Gratitude Wreaths -- Giving Thanks

Gratitude Wreathes are the most favorite thing my Mom 
and sister make at their bakery.  Or click here for the recipe to
make your own.

Iced Gratitude Wreath from The Solvang Bakery 
Or click here for the recipe
to make your own.

You can choose anything you want to be grateful for from a favorite 
family trip to a beloved pet to something simple that you are grateful for.

"In everything, give thanks."  --St. Paul

I love that we have a holiday that revolves around giving thanks.  For all of the hardships and challenges of life, I've always found gratitude prayers to be the most transforming.  I may pray for peace or calm or healing or many other things.  But I've found that when I start saying prayers of gratitude for the things I'm thankful for that I'm filled with an overwhelming sense of healing and joy.  

During this month of giving thanks I try to write down three things I'm thankful for each day.  There are a number of ways to do this:   some people prefer to keep a gratitude journal while others make a family "gratitude jar" and each family members writes something they are grateful for each day and puts it in the jar.  Others just keep a running mental note each day of what they are thankful for.  

This morning Julie Farrell put a post on facebook at 6:00 am saying that if anyone in the valley was awake at the moment that we should step outside to see the moon and the stars because they are phenomenal right now.  I put on my slippers and walked outside and caught that magnificent beauty.  If not for her post I would have been inside with the blinds drawn, unaware of what was just outside my window in plain view.  And that is the point of looking for joy and looking for gratitude:  it is often right there in plain view if you just stop and take the time to look for it.

And as always, I think of those who are in pain and how the holidays somehow magnify that pain.  I was listening to a man speak in Houston on Wednesday night.  In 1960 he was a young boy and his father was changing the tire on their family car.  The tire burst and his father died within the week.  53 years later this man could barely speak through the tears because the pain of such a great loss was still with him.  He told the story of how his widowed mother, with three young boys, told her sons "I know we're all hurting right now, but there are others who are hurting more than we are.  So we're going to give Christmas away."  And that is what they did.  They went out and gave to people who had less then they did.  This man now gives hundreds of bikes away every year during the holidays.  He took unspeakable pain and turned it into giving.

Last year Randall Day told the story about Helen Keller and her article from the January 1933 issue of The Atlantic Monthly.  It was titled Three Days to See.  "In the article she outlined what things she would like to see if she were granted just three days of sight:  friends, nature, art, and the movement and bustle of New York City were among her choices.  She concluded:  "I who am blind can give one hint to those who see:  use your eyes as if tomorrow you were stricken blind.'  Keller is also widely quoted as saying:  'Is there anything worse than being blind?  Yes, someone with sight and no vision.'" 

Thanksgiving is a time of giving.  It is a time of feeding others, sharing our bounty and giving thanks.  It is a time of stopping to appreciate the simple beauty of nature that exists for us each day in abundant harvests, changing leaves, in the earth retreating to rest and renew itself.  

I know the holidays can become overwhelming, frantic and busy.  I challenge each of you to pause for a moment to find three things that you are grateful for.  I found my first thing in the stars and the moon this morning.  And now I find myself looking forward to the day instead of dreading my "to do" list because I know somewhere in this day are two more things to discover that I will be grateful for.

Blessings and JOY to all of you.  Maili


Anonymous said…
Beautifully written Maili - JF

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