Start where you are.

Start where you are.

“Start where you are,

with what you have.

Make something of it and never be satisfied.”

That’s a quote from George Washington Carver.

This man was born into slavery, sometime in the 1860s. From there, regardless of societal hurdles, he contributed in amazing ways to the benefit of all. He was both a scientist and Christian – melding the two beautifully.

Although he could have pursued wealth, instead he sought education and knowledge to help all those around him by sharing what he learned.

“If I know the answer you can have it for the price of a postage stamp. The Lord charges me nothing for knowledge, and I will charge you the same.” he wrote.

The peanut became one of his more outstanding legacies with over 300 ideas on how to use this lowly legume. His research changed the trajectory of the economy of the southern United States when the boll weevil decimated the cotton crops in the first decades of the 1900s.

Read more of his words HERE. Simply start where you are!

Below you’ll find images with some of his wisdom – I encourage you to read about George Washington Carver. It’ll inspire you!

Start where you are.

…the further anyone gets away from themselves, the greater will be their success in life… You can’t get very far in life if you don’t get away from self… and see a richer and broader horizon.”

…the further anyone gets away from themselves, the greater will be their success in life… You can’t get very far in life if you don’t get away from self… and see a richer and broader horizon.”

~ George Washington Carver

“It is not the style of clothes one wears, neither the kind of automobiles one drives, nor the amount of money one has in the bank, that counts. These mean nothing. It is simply service that measures success.”

~ George Washington Carver

“God is going to reveal to us things He never revealed before if we put our hands in His. No books ever go into my laboratory. The thing I am to do and the ways of doing it are revealed to me.”

~ George Washington Carver

Are you ready to begin?

  • Connect with a friend who can encourage you.
  • Help others with what you’ve been given.
  • Ask God to reveal to you His purpose for you and your life.

Start where you are…

30 Days of Hymns

30 Days of Hymns

30 Days of Hymns – this was my September personal challenge to do something consistently over a 30-day time period.

To practice this skill, I chose to tailor my social media posts on Facebook to map with our church’s small group exploration of the book, “Sing!: How Worship Transforms Your Life, Family, and Church” by Keith & Kristen Getty. We are looking at what makes singing as a group so powerful – and necessary.

Below are the songs. I need to say a big “thank you!” for the help from friends on Facebook who shared their favorites. It was poignant to read the comments on all the hymns. And fun to know that most people, as they read the lyrics, were actually singing them in their own mind. See – it doesn’t matter whether you have a “good” voice – your heart knows how to praise through music!

With this in mind, if you don’t know the listed hymn, I encourage you to use YouTube to find a video. And if you find reading the Bible intimidating, reading hymn lyrics is an easy way to orient yourself toward God’s Word, as most hymns have direct Scripture references.

Hymns are inherently positive!

Many in this list of 30 are old, old songs – and a few are from the songstress Fanny Crosby. Below the list, you’ll find images to correspond. Feel free to use them for your own, if one is a favorite. (I used CanvaPro to create each image.)

Want some ideas to challenge yourself next month? Read 31 ideas/options: click HERE.

(PS – I’ve begun a new personal challenge to send 31 snail mail cards to connect with others. This corresponds to #15 on the list!)

Here’s the list of 30 hymns:

  1. Great is Thy Faithfulness
  2. Just as God Leads Me
  3. In the Garden
  4. The Lord is my Light
  5. It is well with my soul
  6. Soul Arise, I must be telling
  7. Striving Onward, Pressing Forward
  8. Come Share the Lord
  9. I Praise God’s Love in Adoration
  10. Never Give Up
  11. How Great Thou Art
  12. Blessed Assurance
  13. As the Deer
  14. Mighty the Showers of Blessing
  15. Instruments of Your Peace
  16. Star to Which I’m Looking
  17. We will keep our faith alive
  18. In moments like these
  19. Be Thou My Vision
  20. Jesus Loves me
  21. Here I am Lord
  22. Forth, Forth My Heart to Heaven
  23. Behold Oh How Pleasant
  24. More Precious Than Silver
  25. In Over My Head – Bethel / Jenn Johnson
  26. Our God is an Awesome God
  27. Sanctuary
  28. Our hearts sing with joy
  29. Oh, Sanctified Sunday
  30. At the Living Altar

And the images:

October Invitation to Challenge Yourself

October Invitation to Challenge Yourself

October 2019 is just around the corner. Yes, there are all these autumnal colors and themes floating about in social media, in the stores, and probably in our workspaces and homes. That’s all good.

