I am thankful Thanksgiving Tree

My heart overflows with thanksgiving today…for so many reasons…so it was fitting to make a Thankful Tree—which is our family’s tradition to do every year. Last year, we painted our tree on kraft paper so it could be displayed and then thrown away later. You can see it here. I bought a little die cut last here at Hobby Lobby that is shaped like little leaves. Each day my little ones each write ONE thing they are thankful for–and it goes on the Thankful Tree. It is SO MUCH FUN to read them all at the end of the month. I’ll never forget one of Laney’s from last year. She was 3 years old and said she was thankful for “mermaid shout”. When I asked her what that was–she said it is when a mermaid is scared–all she has to do is shout. OF COURSE that is what that is!!! And–she was thankful!

THIS year we are SO thankful to have 4 children…and oh my–it’s already November and we haven’t even put up our traditional painted tree yet. To be honest, I was thinking–if I’m busy NOW…I can only imagine how busy I’ll be in years to come…so I MIGHT need a “recycable tree”…so THIS year–I painted our tree on canvas. This one can be used year after year…or at least for the years we are too crazy to pull out the kraft paper and paint a new one!

I bought canvas at an art store a few years ago when it was on sale–I cut it the length and width I wanted and then cut the roll it came on to help support it at the top and weigh it down on the bottom.

I stitched a seem across the ends of both the top and bottom so I could slide the roll into both…

Then, I slid a ribbon through the top one which helps hang it later…

It’s a canvas ready to be painted:)

I just used a pen to draw my tree before I painted (a normal person would use a pencil…but you can’t find practical stuff like that around here when you need it!)

Then I painted in the lines…for the most part:). (a normal person would also go buy brown paint. BUT I was out…and Parker man wasn’t feeling good today so we were parking here all day. SO…I googled “what colors make brown”…yes I didn’t know…and just in case you didn’t either–it’s Yellow + Blue + Red…or Green + Red…or Yello + Purple…or Orange + Blue. I ran out of yellow, too, by the way…and I googled “how to make yellow” and apparently I’m not that bright b/c yellow is a primary color and you can’t make it…and that’s when I thought to mix orange with blue:). Anyway…here’s the painting in action…and don’t ya think mixing paint to make brown made the tree look cooler anyway b/c you can see some of the different hues? Just sayin’…some times when things require more work…it actually makes it more beautiful in the end:). I think there might be an analogy there;-)

After we finished the tree, we made turkey HANDPRINTS!!! SO FUN! We did the different colors in steps though and had to wait for each color to dry!

Just in case you wanted to know–Isaac DOES NOT LIKE making handprints. Note to self–keep this in mind for future craft projects…but the finished product was worth it…RIGHT Isaac?! Maybe he’ll thank me later?

NOW…we just have to die cut all of our leaves tomorrow…stick them in our “thanksgiving jar” that Mama Judy gave us last year…and the fun can begin!!! The kids look forward to this EVERY day…and it’s so sweet to watch thankfulness cultivate in their hearts!!! I love that some of the stems look like crosses…a reminder of what we are most thankful for.

Today I’m thankful for…

…although Parker wasn’t feeling well—we live in a country where I can take him to the doctor in the morning. We’ll have to cancel Isaac’s PT–but we’ll have a work out another day…praying Parker feels better soon…and thankful we have a Great Physician that heals…

…thankful that Isaac is home…and that although we are still figuring one another out–we’re getting there—I am thankful when I say, “Momma wants a kiss, kiss” that he leans his forehead toward me and giggles so I can kiss his little forhead…I’m so thankful he is getting better and being healed in so many way…so thankful for little and big things in his life…

I’m thankful that we celebrated another year of Frank’s life yesterday…although I’m sad to see him turn 2…I am thankful he is in good health…and that the biggest issues he has are eczema and his attitude…oh what a reason to be thankful!

…so thankful for Laney’s heart and the bond that we have as the girls of the house…YET–she continues to pray for a sister from Africa…you have to love her compassinate heart…oh this momma is thankful…

I am so thankful that I am married to a patient man…who puts up with my craziness…who is quick to forgive, slow to speak and slow to become angry…thankful for his silliness…and thankful that he also thinks life is too short and following God with abandon is the way to rock this place!

So many reasons to be thankful. What are you thankful for today??? How is God blessing you??? How do you see His hand EVEN in the midst of hardship?

A PRECIOUS sister in Christ reminded me tonight–HE KNOWS THE END OF YOUR STORY. Did you hear that??? In the midst of whatever hard thing you are going through–HE knows the end…because HE planned it!!! It will bring Him glory…He can be trusted…and IT WILL BE WORTH IT! Aren’t you THANKFUL we serve a God who knows the END of OUR stories…He knows the END of our trials and their purposes!!! And in Him…it is all finished—because if He can use us to receive praise and glory…it WILL be worth it…and in the end you will come out dancing!!! Psalm 30:11 “You turned my wailing into dancing, you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with JOY.”

