Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thankful Leaves

I must start this post by saying I love, love, love, love, love Thanksgiving! Taking a day to devote to unashamed thankfulness to our God is to me, the best day of the entire year. Spreading that thankfulness out through an entire month is golden! Relishing in old ways to celebrate while making new ones is a never ending quest...oh, and did I mention how much I LOVE Thanksgiving?...

As our family has grown up (okay, so the girls have grown up...not so much for the dad...) many things have changed along the way. We find new ways to put an updated spin on old traditions. We enjoy new activities that we could not do when we had a toddler/younger child in the house, especially around the holidays. There is, however, one tradition we have not changed or modified over the years. A little over ten years ago we started putting up "thankful leaves" in November. At the beginning of each November a basket *appears* that contains different color paper leaves, markers/ink pens, and tape. For each day thereafter...right up to Thanksgiving day...each member of the family puts one thing they are thankful for on a leaf and we tape our leaves on a window or door, depending on where we are living that year. In our current home we have a large sliding glass door that we use. This way we get to publically see all that we are privately thankful for...making it a good way to let each other know how much we love and appreciate each other though we forget to say it all too often. We have even encouraged guests in our home to join in and add their leaves to ours while they are here. Last year I began archiving the leaves in a notebook when it was time to take them down...sure wish I had thought to do that from the beginning. Each family member has their own page... 
These are my leaves from last year.

After several years go by it will be fun to look back and see where our family has been, the changes we've been through, what our God has done in our lives. Last year was a harder year on our family, thus fewer leaves on my part on the door. This year brings more reason for us to celebrate our thankfulness to a faithful God...no telling how many leaves I'll be putting up this month!

Preparation for the thankful leaves is super easy. First I make copies on my printer with yellow, red and orange colored paper (purchased at Walmart). Here's the template I use: http://www.kidsdomain.com/holiday/canada/color/maples90.gif   Then I cut a few at a time while relaxing in front of the tv. No need to stress and wear my hand out by trying to cut them all out at once. My girls like to help cutting the leaves out, too. (Note: we also cut off the stems of the leaves.) Then I choose a basket, put the cut out leaves inside, along with tape and writing utensils, and place it close to the door we put them on and we get started:

The first leaves of this year.
Before you write this idea off because you do not have children living at home...this is not just a family activity to do with the kiddos. Last November  as I was teaching a Bible study  I made copies of these leaves and handed them out, encouraging the women to use them. One of the older members of the group said her husband really enjoyed doing this, he even had their kids and grandkids fill out leaves while at their house, and they were going to make this a new tradition for themselves. So, no matter what season of life we find ourself in we never get too old to praise our God for all He has done/is doing in our lives!

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