One way I enjoy a soul pick-me-up is writing letters of gratitude. How about you?
We all fall into these now and then.
Sure, it happens when we’re tired. Or too busy.
Some days, we simply wake up in the morning and we can find ourselves there.
I’m not talking about the holes in the ground, dug up by construction crews.
I’m talking about the snags we find ourselves tangled up, in everyday life.
Too much to do.
Too many expectations.
The daily grind.
So, what do you do when you hit those patches?
I try to work on my To Do list. It’s sometimes a matter of just too many things piled up that I’ve neglected to tend to.
It’s nice when my cloudy mood clears up when I catch up on chores.
But, there are days where any amount of problem solving or productivity is just not going to cut it.
I’m having trouble being thankful.
These are the times my soul needs a pick-me-up.
I have to be careful not to go shopping when I’m in this place of need. Whether for food, clothes, or knick knacks.
Sometimes, my emotional energy is so spent, I don’t even want to pick up a book.
That’s when I turn to gratitude.
The root word of gratitude is gratus. It’s actually means —
How we each express this emotion is richly, vibrantly unique to each of our personalities.
For me, when I have trouble breaking into thanksgiving the little things in life, I practice gratitude for others.
People are visible reminders of grace to me from God.
I write Letters of Gratitude.
Letters of Gratitude
People reflect God’s grace to me. They reflect Jesus, sharing their thoughts, friendship, and time with me.
I’m not talking about forever friendships.
It could have been —
a simple conversation offered,
a smile they shared,
a listening heart,
sometimes not even directed at me, but I saw something loving or kind someone said or did,
the way they made me laugh, think, or cry.
So, what I do is this: I write letters of gratitude for people in my life.
I express my gratitude — my appreciation — for others by:
1. Invite someone over for coffee.
2. Invite myself over for a visit.
3. Write a card to someone I haven’t talked to in a long time, reminiscing a memory and just to say I’m thinking of them.
4. Email to say how much I appreciated something someone did or said (recently or even many years ago). I may not even be the recipient of their words/actions.
5. Call up a new friend on the phone and valuing them, by showing interest in them.
People are busy, my invitation may end up as a date on the calendar and not for that day.
I also leave voicemails often. People don’t always pick up to answer. But, I still leave a message of that expresses my appreciation simply.
By the time I’ve done #1-#5, it’s amazing how much my soul is filled with thanksgiving. My soul remembers it has received grace.
Gratitude, Not Indebtedness
I remember in my heart how God is good. I wake up to how He is present in my life, through the paths that He intersects with mine, even if it’s for that moment.
I’ve learned that gratitude is different than indebtedness for this reason.
Indebtedness to someone is a grasping for possession. Either we feel obligated to return the favor or we obligate others to always be there or say the words we want to hear.
Gratitude is grace. Gratitude allows us to open our hands to receive, open our hearts to savor and enjoy that moment, and release both of myself and others to continue blessing others and being grace to them.
This is one reason why I feel blessed when you visit here or simply read in quiet comraderie.
It is a gratitude for the moment God’s placed in our hands.
We leave each other with the gift of grace.
Letters Your Way
Next time, you’re feeling like a soul pick-me-up, try it.
Write letters of gratitude.
Write them simply and set your heart free to give grace.
You may write them in a different way, since your love language may not be quality time or words of affirmation.
Maybe you express gratitude through —
acts of service
Whatever it is, practice receiving grace by giving grace ot others.
I’m smiling even now, imagining God refreshing your heart with a peace and joy that comes from being touched by a thankful heart. A soul picked up by grace.
“These God-chosen lives all around – what splendid friends they make!” ~ Psalm 16:3
What encourages gratitude in you?
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Today’s Thursday’s Topic 11/17: Gratitude”
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That is wonderful advice Bonnie. When we take time to encourage others it also removes the focus from ourselves.
I pray you have a blessed Thursday!
I linked up today.
Hi Beth! Gratitude note for you: You have a giving heart that sacrifices to honor your parents. Blessings to you today on Thanksgiving!
I just found your blog last night . I know you are sent as a messager to minster to me at this time in my life. It is a family financial things as many are going through in the worse way and wondering when God is going to deliver and still praise Him in all..
