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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Giving Tree : A Best Book

I think gratitude should be a part of every day living.
Being grateful inspires hope and creativity.
Feeling gratitude, deeply, and in the moment makes me feel more alive.
The practice of intentionally finding gratitude for the simplest things can transform my entire day.

Expressing gratitude can be simply saying "thank you."
It can be a tender hug or touch, just because.
It can be a quiet and deep breath to soak in the graciousness and beauty of what surrounds you.
Sometimes and maybe more of the time, as a Mom, it can be sincerely giving when there may be little to give.  Most of the time it requires shifting my perspective so that I can experience the wonder and magic of everyday-ness.

Gratitude is a kind of transcendence, a way of being moved beyond the ordinary by being truly thankful for it. So often having gratitude means an even deeper look at the very purest love that makes my life so worth living.

Our best book for this month is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.

It's a classic. A must read (if you haven't read it already).
And it feels like the perfect story as we embark on this year's holiday season.

It's about a little boy and a tree.
The little boy loves the tree and takes and takes from the tree to fulfill his own desires.
The tree loves the boy and gives and gives and gives to fulfill the boys desires in hopes that he will always return to her.
It's about giving and taking, growing older, friendship, love... you know, all the juiciness of life.

Babe-O has loved this book for over a year now. He asks for it at night on and off but it makes consistent appearances. His favorite part is when the tree calls herself an old stump. This phrase has even made it into our daily lexicon, as in "I just feel like an old stump" or I am too tired to move.

To bring this book to life, we gathered some branches and brought them inside. We arranged them in our wooden vase - the old stump - and decorated them with paper leaves and apples. I helped each child in our family write an apple or leaf card to each of their family members. Diet Coke Papa and I wrote ours too.  Each card contains responses to some of these starter phrases: something I love about you, something I want to do with you, something I thank you for, and/or something I hope you will always give me. We dedicated a night for the next five nights to each family member. On their night, I made a food that they really love and we read them their cards. After their cards were read they got to put them up in their rooms. When all the cards were off the branches, we used them for kindling in our fireplace (along with an awesome egg carton fire starter that I made and will share here soon), as we drank some apple cider and read The Giving Tree. Because, nothing lasts forever, except for the gratitude we pass on to those we have loved so much.

This project took a bit more prep and work than what I generally do for book projects. But it was so worth it and such a great start to the gift giving season. What better gift is there than love and thanks?

A little extra bonus resource: If you click on this link you will find a 50th Anniversary Giving Tree Event Kit to download for free. Inside it is a Giving Tree Maze! Oh, my! Babe-O is going to go berserk for this one.. he is in a maze phase! If you have a maze lover check it out!

Thank YOU for reading and supporting The Best Things.
I feel gratitude daily for having this space to write from my heart. Thank You for meeting me here from time to time. I feel gratitude for the comments, encouragement, and warmth I have received from you. It an amazing feeling to create something that may be useful to others. I hope you will find things here that spark true to you, that offer comfort, connection, and/or something meaningful to you. I wish for continued and strengthened connections between us.

Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!

What are you planning on giving this holiday season?
What is your favorite gift to get? 
Please share your thoughts in the comments below.  

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