And enters November, the last month of fall. I’ve heard many people bemoan the month of November. Not I. I love November. It is the month in which I soak up those last wonderful bits of crisp fall, put on thicker sweaters, wear boots and only boots, and stuff my face with the last Honeycrisp apples and pumpkin-flavored treats that I can get my hands on. We celebrate the birth of my sweet mom in this month, and that in itself makes this month special. We also celebrate Thanksgiving, which is one of my most favorite holidays to celebrate. I mean, fall, pumpkin pie, Thanksgiving food, leftover Thanksgiving food, football, food comas, family, what could make for a better holiday?
Last year at Thanksgiving, my precious mom had the idea to go around the table and say what we were all thankful for. Now, if you know my family even the slightest bit, you know that we are a whole emotional load of criers. We cry at commercials, Pixar movies, an encouraging card, when someone we don’t know does something exciting, you catch my drift. Happy, proud, sad, hurt, or excited, the tears come. So you can imagine that when we are all together, which happens 2, maybe 3, times a year, that makes for an enormous load of happy moments which means: waterworks. Throw in talking about what we are thankful for and thinking over how richly God has blessed us and you’re looking at a mini Niagara Falls. The cherry on top? Right before we started doing this I asked my darling nephew, who was 3 at the time, what he was thankful for and he said, all from his own sweet heart, “I am dankful dat you tould tome here.” I’m almost had to run out of the room. I couldn’t even say anything to him. I just looked at my older brother, tears streaming down my cheeks, and he had to tell Joshie, “Auntie Jen is thankful for that too, buddy, and she loves you.” I’m tearing up again just typing this.
As much as we teased my mom about the questionable wisdom behind having our family do something like that, I love that memory. I think back to that day and my first thought is, “that really was a Thanksgiving day.”
This year has been such a year of learning how to live with gratitude, daily, in my heart, my mind, and life. I feel like it’s been a year of learning to live a Thanksgiving Day every day. Cheesy as that may sound to you, I have thought over that past Thanksgiving Day so often this year and how it displayed to me how I believe I should live every day: with a heart that is characterized by gratitude.
I’ve been thinking that November would be a good month for all of us to start thinking of ways to practically live out our gratitude. A few thoughts I’ve had:
1 // Keep a journal that is meant only for you to write down “what I’m thankful for today” in it. I love mine.
2 // Writing notes, sending cards, shooting a text, making a call, commenting on Instagram or Facebook, to tell someone, “Hey, you’re great and I’m thankful you’re in my life.”
3 // Voicing to your spouse and kids daily how grateful you are for them, who they are, and the things they do.
4 // Write the word “grateful” or “thankful” on an index card or a sticky note and put it somewhere you’ll see it every day to remind yourself.
5 // Give. Get outside of yourself.
6 // Talk about it with people. Set the example.
7 // Fight to quit complaining or being negative about every other thing.
I don’t mean these things to say, “hey, let’s all leap around like fairies and sprinkle pixie dust, smiles, and candies everywhere, saying “chin up, buttercup.”” I mean these things to say, “hey, life is rough, unbearably so, at times. there are awful days, hurtful days, and heart wrenching days; but I still believe there’s thanksgiving to be found in them.” After all, we are told to, “give thanks in all circumstances,” so there really is something there, even if we have to work hard to find it. “for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus,” and that’s the best thing.
Today I am grateful for:
01 // the beautiful Sunday we enjoyed yesterday.
02 // the restaurant finding my Little’s “B” (her blanket), because even when she’s done cuddling with it at naptime and bedtime, I still want it to be folded up in her memory box to keep forever.
03 // piles of fall leaves.
04 // thoughtful, generous, and loving friends.
05 // how excited my Little was to keep me company at the doctor’s office today.
06 // chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter buttercream frosting my sweet friend made the other night.
07 // the next weeks of anticipating the holiday season.
08 // life slowing down a bit.
09 // our parents. 4 of the most generous people on the face of this earth.