Noticing the change in the seasons is important – it identifies how time is moving forward, even if you’re experiencing what I am… 90-degree weather. <eye-roll> Or, if you’re in the southern hemisphere of our world, October is heralding the arrival of new growth. (Because we have flipped seasonal experiences.) If you’re closer to our equator, then likely there are few weather indicators to show a change in seasons…

Regardless.

October is almost upon us.

A new month.

31 days to make a difference in your own life, and those around you!

How will you begin? And end? What’s going to be different, noteworthy, and extraordinary in this next month?

Invitation to challenge yourself!

You’re invited…

31 Days of …

How will you fill in the blank? What’s on your agenda? Here’s your invitation to challenge yourself:

With what would you like to challenge yourself? It’s personal. But we all still have 31 days – it’ll either be more of the same, or it can be MORE!

  • more activity: dancing, walking, stretching, travel, exploring, adventure…
  • greater achievement: learning, writing, creating, timeliness, proactivity, planning, earning, saving…
  • enhanced well-being: in positivity, prayer, eating, tidiness, relationship building, thankfulness…

Our lives are built with small habits. 30 or 31 days is a way to practice. In which areas could you enhance your life?

In the next few posts (before October) I’ll suggest some ideas. I invite you to choose ONE. Yes, just one. A single challenge for your own October.

Interested?

Leave a comment with your ideas!

In September I challenged myself to post on Facebook a different hymn each day. This is part of my desire to enhance my own ability to follow-through over the long term and to make time to explore a facet of my faith. One challenge. Multiple gains.

Near the beginning of 2019, I read this book. It’s filled with 500+ random ideas on where to challenge yourself. I believe we can do (almost) anything in the short term… and isn’t our whole life filled up with little increments 60 seconds at a time, 1440 minutes a day, 52 weeks, 4 seasons…

What are you developing with your little increments of time?

If you need some ideas, stay tuned… <wink>

If you haven’t already – subscribe!

Be encouraged!

Courage, dear heart. Begin Again.

Courage, dear heart. Begin Again.

Courage, dear heart.

Begin again.

Each morning there’s a new chance to begin again.

You can do this.

Courage, deart heart. Each morning you have another chance to begin again. You can. It's possible. Have courage and move forward. It's time.

C.S. Lewis is one of my favorite authors.

His words hold answers to mysteries, they cause me to stop and wonder and then make me smile. I feel encouraged.

Sometimes a phrase causes me to take a breath – stop – and give thanks.

This is one of them.

Courage, dear heart.

Courage, dear heart. Each morning you have a chance to begin again.

Courage.

Encouragement has the word “courage” embedded. Undeniably, reading with a positive focus will encourage you, and ultimately cause you to feel courageous.

That’s why I like “children’s” literature. Most times authors write with a bent toward encouragement. It’s rare to feel discouraged after reading a child’s book. Have you noticed? Pull out a few of your childhood favorites, and experiment…

The quote above is from C.S. Lewis’ book “Voyage of the Dawn Treader” in the Narnia series. There are 7 books in the whole story about the land of Narnia. And it’s just as relevant for adults as it is for children. Never, ever, feel like you’re too old to read a child’s book. We’re all children at heart!

Specifically, I like to read this series in chronological order – but everyone has their favorite way to read. C.S. Lewis wrote and published them differently from the land of Narnia chronological order, and expected us to make our own choice in where to start. Wise man.

