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Practicing Gratitude

It is not joy that makes us grateful, it is gratitude that makes us joyful, David Steindl-Rast, Karen May, Amayzing Graces

Thanksgiving is a few short days away. The turkey is hopefully purchased, recipes are being reviewed, travel plans are set. As we begin this week, I have another way for you to prepare.

I challenge you to make a list of 100 things that you are grateful for. Don’t think about it, just starting writing stream-of-consciousness style. I’ve done it, and the first few are easy, then I struggle for a bit, and then it starts to flow again. You can do it in one sitting, or leave it for a little while and come back.

Did you notice anything as you made your list? How long did it take? Mine took me about fifteen minutes.

I noticed that most of my list included people who are in my life. Not the things I have, but the people who love and support me, the ones who challenge me and push me to be better, and the ones who have been a part of my children’s lives. There are so many.

Some of the things on my list involve gratitude for the work I see God doing in my life, and some are for the times I experience the greatest connections with Him and with my family.

I also noticed that I kept pausing as I wrote out my list – not because I couldn’t think of anything else, but because I enjoyed thinking about what I had just written. What a wonderful way it was to bring a little joy into my day.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of this season. It only gets busier from here, doesn’t it? While we may not have the time to make a top 100 every day, we should try to do at least a top ten. I think it will change the way we live in the Advent and Christmas season.

Gratitude is a muscle that needs to be worked in order to be strong. The more we consciously choose gratitude, the more we feel gratitude. The more gratitude we feel, the more joy we have in the life we are living.

Set an alarm to make your list of gratitude each day for the rest of the year. I’ll do it, too. Keep the list on your phone or in a notebook so you can look back and see how it developed.

Let’s check back in at the end of the year to see how it went. Deal?

***What are some of the things you are grateful for? Tell me numbers 8, 19, 48, and 79 in the comments below.***

Mine are

8) my friend Arlene

19) one of my daughter’s teachers, Mr. Spraberry

48) the stars in the sky (there’s a whole Abraham/God’s promise connection with that one, plus the fact that they are so beautiful)

79) good hugs from my youngest daughter

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