Monday, November 8, 2010

The Best Sort of Gratitude

I scrape tomato sauce off plates over the sink as we finish up dinner so that we can move on to the rest of our evening.  Dinner is the together time that we have between work, school and the evening activities.  Tonight is a bit rushed, for I forgot to put the lasgna in the oven before I left, and we have a deadline to swallow the meal and get out the door.

The Stinker interrupts my clean-up with a yell, "Oh, Mom!  We forgot our thankful leaves!"

His face shines with anticipatation at the sitting down together and writing on paper leaf cut-outs our gratitude for a gift of that day.  It is a tradition started a few years ago, for each to write down every day in November something we're thankful for and stick it to the wall for all to enjoy.  In times past, a paper trunk has made the tree seem more tree-like, but often it's just leaves -- colorful spots of gratitude posted as reminders of the abundance of blessing.

I pause, frustrated that I've forgotten already about this anticipated evening ritual, frustrated at the rush that pushes thankfulness aside and focuses on the urgent.  Shouldn't there always be time for gratitude?  Then, I stand thankful for the young one of my own to remind me of the important, thankful for time to give thanks, and thankful for so many blessings to record.

As the pen is passed and the leaves are chosen, we smile at one another's blessings for the day:
     books and warm blankets
     Pizza King
     a brother and sister to play with
     wipes in the car (to clean up The Princess when she cried so hard she vomited)

Small gifts, some amusing and some serious, fill our walls each November.  And as the trees outdoors lose their leaves, our tree inside branches out.

Our hearts branch out too -- towards each other and toward the Giver of all good gifts. 

For shared gratitude is the best sort of gratitude.

holy experience

And the gifts go on.  Praising a generous God for gifts #401 - #418:

gratitude lists of many kinds

people to remind me to give thanks

spots of color on my wall as evidence of blessing

remembering that giving thanks allows our lights to shine before men

a phone call with an old friend

pajamas with a pink tutu

Baby Girl's bowed head and folded hands

"1, 2, 3, 5, 5, 6 . . . " is the way she counts

a heart that accepts correction

tiny twin pony tails

family that are also friends

loving my husband more each day

a clean floor (even if only for a few minutes!)

a Sunday dinner without having to cook a thing

ladies at church who pick up my slack

movie night at home with my family (Toy Story 3 this time)

texts from my brother

a son who writes "I love you" on my to-do lists

A Giver who gives even when we forget gratitude



Sarah said...

What a neat idea!!

Heather said...

I love your leaves! At my house, we have "Tom the Thankful Turkey." Each day in November, Tom gets a new feather that has something we're thankful for written on it.

Carrie said...

Great list as always! Your Little Miss is getting bigger ... not such a baby anymore!

We did something similar with the leaves last year ... I've yet to get my act together this year. :(

e-Mom said...

Your creativity is marvellous. I just this minute left another blog where the Mom did something similar for her family with "blessing cards." I like your idea of using leaves a tad bit better...

Your daughter's counting skills are SO cute!!!

Jane D. said...

Thanks for visiting my blog - and loving your thankful leaves and the tutu and pyjamas!

Faith said...

What a WONDERFUL idea!! I LOVE it. What a beautiful spot in your home and what a great tradition. I love it!

Jenna said...

What great pictures of your wall of thanks. Love the little, to grow up learning about gratitude!

Anonymous said...

Loved seeing your wall with a verse! It's something I was thankful for this time too! Enjoyed reading! Thanks for sharing!

Amber said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. I really appreciate it.

I love the leaf idea. I will have to remember that when my son gets old enough to give thanks.

Where did you get your wall expression? UpperCase Living? I love it!

partialemptynester said...

Oh, what a beautiful post! I love the leaf tradition and a son that makes sure it happens! So many precious jewels in this post that made my heart smile a mile wide!

amy in peru said...

we've done the leaf thing for years too... every year's a bit different though. Very cool that your boy remembers :)

Cranberry Morning said...

I love the 'thankful leaves' idea! what a great way to focus on God's many blessings to us!

ActiveMamainAZ said...

Next year, we will borrow this idea. And I love that someone is thankful for Pizza King! Oh how I long for a piece of their squared pizza...:-)

GlowinGirl said...

Really. . . . just one piece, AZMama? I like lots more than that! But borrow and steal away to you all. I do the same all the time!

rachelw said...

That is such a great idea. I think we'll have to begin doing that at our house. :)

kristin said...

i love this post. it is so familiar.

not sure how i wandered this way, but i'm glad to have found you!

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