It’s November and thus the month when we are focused on being thankful for all sorts of things and people.  I appreciate the thankful focus; I think it’s important to count blessings, tell people that we’re thankful for them, and to live a life of gratitude all year long.  How do you live a life of gratitude?

I’ve gained practices of gratitude in the last years.  I was raised in a family that sent thank you notes and I still try to maintain that practice.  Even more now, I try and send thank you notes for no real reason.  Certainly, snail mail in thanksgiving for a gift or deed of love is excellent.  Recently, I’ve tried to send thank you notes in thanksgiving for people and their roles in my life.  One blogger I follow – Rachel at Number 17 Cherry Tree Lane – initiates a practice of being thankful on paper each November, encouraging people to send snail mail thank yous to important people in one’s life.  To whom would you send thank you notes?  Don’t just think about it either.  Go ahead.  Send one!  There is something powerful and wonderful about words of thanks sent to a person we love on paper.

I’ve added a new practice of gratitude this year.  An intentional way that the pieces of gratitude are front and foremost in my life and in my line of sight as a reminder.  I made a thankful tree.  And in my still nearly empty and overly large parsonage, it’s a great addition to my great room and wonderful conversation piece.  A sample of the things/people for which I am thankful on my tree: a sewing machine; first call ministry colleagues; tv on dvd; random texts from friends; confirmation classes; blogs; twitter conversations with my sister; you.  More are added each day.

What are your practices of gratitude?  How do you share your blessings and thankfulness this time of year and always?  What would you hang on your thankful tree?  Share with us how you live a life of gratitude to God and to those you love.

The photo lacks a certain clarity but there are tags that hang on the branches, each with someone/something for which I am thankful written on it.