I can tell your blog is going to be a blessing to me right now in my life.
Hi Joy! Gratitude note for you: So heart happy to find each other through the blogosphere. God sees you and your family during the financial hardship. May He pour out His joy and peace to you and your loved ones today. Blessings to you today on Thanksgiving!
“Gratitude is grace.” Oh, that line. It speaks to my heart, Bonnie.
I’m wishing we could visibly see the ripple effects this post will have in the Kingdom. I’m grateful for your work in it. What a blessing to serve alongside a sister like you.
Hi Lisa! Gratitude note for you: I see a heart who is always hungering to know God and a gift for expressing His encouragement through words. I love how you are persistent in all things and take so much attention to world around you, Lisa. Blessings to you today on Thanksgiving!
Thanks for the great reminder! It’s an area I have felt led to improve on, and think it would make a great resolution for the new year! You’re a blessing!
Hi Marina! Gratitude note for you: No matter what circumstance you find yourself in, you always look for God in it. Blessings to you today on Thanksgiving!
Thanks Bonnie…I’ve been struggling with a family situation, and just landed with the thought “well God, YOU must have a reason for this to play out this way…even if it isn’t MY choice of scheduling!” even still, my emotional little tired girl wants to stompmy feet and cry and stay home…but I’m trusting He has a purpose and plan. Your words confirm it, and I will try to focus on it.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours…
Unexpected quiet moments, gloomy rain days, snow, and gifts of free time. :o)
Hi Nikole! Gratitude note for you: You are bold and also compassionate, speaking the truth always, yet have an eye out to lift others up. Blessings to you today on Thanksgiving!
Aw…thanks! You also keep up the good work. Happy Thanksgiving!
I start looking at the little things around me — the small joys that God has given me.
Hi Dave! Gratitude note for you: You always notice the little things and walk with an open heart, even when the times have been tough this year. Blessings to you today on Thanksgiving!
Thanks for these wise words and example! I’m grateful I found your site! (Thanks, Marina Bromley, for sharing.)
Hi Diane! Gratitude note for you: Everything within you wants to praise God — and you bring others along to join with you! Blessings to you today on Thanksgiving!
Thank you, Bonnie. I appreciate how you’ve taken time to respond to your readers here, and especially knowing that you haven’t been feeling well. And your gratitude notes here are such good examples of how to speak blessings. I need such examples of how to do it!
I have to constantly remind myself to be thankful because I so easily slip into discouragement. Thank you for the reminder today. Remebering times when God has been good to me is one way I cultivate thankfulness. Another is to reach out to someone else.
Hi Rhonid! Gratitude note for you: Even as you feel discouraged, you are honest and open to encourage others with your journey. Blessings to you today on Thanksgiving!
Thank you Bonnie
Thanks for your response. I hope that you enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving with those you love.
Great thoughts Bonnie. I really enjoy writing those little notes of gratitude, but I’ve certainly fallen behind on them. It really is a wonderful practice that can really turn my day and the day of someone else around, so there’s really no reason to put it off! Thanks for modeling how you share the grace that God has given you.
Hi Ed! Gratitude note for you: You are tenancious when it comes to pursuing holiness in God — and you are determined to keep following Christ and calling others. No matter what has happened the past two years. Blessings to you today on Thanksgiving!
What a wonderful idea, Faith! It even gave me the idea of having cards available on Thanksgiving to allow people to write little notes of gratitude to each other if they want to. Your blog continues to be one that is very encouraging! Thank you!
Hi Kim! Gratitude note for you: You have an encourager’s heart because you are thinking of others, even in this post. I hope your heart will also be filled with encouragement as you pour out for others (psst.. I’m having little gratitude notes avail for my family too! Love your idea). Blessings to you today on Thanksgiving!
Gratitude is grace. Indebtedness is grasping. Thank you for stating the difference.
This is just what I needed to hear today! Thank you for your Friendship!!!…. especially for that.
Hi Tina! Gratitude note for you: Thank you for stopping by and sharing how gratitude has touched you. Friendship happens even across the blogosphere, friend! Blessings to you today on Thanksgiving!