Aslan in Narnia

If you step back from the Disney movie versions of these movies and read the original book series, you’ll realize, eventually (or possibly very quickly) that Aslan is special.

Unique.

Extraordinary.

Ultimately, discovering why that’s so will be a beautiful adventure, should you choose to accept it…

In the meantime:

My wish for you today is to hear that small, still voice whisper…

“Courage, dear heart.”


More encouragement to keep going…

Read more – click HERE

You haven't come this far to only go this far. Just do the next thing.
Go Deep & Understand your Why

Go Deep & Understand your Why

Go deep & understand your why because deep roots are not reached by the frost.

“All that is gold does not glitter;

not all those who wander are lost;

the old that is strong does not wither;

deep roots are not reached by the frost.”

🌼


~ first stanza from the JRR Tolkien poem about the character Strider in “The Fellowship of the Ring
🌼

Just some thoughts to ponder: take a look at the first 3 lines.

I think what Tolkien is saying

is that just because something seems one way,

does not make it true.

For me, it’s the last line which holds a key: “deep roots are not reached by the frost“.

I feel it sums up the first three statements.

If we deeply understand the “why” we are doing something, that specific understanding can hold us safe from anything which would freeze us out, stop us, or derail our purpose. It’s part of having those roots that reach downward.

So.

Go deep.

Even if you don’t “glitter” you still have gold!

and

When you are going deep through age and strength, your contribution will flourish!

Do. Not. Quit.

Don’t stop what you’re doing even if others can’t see your glitter, or criticize your wandering, or if they question your age. Be strong.

And then your deep roots will hold you secure.

Go deep - know your why - all that is gold does not glitter; not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither; deep roots are not reached by the frost.

Are you finding it hard to keep going? Need some encouragement? Read this.

As you strive to go deep, remember, being optimistic is a strategy, and it can be learned. The benefits are great. One part of the strategy to be optimistic is to focus on thankfulness.

Quick! For what are you thankful right now? Find three things… they can be simple, or complex. Remembering your “why” you’re doing things can be prompted by your thankfulness. And thankfulness grows deep roots.

Do you keep a journal? Maybe add some “thankful” notations!

Writing or recording what you’re thankful for doesn’t need to be fancy or complicated.

Got a smart-phone? I use the app Gratitude 365. (It’s free.) Or you could just put three things into your calendar (online or paper).

Keep putting down those roots. Don’t quit.

Learn how to be optimistic.

Learn how to be optimistic.

Learn how to be optimistic. Basically, you aren’t required to be born a positive person – optimism can be learned. Don’t give up just because you’re not good at it! Because there’s a way to…

Learn how to be optimistic.

But how, you ask?

If I’m being candid with you, (and my husband, Rob, can attest to this,) compared to some others, I am not naturally a positive person.

*gasp*

Did I really say that?

Yes, I did. I’m a learned optimist.

It’s deliberate.

It’s a choice.

I believe anyone can learn how to be optimistic, and with deliberation, choose to act that way.

If so, then all of us can take action in a strategically positive way.

In all areas of our lives:

  • in how we think about ourselves,
  • as we talk to ourselves (our inner dialogue),
  • how we make choices in our life,
  • when we interact with people,
  • in our business world, church world, and family,
  • as we pursue our side-hustle, our hobbies,
  • and/or entrepreneurial life,
  • while setting and embracing our goals – large or small
  • and everything else life holds!

Here’s the path – with 4 aspects – on how to learn to be optimistic:

1 – Begin with love.

Start by feeling love for yourself. (Yes, it’s a journey.)

Firstly, I believe I was born on purpose and for a purpose. As were you! No person is an accident. Everyone has value.

For all those mothers who long to get pregnant, and parents who are trying and trying to conceive a child, this concept of a child being born on purpose is real. (As is the heart-wrench and ache when a child dies before you can hold her or him in your arms.)

Plus, as a Christian, I believe God loves me. He loves you. There’s a plan for us. As a great example of true, perfect love, Jesus, the Son of God, gave up His life in a horrible death for no reason other than He loved me. And you. And everyone. All people. Regardless. (If you’re looking for a romance story, the Bible is the ultimate one.)

