— Life —

Living with an Attitude of Gratitude

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It’s November (already???), the time of year when we pile additional responsibilities on top of our already-busy schedules. Have you caught yourself saying “I’m in survival mode?” Most of us have. In that state, it is so easy to overlook the small joys and successes that happen every day. Instead of acknowledging the good things, we get caught up in hosting parties, decorating, shopping and the year-end craze, letting these activities control our happiness and self-worth. Hope and joy are replaced by overwhelm and frustration, and we reach the end of the year wishing we had done things differently.

You’ve probably heard the phrase “live with an attitude of gratitude” many times.

As old-fashioned as it seems, gratitude is vital to having a healthy mind, body and spirit. You have so much to be thankful for! Just think of all the things you take for granted every day–walking, breathing, sunshine, rain, the list goes on and on.

Then there are the blessings of family and friends, your home, your pets, even your phone and computer (though they are sometimes more of a curse) and the little “bright spots” in every day. There is always something to be thankful for, even in the worst of times.

Remember also to celebrate your own unique gifts and skills. What have you done in life that have made a positive impact on others? What do you really love about yourself? Too often, we slip into comparison mode, thinking that others are so much more gifted and have life so much easier. It is very important to celebrate the beautiful masterpiece that God created in you, with the colors and textures that make you unique and special. Be joyful for who YOU are, and love yourself unconditionally, just as you do your best friend.

Here are a few ways to practice gratitude and feed your soul.

  • Gratitude walk—Go for a walk and take a journal along. Stop and acknowledge the things you are grateful for along the way, both verbally and in writing. Breathe in your surroundings, and celebrate the goodness all around.
  • Gratitude journal—Keep a special journal and write at least one thing special about every day. If you don’t think anything particularly good happened, make a note of those little things that you take for granted. There is always something to treasure in every day!
  • Gratitude jar—Get a large jar and spend a little time decorating it. Yes, it’s okay to take time off for a little fun!  (If you really want to get creative, click here for cute ideas from Pinterest) When something good happens, write it on a small piece of paper and put it in the jar. Include big celebrations and little “God winks.” Whenever you are down and think about throwing in the towel, pour out those pieces of paper and let them remind you of how much you have to be thankful for. They will be your “spirit fuel” to keep going!

I have a beautiful white box in my office where I keep my gratitude notes. I try to put at least one in there every day, and many days I have several. This week, I was able to add a note of gratitude for my newest grandchild, James IV “Jet,” who was born a month early, a tiny little guy who will grow up to be a strong warrior for God. Talk about being grateful! Jet is our second NICU grandbaby, and once again I have hit the pause button to soak in the goodness of life. My gratitude box will be overflowing soon, as a vivid picture of how abundant my blessings are every day. May I always live with this attitude of gratitude, no matter what each day brings.

What are you grateful for today?


  • MARSHA November 1, 2017 at 11:46 am

    Oh, how wonderful to have a little new baby come to the family. I know everyone is filled with gratitude that he arrived safely and is doing well.
    Congratulations !!!!

    • Susan Tolles November 2, 2017 at 9:55 am

      Thank you, Marsha! Babies bring back that sense of wonder and awe that we forget in our busyness. There is always something to be grateful for when you look in those tiny little faces!

  • 1010ParkPlace November 1, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    I love this one, Susan! “What are your own unique gifts,” and “Don’t slip into comparison mode.” So important for everyone to do, because just when we think we’re doing great, someone we know comes along and makes us feel like we’re standing in the shadows when we’re not!! xoxox, Brenda

    • Susan Tolles November 2, 2017 at 9:57 am

      Brenda, I am a recovering perfectionist–maybe it’s just growing older–and I have learned that I am enough, just as I am. It took years to embrace that attitude, but there is such freedom with it. God lovingly crafted each of us just as He wanted us to be. We should embrace His design and not think that certainly He made a mistake!

  • Donna O’Klock November 1, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    I am grateful to have you to remind me of what is truly important in life, Susan! Sometimes it is challenging to keep things in perspective when lots is going on, especially things we don’t enjoy. Your Gratitude Jar is just the inspiration to get back on track – by focusing on our gifts. Congratulations and Welcome to Jet!

    • Susan Tolles November 2, 2017 at 9:58 am

      Thank you, Donna! Your journey must give you many opportunities to experience gratitude. I think simplifying life creates space for greater awareness of the good things in life. I miss you! XOXO

  • Esther Zimmer November 2, 2017 at 8:55 am

    This is beautiful, Susan…thank you! And congratulations on the arrival of Jet! Esther xx

  • Susan Tolles November 2, 2017 at 9:59 am

    Thank you, Esther! Jet is making progress every day, and soon he will be running circles around all of us. We are so blessed!

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