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Gratitude: Being Thankful

I love the month of November. Fall is in full effect with the colors changing on the trees (or the cactus, depending on which state you live in), wearing sweaters and boots, and drinking hot cocoa. There are many things to be thankful for.

I love this time of the year, where it seems everything is slowing down because it’s dark earlier in the evening. Everyone’s getting ready for the holiday season, Thanksgiving on through winter and the new year. Additionally, this is a time where many people are on social media posting what they’re thankful for. I love it, because it makes you pause and think about everyday blessings.

Photo by Freshh Connection on Unsplash

Then comes December, where many social media posts change to opportunities to help the less fortunate as we head into the holiday season, turning our gratitude into acts of kindness. Then as the year rolls on, January posts change to “New Year’s Resolutions,” February is all about Valentine’s Day, and so on. We forget about being thankful and expressing gratitude in the everyday business of life.

Here’s where I want to challenge you to practice being intentional in looking for things that you’re grateful for, every day. You’ll see how it lifts your overall outlook on life and makes you more positive.

My husband took the Army Master Resiliency Training course. If you can take it through your nearby installation, do it. One of the modules teaches you how to “Hunt the Good Stuff.” You need to write down three things that happened to you during the day that were good. Our family practiced it during dinner time each day, and sometimes it was hard to look for the “Good Stuff” that happened. Some of the “Good Stuff” sounds silly, but it teaches my children, as well as myself, to look at the “Good Stuff” that’s happening all around us.

  • My son said, “I’m grateful for being able to walk to school.”
  • My daughter said, “I’m grateful that I can play with my Legos at home.”
  • My husband said, “I’m grateful for Friday movie nights with my family.”
  • I said, “I’m grateful I can go to school and get my certificate in financial counseling.”

I need to confess—it’s harder to show gratitude and look for the good stuff when things don’t go your way.

Photo by Kiy Turk on Unsplash

For example, I made plans for the upcoming 4-day weekend to go out of town or hiking (or both). However, my husband forgot to remind me (until Friday) that his dad was coming for a visit, arriving Saturday and staying until Monday morning.

There goes my planning.

If you know about the StrengthsFinder from Gallup, “adaptability” is not one of my strengths. In fact, it’s at the bottom of my list. It took me three hours to readjust my thinking and be “flexible” with the change of plans. When I finally got my bearings, I took a moment to reflect on the situation and “hunt the good stuff.” This is what I came up with:

  • Since they came to visit, they were able to celebrate my son’s 12th birthday. It was great having family there, and the kids loved it.
  • My husband was able to see his dad, who he hadn’t seen for three years.
  • I was able to finish some important work while my husband spent some time with his dad.

Photo by Ana Juma on Unsplash

It would have been easy to dwell on how I didn’t get my way, but it would have put me in a negative mood, which would have ruined the whole weekend. Thinking about what’s important in frustrating situations helps me put things into perspective and be grateful for the opportunities I don’t see at first. I want to encourage and challenge you to “hunt the good stuff,” not only this month, but throughout the year, to express gratitude even in situations that don’t go your way.

  • What are the three things that you’re grateful for?
  • How can you incorporate gratefulness in your daily life?
  • What changes in your outlook and attitude do you notice when you’re intentional in expressing gratitude?
  • How does it affect your family or other relationships?



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