Grounded in Gratitude

Oh, y'all.  The past few weeks have been hard.  The unrest and turmoil in the government.  A great loss in the Eastman community.  The stress of work and school and teaching and trying to find a proper balance.  The pressure to succeed and make a mark.  It's easy to succumb - to complain and get frustrated, to give in or give up.  It's also easy to become immobilized by these challenges and feel incapable of moving forward.  I write these words from lived, personal experience. But I believe there is more to life than the pressures of our daily lives.  From the midst of these challenges, we can be grounded in true, sincere gratitude.

Let&#8217;s do a little gratitude comparison, shall we?</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>Your websites have been attacked by hackers all week and they are wearing you and everyone else out VS you have a really happy healthy baby (who will attack said hackers in her Bumbo if you ask her).</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>Your inbox decided to fail and go to email heaven for good this time so you have to start over and try to remember all the emails you missed during maternity leave VS you have a wonderful caring husband who is rubbing your back as you type this in bed right now. He also fixed the drain tonight and made your happy healthy baby smile a lot.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>You&#8217;ve had a headache for a week and can&#8217;t take anything but Tylenol because you are breastfeeding VS you are breastfeeding. </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>Your house suddenly has an ant problem VS you have a house - a roof over your head. </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>Gratitude instantly turns overwhelming into &#8220;well, that just sounds ridiculous.&#8221; Gratitude gives perspective wings. Be grateful. Actively. It takes work to change your thoughts and it will humble you like nothing else. Pursue it with passion and gusto. It&#8217;s there right now, in every moment, waiting for you to soak up life as it is supposed to be lived. In ALL things give thanks.

Image Credit: Lara Casey

Do you believe these words?  Does the seemingly simple act of giving thanks really have the power to change things - big, daunting things?  I believe it does.  So, I'm starting over.  I'm starting with gratitude.

First, this is my favorite time of year.

There are so many wonderful things I love about the fall season - the crispness in the air, the crunch of leaves beneath my feet as we take an evening stroll, the need for scarves and boots, hot apple cider on a chilly evening, and the beautiful colors that greet you at every turn.  It's glorious.

With fall, comes my very favorite holiday - Thanksgiving.  I love the traditions, the hustle and bustle of gathering together, cooking, preparing a meal together, serving each other, and visiting with friends and family.  And I love that though we've progressed as a society since that first Thanksgiving, it's name hasn't changed.  Thanksgiving - a time to give thanks.

Here's what I'm doing to stay grounded in gratitude this season - making a gratitude list (you can download the [download id="1" format="6"] here).  Hang it above your desk, print it out and add it to your planner, or if you're like us, post it in your kitchen so that you see it every day.  Make a list of everything you are grateful for in life and add to it each day.  Look for the little things, the things we tend to overlook in the hustle and bustle and business.  Live a life of gratitude.