Published on 11/7/2021

Cultivating a Grateful Heart
Winnis Chiang

It was another Sunday evening family time online. I was in a breakout room with my third and fifth grandkid. I read a children's book animatedly and they listened attentively. Even my two-year-old granddaughter sat still. After that, they began to draw.

After a while, I said, "Brother Bear and Sister Bear learned to take care of each other, just like the two of you." Looking into my grandson's eyes, I added: "You are a kind and gentle big brother. I like the way you take care of your younger sisters. After your baby sister was born, I visited all of you. When we walked in the park, you held your little sister’s hand. Remember?"

He looked at me with an innocent smile. "Really? I don't remember." Immediately his youngest sister jumped up, raised her right hand to the sky, and said excitedly, "I 'member!"

"Oh, you were the little baby I was holding, but I'm glad you remember."

It may be easy for us to be grateful when everything is going well. But with so many bad news in the world, near and far, do you sometimes find it hard to give thanks?

Counting blessings and giving thanks can free our minds from troubles. I like to use the following checklist around Thanksgiving to cultivate a grateful heart. Please try one or two questions.

1. What one biggest gift (tangible or intangible) have you received this year?

2. What two things changed your life this year?

3. What three incidents help you grow in your faith this year?

4. What are the four blessings in your family that you would like to thank God for?

5. What five happy experiences have you had?

6. Even if we take them for granted, which six things God created are necessary for our existence?

7. In your home or outside, which seven people are you most grateful for?

My biggest gift in 2019 is our fifth grandchild. After my daughter-in-law's mother took care of them for a month, I went to help for 24 days. I could hold the baby all day long, even though I had to first sit down and wait for her parents to bring her. I also enjoyed spending time with my other grandchildren, playing one game after another, and reading one storybook after another. In a blink of an eye, the baby is now two years old!

Staying home during the Pandemic has allowed me to walk and talk with my husband every day, and my sciatica pain seems to be gone. It is by the grace of God that we can meet with our son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren online every week. I sincerely thank my Lord.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

Have you experienced the grace of God? In boredom and busy, don't forget to enjoy the people in your life and give thanks for them. Let me listen to your gratitude and stress, and pray for you. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Winnis Chiang

Winnis Chiang, LMFT and founder of, is passionate about helping Mandarin- and Cantonese-speaking parents to get along with, enjoy, and positively influence their American born children.