The Thankful Heart – How Deliberate Gratitude Can Change Every Texture of Our Lives by Richard and Linda Eyre
It’s that time of year. Falling leaves, crisp cool air, sweaters, pumpkins, family. Thanksgiving. It’s a holiday that is virtually overlooked other than the opportunity it gives us to eat until fit to burst and watch football all day. It’s a time to gather with family, but in our secular, commercial world this holiday is certainly being edged out by Halloween and Christmas!
I have loved Thanksgiving because it has always been a time to gather with family, eat delicious foods that are prepared only once a year, and have a day off from school or work. All my life though, I have wondered about Thanksgiving and how to make it more meaningful. I kind of feel sorry for Thanksgiving! It seems like a holiday that is thought of as boring and has little meaning. How do we make it more meaningful?
I was doing some research for a project I am planning for the blog, when I stumbled upon this little gem of a book (you can find it here). The cover immediately drew me in – the colors caught my eye. Then the umbrella. If you know me you know that I have an extensive umbrella collection so seeing that umbrella drew me in further. Then the title. The title is intriguing. Last, the authors’ names. I have read a few books by Richard & Linda Eyre before. My little brothers and sisters participated in Joy School as kids (if you don’t know what Joy School is, you’re missing out! It’s a pre-school that helps children not only learn all the things preschool is known for teaching but helps children learn Joy as well and was created by the authors) I knew I would just have to read this book, and seeing how it’s the month of gratitude I thought this was the perfect time!
Reading the inside front cover, a sentence struck me and I hoped this would be something that could help me make the holiday of Thanksgiving more meaningful: the authors “transform a holiday noun into a practicable verb. Passive Thanksgiving becomes active Thanks-Giving, which lasts all year.” Wow! That’s exactly how I have felt – Thanksgiving seems like such a passive holiday. I guess that’s my own fault. Many of you out there probably see Thanksgiving as an active holiday, but for those who might sense that there is more to this day than just turkey and football…
One idea I really like from the book is that Thanksgiving is the harbinger of our holidays. The definition of harbinger: “Something that prepares, provides, presages, or foreshadows what is to come.” Thanksgiving can do this for the Christmas season and the new year that is about to begin.
The main portion of the book is written in poetry and semi-poetry which is very unique. I think some people may have a hard time with this, as it is different than reading prose, but the authors share their reason for doing this – “Gratitude if a feeling, and poetry is the language of feelings. Thanks-giving is more an art than a science, and poems and verse express it better than numbers or sentences and paragraphs.” I wouldn’t let that stop you from reading it! It is also divided into months of the year. Each month has wonderful quotes about gratitude and ideas about how to make gratitude more a part of who we are. At the end of each month is a challenge you can do to help you sharpen and master the skill of gratitude. The idea is that you start reading in November, doing the challenges each month, then when next November rolls around you will see just how much more gratitude and joy are in your life and how the holiday of Thanksgiving is more meaningful to you because you have become better at Thanks-giving.
The book also has some really beautiful photographs from the authors own family collection. Also included in back are copies of the family’s Thanksgiving card since 1972. Rather than send out Christmas cards the authors send family and friends a poem of thanksgiving on a holiday card. These messages are fun to read and help the reader to see how gratitude only grows over time and circumstances.
All in all, this was a great read for me! I was able to finish it in two days – light and easy yet full of meaning. I have already started the challenge for November and I’m excited to continue with the challenges through the year and then see how much better I am at the important skill of gratitude.
I hope that whether you read this book or not, that your holiday next week is full of joy, laughter, good times with family and friends and of course that you are able to express your gratitude for all the blessings you have in your life, for gratitude and the expression thereof precipitates joy!
See the Happy!