Pumpkins on a mantle with bible.

The Power of Gratitude – Receive New Possibilities!

Field of wheat

Whenever I am going through changes that can bring on stress,  taking me away from noticing the everyday things, I dust off my gratitude journal. The power of gratitude is proven to decrease anxiety and improve mood, and, I believe, help with living out our God-given purpose.

When I read my past entries in my gratitude journal, I am reminded how my practice of gratitude helps me decrease stress, concerns, and worries over changes.

It’s been a season of change. Now it’s September, and I am wondering how many summer days we have left. How many more warm mornings, soft green grass, and fields of tall wheat?

Fall is around the corner, and how long before the trails around my home are covered in dry yellow leaves? 

I take a walk mid-morning, the sun rising later these days and the air cool. I wear rain boots in the long, dewy grasses that edge the farmer’s wheat field. The farmers have desiccated, and soon will harvest, I am told.

I’m new to the farming processes, being a gal from the city most of my life. This day I am simply a mid-life women taking a walk in this place I have called home since May, when I married for the second time. 

Between a wedding, job decisions, and learning how to navigate a new home and new family dynamic, it’s been a whirlwind.

My brain is still catching up with all the changes that I see.

But here? There’s nothing to do but see, listen, and take one step at a time. One of the dogs runs into the trees, and I hear a frantic fluttering – a prairie chicken reared up from it’s resting place. 

 Field of wheat with two dogs

I’m reminded that all things are not in my control.

I start to worry about the “what if’s” that rear up in my mind even among the wonderful happenings.

I feel the brush of a fallen leaf on my cheek, sudden and soft that brings me back to the moment. On my next step, I run my bare hand across the wheat heads produced by a farmer’s working hands.

I bring myself back to the moment, grateful for having legs to walk, hands warmed by the sun, and lungs that breathe in fresh, country air. 

Three Ways to See The Power of Gratitude

Fall decorated mantle with pumpkins and Grateful banner

“See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for autumn and spring rains.” James 5: 6b

The ripened wheat that caresses my hand is a reward for the farmers spring and summer labour.

Worries and anxiety do not make the crop grow faster. Instead, work completed in the spring and sufficient rains (that is out of our control) creates a good harvest in autumn. Our work of practicing gratitude also grows a good harvest.

The power of gratitude sows and reaps benefits in the present and for our future selves. Practicing gratitude is the key for increased well-being. 

1. The power of gratitude in difficult situations

Coloured pumpkins with bible.

When times are tough, it not easy to be grateful!

One way to practice gratitude when struggling is to focus on an area of concern, and write three positives about the situation.

Did the nurse treat you well during your exam? Did you receive a smile from the post office manager in your new location? Did your teenager granddaughter ask you to take her shopping?

Focusing on one area of your life for an extended period ( a month, for example) can show you the power of gratitude by developing a peaceful mindset about the situation and a fulfilling outcome (due to seeing it differently). 

2. The power of gratitude when we notice what feels good

Make a daily intention to practice gratitude by noticing what feels good to you through your senses.

How did smelling the cinnamon on your morning oatmeal make you feel? What about your friend’s hug, a neighbours tree in the sunlight, and a child’s laughter in the grocery store?

Write a quick note using an app on your phone or on a note pad when you experience gratitude from what felt good during your day. 

3. The Power of Gratitude from writing a thank you note

Grateful sign in front of multi-coloured pumpkins

Writing a thank you note of gratitude to someone who has impacted your life not only boosts your mood, but blesses another. 

Helping others, taking the focus off ourselves, is a way to express the power of gratitude causing a positive outcome for more than just one!

Is there someone that has brightened up your life? Send a text or write a note explaining why you appreciate her/him. 

“You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” 2 Corinthians 9:11

I turn myself walking a little slower than when I started.

I realize, God-willing, that I will walk these trails tomorrow, and then again and again, settling into a new rhythm in this new place until it no longer new.

Yet, the possibilities of what I see, what I hear, what I smell— what I can be grateful for — are endless. 

“I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.” Anne Shirley, author Lucy Maud Montgomery

Multi Coloured pumpkins on fireplace mantle with leaves.

Do you need a reminder to help you stay grateful this season?

I created a banner that helps me.

Download, print on white or coloured paper, cut out the letters and leaves, and string to hang. Or you might want to print on sticker paper; or glue on toothpicks to make a cake topper! It’s also an easy activity to do with young children, too. 

Gratitude Activity Download

GRATEFUL download.