Thank you, Bonnie, such great advice! Could I offer a related suggestion – writing a note of encouragement to persecuted Christians. Like you suggested, such letters require that we forget about ourselves for a moment and focus on another. I find it’s almost selfish at times because of how it lifts me up! But I’ve seen and heard the stories of how it lifts up those who share our faith but not our freedom. To act on this suggestion, one can go to the Open Doors USA website, http://www.odusa.org, click on TAKE ACTION and then click on WRITE. You’ll be exposed to stories of those who need a pick-me-up today and each of us can make a difference. Thank you.
Hi Kevin! Gratitude note for you: Thank you for sharing this link and resource with the readers here. Blessings to you today on Thanksgiving!
Bonnie, thanks for these thoughts. Such good ideas – gratitude is so essential for joy. Great practical ways to work this out when we are not necessarily “feeling” grateful. Thanks!
Hi Cherry! Gratitude note for you: You’re not even aware of the way you do this — but you are a blessing. Each time I visit your blog, I find a reminder of rest and the blessings of family… even when it’s you sharing how you’re feeling at the time. Blessings to you today on Thanksgiving!
As a greeting card designer, I LOVE this idea!! =) Seriously though, you are so right about the power of expressing gratitude to people and how it can not only put our focus on what we have to be grateful for, but it has this wonderful backwash of grace that we experience from blessing someone with our gratitude. Great post!!
Hi Shaunie! Gratitude note for you: You are creative, using your talents in writing and in making cards to encourage others. You add your spark of Shaunie everywhere you go. Blessings to you today on Thanksgiving!
It’s a wonderful way to live and we receive so much joy from it. The difficulties and distractions come to tell us we don’t have time for such things, but it is then that we need them all the more. To refocus in worship to the Father and gratitude for all his gifts (so often expressed by those close to us) is a beautiful privilege. Thanks for this, Bonnie. Blessings!
Hi Jason! Gratitude note for you: You are intentional about encouraging and lifting others — in your words — and also as you blog, thinking of those who are in need of some truth as well as humor. 😉 Blessings to you today on Thanksgiving!
I love that you pointed out gratitude is not indebtedness.
Some of what you shared reminds me of that verse that encourages to do for those who aren’t really able to return the favor. Like those who may not pick up or don’t return the call. I used to be that person and I appreciated the ones who left those messages for me.
Gratitude really is grace. Grace to freely give it, share it, and grace when it’s not received. We can still give thanks to Him.
Hi Jeri! Gratitude note for you: You are a survivor, overcomer, and you are pursuing your God-sized dream, one step at a time — keeping your eyes on Him. You spread His sunshine to everyone! Blessings to you today on Thanksgiving!
I have found that being bold to say what you appreciate and enjoy about someone at the time you are with them goes a long way to building people up. Most of the time people only hear complaints or criticisms. If I practice “say it now” instead of waiting until I have pen and note card, spontaneous thankfulness in noticing positive things in others can reshape my attitude toward my day and even toward myself. It is one step closer yet at times harder to do than a note because you risk an instant reaction. (Many times people are embarrassed or speechless because they have not experienced this from others.) You can even practice it with strangers like the check out girl, the bag boy, the bus driver, or a person that always waves to you when you are taking a walk. Let God’s building up of others flow through you in words, be they spoken or written.
Hi Sharon! Gratitude note for you: You have an awareness of others around you — and how you can bless them. You notice the little things that make a difference in the everyday life. Thank you for sharing this encouragement. Blessings to you today on Thanksgiving!
[…] post is a continuation of my One Thousand (or more) Gifts and is also linked up to the Faith Barista Jam on the theme of Gratitude. Won’t you join me? <img src=" GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", […]
I love the different ways you suggest to express gratitude – quality time, physical touch or acts of service. That really broadens my notion of saying “thanks.” Great post.
Hi Courtney! Gratitude note for you: You tirelessly love on your family, your hubby and children — pouring the best of you into them. It’s going to pay off.. and I’m SURE it already is. Those boys are getting injected with Christ in Courtney.. can you imagine them as young men blooming like crazy? 🙂 I can. Blessings to you today on Thanksgiving!
