Traditions of Gratitude

thanksgiving pumpkins, togetherness, family saying grace, turning off electronics for a day, brother's jokes, count your blessings, secret of life,I try to live gratefully every day. It’s an active process, one that takes regular reminding and effort, but it’s gratitude, I believe, that is the key to happiness. My whole life, my grandmother’s mantra was, “Count your blessings,” she embodied this philosophy and truly lived with gratitude.

As Thanksgiving approaches, (can you even believe it’s in only one week?!) I have invited several bloggers to share their thoughts and family traditions for this holiday which celebrates this very philosophy of being grateful. I welcome your comments, too, please share your family’s favorite Thanksgiving rituals. Traditions and rituals connect us, they provide a comforting pattern to our lives, and give us a sense of belonging.

When I think of Thanksgiving, it feels warm, it smells wholesome, it wraps me in love and contentment. Thanksgiving is family, it’s togetherness, it’s kids’ tables, laughter, football on TV and board games at the table once the crumbs are cleared. Thanksgiving is my brother’s jokes, feet up on the coffee table, nephews running into a grandpa’s arms, kids giggle in the next room and under foot. It’s cousins playing, it’s enjoying being together and sharing time and space.

Other daily tasks are forgotten, readily and willingly put aside for the special day. One day in the middle of rushed and hurried lives when we are disconnected through the wires and connected in person. We hug, carry kids on hips, tickle little toes, elbow a brother. We are present. We give full attention and focus to the people around us. circle of apples, fall apples, nephews running to grandpa, spending time with family, family games, cousins get together, kid's table at Thanksgiving,

We always begin the afternoon meal with grace, a prayer of gratitude. We remember our troops, their families and their sacrifices, while we sit safely and free by a warm fire. We remember the loved ones no longer with us, we appreciate each other and our time relaxing together. We give thanks.

I carry that giving thanks into my day-to-day life. I am grateful for where I am, who I am and whose I am. I aim to live gratefully every day, it’s a work in progress, it’s a conscious choice and a deliberate effort. Gratitude is a gift of peace and happiness to myself, and by extrapolation, to my family and those around me.

If I can be grateful for where I am in this exact moment, at this place in my life, if I can be thankful for the love around me right now, well, then I believe I’ve found the secret to life.

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3 Responses to Traditions of Gratitude

  1. Danielle Salisbury says:

    Leah I love how you bring the best moments forward to the surface, and you are right; we need to appreciate those memories with deep gratitude. I mentioned to you that I keep binders for everything – and I found my Thanksgiving notes from last year when I asked my family what they enjoyed most about Thanksgiving…and the answers were pretty funny. Most of it revolved around food (I like Aunt Pat’s marshmallow yams, must have turkey with gravy, etc.) or my little one saying he enjoys the time playing Wii with his older cousin. Memories play such a big role – one of my favorites is the Macy’s parade. Not because I really love the parade, but because I remember how much my Grandmother loved to watch it with me, so when I watch it now with my kids I feel like she’s with me.

    On the other hand, to balance out the idyllic picture we like to paint, Thanksgiving is traditionally at my sisters house which is old, and gets a little bit older every time I bring my boisterous family to visit. I often tease her and say that her house is like a movie set with fake walls because inevitably, every year, something major breaks. I can’t remember a holiday at her house without a major fiasco, which of course we laugh about it now.

    Thanks for reminding us to be grateful for the good times and how very blessed we are! Happy Thanksgiving!

    • ldecesare says:

      Happy Thanksgiving, Danielle! Hope there are no major catastrophe’s this year! I’m looking forward to your post about your binders!

  2. […] gratitude is the key to happiness and while it’s an active, conscious process, I work hard to count my blessings all day long, every […]

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