I have a long history of believing the way it is today is the way it always will be. This is especially true when I find myself traveling tough terrain but it spills over into easy stretches, too. Maybe you can identify.
As a mindset, it doesn’t serve well. It isn’t true, no matter the nature of the terrain.
One practice I use to combat this tendency is to pause and take stock, granting careful attention to the little gifts and comforting graces of the current season. This extends beyond simply fostering gratitude. It helps me navigate by faith rather than wander on autopilot. It fixes my awareness of what is true, lovely, excellent, and praiseworthy when I’m tempted to focus on what is not.
By way of a friend, I remembered that I haven’t mentioned this navigational tool in a long time. As host-month of Thanksgiving, November is a perfect spot to share this season’s gifts and graces—not just the general gifts of autumn but those specific to fall 2021.
Gifts and Graces | Fall 2021
So much color
Crisp air + warm sun
Making music with friends
Leaves flaming in the trees
Big progress on a tiny house
Night hikes with my husband
Leaves strewn across the path
Roasting hot dogs after church
Afternoons with teenage actors
Leaves swirling through the air
The return of a wandering kitten
Sleeping with the windows open
Leaves crunching under my feet
Fire in the sky: breathtaking sunsets
Phone calls with my grown-up kiddos
Catan with the kids on a Sunday afternoon
The soundtrack of hammers, drills, and saws
A big girl who still likes to snuggle on chilly mornings
Discovering a delicious sugar, grain, and dairy-free coffee cake
Navigational Practice: Look at the landscape of your life this season. Take a moment to create your own list of gifts and graces for fall of 2021.
Happy trails ~ Natalie 🥾
I often share tales from the trail at
Inspire Me Monday, #TellHisStory,
Faith on Fire, and Let’s Have Coffee.
We can never hear too often that we need to give thanks. Thanks for this reminder, Natalie. Just today I finished a book on gratitude, and this helps prompt me to actually DO IT instead of just reading about it. 🙂
It is so much easier to read about it (whatever “it” might be) than practice it. Prompts make a difference. I’m glad this helped!
Natalie, I love your list and how it makes the shape of a bell. Writing these graces and joys down does help us remember that we have much to be thankful for. It also names these things that bring us joy and then we can do more of these things.
It does help us name things that bring us joy. You hit on something important there.
Natalie, I too tend to be one who gets stuck in the mindset that the way it is right now is the way it will always be. Thank goodness, like the terrain changes on a road trip from one state to another (at least, it does if you live in the west 🙂 ), so the terrain in our lives and relationships changes. I love your suggestion to look for gifts and graces in each day. Your poem is beautiful.
Thanks for your kind words. We were just out west last week and commenting on how quickly the terrain changes. So many things in creation remind me to have hope!
Natalie, what a beautiful way to celebrate Thanksgiving month and every day of life! Perspective and gratitude really do make a huge difference in one’s quality of life. Thanks for sharing your inspiring words!
Perspective and gratitude–absolute game-changers, aren’t they?