Bonnie, I admit I had a small heart attack when I received your prompt yesterday. It was an impossible day to think on gratitude. I was so blessed to get here this afternoon and find out that you, too, friend – the very friend who thought up this topic for November! – also struggle with gratitude. Thank you for continually offering your words up as a humble blessing to we struggling soldiers on the narrow road of faith.
Hi Gen! Gratitude note for you: You have been able to keep an open heart, even as you go through woundedness — and you turn around to bless others around you through your tender heart. Plus, I love your boisterous spirit. What a wonderful combination of blessing you are! Blessings to you today on Thanksgiving!
I get this, Bonnie: “I try to work on my To Do list. It’s sometimes a matter of just too many things piled up that I’ve neglected to tend to.”
And this, too: “I’m having trouble being thankful.” I often am thankful, but fail to express it, especially to God. That act of expressing gratitude changes and solidifies that change.
Thanks for hosting us each week, Bonnie.
Hi Caroline! Gratitude note for you: You are delight to be with. Just enjoy this day as your family and friends are counting their thanksgiving for you! Blessings to you today on Thanksgiving!
just finding you and linking up!
Hi Peggy! Gratitude note for you: Thanks for being here to share your words … ! Blessings to you today on Thanksgiving!
Thanks, this is a good reminder for me. Words of Affirmation is not my love language, but it is the love language of so many of the people close to me. It’s good for me to practice grace by loving others in the way that best speaks to them.
Hi Abby! Gratitude note for you: Thank you for asking us “What’s Your Story?” and having the words to share from yours. So happy you are part of the community here. Blessings to you today on Thanksgiving!
Gratitude is grace. So true Bonnie. When we allow others to be who they are, receive them in relationship without asking them to change, then we can be we are—freely. We give them grace and we give ourselves grace.
People have wanted me to be things I couldn’t be and they resisted that I would not change. I decided to give them grace and kept loving them the way they were, even when they didn’t understand me. God has done amazing things to build those relationships in ways I would have never dreamed.
Thank you for your encouragement to be grateful in the area of relationships. They are messy but so worth hanging in there to see what God does.
Hi Dea! Gratitude note for you: you’ve a walked through the hard stuff and stood firm, even when it hasn’t been easy for you. Now, you in turn share the comfort and encouragement that comes from having walked the journey. So fun to be friends over the words and the journey! Blessings to you today on Thanksgiving!
It sounds as though you are better than I at #1,2, and 5. The writing comes more easily to me, but I’m working on it. Rather, God’s working on me. How much your kind gratitude must bless the receipients! That call or note or invitation probably makes their days.
I love how your choice of gratitude to God expresses itself into love for others which may in turn increase your feelings of gratitude to God. Probably theirs too.
Bonnie, this evening I pray that you would experience the same kind of building up that you give to others and encourage us to do. You are such a gifted encourager!
Blessed Thanksgiving to you.
Oh, Tinuviel — we’ve come a long way together through the years, haven’t we, friend? Gratitude note for you: I love how you have a sense of how to encourage others — you have touched mine with this comment! May God pour into your heart today, because I”m sure you’re always pouring it out to others. All smiles here for you! Blessings to you today on Thanksgiving!
Love this post Bonnie!! Feeling a little stuck in a ditch and think this is just what I need to do. I’ll start with you!
I’m so thankful that God gave me the sweet chance to meet you at Relevant! I just loved that small slice of time to get to know each other a little. I’d been drawn to you through your writing here on your blog and encourage so it was such a special treat to meet you in person! You and your heart are so beautiful!!
Praying for you as you walk in faith and work on your book. I can’t wait to read it!
Hi Renee! Gratitude note for you: You are a courageous sister — who extends a friendship to all around you. Meeting you at Relevant brought a warmth to my heart — and what a passion you weave with your words and the story YOU ARE LIVING OUT. I know your journey is one of faith — and I have NO DOUBT it is sowing a harvest of faith-invested blossoms that you will reap and then, turn around to share with us. I remember every word your shared & have tucked them in my heart. How your heart must be aching always for those you love. You’re not one to hold back your heart — and everyone around you is blessed because of that passion. *hugs* to you from California! Blessings to you today on Thanksgiving!
