In the crazy hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s easy to get caught up in the stresses and challenges that come our way. Sometimes we’re focused on what we don’t have or what we’re not happy with, rather than taking the time to appreciate all the goodness in our lives. However, when we cultivate a grateful heart, we open ourselves up to a world of abundance and joy.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Christmas, but we are about to enter the abyss of Christmas. You know, that place of buy this, buy that, run here, run there, throwing the tinsel, and eating more than most of us would like to admit. But before all that, comes Thanksgiving.

What does that season really mean to you? Do you take time to reflect on the things your thankful for, or are you just running for the turkey and stuffing?

For me, it’s all about acknowledging the blessings in my life, big or small, and being grateful for them. As you will see throughout this post, my family is my biggest blessing! We have shared some amazing times together, and some really hard times, too. Through the good and the bad, we have learned to have gratitude and grace.

Today, I want to share with you, how to cultivate a thankful heart and encourage you to have gratitude and grace even in the hardest of circumstances.

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Gratitude and Grace: Cultivate a Thankful Heart - Family picture

“Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!” Psalm 95:2

Gratitude

Having gratitude is the emotion of being thankful for the things we have in our life. Sometimes it seems easy and sometimes it seems hard. Wouldn’t it be great, if we never had to experience anything hard? Maybe, but would we grow? I don’t think so. I’m a firm believer that trials shape us, stretch us, and teach us to be grateful.

The challenge is to find gratitude in the midst of the muck. While joy may not seem present during challenging times, gratitude allows us to recognize and appreciate the positive things that happen during and from the adversity.

Being Grateful

It has been shown that being grateful can have a number of benefits on our mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Some benefits of gratitude include:

  • Improved physical health: Gratitude has been shown to boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, and lower blood pressure.
  • Increased mental and emotional well-being: Learning to be grateful can help to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Therefore, making you happier, more optimistic, and resilient.
  • Stronger relationships: Gratitude can help us to appreciate family and friends in our lives and build stronger relationships.
  • Improved sleep: It seems when we’re grateful we relax and fall asleep more easily. Raise your hand if you could use more sleep!!

I don’t know one person that couldn’t benefit from the list above!

Cultivate Gratitude

Below are some different things you can do to cultivate gratitude.

  • Keep a gratitude journal: Each day, practice writing down things you are grateful for. On days when it’s hard to find things to be grateful for, I encourage you to find something small; even like your morning cup of coffee or tea.
  • Be mindful: Pay attention to the present moment without judgment. When you do this, you are more likely to notice the things you are grateful for.
  • Express gratitude to others: Take the time to tell the people in your life how much you appreciate them.
  • Do something nice for someone else: Helping others is a great way to feel good about yourself and cultivate gratitude.
  • Find a hobby or activity that you are passionate about: Pursuing your passions can help you to feel more fulfilled and grateful for your life.
  • Focus on the positive: Be aware of all the blessings in your life.

Learning to cultivate gratitude is a journey. There will be days when it is easier to be grateful than others. I know from experience, the more you practice gratitude, the more it will become a part of your life. And the more grateful you are, the happier you will be!

If you’re looking for some other ideas, I recently wrote a post on Finding Joy & Embracing Life’s Simple Pleasures.

Showing and Receiving Grace

We’ve all been given grace and shown it to others at some point in our lives. If we’re being honest, multiple times. Grace is that gentle touch of compassion. It can transform lives, mend broken hearts, restore hope and gives forgiveness during difficult situations.

I’ll be the first to admit, grace can be a hard one. Am I right? However, when we don’t give grace, we can perpetuate a cycle of judgment, resentment, and anger. Experiencing all that, will not produce a grateful heart.

“Grace is the voice that calls us to change and then gives us the power to pull it off.” – Max Lucado

Here are some of the key aspects of grace:

  • Grace is a gift: Grace is not something that is earned or deserved. It’s freely given, many times without any expectation of reciprocation.
  • Kindness and compassion: These are traits of grace, along with a willingness to understand and forgive.
  • Acceptance: Grace involves accepting oneself or others flaws, without judgment or condemnation.
  • Transformation: Grace has the power to transform individuals. It can help some overcome difficulties, heal from wounds, and grow in their understanding and compassion.
Gratitude and Grace: Cultivate a Thankful Heart - Me and my sons

Gratitude and Grace: Cultivate a Thankful Heart

It’s easy to lose sight of the good things in our lives. This Thanksgiving, if you are walking through a difficult season, read my post on Perseverance: Overcoming Life’s Challenges. I pray it will speak to you.

Gratitude is the practice of acknowledging and appreciating the positive aspects of our lives, while grace is the ability to accept and forgive ourselves and others. I’m beyond grateful for many things in my life, this season.

I have a wonderful family who lives out their faith in God. They are all healthy, happy and work hard to live their lives as examples for others, showing gratitude and grace. This momma and wife couldn’t ask for anything more. I know, without a doubt, I’m blessed beyond measure.

On top of my family blessings, I’m so thankful for you and how you have supported me here at my Cottage in the Mitten. Just by simply being here, you have been a source of encouragement. And you have graciously shown your kindness to me and valued my content. Thank you so much!

Just so you know…after I count my blessings, I’ll be running for the turkey and stuffing, too!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! xo

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4 Comments

  1. Kim,

    Beautiful post and very well said. Life is hard sometimes and it is so very easy to loose sight of all of the good things in our lives, like family, friends, health.

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful family and your heart and faith.

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving my friend.
    x Elizabeth

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