As November has come in full force, it is only natural for thoughts to lend itself to gratitude. When I was a little girl, there was always the moment where each one of us went around the kitchen table, expressing what we were thankful for. At times it felt forced, my heart would become squeamish and slightly nervous. More than anything, my heart’s desire is to be grateful for this gift that I call life and the crazy journey it has been. Over the past four years, I moved to a mountain-laden town in Northern California and know more than ever, I realize the beauty of this place called home. My life is full, often times busting at the seams, incredibly imperfect, and some kind of wonderful.
Grateful for this body.
There’s a few more dent and crannies, wrinkles, and smile lines than I might like. Some days the skinny jeans don’t fit as perfectly as I would like. But this body has taken me far. It took me a while to learn to love this body exactly where it’s at and I’m thankful for the blessing it is. In high school and college, this body and I weren’t in sync. It was more like a crash and burn-wash-rinse-repeat story. But since then, I’ve found healing and learned to treat it with kindness.
Grateful for family.
For people that change car batteries in the early hours of the morning, the Facetimes with littles, and those that I live with day in and day out. The people I get to build with, dream with, and serve. There’s truly nothing like family. In my early twenties, I was far more focused on travel, adventure, and going from place to place than connection with my family. Now one of the highlights of my week are Facetimes with my family. From coast to coast, we’re currently in different time zones, but I love the connection we’ve all been able to foster. As I’ve built a home in Northern California, this year I’m learning more than ever the beauty of roots.
Grateful for restoration.
Last year I faced one of my most public failures to date. It had nothing to do with me, yet there I was remaining and responsible to pick up the broken pieces of a business. Less than a year later I found myself 500 feet away from the spot of my former location. Yet, there I was offering creative direction and design for a foundation that was dedicated to Redding and downtown vitality. I came home that day immediately undone and grateful for the kindness and full circle moment of my life.
Grateful for courage.
Courage to show up, to give grace to a season, and watch the fullness of dreams awaken within others. I recently discovered that one of the ways my personality type shows love to others is to champion and ask questions about their development. With all forms of self-development, it takes courage, margin, and the ability to encourage others. Over the past three years I’ve seen people take dream trips, pour into other creatives, and develop their businesses. I’ve seen successful launches happen, watched hearts come alive, and see others pour into each other’s passions. It’s beautiful and never fails to amaze me.
Take the challenge. From holiday to habit.
Grab a gratitude journal.
Make a list/add it to your planner.
Set a reminder on your phone.
Practice positive self talk.
Tell people in your life what you love about them.
Leave some beautiful notes for strangers.
On the back of placecards at your table, write encouragement notes for your guests.
This season, find one item you’ve always wanted and then gift it to yourself. (We even go so far as wrapping it underneath our personal tree.) The rest of the season find ways to be generous without breaking the bank.
Remember the disappointments, pain, and sometimes tragic moments of life. Then choose gratitude. Gratitude for the growth, the leverage, and change those moments have brought.
Do something great for someone else. Whether it’s paying for someone in the drive-thru line behind you, leaving a ridiculously generous tip, or helping to cover bills for someone in crisis, choose to do good and change the world.
What are some of the ways you cultivate gratitude?
We’d love to hear from you. Let us know in the comments below.