Friday, November 26, 2010

The Thanksgiving Tree

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday. I’ve included a couple of pictures below of our family gathered together for our meal:

We have a tradition in our family that Thursday evening, after everyone has eaten, we gather in my living room to do the “Thanksgiving tree.” I draw a giant tree and then we cut out fall leaves from construction paper. (The finished product is always interesting since drawing is not at the top of my talent list – in fact, it’s not on my talent list at all. This year, I convinced my sister and her fiancé to do the drawing and the cutting though, so the tree definitely took a step up.) Each person gets about five leaves. Then we go around the room and, one at a time, say something we are thankful for and write it on our leaf. The kids take turns sticking them on the tree. The only rule is that you can’t say something that someone else already said. In other words, if the first person says she is thankful for her family, then nobody else can say that.

We always get a range of responses. Some are serious and heartfelt, while others are creative or just silly. Here are some the things written on our “thankful leaves” this year (each line represents one leaf):
trees, plants, fungi, and the environment
clothes, glasses, and bodies
increased financial stability
wii (this was Taylor of course – see my previous post)
second chances
Central Park
Pumpkin pie

The kids put the leaves wherever they want, which results in an interesting looking tree by the end. Here’s a picture of my children putting their leaves on the Thanksgiving tree.

This year, I have been feeling particularly grateful. For many years, there were two things I wanted more than anything else. First, I wanted another baby. We had three beautiful, wonderful children. But, both George (my husband) and I really felt like there was another little boy out there for us. I get so sick while I’m pregnant (if you’ve read my book, you’ll know a little about that), that it had become apparent that another pregnancy was probably not the right path for us. We began to look into adoption. In October of 2009, our little Christian was born. I was able to be there at the hospital to hold him on his very first day of life. He has brought so much happiness into our family. I am very grateful for him – and for my other children.

The other thing I wanted was to publish a book. In fact, from the time I was five years old, I have wanted to write books. There has never been a day of my life where I didn’t want to be an author. It was a long and winding path, but The Journey Takers was released this summer. It continues to be a long and winding path. However, right before my book came I out, I thought that no matter what happens with it, when I am 80 years old, I will look back on my life and be grateful that this lifelong dream of mine was fulfilled.

So, this year I feel like I really have everything I wanted – at least, everything I wanted that really mattered! I have been blessed.


  1. Thank you for sharing some of your Thanksgiving traditions with us. The Thanksgiving tree is a great idea. Great post!

  2. What a great way to celebrate Thanksgiving - and I like the list of things to be grateful for!

  3. Thank you for sharing a unique and creative way to celebrate Thanksgiving!

  4. The gifts of family and friends and friends who are like family cannot be measured in words but are so appreciated from the heart. Thanks for sharing your traditions.