26 Days of Gratitude

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“Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is needed.”(Margaret Cousins)

I don’t want to jump from Halloween right into Christmas, eclipsing Thanksgiving  as I observed many stores in the mall doing.  Let’s be proactive and intentionally discipline ourselves into true Thanksgiving.

 Today I am beginning one of my favorite projects. The Gratitude Project. Researchers R.A. Emmons and M.E. McCullough found that grateful, optimistic people have more energy, feel more connected to the world, are more spiritually aware, and even have better functioning immune systems. People who are able to see the positive side of their own life tend to describe themselves as happier and more satisfied in general. This holds true regardless of the participants’ age, health, or wealth.*

So let’s get started!

IMG_21761.  Using a large poster or piece of paper make 26 columns or boxes with enough room to write what you are thankful for.

2.  Decorate this calendar so it grabs the attention of all who come into your house.

3.  Home schooled students can create this project and use it as a writing project.

4.  Other children in the home can help decorate the poster by coloring leaves or adding sequins or glitter.

5.  My children are all grown so I will decorate the poster myself with colorful leaf and pumpkin stickers.

6.  Hang this poster where it can be seen. I will tape mine to the kitchen door.

7.  Each day family members write what he/she is grateful for.

8.  Invite any house guests, visitors, playmates, neighbors, teen friends that visit, etc. to do the same.

After 26 days you will have told God “thank you” at least 26 times. In addition, it will:

  • Bless God.
  • Model for family the act of Thanksgiving.
  • Create an atmosphere of gratitude.
  • Show visitors in Whom you put your trust.
  • Help young children practice writing skills.
  • Create a habit of giving thanks and choosing a heart of gratitude.

Years ago I put up a bulletin board in the hallway outside my college classroom entitled, 14 days of Gratitude, the number of weekdays between Halloween and Thanksgiving. The instructions were simply stated beside the board:

Each day write one thing you are grateful for.

The experience was amazing.

Students were late to class because they were still writing….

Tears or laughter over another’s gift of thanksgiving that they could relate to…

A realization that life isn’t that bad.

I even observed two male students, still in high school but also attending college, spot the brightly colored board and after reading the directions, list their thoughts.


A dose of good medicine…that’s what it felt like to me.

Content, peaceful, blessed.

Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 5:20 (NIV)

If this gratitude project hits you at a particularly hard time, you can thank God that He is faithfully with you and will help you during this season.

I will praise the name of God with a song, and magnify Him with Thanksgiving.

Psalm 69:30 (NKJV)

*R.A. Ammons and M.E. McCullough, “Counting blessings verses burdens: Experimental studies of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 84, no.2 (2003): 377-89.

Debbie is co-founder of Shine! Ministries and a partner with The Polished Conference. She is the author of one Bible Study, “Shine! Young Women Radiating the Love of God,” available at Grace-publishing.com or amazon.com. She would love to speak at your next women’s event, teen event, or at the college where she brings an inspirational message to teachers in training called, “A Christian Perspective for an Inspirational Classroom.” For more information visit her website: www.debbiepresnell.com or visit her page on facebook: shineministriesnc. Contact her directly at debpres@yahoo.com

 

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21 Responses to 26 Days of Gratitude

  1. Sherri Owenby says:

    Dear Deborah,
    November 19th will be the 16 yr. anniversary of my diagnosis of breast cancer. Since God has been so good to me, I always take the entire month of November and post something that I am thankful for each day on my Facebook page. I invite anyone who is interested in joining me, and many others who do this, to take part in our “Praisegiving Project” . Since Friday is the first day of November, tomorrow I will post the following: Today I am thankful for the many friends who supported me and prayed for me during my battle with breast cancer. I am especially blessed to have had wonderful Christian teachers who worked with me so that I could continue my college education. Thank you, Deborah.
    In His praise,
    Sherri Owenby

    • Yes, praise HIM! I vividly remember those days. Prayer got us all through. We were blessed to have each other, as far as Christians working and learning together.I love your idea of posting a praise each day on facebook. I know that has made a huge difference in the lives of others. 16 years!!!! Yah God!!! So thankful for you Sherri. 🙂

  2. Diane Foote says:

    Another amazing, uplifting blog!! A thankful heart comes from God. A wonderful idea & I intend to do some form of it. Thank you my friend. You are so awesome.

  3. sondrakraak says:

    I’ve been thinking of doing this for our home this month. My idea was to write thanksgivings on leaves I’ve dried from years past and to tape them up on a tree poster. I love how focusing on gratitude requires intentionality–it’s like a muscle that the more we use the easier it gets to praise.

    • Hi Sondra, What a great idea to used the dried leaves! That’s even more personal and special. What a healthy habit to get into–just thanking God every day. Thanks for your comment. I miss seeing you! 🙂

  4. yvonne montgomery says:

    So, so good! Very wise advice!

  5. Doug says:

    What a wonderful blog from a wonderful woman….I am so thankful for a amazing Godly sister! I love you!

    • Thank you for your prayers for me and your encouragement. Today I thank God for my godly brother who walks the walk. I am thankful that you represent what a man of God looks like. I love you!

  6. Judy Gentry says:

    What a wonderful way to celebrate Thanksgiving and prepare our hearts for the Christmas season. Each home is blessed by your words Debbie.

  7. Melisa Smith says:

    I remember this last year I could not wait for each day to go down the hall from my office and write a blessing on the board. I love that you have made this activity practical and gave us ideas to do this in our homes or just for ourselves. When you start thinking of all God’s blessings and things you are thankful for life just gets brighter and things are not as bad as they seem. Deborah I am thankful for you and our friendship – Happy Thanksgiving a little early!

    • That’s so cool! I am blessed to know that it meant that much to you. Well, we started this in our home and it has been amazing. I am thankful for you too! Work days were just better because we had each other! Love you! 🙂

  8. Caroline Mellard says:

    This will be one of Spencer’s and my first new Thanksgivig traditions. No doubt.

    • Oh wonderful… this means you might think of me too and call me so we can stay friends forever, my Sweet Caroline. You mean the world to me. I miss our talks. Thanks for reading my blog post and for your comment. Love you! Blessings, Debbie Presnell

  9. Wonderful idea and one I will do next Thanksgiving! I know they must be missing you at your college! Love ya, Susan

  10. Susan, why thank you! And I don’t know if they miss me… but I miss them! 🙂 Love you!

  11. Reblogged this on Living Life Together and commented:

    Start November off with the … Gratitude Project! 🙂

  12. Gloria Spears says:

    Debbie I love this great idea of writing down the things we are gratitude on a poster board. A good reminder of the goodness of our Lord! You are such a great teacher. I know your students must miss you as much as you miss them. I’m grateful to have you as a special friend through the years. Love you!

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