Please read this story even though it is lengthy.
When my family first moved away from an area that we loved for many years to a completely new place, we felt very lonely and homesick.
We met a woman who had recently moved to the states from India. She mentioned a lovely idea. A woman she met in India used to tie ribbons on a tree in her front yard to signify her blessings.
I decided to do this with my children for the entire month of November. Yes there was much grumbling, but we were all very grouchy so it just added to the mood. There was a tree by the side of our driveway and every day I climbed on a ladder and tied ribbons on the tree with thankful words scribbled on the ribbons from the children, my husband and myself. Our new elderly neighbors often came outside whispering to each other or commented on what I was doing. The older gentleman in particular would stand by his garage and glare at me as I did this. It did not make me feel very accepted by my neighbors. But at this point I did not care. I was trying so hard to make our family feel better by having a visual symbol of gratitude to change our forlorn moods. As Thanksgiving approached the tree began to look very pretty with all the colored ribbons on it along with the beautiful changing leaves. It started to make us change a bit ourselves. To slowly feel that we were going to be alright. That we had each other.
When the Thanksgiving holiday approached the elderly woman next door came out while I was way up high on the ladder trying to find new places to add ribbon. She asked me about the tree. I told her all about it. Then she asked me how much longer I would be doing this. I came down from the ladder and said, until the end of November, why? She said that what I was doing was such a nice idea but her husband wanted me to know that the tree I had loaded up with ribbons was on their property and it was their tree!! I HAD BEEN TRESPASSING! I was embarrassed beyond words. Welcome to the new neighborhood!
Since then we have done the Thanksgiving tree for many seasons. We shared a small one with a family who lost their teen age son and it was the beginning of the healing process with this family as they slowly began to add grateful memories of this soul.
This photo was last years tree but later on in the spring with the ribbons still on but faded. When we drive up to the house all season it reminds us of our sweet blessings and the family we shared our tree with. I hope you will start a new tradition with a Thanksgiving Tree. But beware, don’t use your neighbors tree…unless they give you permission!
Several years ago I received a letter from my daughter.
It was special because it wasn’t an ordinary letter.
She wrote 20 things
she was thankful for about me in bullet points.
The letter has been re-read often and cherished.
a thoughtful letter
listing 20 things
you are thankful for
It is a wonderful way
to tell someone
they are special
Feelings of gratitude release positive endorphins throughout the body, creating health –Sharon Hufman
Doctors, Nurses, Patients, Valet hospital people, blood labs, etc. all love to be thanked.
And deservedly so. When someone helps with your healing you want to thank anyone who helped!
Here is a fun way.
Graffiti Gratitude Poster:
1. poster board or large sheet of paper
There is a wall somewhere in your doctors office, the infusion room, the lab, the radiation room, the hospital that you could tack this up on with a marker tied on a string taped next to it but you will have to be assertive and daring.
Write “We are Thankful for YOU because…
Allow patients who walk in to write on the “graffiti wall” their own personal sentiments of gratitude. (You may have to write a note on it to “please add your thoughts,” or start it up while others are around…)
If you are too nervous stick it behind the door when you get examined…no one will know except all the other patients who are sitting in there waiting their turn at their time.
You can do one at your own at home for any or all of these people and bring it next time you go, but post it where many can see. Fill it with all the things you never were thankful for when you first found out about cancer but now are very grateful for because you are alive!
MY SURGEON KEEPS HERS IN HER WAITING ROOM ALL YEAR LONG AND LOVES IT!
You cannot be grateful and unhappy at the same time. Gratitude births only positive feelings—love, compassion, joy, and hope. As we focus on what we are thankful for fear, anger, and bitterness simply melt away, seemingly without effort.
and send it
“It isn’t who you are on the outside that I like, it is what you radiate from the inside.”
“Thank you my friend.”