(Leafy) Attitudes of Gratitude

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder… When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.”  G.K. Chesterton

The trees here have sputtered out fall colors the last two months but this week they are at their peak, leaving this tree groupie gasping with awe. It’s been hard not driving off the road with forests of yellows, rust oranges and the brightest reds I’ve ever seen.

With God’s heavenly paintbrushes so busy around us (and within us), the leaves are a vibrant reminder to give thanks.

This week American families and friends will gather on Thursday to offer thanks (and eat lots of yummy food.) Sometimes it’s easy to be thankful for bright things in our lives that stand out (like red leaves pictured above.) We can also be thankful for constants in our lives, like fir trees that stay green through the bleakest winter months.

But, maybe things are difficult right now and we feel like crushed leaves on the pavement of life, especially if untoward snowy setbacks have ambushed our plans.

It may take a bit of doing to be grateful.

Whatever our circumstances, Thanksgiving is a time to pause and be grateful.

But why be thankful just one day of the year? An attitude of gratitude goes a long way when life is hard. Perhaps because it’s difficult, we can appreciate the good things in our lives even more.

(We might be crushed and grounded, but how ‘bout that pavement? Isn’t it firm?)

My (in-pain-24/7) bedfast quadriplegic papa woke up every morning giving thanks. Papa couldn’t move anything (even to wipe his nose) but he always said, “My blessings outweigh my challenges.” Every morning he would count his blessings one by one, then ask God for help and strength to face his challenges.

Taking a lesson from my papa’s life, why not pause for a minute or two each morning to give thanks – not just for beautiful leaves and trees, but for God’s love that sustains us with vibrant grace from Above. As fall leaves remind us, there’s joy to be found even in our pain and challenges (those leaves are dying.)

“It’s one thing to be grateful. It’s another to give thanks. Gratitude is what you feel. Thanksgiving is what you do.”  Tim Keller

A blessed Thanksgiving to everyone celebrating the holiday this week, and blessings of gratitude to everyone else around the world.

grace, peace & attitudes of gratitude

Virginia  : )

p.s. Virginia will be (mostly) offline this week…

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19 Responses to (Leafy) Attitudes of Gratitude

  1. TMH says:

    Thanks for the warm thoughts, beautiful photos, and effective metaphors, V!

    • Virginia says:

      Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving, Tim. We had a big celebration with all five of my siblings in town (doesn’t happen too often) – a blessed time with lots of fun fellowship. Now all our trees have changed into winter garments. Sigh. Huge hugs!! 🙂

  2. Dewin Nefol says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Virginia! 😀

    From one tree-groupie to another, thank you for adding a splash of colour to an otherwise washed-out U.K November dulled beneath lowering skies.

    Have a wonderful week! 😀


    • janesig says:

      Another tree groupie here echoing your thanks. We need some new colours in our palette to brighten up our dull November. Thanks Virginia, and have a peaceful week offline.

    • Virginia says:

      Thanks Dewin – we had a wonderful Thanksgiving with a few trees still peaking color, but now, alas, it’s mostly brown leaves (piles of them) all over the ground. Hope you are doing well coping with the dull starkness that comes with the onset of December and winter. Sometimes there’s a beauty to the starkness and silence of snow falling and gray clouds looming about everywhere. December blessings !! Virginia 🙂

      • Dewin Nefol says:

        So pleased to hear Thanksgiving was enjoyed by one and all Virginia…I hope your sweet tooth was suitably sated 😀

        Thank you for asking, all is well. December has been leaden grey thus far, and busy, but today there is some warmth from a watery sun. I’m still hopeful of snow at Christmas, but it is probably a long shot. Maybe next year.

        Hoping all is well with you. Enjoy the latter part of your week. Take care,


      • Virginia says:

        Blessings, DN — hope that things are well with you. We are getting ready for Christmas (although I must stop eating sweets for a bit, as there have been too many opportunities at holiday parties for my sweet tooth to go overboard!) Hope the sun will shine there, and if not, that you enjoy extra doses of HOT CHOCOLATE!! 🙂

      • Dewin Nefol says:

        😀 Thank you Virginia 😀 Christmas should give you plenty of opportunity to nibble at both sweet and savoury goodies so that balance can be achieved.

        Your wonderful Hot Choccy recipe will remain in full flow for the duration of the festive season! ::D I’ve sourced some expensive ingredients with intention of presenting a hot chocolate gift-box to a family member as a small gift. I’ve no doubt it will go down well.

        A little more sunshine this week than last, but temperatures are still dropping. As such I shall weather the weather whatever the weather and focus on Spring next year. The older I get the less I enjoy the cold and damp, but yet, snow on Christmas Eve would be a delight! 😀

        Enjoy a wonderful week. Take care,



      • Virginia says:

        Happy Christmas to you & your family, Dewin!! 🌟💜🌟🎄🌟☕️🌟🍫

      • Dewin Nefol says:

        And a very Merry Christmas to you and yours Virginia! 😀

        Love, Peace, and Happiness,


  3. Michelle says:

    I love the lesson from your Papa!! There are days when I just don’t feel motivated to do anything, but hearing words like that from someone who can’t do anything is so inspiring. Wishing you and your family a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!

    • Virginia says:

      Michelle, my papa inspired so many people (myself included) with his attitude of gratitude through so many years of his quadriplegia. We can imagine him now running in Heaven, pain-free for all eternity, along with our precious mama. Hope that you had a blessed Thanksgiving! All five of my siblings gathered (doesn’t happen that often) – a blessing of fun fellowship & fabulous food. December blessings as you prepare for Christmas. Hugs! Virginia 🙂

  4. Love your clicks! And yes, the pavement is very firm 💜

    • Virginia says:

      Thank you. Isn’t it grand how firm the pavement is? I have fallen many times (fracturing my ankle, dislocated my knee etc) but always grateful it wasn’t worse! Blessings – Virginia 🙂

  5. arlene says:

    They are so lovely Virginia. Happy Thanksgiving to you 🙂

    • Virginia says:

      Thank you, Arlene. My five siblings gathered here in Williamsburg for Thanksgiving, something that doesn’t happen so often. We had a blessed time of fun fellowship, fabulous food and gratitude. Big hugs to you (& glad you are okay after that typhoon!) 🙂

  6. This is a wonderful post reminding us of the importance of giving thanks for the little things also. Your papa is inspirational. His mindset and outlook of life is admirable and a lesson to learn.
    Happy thanksgiving to you and yours. Hope you had a blessed and lovely one.

    • Virginia says:

      Hey Sunshine – hope that your Thanksgiving grooves continue into this “almost-Christmas” week of preparation. My father was (and is still in our hearts) deeply inspirational the way he started each day with an attitude of gratitude – how we miss him and our precious mama, especially at the holidays. But the legacy of their love lives on in our hearts and memories (& we are glad that they are now pain-free for all eternity in the Presence of Jesus!) Big hugs – VA 🙂

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