A Tree of Thankfulness

IMG_3951“What if all of the things you forgot to thank God for today were gone tomorrow?”

Wow. Whenever I see that quote, it really makes me think. It also reminds me that I should be thankful for so many of the things I take for granted. To give myself (and my kids) a visual to help remind us of all of the blessings we have, this year we made a Thankful Tree.

We used real tree branches that we found outside along with construction paper leaves that we cut out in autumn colors.

I didn’t have much trouble thinking of things to put on my leaves.

My parents. My grandparents. Healthy children. Pain-free days. A warm house to live in. America. Freedom. The ability to homeschool. A husband who loves me. Eyes to see. A voice to speak. Ears to hear. My friends. My family. My faith. My “motherhood support group.” Food to eat. Clothes to wear. Veterans. The ability to read. Talents. Second chances. Mercy and grace.

As I wrote on my orange, red and yellow leaves, I thought about not only the things that I have, but the things that I don’t have: loneliness. An empty place in my life because of a deceased loved one. Grief. Empty arms. Depression. Some deadly disease. A life with no hope. Days without meaning. An addiction to drugs or gambling.

Now, as I’m writing these things down, I’m thinking of other things that I do have that wouldn’t really be considered as blessings. Things that I normally would complain about… but maybe I shouldn’t.

Chronic pain – it keeps me up at night, but those nights give me time to think and time to pray. Pain means I’m still alive, and well, it could be worse. Laundry – I have mountains of laundry that never get finished, but that means I have a houseful of precious people to care for and kids that are physically able to play outside and get dirty. Sinks full of dirty dishes – we have food to eat while most of the world does not. How dare I complain that I have to clean up the kitchen? Dirty floors – the vast majority of people in the world only have dirt floors. So what if mine is covered in toast crumbs? A leaky faucet means we have running water. Hectic days – I have important things to accomplish.

Yes, if I let myself truly think about it, my list would go on and on.

I think I’m going to need some more construction paper.

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