Maybe your life thus far hasn’t shown you much love. If that’s the case, I just want to tell you:

It’s not the end of the story!

You can feel loved. There’s time.

Just as you have time to love others. It’s a journey.

And you CAN!

What comes next…

2 – Be thankful. Optimism grows from gratitude.

Gratitude is so much more important than the world around you wants you to believe. Being thankful is a special sauce, a magic formula, the ultimate elixir on the way to being positive.

How do you track your thankfulness?

Being aware of what you’re thankful for is one thing. Because of this, it’s powerful when you see all the items concretely logged with writing or images.

Whether you use an app, a journal, a planner or a plain old notebook, keeping an ongoing list of all the items you’re thankful for on a daily basis is important!

Important!

Did you hear that?

I can’t think of another way to state it. Make it a habit at the beginning, middle or end of a day to list what you’re thankful for. Begin recording your thankfulness.

I challenge you to start with a list of 100 items. A while ago Rob and I did an exercise like this together and it was so much easier than it seems… From this, we realized that the greatest to the least little item provides many, many reasons each day to give thanks.

” Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”

~ from an article at Harvard Health

Therefore, you can learn how to be optimistic if you use gratitude as a tool!

So, being loved and being thankful. Right.

And after that – what’s next?

3 – Being encouraged and encouraging others helps you to learn how to optimistic.

Thirdly, what is encouragement?

“Encouragement: words or actions that give someone confidence or hope and words or actions that help something to happen.”

~ from MacMillan Dictionary

To learn how to be optimistic means you understand the importance of encouragement. Encouragement is an action. It’s having hope for the future. People who are positive-focused know how to help themselves and others make something happen – something good for the future.

Optimists are confident that if they keep trying and continue to persevere, regardless, there will be an improvement.

And once an optimist is feeling hopeful, then…

4 – Optimists take action.

Lastly, some of the skills on the path to learn how to be optimistic are the ability to make a plan, work the plan and take action on the goals that’ll get you to the finish line of the plan. Does this sound familiar?

What if things don’t work out? Failure is part of the plan – it’s gonna happen, and optimists who take action have contingencies at hand to fail forward.

So, if something doesn’t work out, the optimist finds another way.

Above all, it’s about taking action – not getting stuck in inertia or analysis paralysis. Equally, if a positive person does get stuck, they look for help from another encouraging person! Do you have someone like that in your life?

Are you someone who takes action? Is there a chance you’re also a learned optimist?

Being Positive on Purpose

All in all, life isn’t always what you expect. There are curveballs…

It’s important to realize there are days, weeks and even years where being optimistic is hard. At times it feels almost impossible. I get it. I really do – due to circumstances we all encounter, I’ve experienced it and it’s difficult to be optimistic when in crisis. (Especially if others around you expect optimism from you and you’re feeling like you’re running on empty.)

What can you do when it’s hard to be optimistic?

Actively seek support. To clarify, surround yourself with people, activities, and resources which will support you in practicing:

  • loving yourself and others,
  • being thankful – in all circumstances,
  • accepting encouragement and giving encouragement,
  • and taking action.

To be transparent – that’s why this site was born. I needed something to keep my focus on remaining and then growing in being positive. So, that’s what PostiveThanksLiving.com is for… it’s for me and you!

On the positive side, there’s no end in learning to be optimistic.

You just get better at it. Certainly, it takes ongoing practice, but the benefits of practicing optimism impact everyone around you for the better.

Indeed, it’s not going to hurt anyone if you learn how to be optimistic… in fact, it’ll help make the world around you a little better!

Just because you're not born an optimist doesn't mean you can't learn how to be optimistic. Explore the 4 points along the way - anyone can learn!

JOY in Despair – It’s there!

JOY in Despair – It’s there!

Joy can spring like a flower even from the cliffs of despair.

