Living with a Grateful Heart

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We are now in the Thanksgiving/Christmas seasons. It is one of my most favorite times of the year. I love this time with my family and friends. I’m thankful and blessed beyond measure. I also love this season because it’s a time we can flex our collective giving muscle to make a difference for an amazing number of people. But, every year I feel perplexed and wonder why we only focus our thankfulness during two months out of the year. That leaves ten months where we can still make a difference. My goal for myself and my family is to have 365 days of a having a grateful heart. What are some of the ways you show your gratefulness during the season and year ‘round?

When I live a life with a grateful heart, it’s easy to reach out and be a blessing for someone else. I polled different people I know to find out different things they do to help others and show their thankfulness. The list is as varied as the people I talked to. I’ve listed below some different ways to show your gratefulness now and the rest of the year. Please add the way you and your family choose to make a difference in your world! The more ideas the better.

Ideas for showing gratefulness all year:

  • Have a get-together the day before Thanksgiving to fry or smoke your turkey with friends. We have an annual Turkey Fry we have attended for the last 12 years and it is a blast! Friendship should be celebrated.
  • Invite a friend with no family to your home for Thanksgiving.
  • Find a homeless shelter/dream center and help them serve Thanksgiving and Christmas lunch/dinner.
  • Deliver a Thanksgiving/Christmas meal to seniors and shut-ins with Meals on Wheels.
  • Take food to a local hospital’s surgery room for families who have a loved one who is sick.
  • Make a special dessert for your local police and firefighters to thank them for protecting you on a holiday.
  • Keep $1 bills on hand to put in the Salvation Army’s red kettle each time you see them.
  • Find an angel tree and purchase gifts for children who are less fortunate.
  • Pack an Operation Christmas Child box through Samaritan’s Purse.
  • Donate to Toys for Tots.
  • Donate money and/or toys to your local animal shelter. Offer to come in once a month and play with the animals.
  • Adopt an older person living an assisted living or nursing home who has no family to purchase gifts for.
  • Have a group serve day with your place of worship or BFFs.
  • Go tutor and read to children living in a shelter.
  • Send a care package to military serving in a forward position. You can go to operationgratitude.com to see the what to send and how to send it.
  • Adopt a deployed soldier by sending them a letter or post card each week and an optional care package. Go to adoptaussoldier.org to learn more about this.
  • Go on a Habitat for Humanity build.
  • Donate to a food pantry.
  • Participate in packing meals for Stop Hunger Now.
  • Support a missionary.
  • Support a child in a foreign country who is in an orphanage.
  • Make a donation to an orphanage in your state.
  • Run a 5K, or longer distance, to support a charity.
  • If you’re at a Starbucks or fast food restaurant pay for the car behind you. This has been documented to start a chain reaction of giving, and you can be the catalyst.
  • Mow and rake leaves for an elderly or sick neighbor.
  • Call or text someone you haven’t seen in a long time to tell them how much their friendship means to you.
  • Have bags ready in your car with essential toiletries, snacks and a gift card to a local restaurant for a homeless person you might come across while driving.
  • When you have a birthday party, ask people to bring gifts, books or money for the charity of your choice.
  • Take a special treat to your children’s teachers, just to say ‘thank you’.
  • Leave a HUGE (I mean really HUGE) tip for your server the next time you go to a restaurant.
  • Support groups like Coats for Kids (US only), Operation Mountain Child, World Vision’s Clean Water, Food for the Hungry, and Unlikely Heroes & A21. (UH and A21 help people trapped in slavery and the sex trade.) You can also set up to make a monthly donation to another charity that will go to a poor country and make a difference.
  • Buy a pair of TOMS shoes. “Buying a pair gives a pair.”
  • And of course, any time is a great time to give to The Sigma Kappa Foundation which helps support sisters and our different philanthropies.

Happy Thanksgiving & Merry Christmas!

~ashley

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