Really…there is so much to be thankful for…and I’m bursting to share some of the goodness with you…but I’ll say this–if you are planning on coming to the adoption momma retreat…get ready. I’m excited about what GOD wants to do there!!! And once again–I see Him working as we plan the details—and I am just just amazed and THANKFUL!

Hope you all have a great week. I’ll probably be MIA for most of it with a little one down and out. And by the way…if you wonder how I pulled the tree off today among other things…I should have totally taken a picture of the sink and laundry;). Some times you just need a break from the chores and to have a little fun:).

Andrea:)

What are you thankful for today??? Take a minute…think of just one thing…leave it in the comments!!! After you do…you just might see how contagious reflecting on what you are thankful for and why we are all about this activity as a family year after year!SOOOO…go head…think about it–and let me know! I can’t wait to read later what YOU are thankful for most today!!!

November 3, 2010 - 1:31 am

Bonnie Nieuwstraten - Tonight, I am thankful that HIS mercies are new every morning and for HIS grace. As a homeschooling mom with an emotionally fragile toddler, some days are hard and this was one of them. But tonight, as I reflect on my day, I am not walking in condemnation. I am walking in His grace, and knowing that tomorrow is a new day with new promise….and feeling very thankful. And, sort of wishing that I was not so tired and could be creative and make a super cute ‘thankful tree!’ Thanks for sharing that!!

November 3, 2010 - 7:00 am

Makenzie - What a cute idea! I love the tree. Today I’m thankful for all the encouraging friends I’ve met in the adoption community!

November 3, 2010 - 7:04 am

Larisa Maibach - I am thankful for so many things, but to choose just one – it would have to be Jesus Christ and His unfailing love.

November 3, 2010 - 7:20 am

Christy - Oh how cute!!! I just may have to copy this if it’s ok. ;) Right now we are clipping up leaves each day with tiny clothespins to a ribbon going across my drapes. This is way nicer! :) I am thankful for YOU and others who are so real and honest in sharing the emotional ups and downs of following Christ and reminding everyone that it is worth it all and brings joy unspeakable! THANK YOU!

November 3, 2010 - 7:28 am

Heather Kelley - Awesome idea! We might have do this every day of the year. I am so thankful that God has been showing me that He is totally involved in every single detail of our lives. I am at peace more now that I have realized that.

November 3, 2010 - 7:33 am

SleepyMom - I am thankful that despite all my stressing and worrying about sending my firstborn to kindergarten, she loves it. She wishes it was 7 days a week. And today, she gets to try riding the bus for the first time. I was thinking of changing my mind but when I opened her door this morning she said, “Today’s the day I get to ride the bus!” I’m thankful for her joy and boldness in the face of my mommy worry.

November 3, 2010 - 8:08 am

Erin Crenshaw - Andrea, this is AWESOME!!! We have done one in the past, too, but not this awesome!! :) Thank you for encouraging me to get it back out! I kinda forgot! :)

November 3, 2010 - 8:10 am

Erin Crenshaw - Oh…and I am thankful for refinement…I know that sounds crazy, but that is what the Lord has laid on my heart today. …that God loves me so much to not let me stay where I am…and He is faithful! It is my tendency to feel insecure in refining things (like I don’t “measure up”…ha! as if I ever could!), but today, I am THANKFUL. Change me, Lord! (Heb. 12:5)

November 3, 2010 - 8:47 am

Jenny - Seriously, you and your crafty-ness! :) Love the tree! And it’s a good thing you don’t live too close or I’d be convincing you to make one of those for me. What a precious keepsake for your family! I am thankful for you and the ways your blog reaches so many and brings Him glory. And I’m continually thankful for the ways God brings Himself glory through circumstances in my life that I would have never humanly chosen, but have refined me in more ways than I can count!

November 3, 2010 - 9:22 am

Tara - I’m thankful that my nephew survived emergency surgery last week, and is healing!

November 3, 2010 - 9:40 am

Abby - I am thankful I am a child of the King… AND for people like you who inspire me to be crafty:)

November 3, 2010 - 9:47 am

Sara - Stealing this great idea!

November 3, 2010 - 10:05 am

ellen - I love this idea – I had seen in on your list of crafts from last year (just in the past week or so) and thought it truly rocks. Even though my son is only two, I think I will start this attitude of gratitude around our house.

I am thankful for an awesome adoption community where ideas are shared.

November 3, 2010 - 10:12 am

Lara - I am thankful for THIS post today because it really lifted my spirit! On another note, I would love to have a version of this craft for the non-crafty moms out there….Maybe one that didn’t require drawing and painting a tree!

November 3, 2010 - 10:43 am

april - i love this post, i love that you reminded us that He knows the end of our stories and I LOVE LOVE LOVE that tree!

