laughing and cheering at the same time. Loved that 911 call.

      Cowboy Hero: I got him roped and tied to a tree.
      Operator: What????

      Hysterical!

  8. I am thankful for my family and wonderful pets!

    1. Those furry friends are such warm, cheerful companions. I’m glad you mentioned them, Colleen.

  9. I just have to say, that video has me cracking up!! And when he called 911 you could hear the astonishment in the dispatchers voice…lol!! I’m going to show this to my husband later today, he’s gonna get a kick out of it 🙂

    Simple things I’m thankful for: my salvation in Christ, my spouse & family and good health.

    1. I loved that 911 call. And the pick of the thief tied to that skinny little tree. So funny. I bet your husband will like it, Trixi!

  10. That was an awesome story. And thank you for the reminder to be grateful.

    1. When I was researching the health benefits of gratitude, I was amazed at how beneficial it is to our physical and emotional health. Not to mention our relationships. God created that inside us. Amazing!

  11. I loved the video. Good guys are still out there. I’m thankful for being able to watch my three sons grow up into wonderful men .

    1. Amen, Deana. I have two of my own that are on the cusp of manhood. I can’t wait to see who they become.

  12. My internet won’t let me to watch the video! Booooo to my internet. I’ll watch it later.
    I’m always so thankful for the big things that happen in my life that I tend to forget the simple things He does for me every single day.
    I’m thankful God has let me live another day and thankful He has allowed me to live where I do. I’m not hungry or cold, I live in a little old house so I have a place to sleep. I’m thankful He allows me to be a wife and mother of two grown children. Thankful for God’s love.

    1. I agree, Pam, that those little blessings are so easy to take for granted, but what a big difference they make when we pay attention to them. They can completely shift our perspective.

  13. I am thankful God and for my family and I am also very grateful for my current home. It is a modest mobile home but we have an electric furnace and a gas insert in our fireplace so we are able to be warm. In our former home, an older house, we burned wood and although we were never extremely cold we were also never extremely warm. We were much younger also and cutting wood would be much harder now.
    Blessings & Happy Thanksgiving!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

    1. Happy Thanksgiving to you, too, Connie. As a cold-natured person, I am extremely thankful for fleece jammies and a warm husband to snuggle up with at night. 🙂

  14. I love that video!
    I am most thankful for my family. The simple things I am most thankful for…honestly, I am so thankful for Facebook, and the community of Christian Fiction readers and authors I have become friends with there. Book parties! Who would have thought that sitting in my cozy chair, typing on a laptop could be so much fun? I even met a few of those party people in person at CFRR2017 in August.
    Facebook has also allowed me to reconnect with some long lost friends.
    My daughter sends me little videos of my grandsons through Messenger.

    1. I was so reluctant to get on Facebook years ago, Andrea, but now I love it. It is a huge blessing to connect with readers from all over the world. I probably would not have met you without it! 🙂

  15. The video was amazing. The operators response was priceless. lol Thanks for sharing it, I’m passing it on to my daughters. I loved your post. I’m thankful every morning just to have another day, another breath. I started to realize how lucky I am and no longer worry about things I don’t have and focus on what our Lord has already given me. My daughter was diagnosed at seven with Bone cancer in her shoulder (osteo sarcoma) and spent eleven and a half months in the hospital and an implant to replace her shoulder. She is now 29 and Healthy. I realize what a priceless gift this was and it was all from our Lord. It’s the first thanks of the day even after all these years. 🙂
    Carol Luciano

    1. What a tremendous blessing to have your daughter healthy and thriving, Carol. I’ve been blessed with healthy kids, but I need the reminder never to take that for granted and to thank God for that blessing every day. Thank you for sharing your story.

  16. I’m grateful for the treasured friends the Lord has given me.

  17. What an impressive young man. He has his priorities in the right place. There is a lot to be said for a life lived in a simple way based on hard work and honesty.

    This made me think about what simple pleasures I appreciate and made me realize how complicated I have allowed my life to become. A quiet walk in the woods in the Fall with the smell and crunch of leaves, with just a nip in the air. A quiet paddle in a canoe down a quiet river or peaceful pond. A walk in the woods during the winter with the snow gently falling. It is peacefully quiet and you can hear the snow fall. Sitting by a campfire listening to the logs pop and looking up at the stars. It has been too long since I have done these things. I have been able to sit and rock a grand baby just enjoying watching them sleep or sleepily look up at me. Sadly they live too far away to do that very often.
    Thank you for getting me to stop and think about these things.

    1. I love your descriptions, Patricia! I could picture myself there. 🙂 I love those quiet moments out in nature, but like you, I experiencing them so rarely because I’m always on the go. Thanks for the reminder to slow down and appreciate the moments we have.

  18. I’m thankful for my apartment and my new friends 🙂

    1. It sounds like you are starting a new adventure, Sabrina. Love that you have a positive attitude even now, not letting worries take hold. Good for you! Keep on smiling and counting your blessings every day.

  19. I remember that story when it happened. So funny. There really is a lot to be thankful for in life, but I’ll just share something lighthearted — I’m thankful that after years of living in places where November was one of my least favorite months because it was cold, wet and gray, now I live somewhere it’s sunny most of the time, 25 degrees warmer tonight than where I lived a couple of years ago, and I can stand on the balcony in my bare feet. Ah, warmth. 🙂

    1. Warmth is a definite blessing, Trish. Where I am in Texas it’s a constant yo-yo. This week started with temps in the 90s. Can you believe it? Now we are in the 50s with lows in the 30s. Brr.

  20. my girlfriends who came out to celebrate my birthday

    1. Good friends are a treasure. Hope you had a wonderful birthday, Denise.

  21. Being able to take a walk when I want to.

    1. There are those who can’t. Great reminder to appreciate the simple blessings we have, Kim.

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