I love this idea, Bonnie. I’ve never written letters or loved on people in an effort to practice gratitude. It’s great- it takes our eyes off of us and causes us to focus on the greatest blessing we have…people! I’m so blessed by you, Bonnie! 🙂
Hi Jennifer! Gratitude note for you: You don’t want to miss anything that is beautiful for Jesus. Your heart is always open and you live with both eyes open. What a breath of fresh air you are! Blessings to you today on Thanksgiving!
Bonnie, you are such an encouragement–Thank You! 🙂
This is my first visit and boy was I blessed. Thank you so much for such and encourage word from our Heavenly Father. Gratitude is Grace… What a huge message in a tiny sentence.
Hi Kathleen! Gratitude note for you: You have a wonderful new chapter in life that you’re sharing on “Winding Roads”. May you drink in all the beautiful blessings… I know you’ll share with us, too. Thanks for visiting with your encouraging words! Blessings to you today on Thanksgiving!
Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement 🙂 God Bless!
Thank you! I have been in a strange rut tonight – I think I’m going to start a gratitude list 🙂 Blessings!
Hi Caitlin! Gratitude note for you: You have a bubbly and joyful heart that opens up in friendship to me, every time you’ve visited and shared. May you feel God’s peace today — knowing you’re remembered, as you celebrate today. Blessings to you today on Thanksgiving!
Bonnie, I am grateful for your kind words. They’re like a refreshing glass of water for my spirit 🙂 I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving. Blessings to you! 🙂
Thanks for your post – this is the second one I have seen today on this subject so clearly I need to mull it over. I’ve just been the recipient of a wonderful new job and I’m struggling to “receive” – it is a huge blessing and I’ve been fretting over the impact to my family since it is also a huge challenge. I think I might need to just rest and be blessed. And I sure hope it blesses you to see how God is using you today to focus so many of us out here in your readership 🙂
Hi Jennifer! Gratitude note for you: You have a giving heart that is so sensitive to loving others around you. As you transition to this new job, may you find grace and new strength to see it through. I have no doubt God will honor your desire to bless family and provide too. My heart has been so blessed each time you’ve visited and taken time to stop by. Blessings to you today on Thanksgiving!
[…] up with Bonnie the Faith Barista […]
I’m quality time and words of affirmation, too! That’s my love language. I love writing affirming notes/cards to people. It fuels me up. I feel that my purpose is being fulfilled. It’s like this deep well within me begins to bring life to not only others, but to myself. I feel refreshed and alive with a fresh insight for one of the reasons God gave me words. It’s kind of funny and seems ironic in a way, because my whole being fights against speaking up, and speaking in public. I constantly battle a lie that says “be quiet”, that says “you have nothing important to say”. And I usually comply. Thank you, Bonnie, for encouraging our input. Just by being able to comment, brings life to me, and I feel my value restored!
Hi Cheryl! Gratitude note for you: You have a big heart and an abundant supply of energy and desire to encourage others through your love languages. It’s wonderful to hear God giving you opportunities to speak too. Just share from your heart as you do heart and people’s hearts will connect.. just as we do hear. Thanks for blessing us with your voice here! Blessings to you today on Thanksgiving!
Love your post. I needed these encouraging words and remembering to bless others. Blessing others is the best pick me up! Linking up at Finding Joy. Love your bloggy world here.
Hi Positively Alene! Gratitude note for you: So sweet to see your “face” and hear your voice.. as you visited here. May God bless your words as you pour out for Him here in the bloggy world. Your friend… Blessings to you today on Thanksgiving!
Actions of gratitude restore my soul far more than those who are recipients of my thankfulness.
Hi Angie! Gratitude note for you: You have a heart that is sensitive and kind to others. Loved how you shared “power verses” on your blog to encourage others! Blessings to you today on Thanksgiving!
great advice! and it is amazing how forcing yourself to look at the things you are grateful shifts your perspective and causes you to reframe the circumstances =)
Hi katy! Gratitude note for you: You live with both eyes open, and keep your heart open too. You are in the growing season and you even take time to notice those who come by.. even as the clippers might be near. LOL. I love how you’re passionate… no matter what! We’ve traveled many years together now.. can you believe it friend? Blessings to you today on Thanksgiving!
awwww I love how you gave people gratitude notes! you’re so thoughtful and you definitely take time to make sure that people feel seen! love it.