I am thankful for Isaac (my Isaac) being in our family and being our son and all glory goes to God for that. I look forward to our first thanksgiving and Christmas together as a family of three!

November 3, 2010 - 1:38 pm

Rachel Campbell - Love this!! So thankful for great friends with great ideas:)

November 3, 2010 - 2:53 pm

Stacey - Thanks so much for sharing this. My kids are 2 1/2 and 1 and I’m looking for things like this to help make this time of year more meaningful for them as they grow! I’m heading to the craft store this afternoon so we can make our own thankful tree! I can’t wait!

November 3, 2010 - 2:55 pm

Alison - I am thankful that this month marks the one year anniversary of God calling us me to adoption!! And I am thankful that there are super creative, cragty mommas out there that can give the rest of us good ideas! :)

November 3, 2010 - 2:56 pm

Alison - And I am thankful that I just looked back at that comment and realized I mispelled “crafty!” :)

November 3, 2010 - 3:19 pm

Kimberly McGuire - I am thankful for this family of faith. Even though I don’t know you and may never meet you on this side of Heaven, I have benefited from your writings. I appreciate your willingness to be real and teachable – in that, you teach all of us!

November 3, 2010 - 3:33 pm

Deborah L. King - I’m thankful for your blog. You are such an inspiration, not to mention great crafty ideas. I hope you don’t mind if I copy your thankful tree idea.

November 3, 2010 - 5:34 pm

admin - P.S.
LARA—for a non-crafty tree—think about collecting sticks and putting them in a vase!!! Just like the Lent Tree I did in March! You tie little pieces of string in punched holes from each of your leaves and hang them all over the sticks on your stick arrangement!!!

AND OF COURSE copy away the rest of you!!! This is SUCH a sweet tradition!!! I caught myself saying to my kids, “Ok guys–only 1 leave today…no, only pick ONE…” And then some days they’d beg for THREE..and they’d keep on going after 3 and I’d say “Okay, okay…that’s enough being thankful!” Seriously—isn’t that something crazy to say to your kids!!! This activity is so cool like that!!!!

November 3, 2010 - 6:31 pm

Staci - I’m thankful that i just saw your post sharing a non-crafty alternative for those of us who would need a week to pull off something as creative as your painted tree! :) Definitely going to do the sticks in a vase with paper leaves. Thanks for sharing your heart and encouraging others through your blog… I always enjoy your posts!

November 3, 2010 - 7:10 pm

Billie Hobbs - I am thankful for my only sibling, my sister, who came through hip replacement surgery yesterday with no complications. It was pretty amazing to feel God’s presence with her. I am also thankful that God will also be holding my hand as I experience the same surgery in a couple of weeks.

November 3, 2010 - 7:36 pm

keely - GREAT idea… we are going to make one too… went to the store today with the boys and found silk leaves to uses instead but couldnt bring myself to buy the canvas this year (but ill be keeping an eye out for a sale). off to trace my tree and paint it while the boys are sleeping! so excited! cant wait to see yalls finished product and ours.

so thankful for you :-)

November 3, 2010 - 8:52 pm

melissa - I like this tree! This might be something I can do to pass the time. Great idea!

November 3, 2010 - 10:13 pm

Jennifer - I am thankful our son has been home with us for 8 weeks now! We are blessed. I am thankful God knows our whole story and has since the beginning of time. Praise the Lord.

November 3, 2010 - 10:35 pm

Jennifer - I am so thankful that our Abby is finally home from India to celebrate Thanksgiving with her FAMILY this year!!!!

November 4, 2010 - 12:43 am

Andrea - I am thankful too for a wonderful hubby who has the same passion to follow God just as I do!! So very thankful for finding the right agency that has not only been a blessing but so have those using AGCI!!!

November 4, 2010 - 8:20 am

Tisha Alexander - I have so much to be thankful for!! I am thankful for my wonderful husband and five great kids. I love the fact that I get to share life with them!

November 4, 2010 - 1:31 pm

natali - I am sooo thankful that God didn’t give up on me! :)

November 5, 2010 - 1:53 am

karen halbert - I am thankful for inspiring friends like you! We painted our own version of a thankful tree tonight and the whole family put on their first leaves. Thank YOU, Andrea, for this amazing gift!

November 5, 2010 - 3:20 pm

at home « Katy Southern Photography Blog - [...] gotten pretty crafty too. I love this Thanksgiving tree- I saw it here on a favorite blog and made our own version this morning.¬†Each day we will write what we are [...]

December 10, 2011 - 11:41 pm

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November 12, 2012 - 9:50 am

Our Thankful Tree and a Sneak Peek at our Christmas Eve Spiritual Gifts…shhhhh « Longing for Africa - [...] go around and say what we are thankful for and write it on the paper. Last year, I was inspired by this post to make a thankful tree on canvas that we can use every year and then we can keep our leaves from [...]

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