Counting Our Blessings and Thanksgiving Songs

IMAG9472

Me and “Golden Sun” at her school feast.

IMAG9475

LOVE this idea from one of the teachers at my school of a “Peace Treaty” for your family or class to sign: “For as long as the moon rises, for as long as the grass grows green, for as long as the rivers flow, we will be friends, we will live in peace.”

  IMAG9474

This November, as we have been counting our blessings at home and at school, it has been such a blessing for me to help the children in my life to focus on an “attitude of gratitude.” And a great reminder for me, as well.

We have enjoyed adding leaves of thanks to our “Blessing Tree” recently. My favorite is the one that Ellie wrote that says “Mommy”. But other leaves read “bars” (teddy bears), “Lololoopsy” (Lalaloopsy, if you know what that is…), teve (TV), books (YES!), friends, school, acorns, home, grandparents, Uncle Jake and Aunt “Saru”, cousins, health, food, and jobs.

Our BLESSING Tree

Our BLESSING Tree: branches that Ellie and I collected on a fall walk, acorns that the kids gathered from yard in the vase, and strewn with leaves from MJ for our fall centerpiece…

Writing the blessings

Writing the blessings

IMAG9399

Ellie w/ her stuffed friends.

IMAG9483

LOVE that there are Pilgrim friends of many colors at MJ’s school!

Ellie at the doctor

Ellie at the doctor: SO thankful for health and good healthcare

IMAG9489

Also love that he is not too cool to have lots of friend girls…hope that lasts.

MJ enjoying the monkey bars after school

MJ enjoying the monkey bars after school. He LOVES school!

IMAG9463

for National Family Volunteer Day at a nursing home

I am SO thankful for the opportunity to give back and spread joy to children and others through my job at pre-school and leading musical outreach projects for Wee Volunteer. Every day I get to PLAY and LOVE!

IMAG9427

We learned a LOT more about the Pilgrims, and took ourselves back in time once again with Jack and Annie, our favorite story-book characters. We got some great perspective on how helpful the pilgrim children were to their community, constantly doing chores: catching clams and fish, washing clothes in the stream, helping to build houses, cooking and cleaning. We’re trying to get inspired!

Front Cover

This book explains the Thanksgiving Legend of the 5 Kernels of Corn that the Colonists put on their plates to represent 5 blessings: food/ autumn harvest, love of God, family, friends, and freedom/ country. It also helped them remember their first harsh winter when they had so little to eat. We like to do the same in our family!

MJ and I snuggled on Saturday morning and read through this great book which taught me a lot of history about the Pilgrims that I never knew….fun to learn together, and to enjoy the art!

It has been a blessing to kneel at the door of my classroom, look into the eyes of each child as they leave, and squeeze their 4 little turkey feather fingers and turkey head thumb while saying, “I…am…thankful…for….you!” Then tickle their tummies and say, “Gobble, Gobble, Gobble!

IMAG9470

IMAG9479

My little Pilgrim boy!

And the children have LOVED acting out the story of “The First Thanksgiving” through music and movement. Thanks to the help of Michael James and Ellie, you can too! Listen to the audio instructions and move along to the fun!

An “Attitude of Gratitude”. Perhaps this is what is missing sometimes in our hurried, often self-centered society. But I believe that children, as usual, show us the way to BE…. To slow down, to play, laugh, and sing. For them, this comes naturally when given the chance. I am thankful to have that chance myself in the next few days – to disconnect from work and deadlines, Christmas rehearsals and endless e-mails. Already this morning, I played in the leaves with my little niece Poppy, and she simply asked for “more”. More of the simple things. More time to look around at the trees, to jump in the leaves, to stand outside as my Ellie-girl did earlier this week catching cold raindrops on her tongue as if catching grace showered from heaven.  Maybe that image itself can encourage us to open our mouths and eyes a little wider – to taste and see that life is GOOD, to look around more and say “thanks” – to one another, to God, to the Universe. Thanks for a new day, thanks for a community that loves and cares for me, thanks for food every day, thanks for the giggle of my little girl, thanks for the forgiveness of my little boy. Thanks for all the helpers who donate cans and coins, for a chance to open doors for neighbors, to let an old lady go in front of you in line at the store. Thanks for another year, another chance to share time and turkey, dreams and dressing, love and laughter. Thanks.

Comments

  1. Melanie says:

    What great ideas. I’m thankful for you!