Dictionary.com defines gratitude as: “the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful”.

Synonyms include appreciativeness, grace, honor, praise and recognition.

For me gratitude is found in my students, my parents, my family and my friends.

I am grateful when:

…my 5:00 am wake up call each morning is graced by a splash of color on the horizon while driving to work

…one student in my class starts giggling over something silly and as hard as I try, I soon break into a smile and giggles cascade forth

…my parents love me even as I continue to make mistakes because my imperfect self gets in the way of trying to be perfect

…my sons and I are together and laughter erupts over pure silliness and it just feels right being together

…my family – brothers and sisters-in-laws celebrate life together and the legacy that ties us together through our parents

…my friends send an encouraging text or email just when my heart needs to be filled again with love to carry me through the day

Being thankful seems to come easily this time of the year-Thanksgiving is in a few days and the holidays tend to make us feel generous of spirit and quick to offer thanks. The challenge is sustaining this spirit of thankfulness all year round. Ann Voskamp has captured the gift of grace through a thankful heart perfectly in her book One Thousand Gifts. As a follow up to her best selling book, Ann Voskamp created the Joy Dare as a challenge to create your own list of 1000 gifts each year. She says,” Joy is a function of gratitude — and gratitude is a function of perspective. So take these prompts to help you see and change perspective — give thanks — and live all His joy!”  The Joy Dare is one way to sustain a heart of thankfulness all year round. I challenge each of us to take the time every day to look specifically for the gifts of grace that accompany our days. In doing so we are honoring God and putting Him at the center of our lives. I’ll leave you with one more quote from Ann Voskamp:

“The one thing we must pray to be great at is thanksgiving — because it’s the one thing that makes God great in our lives.” Check out her daily blog at A Holy Experience for encouragement and honest, emotion-filled posts about life.

I am thankful for each and everyone of you! Your encouraging words allow me to continue on this journey of writing and sharing my heart. I would love to hear what you are thankful for and how you are able to sustain a heart of thankfulness each day!

Blessings, Mary!

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