Having gratitude is not always something I possessed in the past, but I’ve learned to appreciate and acknowledge it in the last several years. My life has improved a little at a time. Although I am not yet where I want to be, I am still happy and thankful for everything I have. I’ve learned to look at a glass half full as opposed to half empty.

Whenever I am stress out about something, I take a deep breath, step back and assess the situations. For instance, when I am stress out of lack of money, I think of the time I had no money at all, yet I was able to survive. I learn to cut back on spending and live within my means. Another time when my back bothers me for sitting long hours, I get up and exercise. I understand that our body is like a machine which needs sufficient amount of rest and staying active. Regardless whatever the situation I am in, I learn to look at the bright side.

My positive attitude starts early every morning before I get out of my bed. As I lay on my bed, I turn on classical music on my iPhone and set the alarm for ten minutes. Within the short period, I silently count my blessings and say a gratitude prayers:  I give thanks for having my family. I give thanks for their health and happiness. I give thanks for the healthy body and mind I have. I give thanks for the meaningful job I do. I give thanks for the abilities and opportunities to write and share my stories around the world. Some days my heart burst out of joy for feeling blessed with everything I have.

Counting my blessings early in the morning helps carry a positive attitude throughout the whole day. I have no control the minute I leave my house such as traffic, people cutting me off on the freeways or emergencies at work, but one thing I have is my reaction to the external forces. Counting my blessings each day and staying in the present time have helped me deal with anything happens to me throughout the whole day.

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Crystal H. Vo
Out of the depths of poverty and oppression came Crystal H. Vo who was born and raised in Vietnam in 1970. At the age of 15, she made her daring escape, alongside her brother, from the tyranny of the communist regime to make a better life in the United States. Her parents, who stayed behind, gave their blessing and suffered the anguish of not knowing whether she and her brother would survive their departure. Thirty-five years later despite many hardships, she is the Mother of two, a college graduate and an aspiring writer who currently makes a living as an eligibility worker helping others get through their struggles. Crystal continues to look forward and upwards towards divine truths that got her through it all and that continue to inspire her to write of her experiences and share them in the spirit of offering a sense of faith, hope and love even through the darkest times.