Making Gratitude a Habit

November 28th, 2014 at 5:05 am
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I snapped this photo a few days ago at my Mom and Dad’s lovely home in northern Wisconsin. The cozy scene was just begging to be Instagramed. :)

I surprised them by driving up a day early. The look on their faces when I rang the doorbell was priceless! You just can’t beat a good family surprise.

As we’re nearing the end of The Thankful 30, I got to thinking about habits on my drive up north. The saying goes that old habits die hard. I’d like to add that good habits can also die fast if we’re not careful.

Thirty days is just a drop in the bucket of a lifetime. Anyone can blog about gratitude for 30 days, write down 5 things they’re grateful for for 30 days, memorize Scripture for 30 days. But keeping it going for months, years, a lifetime—that’s the real challenge.

So on this day after Thanksgiving, when the deal-hunters are on the prowl and the malls are crawling with shoppers, I’m not giving up the gratitude habit. And on Monday, the day after this series ends, I won’t be giving up the gratitude habit then either. Or the day after that. Or the one after that.

Because sustaining good habits matters—especially when the habit is cultivating a thankful heart.

Gratitude matters.

Showing appreciation matters.

Writing thank you notes matters.

Praising God for everything—everything—matters.

In a world where selfishness rules with a golden scepter and stuff and the accumulation of stuff is prized like gold itself, being thankful for what we have, where we live, who we love, why we love—it all matters.

Keeping good habits going doesn’t take one giant step. It takes many small ones, each building on the other to make the habit stick.

It’s scribbling down what you’re grateful for in a notebook every day.

It’s getting deep into the Psalms and letting the lyrics of praise roll over your soul like a tide.

It’s writing thank you notes to people who impact your life—not texts or emails, but actual notes. With those things called pen and paper.

It’s going to God in every difficult circumstance with a heart soft and grateful. Not because circumstances are perfect, but because God is.

It’s waking up and seeing the good in people, possessions, professions—seeing the grace in it all.

One step at a time, gratitude becomes a habit. But like a muscle, to keep it in shape it has to be used, stretched, actively engaged. The good habit of gratitude will die quickly when we get lazy, selfish, image-focused, and entitled.

But when we use it, we don’t lose it. When we call upon gratitude as a useful gift—a tool for transforming our lives and relationships—we multiply our praises, minimize our shortsightedness, and magnify our great God.

It’s the best habit we’ll ever create.

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Day 28 Challenge: Today’s challenge isn’t so much of a challenge as it is a suggestion. It’s so easy to get caught up in the bustle of the holidays the minute Thanksgiving is over. But what if you kept challenging yourself to maintain the habit of gratitude all season long? Could it be the best way ever to go into the New Year? The best way ever to go into any year, any day, any hour?

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{This is the 28th post in a series called The Thankful 30: A Month-Long Celebration of Gratitude. Catch up on every post here.}

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 27th, 2014 at 5:05 am · Post a comment · 2 Comments
Happy Thanksgiving!

From my heart to yours, Happy Thanksgiving! I wish you a day overflowing with gratitude, joy, happy memories, and delicious food. May this holiday mark the beginning of another year rich with abundant blessings and so much love. Sending warm and cheery wishes, Hallie

Filed under: Holidays, The Thankful 30, This & That

30 Things I’m Thankful for This Thanksgiving

November 26th, 2014 at 5:05 am · Post a comment · 4 Comments

Since doing the The Thankful 30 series this month, I’ve found that an excellent cure for just about any day-to-day problem I’m having—writer’s block, a bad mood, dreary weather—is to grab a pen and just start jotting down things I’m grateful for. That’s exactly what I did a few days ago…and my “jotting” turned into […]

Filed under: Food for Thought, The Thankful 30

Be Thankful for the Body You Have

November 25th, 2014 at 5:05 am · Post a comment · 2 Comments
Ali McWilliams

I’m honored to share this post with you today courtesy of Ali McWilliams, a personal trainer and life coach that I have had the pleasure of working with. From the moment I met Ali, I could just feel the positive rays beaming from her countenance! She is genuinely passionate about the work that she does—and […]

Filed under: Exercise & Fitness, Food for Thought, Guest Posts, The Thankful 30

15 of My Favorites for the Holiday Table

November 24th, 2014 at 5:05 am · Post a comment · No Comments

With Thanksgiving on Thursday, I’ve got food on the brain. You, too? If there’s one thing I take for granted year round, it’s the incredibly easy access I have to an abundance of nutritious food. On this 24th day of The Thankful 30, I wanted to put the spotlight on some of my favorite holiday […]

Filed under: Holidays, Links, Recipes, The Thankful 30

Guest Post: Aging Gratefully

November 23rd, 2014 at 5:05 am · Post a comment · 7 Comments

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Alta Mantsch, the voice behind Tasty Eats at Home, a food blog I’ve been reading for years. Alta is a genuinely kindhearted friend of mine whose positive, easygoing approach to life makes me wish she was my neighbor. It’s a delight to have her here today as she […]

Filed under: Food for Thought, Guest Posts, The Thankful 30

Nourishment for Your Weekend

November 22nd, 2014 at 5:05 am · Post a comment · 1 Comment

It’s Saturday and you know what that means: links I’m loving! Breathe out, give thanks, and enjoy your weekend. – 1. How good do these Double Chocolate Orange Cookies look? Weekend treat. 2. Videos like these suck me in, but then I regret watching them. Ick! 3. Is what you believe about yourself actually true? […]

Filed under: Food for Thought, Links, The Thankful 30

The Strange & Saving Gift of Surrender

November 21st, 2014 at 5:05 am · Post a comment · 5 Comments
Surrender

{This is the 21st post in a series called The Thankful 30: A Month-Long Celebration of Gratitude. Catch up on every post here. Receive each post in your inbox by subscribing here.} A few years ago I started making vision boards at the end of each year. It began simply as a fun project to […]

Filed under: Food for Thought, The Thankful 30

16 Words to Nourish the Soul

November 20th, 2014 at 5:05 am · Post a comment · 2 Comments

Today, just 16 words to nourish our souls. I read these months ago, and I think they’ve come back to my mind just about every day since. –  - {This is the 20th post in a series called The Thankful 30: A Month-Long Celebration of Gratitude. Catch up on every post here. Receive each post […]

Filed under: The Thankful 30

10 Unexpected Lessons Learned This Month

November 19th, 2014 at 5:05 am · Post a comment · 4 Comments

{This is the 19th post in a series called The Thankful 30: A Month-Long Celebration of Gratitude. Catch up on every post here. Receive each post in your inbox by subscribing here.} For almost 20 days straight now, I’ve blogged about a wide variety of topics and how they relate to my personal celebration of […]

Filed under: Food for Thought, The Thankful 30

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