According to the dictionary, gratitude is the quality of being thankful; the readiness to show appreciation for, and the ability to return kindness. As we approach the upcoming holidays, we are reminded to take time to consider things to be thankful for. The holidays are full of opportunities to demonstrate gratitude and appreciation, as well as reflecting on the blessings in your own life.

Fall has always been one of my favorite times of the year. I enjoy all the amazing smells associated with the crisp, cozy weather. Blazing bonfires, hearty bowls of chili, juicy apples and aromatic cinnamon are just a few of my favorites. There are so many things to love about this season; however, I believe the best part of fall is when the leaves start to change colors and begin to fall.

Fall brings so much color into my life. I love driving around and seeing all the beautiful shades of this season. As the leaves change colors and the seasons shift, I am reminded to ponder the change in my own life. This brings me into a season of reflection and admiration for the many things to be grateful for.

I am so thankful to have the opportunity to step back from all the distractions and challenges life may bring and focus on the beauty within the day to day life. In the past year, I had the privilege to take a six-month journey overseas devoting my time and energy to missions abroad. This time helped me to step out of my normal routine and see a different perspective of not only the world but of my own life. I came home with a heavy and grateful heart for all the experiences I was fortunate to have, but I was also thankful I carried my newfound perspectives home with me.

You see, stepping out of the comfort of my normal routine allowed me to focus on the important things in life. I felt like there weren’t as many distractions abroad as there are here at home. Perhaps this could just be that I am more familiar and comfortable here at home than I was abroad. Plus, I moved around from place to place overseas so maybe I didn’t have enough time to develop distractions. However, no matter the reason, I have come to believe that taking time for yourself to step back and reflect on your own life, is one of the most rewarding and beneficial things you can do for yourself.

Just as the leaves change color and begin to fall when they are ready, life also brings us into seasons of reflection and transformation. I am blessed to have people in my life that surround me with love and support throughout all of life’s seasons.  I am also thankful to have a faith that carries me through all the many journeys of life. I encourage you to take time during this holiday season to reflect on things in your own life to be thankful for. With a grateful heart comes much joy and a deeper and growing understanding of life’s many blessings.

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, & change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”

~ William Arthur Ward