Just in time for Thanksgiving (or anytime): Gratitude and Appreciation Tree

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

This morning, I was looking at my bare Christmas tree. Sure, it had lights on it, but it was missing something. I wasn't quite motivated to decorate with the usual green and red, plus sparkly snowflakes, but wanted to dress up my tree. I was inspired by a friend (thanks, Laura!) who decorated her tree for thanksgiving with beautiful browns, gold and green, so I decided to go buy ornaments. But as I was brushing my teeth (when my best ideas come-that and the shower and when I'm washing dishes - something about the flow of the water), I thought what a great idea it would be to add our family gratitude and appreciation list.

You may be wondering where this fits into food and nutrition, etc., but it is as my tagline says, "Nourishment from the inside out." It's an inside job. It's the food we eat, what we put on our body, the things we consume, both material and immaterial, the thoughts we think, our environment inside and outside that are important. It encompasses a holistic lifestyle. It's Mind, Body, Spirit and beyond. It's about the gratitude.

We have so much to be grateful for - food, clothing, a warm and inviting home, each other, a strong spiritual community and practice, etc. But, things have been a bit overwhelming lately, both close to us and globally, and my heart was a bit heavy this morning with the weight of things. I have always turned to gratitude in times like this. That doesn't mean I am always perfect at this. I forget. I get caught up in it all - the activities, work, and obligations. And I forget to slow down and give thanks and appreciation for the simple things in life - my full life, two beautiful kids who are involved in many activities and sports, my dad, and my oh so sweet fur babies. So this is dedicated to all the abundance in my life.

So to the gratitude tree. I decided on a copper theme as I found the coolest ornament garland at TJ Maxx that lights up. Then I got my ornaments at Michaels (great deals right now) and looked for plain gift tags. The Michaels employee was gracious enough to guide me to the stationery section and showed me an array of great options - cream, black, craft paper, and I found what I had envisioned. Then back to TJ Maxx for copper ribbon on a wooden spool. When I got home, I grabbed the bronze Sharpie and started writing. The gratitudes poured out. And they weren't for things, but for the non-material, which to me are so important to not take for granted. I had my youngest do a few and hers is above. She took a photo of it, and when I saw it, my first perfectionist thought was to "fix" the spelling, but I kept it just as it is. It didn't matter. The message mattered. And I am grateful.

I'll start this project earlier in the year in 2019, perhaps having a dedicated jar for what we are grateful for and have it ready for our tree in November. That way the tree will be filled!

I hope you enjoy this and the inspiration. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

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