Friday Favorites: Gratitude & Service Round Up...

This week as we approach Thanksgiving, I have been sharing ways we cultivate grateful hearts in our home.  It's not always easy at our house (especially this time of year) to create an enthusiasm of gratitude when our my bent is to covet more.  

Contentedness is two-fold.  First, it is a gratitude of all we do have and and second understanding the greater need around the world.  Where we live, most families live in a home, have working vehicles, food on their tables and clothes to wear.  It's hard for my kids to see that there is need around them in our community and the world at large.  

Here is a little devotional on gratitude I shared earlier this week as  well as 5 ways we can love others well today.  They are simple but effective.

Now let's get to the roundup to help our hearts to be grateful, thank you to everyone for sharing :)!

Gratitude Lists

My friend Emilie shared this darling project they have hanging next to their dining room table.  They have gratitude pages for each family member and take time at dinner to discuss and record what they are thankful for.  I love that its right next to the table and kids never let us forget to do it :)!  She saves these pages and then they can look back on the things they are thankful for in years past.

I got a little journal at TJ Maxx (they have great journals) and placed it by my bedside table.  Before I go to bed every night, I try to record a few things I am thankful for.  Sometimes its hard to go back and think through the whole day but its also good to review and remember all that DID happen and all the good that DID transpire.  It's also fun to look back over time!  I used to record them on the blog (I did 1000 gifts over a one year period on the blog several years ago).

We go around at bedtime and share what we are thankful for with our kids, I should start adding what they say to my gratitude journal - hold me accountable to this idea ;)!

@Loveandmessiness (Instagram) mentioned they take a poster and take turns writing things they are grateful for all month long.

My friend Karie has a thankful jar and each time they are thankful for something, they write it on a piece of paper and slip it in the thankful jar.  They do it all year long and review it all on New Years Eve.

My friend Lisa posts her gratitude list everyday on Facebook.  It's one of my very favorite Facebook posts everyday.  Her lists inspired my gratitude journal.  She documents the funny, the sweet, the small and the big.  It's an encouraging post when I scroll through my feed!

Blessing Bags 

We have made blessing bags with our small group and tucked them into our car for when we saw someone in need.  Check out all the details here.

Operation Christmas Child  and Adopt A Child

 I shared how we participate in Operation Christmas Child.  It's a family favorite around here.  Check out the post here.  A friend shared that they make shoe boxes just like these for their local women's shelters for women and children upon arrival.  What a great idea Jennifer!

 My PEO Chapter (a women's philanthropic group) adopts 2 families in need in our community at Christmas.  The kids and I love to shop for items and this year the kids we adopted are around the same age as mine so we signed up for hats and mittens as well as a toy for 2 of the kids.

Thank You Notes & Manners

I know this is a given but I sometimes forget that I need to be intentional about modeling and teaching these behaviors to my kids.  They are always watching me :/!

When my kids get a gift, we try to remember (sometimes we forget - sorry to those that we forgot ;) to write thank you notes.  It can be like pulling teeth but I want to cultivate a habit of thankfulness for the gifts they receive.  When they are little, I write them and they sign them. Now my 7 year old has fill in the blank cards.  Dear (Blank), Thank you for (Blank).  I like it because (blank).  Sincerely, (Blank).  

We are always working on saying "Yes please" and "No Thank You" as well saying "Thank you" when someone holds the door open for them or lets them go first.  Teaching them to hold open the door, let others go first, etc.  We are also working on being good winners and losers around here.  My kids hate to lose (who am I kidding, me too!) but it's important to say "good game" and congratulate your opponent.

Other Ideas for Acts of Service

Take cookies to the police and fire station
Leave a thank you note for the sanitation men and women
Send a package to active duty military
Take get well cards to the VA Hospitals
Sing songs and take notes to Retirement and Nursing Homes
Collect unused toys to take to shelters and free collection sites
Collect food for the food pantry
Assemble food bags at Meals from the Heartland
Pick up trash in the park
Fill the little libraries around town with unused books from your bookshelves

Have you seen these in your community?  They are like the little libraries that you fill with books but the little pantry you fill with food!  Anyone can fill or take.  My kids thought these are awesome and wanted to bring food back!

What other ideas do you have to serve with your family?

How do you cultivate gratitude in your home?

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