Happiness needs security.” — these two statements are Ann Morrow Lindbergh‘s take on the difference between happiness and joy.

What do you think?

Is it possible to find JOY in despair?

Have you ever experienced joyful moments, even when you feel like you’re hanging from your fingertips over an open abyss? I have.

From my experience, that joy experienced in the midst of despair is all the sweeter because of the juxtaposition of the two.

Are you in a time of despair?

Hang on.

You will make it through.

And watch for those moments of JOY…

they’ll show up…

and they’ll be sweet.


” I’ve found a joy in sorrow, a precious balm for pain;

a beautiful tomorrow of sunshine after rain.

I’ve found a branch of healing near ev’ry bitter spring;

for ev’ry anxious feeling the Lord does comfort bring,

for ev’ry anxious feeling the Lord does comfort bring. “

Hymn “I’ve found a joy in sorrow” by Ira D. Sankey

Read more about JOY – in this post, and this one and this one!

Making it through…

So how do you find those moments of JOY when you’re sorrowing, or in the dark, or hanging on by your fingertips?

  • Focus on what is in your life now – and in the past – for which you can be thankful. Gratitude is a key to unlock those moments of JOY.
  • Surround yourself with those who will encourage you. Try very hard to push yourself into visiting with those who will pray with you, and lift you up. (It’s hard. I know. But the battle is worth it!)
  • Watch what you read – find a devotional that will lift your spirits. This devotional, “Streams in the Desert” is one of my most favorite resources. It’s old, yet still so very relevant.
  • Listen to songs with words from Scripture. Hymns. Sing along. Music is a powerful tool.

These items won’t be something new – rather they’re a way of living: thankful and optimistic. They’re the soil in which to plant future flowers of JOY!


weeping may stay for the night,
    but rejoicing comes in the morning

Psalm 30

Structure your Happiness – 100 days experiment.

Structure your Happiness – 100 days experiment.

Happiness is fleeting. In my life, the feeling of being happy shifts like the weather – the only surety is a change in and out and in again of happiness.

I’m imagining you might relate? It’s rare for anyone to be happy every day. (By-the-way, being joyful is a different story from the average happy moment. Read some thoughts about JOY here.)

Most of us merely want to have more happy days than we’re already experiencing.

Just like choosing to live in one part of the continent with more days of sunshine, than a different part of the continent with fewer sunny days, we do have the choice to structure our lives to experience more moments of happiness.

Is every day sunny? No. Will every moment be happy? Of course not. However, you can…

Structure your happiness – 100 days experiment!

Just so you know, I don’t think you need a special book, app or planner to take action toward structuring more happiness in your life. Purchasing something isn’t necessary. You could design your own map, print your own tracking pages, or just use a plain notebook to make notes.

The idea is to have a plan and then track progress over a period of time.

Happiness 100 days - plan to have more days of happiness.

I ordered the 100-day Happiness Planner for my birthday a few years ago. It was during a hard time. No tragedies – just life.

During this time I felt like I needed to take strong, decisive steps to structure my days to include opportunities to feel happy. I looked at many programs, considered creating one of my own, and then – for my needs – I decided to invest in the 100-day Happiness Planner.

This resource provided certain properties I needed:

  • a short period – 100 days is just over 3 months – to try new ways to structure my days/weeks and experiment with specific goals
  • no particular dates (undated) so I could write in my own dates and begin/end as I chose.
  • opportunity for reflection – questions and room to journal my thoughts
  • planning space for daily and weekly events
  • space to record thankfulness every day/week
  • a way to track what I was learning via Scripture and actively listening in church services
  • positive affirmations (although, I replaced some with God-honoring statements for the ones I didn’t like.)
  • and more – you can read about the 100 Day Happiness Planner here – I liked this resource so much that I became an affiliate.

This site, PostiveThanksLiving.com grew out of my time working in the 100-day Happiness Planner.

What do you need to structure happiness into your life?

More happy moments may not happen all by themselves. Sometimes we need a boost, a trigger, or a tool.

