Life is pretty crazy around here this time of year. I feel strings pulling me in every direction. My heart wants to be out frolicking in the leaves or hiking the fells with my kids, but my body and brain need to be tied to the computer editing pictures, or doing laundry or keeping up with the whirlwind that is our life these days.
So, since I can’t stop the storm, I’m trying to take a step back and recognize the beauty in it. My mom always talks about how, with nine little kids, she tried to be the eye of the hurricane. How in the heck? I haven’t mastered that one yet --instead I’m often the wind that seems to set off the hurricane. So I’ve decided to start on a more basic level – just get above the storm enough to see that there is lots to be thankful for in this messy chaos.
It seems hard to see the beauty in the everyday, because we see it every day.
“Gratitude does not lead to happiness; gratitude is happiness in its most obtainable form." – Richard Eyre
I know, I’m quoting my dad….but I firmly believe this is true. Gratitude is happiness. I know that the times I’ve been the happiest in my life are the times I’ve been focused on the good, grateful for what I have, able to see the extraordinary in the ordinary. But, obtainable dad? How, in this crazy mess of motherhood can I obtain that thankful, happy perspective? Some days it feels beyond reach. But I do believe he’s right, it is obtainable, with effort. Nearly everything worthwhile takes deliberate effort.
So, here are some things I’m going to try this season in honor of Thanksgiving:
- Take time each day to be present for just 45 seconds with each person in my family. I am thankful when I am present, drinking in the now.
- Write down three things I’m thankful for at the end of the day.
- Stop to pray at least once during the day when I notice something particularly beautiful in my life to thank God for those little, often unnoticed beauties.
- Limit social media. And when I do check in on friends and family on Instagram let their images remind me of my own blessings (such great friends and family) rather than make me covet theirs. And post things I’m thankful for. (see power of mom’s thanksgiving challenge here).
- Write a few thankful emails to friends and family and encourage my family to do this on November Sundays.
My parents just published a new book all about Gratitude. It’s sitting on my coffee table and makes my kids feel like rock stars since there are lots of pictures of them in it. It’s such a great reminder than this is the season to really bulk up my gratitude muscles. And I get to give one away!
Here’s what my dad and mom have to say about it:
In our family, Thanksgiving has always been the "key" holiday. So many of our traditions have centered on Thanksgiving, and we always felt it was the perfect lead-in to Christmas and the perfect harbinger of the holidays. After all, what could be a better precursor to Christmas and to celebrating the birth of Christ than all kinds of gratitude and Thanks-Giving!
Early in our marriage, we decided that rather than get into the Christmas Card frenzy, we would jump the gun a bit and send out a Thanksgiving Card each year. We have done that now for 44 years, and the cards actually tell the story of our family. The pictures that went with the cards each year show the growing up of each child, and the poems we wrote to go with the photos trace the pattern of what had happened each year and where our gratitude was centered.
Finally, as Thanksgiving continued to mean more and more to us, we decided to write a book about gratitude, and about the connections of Thanks-Giving to Joy, to Peace, and to family security and unity. Since much of what we wanted to say was about feelings, we felt the book needed to be as much about pictures as about poetry and prose. Luckily, we have some great photographers in the family, and we were able to use their work to illustrate the book.
As it was finished this fall THE THANKFUL HEART has become not only a how-to book on the ways to enhance and magnify gratitude, but a kind of short hand history of the Eyre family (Eyrealm as we call it) and we could think of no better way to start "getting it out" than on our wonderful daughters' blogs. The publisher has agreed to a little give away where you can comment on this blog and go into a drawing for free copies. And for those who don't win a book (we've never won a drawing in our lives) it is now on sale at Amazon HERE.
Hope you love it, Linda and Richard Eyre
I get to give away one copy! And if you’ve made it to my blog you’ll have a much better chance of winning thank you would on my sisters’ wildly popular blogs! (I don’t think many people make it this far into the eyrealm :))
To enter the giveaway, post a comment sharing one thing that you do (or want to do) to cultivate gratitude, to rise above the chaos or mundane and see the beauty in it.
I’ll announce the winner on Thursday, November 13th so we can get that book to you well before Thanksgiving.