Elka Whalan: the cheer leader

April 30, 2016

Being thankful for the simple things in life can help us when times get tough, says busy mum Elka Whalan.* 




No matter what religion or relationship people have with something ‘higher’ than themselves, a common thread is always ‘love and gratitude’. I have learnt over the years that the more I am grateful for, the better life is.

I’ve always referred to that philosophy: ‘Are you a glass half full or half empty person?’ I see many people with their cup overflowing and others who won’t even acknowledge there is a cup!

I’m so thankful in my life for all that comes my way, especially in the hardest and toughest of times. There are so many private moments when I have looked behind closed doors and God has always been there for me as a source of comfort, guidance and reassurance. It humbles me when I read ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’ (Philippians chapter 4, verse 13).

I am thankful every night that we have a roof over our heads. I often think of the homeless people in the winter months as it teems down with the rain, how chest infections and pneumonia could strike and they are unable to access antibiotics. How many have lost all hope and dreams?

Next month is the National Day of Thanks and it’s so exciting to be an ambassador for something I do believe I live out. I am thankful for all that is currently in my world, for the people and moments that are yet to come and the way in which I realise how waking each morning is a gift; that both my legs work for me to get out of bed and my lungs inhale and exhale for me to breathe.

I take every opportunity to give thanks for everyone in my life and those whose lives I am privileged to be a part of.

Recently, we took our children to America and purposefully visited downtown LA to show them real people doing it tough. They saw with their own eyes exactly why we tell them it’s so important to be thankful that we have a house to live in and, even at the age of five and four, they saw that life is not to be taken for granted.

What are you thankful for in 2016? What excites you to bless someone or encourage someone? Lift them up! Be a cheer leader and thank someone for making a change and positive opening in your world.

As we bring awareness to the National Day of Thanks, take the opportunity to write a letter to someone, or send an email or a text, or leave a voicemail and say thank you for a moment they saw light in you and believed in you when you needed it.


*Former Olympic swimmer Elka Whalan lives in Sydney with her husband, former water polo Olympian Thomas Whalan, and their three young children.


National Day of Thanks is a church-run celebration. To find out more go to AusThanks.org.au.


Tags: Salvation Army Australia

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