Gratitude Challenge: The End That Inspires Great Beginnings

Our Gratitude Challenge was an intentional attempt to catch all the tiny drops of rain falling over our lives on a daily basis. We have been counting our blessings one by one and the end of our challenge perfectly aligned with the end of the school year. We have much to celebrate and be thankful for!

So we got together and created a gratitude display of the highlights of this year so far.

E224369E-FA9F-4761-8F70-67CAAB5E2645.jpeg

This was a tangible and creative expression for us as a family. We reflected on our school year and family and found pictures, words and inspiring hymns and quotes. I had picked up some pine planks that someone was getting rid and the ideas sprung from that. I used gift wrapping to modge podge every second plank. And then glued on small clothing pegs to hold the gratitude reflections.

What we ended up with was a display that we can hang up and keep adding to throughout the year.

I am also using the gratitude board to inspire me for preparing for our family learning life in the upcoming school year. We will carry occasionally use the question prompts from our gratitude jar and use it throughout the year.

F64325EA-8756-4FEB-8791-6B3FC41A8C1D

For now our heart is full of gratitude and thanks for all that we are as a family and for the journey that we are on. I am going to put up my feet with some wonderful good reads over the summer, while ensuring that I am making time to rest, reconnect and revive for the new school year.

I am confident that gratitude will continue to inspire us to move wholeheartedly into all the new things ahead of us.

 

Gratitude Challenge Day 13 and 14

We woke up to the sound of rain.
It has been raining here for more than two days.
I love the Rain.
Rain is the sound of comfort, of mercies made new, and the promise of fruitfulness
It is the sigh of relief for all the dry and hard spaces.
Every beautiful season of my life, His rain has  showered faithfully upon my heart
And I am grateful that in every single day, all the longings of my heart are fulfilled by waterfalls of His unfailing love.

rain

Just like the rain that falls and seeps deep into the ground and nurtures it from within, our intentional gratitude during every moment of our lives, softens the ground of our hearts, so that we can truly receive all the gifts and blessings God has given us, and in turn create the best kind of environment for the seeds He is planting in our lives right now. We are continuing with the daily practice ideas that I mentioned in our Gratitude Challenge Day 11 and 12 .

While we do these daily practices, I am prayerful throughout the day, and pointing my kid’s hearts to all the many raindrops of gratitude that we are surrounded by.

 

Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves and spend without fear of bankruptcy.” Fred De Witt Amburgh

 

Gratitude Challenge Day 11 and 12

 

Herbacious

Morning-Time Gratitude

We continue to make entries in our journals. Kids are free to write or draw anything that they are thankful for. Usually when they write simple things like ” I am grateful for my music”, I use this as conversation, and ask questions like ” What do you love about music?”, ” What is your favorite song?”. I notice that two of my kids, the boys, do not always enjoy writing everyday. I encourage pictures, one word gratitudes (which they can elaborate by telling me more). For reluctant writers, here are some ideas for adding variety into the gratitude journaling practice:

  • Draw pictures
  • Cut out magazine clips
  • Use the camera to take a picture
  • Use a one-word gratitude bomb
  • record a voice note
  • do a video interview, siblings taking turns
  • use “guess-it game”, where a person picks an object to represent their gratitude and we guess why they picked it.

Bed-Time Entries and Family-Time Discussions on Gratitude

We created a gratitude jar, by putting gratitude questions on strips of paper that each person had come up with. I opted for questions that we as a family could come up with as a start because I was keen to get us thinking and investing in this challenge and I was curious about what we could come up with.  Each person had to complete the sentence    ” 3 THINGS …..” as gratitude prompts. For the remainder of our gratitude challenge, we will be drawing from our gratitude jar for our bed-time gratitude focus. We have at times written in our journals and other evenings ended our dinner with a discussion from the jar. Simply drawing from our jar has been an easy way to keep us focused on this challenge amidst the busy times.

fullsizeoutput_47e8

Here are some of the prompts we have so far in our Gratitude Jar:

gratitude prompts in threesGratitude Prompts

“Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say: Rejoice!” Phil 4:4

Gratitude Challenge Day 9 and 10

“ As a man thinks in his heart, so is he”    (Proverbs 23:7)

pexels-photo-189449.jpeg

The story of “ The Magic Mask” is a story in which a powerful ruler with a face full of bitterness, later transforms his frowning cruel countenance to one of understanding and love. He does this  with the help of a magic mask which only remains in place when thoughtfulness and gentleness come from within the ruler. He wears a mask to win the love of a beautiful lady, but later frees himself from the mask when he realises that it was his thoughts that shaped his new and true self. This was a beautiful story that sparked so much discussion in our home.

Gratitude changes the countenance of our hearts because gratitude always attracts Truth, Beauty and Goodness.

We are memorizing Philippians 4:18 together, so we engaged the kids in creating their own collages of depictions of whatever is True, Noble,right, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.  

We are all learning that gratitude goes hand in hand with creating the mindset that attracts more truth, beauty and goodness in our lives.

Evening Writing Prompts for Day 9 and 10 really opened up conversation and connection with each child.

  •  3 things I love about my best friend
  •  3 things I love about my school
  •  3 of my favourite games

“A grateful heart is a magnet for Miracles”
~ unknown

Gratitude Challenge Day 7 and 8

We are keeping up with entries in our gratitude journals day and night, while engaging in some family time activities that keep us focused on practicing gratitude. This challenge is not meant to be rigid. I am basically taking it day by day, weaving our natural family rhythms, happenings in the world around us, events that we find relevant and interesting, as well as our unique family interests, in order to create some teachable moments. I don’t want this to be laborious and I am open to my kids giving me ideas along the way as well.

I am grateful that no one is hurt from the volcano in Hawaii

For instance during our Morning Symposium time on Day 7, one of my kids asked about the volcanic eruption in Hawaii and we discussed how we might look at this from a place of gratitude. Every moment when we wake, and when we rise, we can be aware and in tune with teachable, gratitude moments that we have right in front of us.

Apart from having great conversations about events happening around us, another family activity that we did today (Day 8),  involved showing gratitude to the people who have impacted us, have served us and who are part of the communities we live in. With today being the National Teacher Appreciation Day, we seized the opportunity to express thanks to people who have supported our growth and learning this year. Although I am the primary teacher for my homeschooled younger two ( almost 10yr and almost 7yrs), my oldest son is still at school. He took flowers to school today to show appreciation to his amazing teachers and Kendra and Elijah, did some water-color stencil art, making cards to say thanks to some awesome people in our homeschool co-op.

 

During the course of this week, we will continue to pay close attention to the people outside of the walls of our family, who make our world a better place. This will differ from family to family, but the idea is to use the natural rhythms, events and people we encounter this week as the focus of your gratitude. Perhaps a child’s dentist appointment or doctor’s appointment presents the opportunity for us and our kids to see ourselves not as isolated and separate, but rather to celebrate the fact that we have community around us, and the people that make up this community whether we know them personally or not, are worth celebrating and being grateful for.

Bed-Time Entries of Gratitude

Day 7 Writing Prompt: “ I am grateful for my mom because . . . .”

Day 8 Writing Prompt: “ Today, 1 thing I learnt was . . . .”

 

” Appreciation is the highest form of prayer, for it acknowledges the presence of good wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts.”  Alan Cohen