I hope this site, which grew from my time of reflection, can be a boost and trigger for your life. My goal is to provide positivity and gratitude prompts so we all have what we need to add some happiness into our life.

What other tools to structure happiness could you use?

Maybe you need to focus on adding some healthy boundaries to your life? This is a good book to learn how to do that.

Perhaps you feel it’s time to pursue deepening your marriage.

  • Rob and I talk about this book with couples all the time. It’s practical and easy to implement, no matter in what state your relationships exists.
  • Or maybe your marriage is just fine, but you need to do some planning as a couple – this is an excellent resource.

Have you ever done a “vision board”? In simple terms, it’s a collection of photos/images of what you’re working toward pasted or printed onto one paper. (I couldn’t find a resource to link to here, so I guess I’ll be creating one in the future!)

What other tools do you need?

Leave a comment – what has helped you find more happiness in your life in the past?

structure your happiness with the 100 days of happiness planner
Click here to explore this resource – but remember, it’s not necessary to buy this – you could do it on your own if you feel motivated…
structure your happiness - 100 days Happiness Planner
Have you made a list of those things which make you happy? Ranking items is a powerful way to make this idea real…
PIN this to your Pinterest!
Positivity Gifts – Mother’s Day

Positivity Gifts – Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is coming… use this time to honor the loving women – regardless of relation – in your life!

Those women who encourage you like a mom

might really appreciate something you make.

And what’s more encouraging than a bit of positivity?

Remember – it isn’t about the dollar amount or the blood relationship – it’s about honoring the connection! You could even give this before the day!

Make a Positivity Garland

Make a Positivity Garland - use the prompts, some string, and flowers.

It’s easy – just some circles with positivity prompts,

(you could use the ones provided in the PDF or make your own)

a length of embroidery floss,

and a few artificial flowers!

Less than 20 minutes

and you’ll have a pretty little garland

for that special woman who loves you.

Make it for a friend, for your friend’s mother,

a courageous single mom, the woman whose babe is in eternity,

a grandma with far-away grands, or that “yet to be” grandmother,

an elderly loved one who never had children,

someone who is longing for children but whose arms are yet empty,

or any special lady who needs a lift!

Give this even before that second Sunday in May, to keep those ladies’ thoughts uplifted!

Here’s the PDF to download

with the words in the circles and some instructions:

Mother's day gift  for someone special who loves you like a mom - a positivity garland

Want to make something else?

Try some “sticky positive thoughts”

– click to check out this post to learn the “how to”…

(This post includes a PDF for the cards

and a video where I learned how to make the little pocket):

Positive Sticky Thoughts - card bundle - Make Positivity a Habit - Mother's day gift for that special woman

And if Mother’s Day is difficult…

Too often this second Sunday in May holds more tears than joy.

If Mother’s Day is a difficult day for you…

or someone you love…

then maybe this might provide a bit of encouragement.

A mother's love has no barrier. When Mother's day is difficult.

These flowers stand as a small banner to a mother’s love.

A mother’s love has no barrier – not earth or eternity, not time or distance, not fear or hate.

We acknowledge your mother’s love.

You are not forgotten.

You are thought of and prayed for.

To miss the joy is to miss all.

To miss the joy is to miss all.

Find out where joy resides,

and give it a voice

far beyond singing.

For to miss the joy is to miss all.

~ Robert Louis Stevenson

To miss the JOY is to miss all.

I use Instagram to document those things that bring me joy… and around the end of each year, our family gathers to draw/color/write a “plate” to highlight all the joys, peaks and valleys of the past year. We’ve been doing this for 18 years. (Click here to see our “plate” experience!)

Somewhere, sometime, a long time ago, I heard a person say, “If your life is worth living, it’s worth documenting.” I don’t remember who said it, but it’s remained a cautionary statement.

However, before you can document your joys – those happenings which cause JOY – you need to notice them. Perhaps that’s why I find the above quote by Robert Louis Stevenson particularly poignant…

In what way

(or ways)

are you taking action

to notice and capture the joy in your life?


