Practicing gratitude

image from Pinterest

image from Pinterest

Please and thank you come as easily smiling for me. They were taught and modeled in front of me and no one ever gets mad at you for saying thank you.

“It seems that gratitude without practice may be a little like faith without works—it’s not alive.” The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown

She says practice. Gratitude is not an attitude but a practice. And I need practice.

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I closed myself up yesterday, pulling the gray from outside around me like a scratchy blanket. My heart dipping in sorrow thinking about mama’s advancing dementia, thinking about my loss, my sisters burden. There wasn’t much thanks being said, no gratitude practiced. I allowed it.

I flipped through family pictures of last year’s Thanksgiving. Smiling at our granddaughters laughter as a puppy licked her right in the mouth but again, sorrow pricked seeing my mother-in-law who will be absent our table this year. She’s gone to a grander celebration and left us to miss her.

The men are offering their thanks on our bulletin board.

The men are offering their thanks on our bulletin board.



I plan Sunday chapel service. I always do whether we’re here or out-of-town. It’s a control thing. Last week when my heart was singing a happier song I planned our time spent in community worship to focus on giving thanks. Our songs would be praises, we would give prayers and speak words of praise and thanks and gratefulness. And we did. They did. And five days ago God knew I needed this more than anyone in that chapel.

When they were invited to give their prayers of thanks their voices were eager to share. I strained to hear them, speaking at that quieter prayer voice I guess, and I missed to many. We sang and they were invited to share their thanks. Again, eager but I could hear them as they stood and I smiled and fought back tears because they were my sermon of love.

This tall one stood, giving thanks, still surprised he is accepted and loved. And the one they call Papa Bear, he stood and said he came for hope but got so much more. Another and another and they kept standing thanking God for “one more minute”, for life, for another chance. They practiced gratitude and it made their faith alive.

Please and thank you are nice but not enough. Not enough to produce gratitude. That takes practice.


8 thoughts on “Practicing gratitude

  1. Mama's Empty Nest says:

    It’s easy to say the words thank you but quite another thing to really mean it, isn’t it? At least it is for me. I find I have to be diligent every day in practicing gratitude. I’m glad I’m not alone! 🙂

  2. Caddo says:

    This left me so weepy. I am BIG on gratitude, and today I can’t express it enough–the tornado in IL impacted my dear “sis” Deb’s family yesterday, but they are alive. God is Sovereign–thank YOU. God bless you–love, sis Caddo

    • Debby says:

      Caddo, I’m sorry to hear about your family. How are they doing? The images from that area are just devastating. I’m sure their perspective of gratitude has been greatly impacted. Something that gives pause.

      • Caddo says:

        They are not “blood” family, but a God-given one. They’re doing well, considering–I think emotions are bound to be up and down after such a shock: they’re grateful to be alive and unhurt, then weepy when they survey the damage around town. Although Deb’s mom’s house was flattened–her hutch and all her dishes were untouched, not a plate broken–wild!

      • Debby says:

        Those stories are always confounding, aren’t they, Caddo? I’m thankful they are physically okay and they have your loving support. That can never be underestimated.

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