Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Thanksgiving Table and the Art of Gratitude

The Thanksgiving Table has special significance for our family this year. We have been on a journey of "less"..... deep down it is a journey of gratitude. We said goodbye to our dear old big house eight weeks ago in pursuit of our belief that less is more; less possessions and more relationship. Less clutter. More beauty.

It's been a journey filled with exhilarating unknowns. And as the dust settles what rises from deep within me is the belief that home is with the people I love. Wherever that may be. And gratitude has emerged.

It's making the most of what you have. Seeing...... really seeing the worth of what you do possess. Right now we are living in a gloriously small train depot built in the late 1800's being rented to us by sweet friends who saw our need. It's not exactly beautiful by my standards yet (I am starting on the bedroom walls.....I found shiplap under the plywood walls....wow!), but it keeps my family warm and sheltered.

Step outside this little house's door and you will be captivated by the landscape around you on this 170 acre farmland. So this Thanksgiving we are celebrating the land around us to create our Thanksgiving table. 

Our most basic possessions are all we are living with at the moment..... a vintage space saving folding table, sturdy proven chairs, basic plates and glassware. Simple pears picked up at the local market are the bright easy pop of color I needed. The only other addition is seeded eucalyptus I bought here in Three Forks at my favorite local florist "Wildflower Designs." And the landscape around us sings. It is good.

The invitation to the Thanksgiving Table is about kinship, good food that nourishes us, beauty to feast on, but mostly it is about a spirit of gratitude. This spirit can be cultivated long before family and friends sit down to your table. To create an atmosphere of gratitude you must first begin in your own heart.

1. Slow down and choose space.
Take control of the clutter in our homes but also in our time and schedule. Say no to the idea that busy-ness equals worth and value. 

2. Give yourself permission to fully enjoy the things you enjoy.
Make a list of these things daily....small and big. Take time to notice the things that delight you. These things are part of what makes you who you are..... each unique to your original design. 

3. Resign from trying to keep up with the people around you.
Live well AND within your means. Decide to live with only the things YOU love.....not the things the world around you values. This makes your home a unique reflection of you. Save for the things you love that bring quality and dignity to your life.

4. Choose to see what you do have and make the very best of it.
It may surprise you.....(the shiplap I just found under my walls and ceilings). This doesn't, however, mean living with things you find ugly or useless. Get rid of the things that are excess baggage but give yourself grace in the journey of restoring beauty to your surroundings. It doesn't happen over night.

5. Gratitude means using your best everyday.
You allow yourself the chance to be thankful for things when you use it, touch it, and let it become a part of your life. It becomes valuable to you as you use it each day. 

Blessings to you and your family as you sit around your Thanksgiving table this year. 


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  1. What a wonderful post to greet me this morning.

    We downsized 18 years ago and have never regretted it. We can't have anything out of place because in our little cottage, one thing extra or in the wrong place feels crowded. But, we have accumulated over the years and are once again on a purging spree.

    I would change your #3 to Live Below Your Means. We always lived below our means which means now that in retirement we have no need to work. Although, Steve continues his career as an artist and takes on commissions now and then. Selling is slower because he no longer promotes himself, but people seem to drop by to purchase something.

    This year we made a family decision to change our holidays. We decided that there would be absolutely no gifts. Instead, we would all go on vacation together. That isn't so unusual at Christmas for us, but the no gifts is. We decided that with the busy lives of our children, the greatest gift we can give one another is time and memories. I can't describe how liberating this is. I am enjoying November thoroughly by creating rather than standing in lines at stores to purchase things no one really needs.

    Have a lovely Thanksgiving in that gorgeously simple setting.

  2. Absolutely lovely. In all the ways that matter most ...

  3. Candace, I have always appreciated your heart, wisdom, and insight. You are inspiring and I wish I still lived down the street from you! I pray your family is blessed during this Thanksgiving season!

  4. love every bit of this post, your photos are stunning and your outlook akin to my own ... your words are simple and straightforward yet gentle and sweet. best of luck settling into you new beautiful surroundings!

  5. what a big step to take. I used to live in Bozeman and love seeing the photos of this landscape. so beautiful.


  6. I love everything about this! Your take on life is beautiful!

  7. Lovely...in every way. Thanksgiving Blessings to you.

  8. Lovely...in every way. Thanksgiving Blessings to you.

  9. I want to say how much this post moved me. In a major way. I have always considered myself a minimalist - but this - I have been inspired even more to continue on this journey. Thank you for sharing - I hope to read more of your words!