Do you need a reminder to help you stay grateful this season? I created a banner that helps me. Download, print on white or coloured paper, cut out the letters and leaves, and string to hang. Or you might want to print on sticker paper; or glue on toothpicks to make a cake topper! It’s also an easy activity to do with young children, too. 

Linking up with #tellHisStory Let’s Have Coffee

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  1. Gratitude truly is a powerful thing, isn’t it, Lynn? It has the power to take our mind off all the things that tempt us to worry and focuses us on our blessings. May God meet you in all your changes and challenges in this new season of your life.

    1. I love brand new journals, Diane! I have to hold myself back from gathering a collection by not allowing myself to buy a new one until I use up the journals I have. I hope one of your journals is perfect for practicing gratitude!

    1. Hi Donna! Today while on my lunch walk, I stopped to savor a leaf on the trail that held a pool of water from last night’s rain. Honestly, if I hadn’t been writing on gratitude lately, I may have missed my opportunity to be grateful to be alive, and able to walk on a trail in the country scattered with poplar leaves. Only by being intentional with gratitude, do I practice gratitude! May you stop and savor all that brings you delight today!

  2. Congratulations on your marriage, Lynn! Rejoicing with you in the quiet country life and pastures of wheat. May the Lord give you grace as you continue to “settle in” and make your house a home, develop new relationships and rhythms that seem as if they were always a part of your life.

    1. Thank you, Lisa. This is my second marriage. I’d been a single mom of 3 children for 23 years! My mind is adjusting to being married, also! 🙂 And that will be another story. Yes, the Lord is full of grace! Have a wonderful day.

  3. Lynn, this is such a simple and beautiful reminder! My husband came home from a business trip with a new “journal” and I think a gratitude journal is what it will become 🙂
    Congratulations on your marriage! May the Lord bless you with much love and joy as you adjust to your new life.

  4. This is great, Lynn. We can so easily overlook those little things that prove God is still watching over us. It’s good to see those beautiful waves of grain. I’ve been thinking of you a lot this summer with all the Canada fires and hoping they’re not near you. We have been having a lot of unhealthy air quality down here in SD, so I can’t imagine what it must be like for you in Canada. Love and blessings of a happy marriage, clear air, and strength through all the changes! I think I read in your comment somewhere that you’re further away from your grandkids now?

    1. Hi Trudy! Firstly, thank you for thinking of me especially during the fires! The biggest impact was our marriage, when the community where our church resides had to evacuate 10 days before our wedding. So, we had to pivot quickly and had our marriage in our backyard instead. It was a beautiful day with no smoke. We have had smokey days, even lately, however it is dependant on the wind of course. The unhealthy air quality is hard, especially if we have other health problems. I saw how the fires effected our southern neighbours, too. We really are connected more than we think. How was your summer? I hope you were able to enjoy the clear days, and find ways to enjoy your time in your home, too! My grandkids are an hour drive from my home, instead of a 10 minute drive (or 20 minute walk). It’s been an adjustment not to be able to have spur of the moment visits, but life is often adjusting to a new transition, isn’t it? Hugs to you!

      1. I’m sorry about your church, but I’m grateful you had a beautiful day with no smoke in your backyard! It certainly is strange how far smoke travels. This summer has seen several of those unhealthy air days, but I just try to make the most of the better air days. I do feel sad for all those everywhere who not only have bad air quality but have lost lives and homes. Yes, life is often adjusting to a new transition. 🙂 Hugs to you, too, Lynn!

  5. Lynn, you HAVE had a lot of changes! Good changes, but still transitions that take the heart, thoughts, and spirit to adjust to. Gratitude is always good. I love the questions you’ve shared to spur on gratitude.

    1. Yes, I am still navigating the changes, including where the new places my things have been placed! But I am grateful for my surroundings and all the things God brought me through to get me to this new place. Gratitude is good. God is good. Have a blessed day!

  6. Beautiful.
    “Writing a thank you note of gratitude to someone who has impacted your life not only boosts your mood, but blesses another.”
    This helps me too. My husband and I are newly planted in the desert west. It’s all new. We’re finding that there’s much to learn, appreciate and grow through in gratitude.
    Thank you for writing.

    1. Newly planted in desert west, I imagine, is a big transition for both you and your husband! And transitions can teach us so much about ourselves, I find. May you continue to see God’s blessings in your new place!

  7. These are all so good, Lynn! I need to incorporate a more formal gratitude practice in my life again. Sometimes it’s harder to do it “naturally”; I need a boost. Thanks for sharing this with the Grace & Truth linkup.