SASKATOON — Marissa Alarcon, a graduate of the diocesan Lay Formation program and executive assistant at the Catholic Health Association of Saskatchewan (CHAS), has written a book filled with gratitude.
The Gratitude-Driven Life is a collection of reflections and stories in which Alarcon offers thoughts, experiences and insights about gratitude related to 60 different topics, inviting readers to respond by journaling or taking small steps in their own lives to express gratitude.
“If you are grateful, I think you are able to live a happier life,” says Alarcon.
It’s not the first book she’s written; she also produced a physics textbook when she was working as a teacher in the Philippines.
Throughout her new book, Alarcon shares insights and experiences from the culture of her home country, her experiences of family, and her life in Canada.
The book originated in a “critical conversation” event organized annually by CHAS for its member facilities. At the 2016 event at St. Paul’s Hospital in Saskatoon, Alarcon was inspired by the topic, “If you dare to ask it deeply, what makes you grateful?” to begin journaling her daily gratitude. Those reflections form the heart of the new book.
As a newcomer to Canada, Alarcon finds that she is excited and grateful for things that some may take for granted — for instance, the changing seasons or the cold and snow of winter. “When we are born with something we tend to take it for granted,” she says.
As she observes in one entry, “When we wake up in the morning is a miracle. How babies learn to talk and crawl and walk is a miracle. How we breathe air that we don’t see is a miracle. . . . These little things are miracles. If we really open our eyes, we will see God everywhere and with everyone.”
The Gratitude-Driven Life is available at Universal Church Supplies in Saskatoon or through Amazon.