For the miss the joy is to miss all - in what ways are you taking action to document your joys?

Joy is prayer - Joy is strength - Joy is love - Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. She gives most who gives with Joy.

Read more about joy – click HERE


joy - a good feeling in the soul - how do you describe joy or happiness?

And HERE

Make Optimism a Habit

Make Optimism a Habit

How do you make optimism a habit in your life?

Maybe you find being positive easy, or perhaps it feels forced at times. Even for me, there are days where I struggle to “walk the talk”. So what helps?

Positive Sticky Thoughts - card bundle - Make Positivity a Habit

Here are 3 ways to make optimism a habit:

1. Optimism grows from thankfulness. Be aware of all the opportunities you have in your life to be grateful. Express them!


2. Smile. Yes, smiling releases dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin which have a physiological impact. Even a forced smile works.


3. Surround yourself with positive words. What we think is important. When you find yourself dwelling on the negative, replace it with positive statements. Scripture verses work for me and a few days ago I wrote an article with 25 Sticky Postive Thoughts to see if any of them resonated for you. From your responses to that post, it seemed like you liked the idea.


In response to those who emailed after the article, “25 Sticky Positive Thoughts” – I created a PDF to print out cards with the statements.

You can download and print the cards yourself – and make them as pretty as you choose…– click HERE.

Leave a comment…

What statements would you add? Make optimism a habit!

Make optimism a habit - get 25 positive sticky thoughts to help.

Here’s the video where I learned how to make the little envelope…

5 Great Lessons You Can Learn By Being Thankful

5 Great Lessons You Can Learn By Being Thankful

Being thankful in all circumstances can teach you much more than you’d imagine. Sure, not everything feels good, but there’s always something you can find for which to give thanks.

Practice your Thanks-Living skills!

Here are five great lessons you can learn by being thankful:


1 – Thankfulness opens hearts.

Being thankful, regardless of the stage and state of your life, might not be easy, but it does impact those around you. During times when Rob and I have experienced less-than-optimum situations, expressing what we’re thankful for has created a connection.

Hardship can divide spouses, families, and friends, just because everyone is focused, in word and deed, on the struggle.

Expressing thankfulness draws hearts back together.

If you find yourself avoiding talking to those you love because of the issues you’re dealing with, then start with a sentence about what you’re feeling grateful for… talking about all the blessings in your life can engage everyone, and you might surprise each other at what you find yourself grateful for…


2 – Being thankful shapes the future.

Once you start discussing all the areas in which you’re thankful, you’ll begin to see where God has blessed your life in the past. And that leads to anticipating future opportunities. If your future is shaped in what you’re thankful for, it becomes easier to bounce back and get on track.


3 – Gratitude reduces want-itis.

“Gimme-gimme” and “I want, I want, I want” have become an epidemic in our western society. Being thankful for what we have combats the materialism of our culture in a healthy way. Once you notice all you actually possess and feel a sense of thankfulness, wanting extra stuff becomes less attractive.


4 – Thankfulness impacts our memories.

Memory is subjective. Two people can think back on the same experience and will have differing memories, according to their bent toward optimism or pessimism. Once an individual looks back in their history with the filter of gratitude, the memories can be wired toward optimism.


5 – Thankfulness balances a healthy sense of self.

Being thankful can increase an internal sense of self-esteem because it hones attention to where others are helping. By acknowledging you need help, which can be humbling, you also must shift to the belief that you’re a worthwhile person because someone went out of their way to help. It’s a curious cycle.


Yesterday I wrote about sticky positive thougthts and said I have Scripture verses posted to encourage my thinking. This is one that’s been very important to me:


… in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1Thessalonians 5:18

This article about a sermon on the above Scripture is one of my recent favorites – it unpacks the idea that we don’t need to be grateful for the suffering, but rather we can be grateful in the suffering.

Do you have any “thankful quotes” you value?

Quick! Leave a comment…

For what are you grateful right now?