Each and every year, we as a family try to take the entire month of November to show and share our gratefulness and thankfulness to those around us.

This year, I added a blessings jar on our piano for each person to write down and count their blessings. At the end of November, I will read them out loud to everyone in our family.

This got me thinking quite a bit. Why is it that we spend November sharing, showing and counting our blessings, thankfulness and gratefulness? Why do we make it a big deal only in the month of November?

Now, I am not against this idea. I do think that setting aside a special time to devote to ideas like this is special and needs to be done, but why not spill that over to every month of the year?

We just celebrated Veterans Day, a time in which we set aside one day a year to show honor, pay respects and thank those brave men and women who have fought so valiantly for our county. This is a good thing, but we should also be showing our love, honor and respect all of the time. Each time we see, hear or notice a veteran. Early on in our family, we made the decision to show these signs of gratitude towards veterans and taught each our children to do so as they grew.

Moving on to showing thankfulness and gratitude to everyone all of the time is quite a struggle; not that we are not already grateful or thankful but because so much of what we do is a routine. We don’t stop and think about it.

Have you ever hear that saying “practice makes perfect?” Well, nobody is perfect, but when you practice something long enough eventually it’ll stick and become routine. The tricky part is doing it from the heart. Make it meaningful. Use some kind of reminder or reset button to stop each and every day and realize just how thankful you are.

For example, we live in America, one of the greatest countries on earth. We have so many freedoms that others don’t get to experience.

For myself, I have a wonderful home that has heat and air conditioning, I have a good running vehicle, food in my kitchen and much more. Anytime I need to run to the store and grab something, I don’t have to worry about if I have enough money in my bank account. I have the ability to walk, talk, see, hear, smell, read, write, I still am a very flexible and physically active human. I have a phone that can Facetime clear across the world, a laptop to send messages at the click of a button. My list can go on forever.

I am completely and totally blessed. I am completely and totally thankful for every single thing that I own. I am completely and totally grateful for those who’ve provided for me, God, my husband, my parents, my children, my neighbors, my family and myself.

One of the best ways I have been able to teach my children to be thankful is by sitting them down to write out all of the things that they have. They take just a moment to stop and think about all of the positives in their life. Sometimes they start with the simple fact that they’re alive.

What are you thankful for? What are you grateful for? What are your blessings? Take a moment before the month of November is over and answer these questions. Then ask yourself if you’re showing and sharing your thankfulness and gratefulness and be a blessing to others all year.

Kate Windsor is a Sutherlin resident and mother of six kids ranging in age from 11-18. Kate recently graduated from Eastern Oregon University with a Bachelor of Arts.

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