From a blog I follow from the old home town newspaper HERE
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Find ways to give thanks in everyday life
Filed under: Hearts at Home — Holly Schurter @ 2:00 am
By now the turkey leftovers have been consumed or consigned to the freezer. The Pilgrims and their Indian friends are being replaced by manger scenes and Christmas trees. Our focus is shifting away from what we are most thankful for to our Christmas to-do lists. Before we pack Thanksgiving completely away, it might be good to consider how to make giving thanks a part of our everyday lives.
Imagine what a difference it could make in our Christmas celebration if we practice a sense of thanksgiving throughout these harried days of preparation and celebration — and even afterward!
A sense of thanksgiving encourages us to focus on what is right and good in our lives, and helps us keep a sense of balance. Thankfulness tames our greed, and keeps us from being overwhelmed by advertising-induced wants. When we focus on what we appreciate and cherish, we have more of a sense of well-being.
The more we practice expressing a sense of gratitude, the more we notice all we have to be grateful for.
Here are some ways to make giving thanks a part of your Christmas celebration, as well as your everyday lives:
- When your kids make their Christmas lists, have them make another list of the things they are grateful for, then post that list where they can see it every day. Make a list of your own, and hang it up right beside the kids’ lists.
- Instead of giving in to impatience when you are stuck in traffic or waiting in line, use the time to recount your blessings.
- As you make out your Christmas shopping and to-do lists, consider the ways you are blessed, not just in things but in relationships.
- Make a commitment to be thankful for the little things of the season: ingredients for Christmas cookies or special meals, the bright colors of wrapping papers, or the pleasure of Christmas cards from friends and family you love but don’t hear from often. Indulge in moments of gratitude for the good smells, the lovely music, the joyful greetings of friends.
- As you think about what you are thankful for, focus on different aspects of your life. Which relationships bring joy? What are you thankful for in nature? What opportunities do you appreciate? Which possessions are you thankful for? What activities do you enjoy? Think about these things and be grateful.
- Cultivate an attitude of affirmation: look around you for whatever is good, honorable or just. Acknowledge these things with gratitude.
- Make it a daily practice to look for what is going well in your lives, and be thankful for those things.
- Make a list of the people and things for which you are grateful. Keep it where you can read it easily. Add to it regularly.
- Make it a priority to say “thank you” whenever someone does something for you.
- Whenever you notice something you are thankful for, smile and whisper, “Thank you.”
- Make time to express your appreciation to others: write a note, make a phone call, send an e-mail saying thank you. Make those expressions of appreciation a habit.
- Share the abundance of good things in your lives with others. Look for ways to extend your blessings to them. This kind of sharing sharpens your appreciation of all you have.
- Keep a family journal of good things that happen. Invite family members to write down the things for which they are thankful.
- Make small celebrations a part of your family life. Use those times to practice the discipline of gratitude. Even taking time for cocoa and cookies on a tray after school or before bed can help you slow down and take time to recognize your everyday blessings.
- Say a prayer of thanksgiving before — or after — you share a meal.
- Write a family “thank-you prayer” on a regular basis.
- Surprise family members with notes of appreciation tucked into a lunchbox, a medicine cabinet or under a pillow.
Cultivate an attitude of thanksgiving in your family, not just on Thanksgiving, but every day, and enjoy the pleasure of season after season of thanksgiving.