It’s easy to give thanks when your day is going well. You’re wearing your favourite t-shirt. You got a great parking spot. Your latte is the perfect temperature with just the right mix of espresso shot and milk foam. You get lots of likes on the selfie you posted to Instagram.
But what about those moments when things aren’t going so well? You spill your coffee on your jeans. You have to wait in a long line of customers at the bank or grocery store. You realise the battery in your smartphone is dead.
Giving thanks is crucial. In moments like these, giving thanks is difficult. But giving thanks is also essential if you want to navigate these experiences with a positive outlook. This doesn’t mean being phony or pasting on a smile no matter what.
Good for your health
Yes, thankfulness isn't always easy but it's a great attitude to develop. It's also been found to be good for you. It boosts your immune system, lowers your blood pressure (understandably), makes you more optimistic and produces more resilience.
Take a breath and shift your focus. It’s about taking a moment to reassess and shift your focus. Instead of grumbling about the long line of customers, thank God for the cashier and pray for her family. When your smartphone needs a charge, thank God for all of the amazing technology you have access to.
Choose to turn the uncomfortable moments in life into thankfulness.
But how? What practical ways will contribute to an attitude of gratitude?
1. First, your health does affect your outlook.
If you're overtired or unwell, you will react quickly and without thinking. So.. get plenty of sleep. Exercise! It's been shown to improve your physical and mental health. Drink plenty of water and.. focus on a healthy diet, not fast food.
2. Begin each day with prayer.
Despite your best intentions, it's so easy to be derailed by difficulties, frustrations and, sometimes, the unpleasantness of others. But nothing surprises God. He knows what you'll have to deal with. And He will help you successfully navigate whatever is ahead of you throughout the day.
God, when I’m tempted to complain and grumble, help to stop and shift my focus. I want to be someone who lives in continual gratitude. Let me never lose sight of the blessings You’ve poured out on me.
3. Start your day by noting at least 3 good things
List the things you appreciate and can be thankful for today. If you include your kids in this daily activity, you'll encourage them to be more thankful, too.
(Look out for the upcoming article about teaching your kids to be thankful.)
4. Say 'thank you' to your partner and kids.
Use any opportunity to tell them how much you appreciate them. While it will encourage you to be more grateful of your family, it will also encourage your family and build them up.
5. Start a gratitude journal
Spending some time writing about your day and including details about those things for which you're grateful will inspire you to further develop a thankful attitude. You can use a hardcopy daily journal or take advantage of technology.
There are plenty of journal apps, as well as gratitude journals. Or, try an app like 365 Gratitude. This app presents you with daily inspirational questions and helps you to stay motivated. It tracks your moods and encourages you to journal about your day.
What about the app, Grateful- a grateful journal... or Uplifter app? Check out the overview below.
6. Send thank you notes.
Thinking of others rather than yourself can trigger a strong sense of gratitude. And think about how encouraging and helpful for others to receive a note of appreciation from you. Become a VIP member (free) and download your free gratitude cards to keep as a daily reminder or give to others.
7. Get a gratitude buddy.
Find someone who can encourage you to be more thankful and hold you accountable. (Don't forget, it goes both ways.)
If you're interested in learning more and growing an ongoing attitude of gratitude, watch for the Gratitude Challenge.. coming soon!
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.”
– 1 Thessalonians 5:18, NIV
Here's how to create a delightful welcome for your guests- a welcome that will help create memories that will always be treasured.
'This post was originally published in August, 2016. It was updated in October 2018 to include updated ideas and resources I've used to create a visit for guests that delights. '
(And yep... affiliate links are included which means, if you buy through me, I get some coffee money ... though not enough for the raisin toast as well. Full disclosure listed below.)
Unexpectedly, my sister phoned to say she was flying in for a conference the following week and, could she stay for a couple of days.
Could she stay? What a question! Of course she could stay!
I hadn't seen her for ages so it was a wonderful opportunity to share some quality time and catch up on family news. (No, news updates via email or FaceBook are not the same!)
How often do you have unexpected guests? How do you prepare?
I like to prepare some simple, yet meaningful, ways to make my guests feel welcome and special.
And... I thought I'd share some of these ideas with you.
1. Freshen up the guest room
First up is, naturally, a brisk but thorough spring clean of the house and, particularly, the guest room. If you have time for a more thorough clean of your guest room, then check out this cleaning list.
Yes, the guest room looked and smelled clean and fresh. But I also found a lovely fragrant candle and lit it just before my sister was due to arrive. Mmmm... lime & coconut, my favourite.
I had previously popped into The Body Shop and found a small pack of shampoo and conditioner. The Body Shop also has some gift packs that would look wonderful as a small visitor gift pack.
Fold the towel like a pro
I slipped both gifts into a soft fluffy towel, carefully folded, and placed it on the end of the bed. It looked a bit like a luxurious motel unit; at least, that's what I hoped. :)
2. Make it look attractive and welcoming
Small details can add lasting impact - I was able to find a couple of items that really made a difference in the guest room: a small glass jar with silk roses, a matching cushion for the small rocking chair and a fluffy white rug. They were only small details but they really made a difference to the room.
3. Make it fun with an unexpected detail
Actually, I added a couple of other details, too. I placed a tall glass of chilled infused water and a glass on a tray along with a glass container I'd filled with dried fruit and nuts. Tied with a satin ribbon and with a tag attached that read, 'Please Eat', it's an unforgettable way to show a guest how special they are.
You can find and download the free tag below . See file.
4. Make it taste good and look amazing
Creating and serving meals for guests can be tricky.
I love serving smoothie bowls for breakfast. They are so easy to make and you can create 'designer' smoothies according to personal tastes and allergy requirements.
Try setting up an area with toppings like fruit, toasted muesli, toasted coconut flakes, seeds and nuts, and even edible flower petals, in attractive containers so that your guests can choose their own. Smoothie bowls are healthy, simple to make and look amazing.
Try and find recipes that will not take too much time to prepare.
You don't want to miss valuable time with your guests while slaving in the kitchen. After all, your guests are more concerned about spending time with you than what you'll be serving.
Again, it's helpful if the food choice is up to your guest so presenting buffet-style meals is a good option. Check out these meals that look great but don't need much preparation time. Click on the image for the link to the online recipe.
Looking for some more menu ideas for your guests?
Just in case you need some simple but delicious recipes for your guests, I've included a link to a new resource- the FREE Mini CookBook. You'll find included: Carrot Cake Smoothie with Whipped Coconut Cream, Hearty Minestrone with fresh Rocket, One Skillet Lemon Rosemary Chicken Thighs with Broccoli, Grilled Angel Food Cake with Maple Whipped Cream and more.
And... you can also get your FREE copy of Simple Smoothie Recipes here...
I really hope that you have a wonderful time with your family and guests. And I'm sure that preparing ahead of time and including just a few little added accents and touches to make your guests feel really welcome will be noticed and appreciated.
Disclosure: At Grandma's Place is committed to high standards of integrity and quality. I do not promote any brand I do not believe meets these standards, and I only promote brands I would purchase myself. If I don't love it, and don't think you'll love it, it won't appear on my blog.
Life as a grandma.. it's no 'quiet, restful days in the rocking-chair'. It's filled with activity, excitement and lots of family fun. Please share it with me.