I grew up in Texas. It’s hot. It’s hot almost all of the time. My brother and I were talking on the phone yesterday and it’s still 90+ degrees there. So fall was always this nice nebulous idea, but not something I had really experienced. The leaves on the tree in our front yard wold turn brown overnight and fall off all at once. Lots of raking and little beauty. Having lived a few more places as an adult, I discovered I like autumn. I enjoy the cooling temperatures, the changing leaves, wearing a sweater, and (of course) the excuse to consume more hot drinks!
Along those lines, I believe Thanksgiving is overlooked. Right now the stores are full of things for Halloween, and before theses items are cleared, Christmas will be in full swing. Can I encourage you to pause, to breathe, to give thanks? To enjoy this momentary pause of beauty with the end of the growing cycle? There is plenty we all have to complain about, but let’s try to take advantage of this little pause (a pause we may have to create) and make this a season of giving thanks. Not for just one day (or a few hours between the turkey, the game and the midnight store opening), but a season of thanks.
Last November, as a family, we started a thankfulness chain. It doesn’t have to be fancy, we used orange and red strips of paper. Each evening at dinner, each person said something or someone they were thankful for. No repeats allowed! We wrote down our thanks on the strip and stapled it into a circle joining yesterday’s circle. At the end of the month we had a chain of things we are thankful for. This year I am going to start it today. A chance in October and November to be thankful at dinner. We usually miss a evening or two, it’s okay, we just have 2 things we are thankful for the next night. I have used our thankfulness chain the last few Thanksgiving holidays to decorate our dining room and remind us of all we have to be thankful for.
You could journal these things or just write out a list. I not going to promise you it will be life altering or the most amazing thing you have ever done. But will be good for you, especially good for you the days when it’s hardest to come up with anything to be thankful for. This is also a great discipline for little kids, big kids, adults, married people, single people, divorced people, have too many children people, childless people, young or old people. It’s not just for the perfect looking family or the perfect time in life. Thankfulness is for right now.
For anyone wanting a little more fancy idea, here is a link to a site I discovered on Pinterest. You can download a PDF to print out a thankful printable chain. I just save the PDF and print out new pages every year.
So pause. Breathe. Take a long sip of something hot to drink and give thanks.