I have been there recently. Especially since my recent stay in the step down unit of the ICU for almost five days. When I find myself in a lack of gratitude I begin to thank God for things I have no matter how insignificant and that leads to the more significant. I thank him for a Christian doctors and nurses, a toothbrush, a shower, carpeting in my home, food in the pantry, people in my life, ministers who continue to preach and speak a word in due season to me, bloggers, a home, a husband who still has a job in this economy. I come to realize I have blessings I took my eyes off of that leads me back to a place I can come to praise God. This inspires me to want to give Him glory. Then I write to inspire others, I minister in word, and in small deeds like the fresh sausage I will give away to my Pastor who ministered to me while I was in the hospital this week because I am grateful for His ministry to me. You so beautifully encapsulated a heart that doesn’t feel gratitude, and the turning toward the grace giver with intention to give back what has been received. Thankful for you Bonnie.
Hi Melinda! Gratitude note for you: You carry a deep love for God — no matter what you’re going through. You share your words, even when the times are difficult.. and by doing so, you lift others up on the journey too. What a gift you are to everyone around you. Keep walking by faith, sister. We are cheering you on! Blessings to you today on Thanksgiving!
Mail a letter…it’s much better than an e-mail. Last forever!
[…] Filed Under: Life Stuff Tagged With: attitude, Faith Barista, Faith Jam, God, grace, grateful, gratefulness, Life, Thanksgiving, turkey, turkey day. […]
Bonnie: I am a note writer too! I always try to have note cards handy and there are plenty of people who need a word of encouragement. Sometimes a phone call at the right time can do wonders too….there are so many ways. And blogging too of course. Thank you for your creative and beautiful posts! Lori
Hi Lori! Gratitude note for you: What a beautiful blog you have — a prayer closet — open to invite others into your walk of faith. As you work today, know you are remembered and given thanks for. May God bless you as you pour out to others! Blessings to you today on Thanksgiving!
[…] year, I’m going to add something new, since six-year-old TJ is now in kindergarten: gratitude notes. Kids draw so much as kinders, I’m going to ask him draw something he enjoys about each […]
Hi, yes, it’s amazing how that “little” mind-switch can work wonders. These days, I’ve witnessed day by day, first hand, how a person, formerly very active, full of beans etc, is coping after having been struck with a debilitating illness… What do they do? They say Thanks to the Lord, as now they have so much more time to connect with Him! Also, people come to them with their prayer requests… That person is doing so much in the spiritual sense, much more than they ever did before, when they were fully body-able.
Hi Gosia! Gratitude note for you: What a spiritual eye you keep to notice the beautiful things — even as you experience first hand soemthing hard, like watching someone close to you go through illness. May you be filled with God’s joy and peace today. Blessings to you today on Thanksgiving!
Thank you so much for this devotion for yesterday. My week has not been going quite the way I would have liked, and this gave me a new perspective on how to look at things. If you have no objections, I think I’d like to not only share this devotion with my Ladies Bible Study group, I’d also like to have them write their Letters of Gratitude. What a wonderful way to get to know sisters even better! Thank you. You’re right, ya know. My soul does feel a bit lighter than when I started writing here. LOL Have a super blessed day, and a most super blessed weekend.
Yesterday’s Thanksgiving day was an experience of joy. The dishwasher was fried from a power bump the night before so we used paper plates and hand washed the rest. Because of the economy we had just the basics without any fancy “sides” but………it was really special. Great grandma got to be with 4 of her great grands that she had not seen for two years. There was lots of Wii, and playing with and among the cousins who age from 5 to 12 without hearing any of the typical conflicts and lots of casual photos taken. In reviewing the photos later in the evening what struck me was the look of pure joy on all of the faces. Smiles and laughs galore. What a gift from God to our four generations that love Him and got to spend the day valuing and enjoying each other.
[…] I am so grateful for the simple joy of pie.Over at Faith Barista, Bonnie Gray is hosting a blog carnival on faith, and the prompt for this week is […]
[…] post is a continuation of my One Thousand (or more) Gifts and is also linked up to the Faith Barista Jam on the theme of Gratitude. Won’t you join […]