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What do Tonka Trucks and the Energizer Bunny have in common? Endurance. Sustainability. Grit. Tonka Trucks can take a licking and keep on ticking. The Energizer Bunny keeps going and going and going. Much like both the Tonka Truck and the Energizer Bunny, some of us possess such grit and determination. These are the people who press through the grind when life becomes relenting. These are the people resolved, “If I open my eyes in the morning, I’m empowered with all I need to make it through the day. These are the hope-filled ones, the grateful ones. What about you? Do you have grit and gratitude?

Grit comes from refusing to give up or surrender. Life presents challenges and obstacles at every turn. We’re powerless to control or dictate just what life serves. Like Forrest Gump said, “Mama said, ‘Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.'” With this sobering reality, the tendency to harden ourselves to make it through the gauntlet of life becomes the mindset of many. They say, “Life is hard, so I must dig deep and stand tougher. Yet, on the other side, heralds these rare grit-grinders. They say, “Life kicked me hard, and I wake each day to kick it back. I found something that went right today, and I gave thanks.” Gratitude wins the day. These become the ones who sleep the sleep of the just.

Grinding through life with gratitude produces hope. We all need hope. We all need the seed of hope to germinate and resonate with the notion that things will get better. This difficulty is temporary. I’ll live through it. I’ll survive and come out better and stronger. Without this glimmer of expectation, life becomes overwhelming, at best. No hope–Life becomes meaningless. And for some, no hope translates–No reason to live. What reason is there to live or continue on the course set before us if nothing becomes of it? Gratitude–the source that powers the Energizer Bunny within us. We may move through life with the grit of Tonka, but without the hope that gratitude builds, we can’t keep going and going, like the Bunny.

Noone sets a course of action determined to lose hope. It’s the silent killer of dreams. Hopelessness creeps into our lives like a fog. It clouds our sensitivities. We begin to overlook highlights and small turnings of the tide of positivity. If a grand gesture doesn’t present itself, the fog keeps us from noticing any change or improvement or redirection. By the time we know it, we have slipped into the devastating state of apathy, cynicism, and hopelessness. There’s hope. This grim reality is avoidable. How? Set an alert or two on your devices for a Gratitude Break. Purposely look for something that sparks gratitude that has happened or hasn’t happened in your day or life. The alarm helps with discipline. However, the more we take Gratitude Breaks, gratitude will become second nature. You’ll start looking for moments to give thanks, much like a scavenger hunt. In fact, if life is hard right now for you, giving thanks and showing gratitude may be just that–a scavenger hunt. I promise you. The search is worth it. You won’t regret finding ways to be grateful. I promise you again. You will regret letting the highlight of gratitude trickle by and pass you by and lead you into a hopeless abyss.

I challenge you this week. Stop a few times throughout each day and express gratitude for something or someone or even yourself. Here’s an example for you. I take Gratitude Breaks often. I recently retired. My income has drastically decreased. Initially, I griped about how unfair to receive so little after serving for so long as a loyal employee. All of a sudden, I saw a flash of my debt, and I bowed my heart in thanks. I need lots of money if I had lots of debt, but I had significantly reduced my debt, so the money I have covers my responsibilities. I don’t have a broad overflow right now, but I’m grateful that debtors don’t call to threaten me at this season of my life. Just taking time to see these blessings impact our perspectives, and it’s a game-changer for life.

Let’s keep our Tonka Truck grit as we journey through this life, but let’s also cultivate a habit of gratitude so we can joyfully keep going and going and going, like the Energizer Bunny.

Live long and prosper,

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