At the end of October, I made these leaf cutouts from some scrapbook paper:

 The plan was to have them as decoration in a bowl on the dining room table and write something I was thankful for on one each day in November. I thought they turned out really cute and it made me happy to look at them. But…I only wrote down about 3 things I was thankful for the whole month. :-/

I have tried to keep gratitude lists in my journal before, especially in light of the recent popularity of Ann Voskamps 1000 Gifts (which I haven’t read but which I’ve read blog posts about). Cultivating an attitude of thankfulness is difficult for me. I know that I am absolutely blessed beyond measure with so many things, both tangible and otherwise, but when I try to distill those down to bullet points on a list, I either draw blanks or end up feeling flippant. However, when I read other people’s lists of the small, daily things they’re thankful for, I always find myself nodding in agreement, not thinking they’re being flippant at all.

So event though November is over, this thankfulness business is still on my mind, because I don’t feel like I’ve got it figured out yet. I don’t know how I’ll proceed from here. Maybe making lists of things I’m grateful for is not the way to go for me (quite surprising, given my love of lists in other areas). But as thoughts come to me, I’m trying to be more mindful and aware of the little things that make my life so great.

Today I am thankful for running water. Yesterday, as I was lugging a bucket of water from the bathroom to the kitchen in order to mop, I had the realization that many women the world over carry that much water and more far longer distances than the 15 steps between my two rooms every day in order to allow their families to survive. That water, too, is likely unsanitized and has to provide for cooking, drinking, and any number of other things. I drink a LOT of water, and it’s no small thing that I can simply turn a faucet and have drinkable water. Sometimes I complain about the taste of tapwater in different places but jeez….I shouldn’t take that for granted. And for that I am thankful.

What does gratitude look like for you? How do you cultivate and celebrate thankfulness?


Laura Lindeman

Laura Lindeman