Sometimes it’s easy to pull out gratitude like a holiday dress and wear it just for November. And even though we talk a lot about gratitude, it can be easy to let daily praise and thanksgiving slip during those frazzled days and weeks of real life. I know for me, it is anyway.
But every year, I know even more how much I really need intentional gratitude. I need the sweet grace of thanksgiving to seep into my busy days as much as it does on my quietness. Because gratitude gives me a perspective check. It keeps my heart in tune with what really matters. And I need that.
Over the years, I’ve collected a few favorite resources when it comes to gratitude. They help make gratitude personal, creative and fun. Now that I’m also a mama, I have been looking for ways to help Charlotte to develop habits of thankfulness too.
This is my shortlist, but I’m always looking for more! Be sure to comment and tell me what you find helpful to you in cultivating intentional gratitude in your every days.
Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss
I’m not trying to be sensational when I say this book could change your life. Of all the books I’ve read about gratitude, it is by far the one that made the greatest impact on my beliefs about the place that intentional gratitude has in our lives. Nancy not only gets to the bottom of what gratitude actually is, but why we should make it a priority, and how forming habits of gratefulness can completely change our lives. I’ve read Choosing Gratitude a couple of times, and every time I’m reinspired to be intentional and genuine in my quest after a grateful heart. You can read another review of Choosing Gratitude that I wrote on KindredGrace.com
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
I think this is one of those books that seeps into the corners of your heart and continues to influence your life long after you read it. I had started making “thankful lists” as a child, and hearing about how counting her gifts was a saving grace for Anne was like finding a sort of kindred spirit. Anne’s writing style is like a rippling brook. It dances and sings and it is at times filled with joy, and other times achingly beautiful. It has a place of honor with my favorite books, and I plan to reread it in 2017!
It’s really important for my life-perspective to make intentional efforts to include gratitude in my day-to-day life. This little journal is the perfect mix between creative and thoughtful and I’ve really enjoyed using it this fall to unwind and relax in the evenings. It makes a wonderful gift if you’re still looking for holiday gifts! I ended up buying several, and they’ve all been loved! You can read my full review of the gratitude journal here.
“Blessings” by Laura Story
This song made me sob publicly. In the middle of our long stint of being unemployed, things got pretty tough. I tried really hard to be brave and to be trusting, but sometimes the constant worry of rent vs food can wear a person down. And none of it made any sense…the car accident, the job loss, the big move and then the promised job falling through. But when this song came on the radio, it went straight to my heart and became the song Scott and I listened to over and over. Now, listening to it fills my heart with thankfulness for the many ways God used those “raindrops” to give us better things than we’d hoped for.
Blessings Jars (Buy one or make your own!)
Thankfulness isn’t just for Thanksgiving day, so I love the idea of having a blessings jar in the house for everyone in the family to contribute to. I really loved this one when I found it on amazon, but you can easily make your own with a mason jar or an old cookie jar.
A couple resources for Children
Thank You, Lord For Everything by P. J Lyons
Last year I wanted to start getting a few more books for Charlotte that were specifically about being thankful. I stumbled across this board book and decided to give it a try. It goes through the day from waking up until evening time, taking moments in the day to say “Thank you, Lord for Everything!” It’s a bedtime favorite here, and I love that now Charlotte will sometimes randomly tell me “Thank you, God, for ev’y thing!” You can read my complete review of this book here.
Making a Thankful Tree
Next year, I want to make one of these for us to add “leaves” to every day for the entire month of November. I think the visual and creative aspects of it make it special for the kids, while encouraging them to practice intentional gratitude even if they are too small to write in a journal or otherwise keep a record.
I completely agree that Gratitude isn’t just what we say, but a value of life that we embody and live out in our actions. And I think it’s really important to teach our children from an early age to make being grateful a habit they find natural–a cornerstone in their lives. There are dozens of simple ways to do this, even with a toddler, but this is a book that I’m looking forward to using as my child grows. With coloring pages and prompts, it’s a great springboard for discussions and for encouraging their own efforts to count their blessings.
What are some of your favorite resources for making thanksgiving a daily part of your life?
Looking for more ideas? Click here to see other crafts and ideas for Thanksgiving that I’ve been pinning on pinterest.