I don’t know about you, but it seems like 2023 has just flown by. Whether this year has presented you with blessings or challenges, I can’t help but think about the practice of choosing gratitude in every season. When time flies by as quickly as it does, sometimes it’s difficult for me to stop and consider the things I’m grateful for. So, earlier this month, I started a devotional called “Choosing Gratitude” by Amy Seiffert in the YouVersion Bible App. It sparked something inside of me that I wanted to extend to you (my customers). Gratitude is a powerful and positive emotion that can enhance our well-being and strengthen our relationships. By acknowledging the good things in our lives and expressing gratitude, we can find greater happiness and fulfillment. In this blog, we’ll explore five ways to practice gratitude this season and make it a part of our daily lives.
- FOR OUR PEOPLE:
Every one of us have “our people.” The ones we call when we have a challenging conversation with a co-worker, when we find out that we’re expecting a new addition to the family, when we find out about an amazing career opportunity, and ones that know the ins-and-outs of who we are and love us anyway. Whether it’s a friend or family member – our people are ones that can’t be replaced. We consider ourselves lucky to have them. Take for instance, earlier this year I received an opportunity to speak for a conference unlike anything I’ve ever been apart of. I was completely shocked and completely nervous at the same time. I immediately had 5-6 people that came to mind that I wanted to share the news with. It was with people that I knew would be excited for me, be supportive, and also very prayerful about the message I would be delivering to a specified audience. That moment in time …. I was grateful for my people. I know that just like me, you have a HOME TEAM – and how grateful we are to be able to do life with them on a consistent basis.
- FOR THINGS WE DON’T CONSIDER OFTEN ENOUGH:
“Often people ask how I manage to be happy despite having no arms and no legs. The quick answer is that I have a choice. I can be angry about not having limbs, or I can be thankful that I have a purpose. I choose gratitude.” — Nick Vujicic
Earlier this year, prior to the store closing, a dear customer came in and shared that she had just been diagnosed with Breast Cancer. She’s the sweetest and also happens to LOVE our Magnolia collection. How many times, do we wake up in the morning, and neglect to remember that no one had to help us get out of the bed, we did not wake up with a complete loss of memory, and our lives have not changed overnight, with some life-altering health condition. Life can change in a moment. For some that have experienced this (maybe even this year), this thought may stick a bit more. However, what amazes me are the powerful testimonies and strength that often comes from considerable “weak” spaces. How those with difficult ailments and conditions have such an immense amount of joy, despite of their circumstances. I invite you to think about the things that are typically overlooked, and simply be grateful for them. Which leads me to my next point…
- FOR HARD LESSONS & TOUGH SEASONS:
I feel as if I could write an entire book on this section. The more I go on, the more I realize that life is not lived without some form of pain. Sudden death, unexpected loss of income, relationship, shelter, health changes, etc. Last year, was one of the most difficult seasons I’ve ever encountered. I don’t say this to minimize anything you may be going through right now. But, one thing that I have seen this year is a sense of restoration and new-found joy. I’ve realized a degree of substance (depth) that exists within me that was not there prior to 2022. Would I choose to go through pain all over again? Absolutely not. Would I choose the outcome of the things experienced? Absolutely not. However, do I perceive that I’ve grown from (and through) the hardships I’ve experienced? Yes. If this year has been a challenging one for you, first I want to say that I’m so sorry for the season that you are in. I don’t know what you’re walking through, and I wish that the circumstances were different for you. However, I will say that there IS hope on the other side of your challenges. There are two passages that I came across some time ago – “The God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” — 2 Corinthians 1:4. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” — James 1:2-4. What I can say is that God wastes nothing, and any difficult season you walk through will serve as an encouragement to someone else. May you reflect on the lessons that you’ve learned and the beauty that has been discovered in spite of the ashes. May you find grace and strength to keep pressing on.
- FOR SHARED MEMORIES:
When was the last time you had a really good laugh? I mean, one of those.. you’re on the floor dying laughing and tears are rolling down your face? A picture just flashed across my mind of the last time that happened for me. Immediately, what I feel is gratefulness. There’s a quote that says, laughter is good for the soul. May you reflect on some of those memories and ALSO, be PRESENT this season. (I’m preaching to the choir). Maybe put your phone aside. Take a break from social media for a few days to be present with loved ones or friends. You may miss a moment that truly brings so much joy and laughter – all that we’ll be left with are memories. There’s so many opportunities to highlight bad ones. Don’t miss out on the good ones in the midst of the chaos of life.
- GROWTH & KINDNESS:
This last one will take some reflection. In one way or another, I would venture to say that there’s at least one area in which you have grown between January 2023 and now. Have you started a fitness journey this year? Have you advanced in your career? Have you taken on a new assignment at work or volunteered for a new initiative? Have you paid off some debt, bought a home, added family members to your tribe, begun therapy, or become disciplined in a new area? In some form or fashion, I’m believing that you have grown in an area this year. That is something to celebrate and be grateful for. That you are not the same person that you were when the year began. NOW – At least once this year, have you experienced someone doing something kind for you? Someone that grabbed the bill while you were out to eat, came over to help you organize your closet, supported an event you were facilitating, called you before a doctor’s appointment and prayed for you, etc? Here, again, I believe that there has been at least one occasion this year, where someone has done something kind for you. Pair that with an area of growth for at least one instance, and I promise several other things will most likely come to mind. This last one has everything to do with the small things. The things we miss on a day-to-day basis, but possibly reflect on towards the end of the year. These are things to be grateful for.
While this is not an exhaustive list, it is something to get you started. As I was writing this, so many things started coming to mind for me. Life is not exactly where I hoped it would be in this present moment, but nevertheless, I am grateful. I pray that you are too, and that this lifts your spirits and brightens your day. I have seen the benefits of practicing gratitude and the way that it lightens the heaviness in your heart. Gratitude is a practice that can bring a sense of contentment, happiness, and fulfillment into our lives. This season, take a moment to reflect on the things you have to be grateful for, including, family and relationships, things we take for granted, hard lessons and tough seasons, shared memories, opportunities for growth, and the acts of kindness and generosity that surround you. Cultivating a grateful mindset can enrich your life and help you focus on the positive aspects of each season, fostering a deeper appreciation for the world around you. So, as the season unfolds, let’s make a conscious effort to have gratitude for the many blessings in our lives and share the warmth of the season with others.