Cultivating Gratitude This Holiday Season


In stepping into this holiday stretch lies the focus on gratitude. Many prompts will be passed around on ushering answers to, “What are you thankful for?” That question feels muted in this space where grief abounds all the more and difficulties of dissension, tensions, and heartache encircle the days like a cloud of smoke.

In this season where uncertainty and the unknown threads from one family to the next, it takes a deeper stance to call forth gratitude in its authentic expression.


Gratitude is defined as, “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” I read this definition a few times and then noticed a need to pause and reflect on the layers of the word:

    • “Being thankful” – This demonstrates a posture that is cultivating knowledge of where the holidays come from, as deep within.
    • “Readiness to show appreciation” – A heart that knows where to invest its strongest attention toward gratitude.
    • “Return kindness” – Gratitude is not selfish; it is intended to be a receiving and giving of exchange.

Mental struggles, death and grief, financial stretches, family tensions, difficulties unspoken, it can be challenging at times to speak the beauty that rises from ashes. However, gratitude is always there waiting in the trenches of war to draw people out of the mire and give them a place to stand.

There is always, always something to be thankful for even when it may take us a bit to voice it out loud. Your struggles hold places of provision, even in the stretching.

If you are struggling to find the answers to the what-are-you-thankful-for question, take time to ground yourself and focus on the senses to help you awaken your awareness to receive the holiday season.

Find a space where you can focus and breathe in and hold 5 seconds, let out slowly for 5 seconds (then repeat five times). After your breathing exercises, note what hear, see and feel. When you can center yourself in the present moment, then it gives you the ability to become more attuned to a readiness to voice your appreciation in a more honest and authentic expression.

You will experience yourself voicing gratitude in ways that are specific descriptors of the people, places, and things that surround you in this season and lift you up. Once those fill your mind with visuals of appreciation, you will beautifully return the kindness and share your light for perspective and gratitude with those in your path.

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Hi, my name is Trishia and something that I value about my story is how my heart is outstretched throughout the world and I have many "homes" that fuel my soul. Being born and raised in Alabama, my southern roots remain a deep part of me. Living in New Orleans and then relocating to Cincinnati, post Hurricane Katrina, I learned how being exposed to culture and diversity can build empathy into a person. Married a generous, humble, hard-working man, Brett, from Cincinnati and then later moved to Kenya, Africa where our years spent working overseas has shaped my soul in more ways than I can articulate. We are now back in Cincinnati, investing in building a staffing company, and after 15 years of marriage are raising an 8 year old son, a 9 year old daughter, and a 10 year old son. Jesus is my anchor; I love quality time, sharing heart to heart;, traveling the world remains a passion; witnessing community loving one another well encourages me; photography is a lens I use to invest into the hearts of others at T Ralston Photography {}


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