Thankful Thoughts

*thank·ful adjective
– feeling or expressing gratitude; appreciative.

*grat·i·tude noun
– the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful

I am really excited about something we’re doing this year on Thanksgiving Day and thought I’d share it here. No, it’s not eating turkey and pumpkin pie – though I am really looking forward to that, too. For the first time since we created it back in 2003, we’re about to crack open our blessing box and read through eight or so years worth of thankful thoughts.

Years ago I ran across the idea of making a blessing box as a neat craft the kids and I could do that would also help me teach them the importance of rejoicing over the half-full glass instead of complaining about the glass being half-empty. The moment we created our box and began filling it I realized a project that started as a way to teach my kids the importance of being thankful was going to be so, SO much more.

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.
~ Gilbert K. Chesterton

Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.
~ John Milton

What is a blessing box, you ask?
A blessing box, or a thank bank, or whatever cutesy name you decide to call it, is a really basic idea. The physical box can be any kind of box you like . . . a shoe box decorated with construction paper, one of those white boxes you can get for 99 cents at your local craft store, an antique wooden trinket box, or even an empty tissue box. The beauty of the box doesn’t come from what it looks like on the outside, but rather from the act of using it and the treasures you accumulate inside.

The premise is super simple.
Every day, or every week, or every so often you take a moment to write down something you’re thankful for on a note card or a small slip of paper and you stick the note inside your box.

The kids and I took small cardboard box we had around the house and, using a glue and water mixture, we decoupaged the sealed box with all sorts of birthday party napkins we had on hand. Then we cut a slot in the top. This meant that once we put something inside the box it was there until we decided to ‘crack’ the box open like a pinata.

My kids were too young to write their own notes, but it was amazing how easily they thought of things they were grateful for. I had a hard time at first, but learned that being grateful for the simplest of things is pretty easy to do. How often do we take sleeping on freshly laundered sheets, on a bed, in a bedroom, of a home for granted? Yet when you write it down, it’s a pretty darned good thing to be thankful for.

The idea isn’t to write an essay, but to jot a note. It’s like tweeting #thankful thoughts only you’re limited by the size of your paper not by the number of characters you write. So even if you don’t like writing, or you have a man child who considers writing his arch nemesis, the thankful thought is easy enough to do, and do quickly. Before you know it, things are crossing your mind throughout the day as being “blessing box worthy” and guess what – you’re becoming more aware of all the good things and that half-full glass starts looking like a full cup.

This year we’ve decided to take the plunge and open up our box of thankful thoughts. I’m looking forward to seeing my kids’ kindergarten-handwriting written notes, the progression of their written communication skills, and remembering all of the things we have been and are thankful for. We’re kicking off Thanksgiving dinner with everyone writing what they’re grateful for on an index card and placing the notes in the new think bank and then ending the meal by cracking open the original box and reading all the notes as we transfer them to the new box for safe keeping until next Thanksgiving. This year marks the beginning of our new Thanksgiving family tradition, one that I hope our kids will carry right on through the rest of their lives and pass along to their children.

Remember all the things you’re thankful for when you’re eating turkey and pumpkin pie. And if you want to keep that thought, consider writing it down and slipping it inside your own blessing box or thank bank.

More Of My Favorite Thankful Thought Quotes . . .

Gratitude helps you to grow and expand; gratitude brings joy and laughter into your life and into the lives of all those around you.
~Eileen Caddy

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.
~Marcus Tullius Cicero

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
~Melody Beattie

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
~Melody Beattie

Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.
~Brian Tracy

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
~Albert Schweitzer

If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get.
~Frank Howard Clark

I’m thankful for every moment.
~Al Green

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.
~Oprah Winfrey

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