Being grateful is work sometimes.  Really hard work.  I get so bogged down with email and to-dos and life moves so fast some days that I completely lose sight of the gifts right in front and inside and all around me. Let’s look at some of the gifts of this moment: I have fingers to type this.  Ten of them!  I have a nose to breathe clean air through.  I have a cup of water sitting next to me.  Clear, clean, disease-free water.  Water I didn’t have to well or purify myself.  I just turn on one of the many faucets in my house.  I have heat in my heater that I turn up and down with the push of a button.  I have a Bible I can read whenever I want without fear of persecution.  I have a phone that I can use to call anyone at any time and tell them I love them. I could go on.

I love this page from Grace’s little book of prayers.  It says, “Hands sure come in handy for finger paint and candy.  And for counting – fingers go to ten.  Thank you God for all of them! Amen.” 

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You see, gratitude isn’t something that happens to us when good things come.  It’s something we practice and cultivate and give.  “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more” (Melody Beattie).  It is so easy to look at the “little” things and think of them as small.  But really… they are miracles.  And the everyday miracles and gifts in our lives were meant to be shared, spread around and passed on.

In my own life, I’m just scratching the surface of beginning to understand just how much I have and how much need there is for us to share what we have with so many who do not have these “simple” things that are really not simple at all.

Sometimes gratitude comes unexpectedly, on the other side of challenges. I was in a car accident last week. I am physically fine, just emotionally shaken up.  Today, I am grateful for the simple yet very best gift of being alive. I will not take this day for granted.  Gratitude changes everything.  It changes the everyday into the extraordinary.  It changes the simple into the sublime.  It can change your heart from caving in to filled to the brim instantly.  Gratitude changed what was a scary experience this week into an enormous blessing.  I am praying that your challenges turn into unexpected wells of gratitude, too.

This month, I have a special challenge for you.  Let’s take action on thanks AND giving. Share what you are grateful for on social media this month and share stories of giving (maybe highlight a friend or small business who is doing great things for others!) using the hashtag #GratefulNovember.  Let’s help each other cultivate and celebrate the profound blessings all around, within and right in front of us!  You never know how your little seed of thanks — whether a text to a friend, a love letter, an open door, a small donation, a smile, or an unexpected long hug will completely change someone’s life.

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Feel free to steal the graphic above to start your #GratefulNovember off today on social media!

We are starting in our office today by writing what we’re grateful for on our chalkboard wall together!   My personal project is to write out 100 things I’m grateful for every week (maybe more!).  And not in a journal, but somewhere I can see them every day.  Since I’m doing the Contentment Challenge, I worked with what I already had.  I found a roll of tan wrapping paper, a silver paint pen and a few push pins and hung this up yesterday…

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We’ll be adding things we are grateful for to it each day so we can see them clearly and celebrate them.  Ari and I are also naming 10 things we are grateful for each night at dinner. The last three days of dong this have already been so good for us.  Such a simple thing but it has helped us to see God in everything around us and it has helped us appreciate each other more.  It has also helped me fall more in love with this little one.  I didn’t think I could love her more, but it’s happening.  Yesterday morning before church we took a walk in our PJ’s to crunch in the leaves…

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Ari and I are also and are focusing on giving more to others in various ways.  As I wrote about in my last post, we are all blessed to be a blessing.  I can’t wait to hear and see what creative things you all do to make thanks and giving happen.

Download this and many more iPhone, iPad and computer wallpapers here.

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Happy November, friends!  Make thanks AND giving happen today and always.  Let’s get started right now! What are YOU grateful for?  I’d love to know.  

P.S. Thank someone right now.  If you are reading this, you either have a phone or a computer!  Make the call, send that text or write that email.  You never know how it will change that person’s life.

9 Show Comments
  1. Madi Reid Sanders

    LOVE THIS! My husband are doing something similar this month! We’ve written on a large chalkboard of ours “Today Madi is thankful for:” & “Today Bret is thankful for:”. Each day we will count our blessings, big and small! So great when you can see it displayed !

  2. Becky

    I agree, gratitude seems like work for me. Everytime I want to experience the feeling of gratefulness it just… doesn’t come to me. I feel content for what I have, I stop “wanting” things like crazy… but naming things I’m grateful for feel strange, unnatural most of the days. Sometimes I do feel that gratefulness (which, I think, is nothing more than a “Thank you, Thank you, Thank you” conversation with God) and it usually comes when I’m writing on my journal.

    I was just thinking of a challenging situation in my life and asking God “what does this mean? What do I have to do to understand this?”… and then this post appeared on my way. Well, so… I’m off to write on my journal on all I’m grateful for already!

    Thanks for your always inspiring posts! 🙂

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  4. Mary

    I love this! I find that I get less bogged down mentally when I just stop and think about how grateful I am for even the simplest things. I have had a crazy monday, but in the midst of it all was able to appreciate several things that made those crazy aspects a little easier to bear. Thanks for writing this, Lara!

  5. Allison

    Hi Lara,
    I’ve just recently started reading your blog, but this post is excellent! I’m doing a series on my blog this month 30 Days of Being Thankful, but being grateful/thankful is something that we should practice year round. Thanks for posting on gratitude today!
    http://agodfashionedlife.com

  6. Mary

    I am so thankful for finding your blog this morning. It is beautiful in sight and soul.

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  8. Stephanie

    As always, this post is spot and so, so inspiring! Thank you for writing it. Being actively grateful for every single blessing (big and little, good and bad) is such a critical part of living a full, Christ-centered life. I am continually inspired by your posts & turning love into action. I wrote a blogpost about cultivating gratitude in one’s life & finding ways to really be thankful for the life we’ve been given: http://stephseekingjoy.wordpress.com/2013/11/06/cultivate-gratitude/

  9. Stephanie

    As always, this post is spot on and so, so inspiring! Thank you for writing it. Being actively grateful for every single blessing (big and little, good and bad) is such a critical part of living a full, Christ-centered life. I am continually inspired by your posts & turning love into action. I wrote a blogpost about cultivating gratitude in one’s life & finding ways to really be thankful for the life we’ve been given: http://stephseekingjoy.wordpress.com/2013/11/06/cultivate-gratitude/