I am so THANKFUL to have all these “Thankful Heart” entries that have inspired me so much as we head into the holidays.  I bookmarked quite a few of them for new ideas I want to do with our family and I so appreciate all that everyone shared.

It all just makes me fall in love with Thanksgiving that much more.  So much warmth and love surround us when we think about the things we often take for granted.  One of my favorites was this one that talked about service:
My favorite Thanksgiving tradition actually developed in response to the annual family Turkey Bowl. Every year the older kids, dads, grandpas, uncles, and friends have gathered at the park behind our house to play the traditional football game. And every year, I was responsible for a house full of Littles (my own children, plus cousins and others), while the gang was out playing. I found myself feeling a little frustrated. And then I thought how ridiculous that was! I decided that rather than sit around having a pity party, I’d plan an activity to keep the Littles and I busy and engaged during the football frenzy. That year, I decided we’d do a service project for the sweet elderly residents at the nursing home around the corner. I purchased really inexpensive wooden ornaments, and some markers and glitter glue, and the Littles and I set to work making Christmas tree decorations. We had a great morning- and rather than feeling frustrated, I felt lifted- especially when we delivered the ornaments to the residents. Several years have passed since that Thanksgiving. In the intervening years we’ve done a service project every Thanksgiving morning. Always with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on in the background, and always with Krispy Kreme donuts (I know- right before Thanksgiving?!). Over the years, we’ve made snack-sacks for the juvenile justice system, made hygiene kits for families in disaster areas, made education kits for children without basic resources, and made fleece blankets for Project Linus. Sometimes most of the kids (big and little) stay inside and work on the project, and some years many of the kids go outside to play football. But every year it’s been a great opportunity to remember our blessings as we serve others in need, to build unity among family, friends, and neighbors, and to experience the joy that comes from service. 
I may have to use that in my talk I have to give at church on Sunday, do you care Jenn? 🙂   I love that service can fill up our hearts so quickly when we are feeling lonely, sad or put-upon.
So, the lucky winners of the three books (picked completely randomly from random.org) are:  
Rachael who said:
I am thankful for my husband’s PhD program. We are on year eight of grad school (!!!) with five kids. I’m not going to lie…it is HARD. But it is simultaneously the biggest trial and the biggest blessing we have gone brought in our marriage, and I am doing my best to focus on the blessing part.
Wow, that is pretty impressive!  
Julie who said:
Last year I bought some cards prior to Thanksgiving and let everyone choose one to write a thank-you note on to someone they are grateful for. We stamped them and addressed them right then and there before heading to the table for Thanksgiving dinner. I think everyone felt a little extra gratitude and happy to have done a small act of kindness at the same time.

And the vdg family (Melanie) who said:
My favorite tradition is when we gather around and smell, see and taste the beautifully and deliciously laid out food and then look up into the content and excited faces of my loved ones around me and usually the only thing that I can think is “God has been good to us!” [Name that movie]. My heart does cartwheels when I hear my children tell what they are most thankful for.

On thankfulness, I am thankful for the times when one of our family members is feeling down and out that we gather together and each person tells that sad soul five things they are thankful for about them. It is hard to keep feeling sad when you have a cheerleaders thanking you on. 
Please email me at sepphotography at gmail dot com with your address and the publisher will get those books right too you speedy quick so you can enjoy them before Thanksgiving.
As for everyone else, thanks again for all the great contributions and remember you can buy the book here
if you would like.
So many people talked about thankful turkeys so I thought I’d share the ones on our fridge right now that Claire and Lucy made at church:
Lucy’s friend saw Lu’s in the trash and brought it to me…she must have been frustrated that she did it upside down but I adore it.  How I hope I can help all my kids (and myself too for that matter!) to appreciate and embrace their uniqueness and not feel like they have to conform to those around them.
Way to stand out Lucy!
Happy Gratitude Week!


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