Gratitude is Not Just for November

Fast forward a few years and I found myself attending what was once known as Ricks College (it is now BYU Idaho). I loved my time at Ricks, I have lots of great memories and met some pretty amazing people who I still keep in contact with after all these years. It was there that I learned about Thankful Boards. I tried asking my roommates who started the Thankful Board, but no one could really remember. Here is a not so great photo of one of our Thankful Boards ( I wish you could see the whole thing). As you can see it was literally the size of our wall. Anyone that walked into our apartment could write down something that they were thankful for – it could be something from that very day, or just something that made them happy in general, and then they would write down their initials next to it. Not only was it an awesome way to be aware of the good, but it was a great conversation starter! Can’t tell you how many times people stopped and said hello and asked about the Thankful Board – that and the fact that our our cupboards were covered in discarded cereal and pasta boxes, chip bags and the like, but I will have to share those photos another time!

I loved this idea so much I took it home with me and made one for our family. While my parents were separated – 9 whole years – it seemed like there was always this heavy feeling looming over us of the unknown. We loved our dad, but addiction brings on a lot of manipulation, dishonesty, hurt, among other things, not to mention the financial struggles. Having our Thankful Board up made us more aware of the little things that brought us joy, made us look for the good in others, made us want to see the beauty around us instead of focusing on the hard. I saw firsthand how our Thankful Boards made a difference in my life, and the lives of my friends and family. A book I was assigned in one of my classes on Positive Psychology all about gratitude is called Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier. The studies conducted on different forms of being thankful were very interesting, you should check it out 🙂

This was our first Thankful board. When my mom pulled this out for me to take pictures it was so much fun to look back and see so many times people helped us out, small kindnesses of others, things people enjoyed, and to see initials of people we had not seen in years but that we have great memories of.

When that one filled up, my sister actually made one that was nicer and put it in a frame, connected a pen to it with string, and yet again, so much fun to see so many wonderful memories.

Here is one that my sister made for her home. I love that she has continued the tradition, she has such a way with decorating her home, making things feel comfy and look nice yet very functional. If you want one just a little more fancy than butcher paper or a poster board, it really is quite simple.

My mom has asked me to make her a new one for the last year or so – This DIY tutuorial is actually her Mother’s Day gift 🙂

What you will need:

  • Spontan Magnetic Board – from Ikea (or another large piece of metal from craft store)
  • 4 magnets (I found some on clearance at my local craft store, I also saw some cute ones at Target)
  • 12 inch brown masking paper (found at Lowes or Home Depot)
  • a piece of twine or hemp
  • pen
  • large black sharpie
  • colored pencil

Begin by cutting off the desired size of masking paper. In my case I wanted to see the edge of my magnet board to give it a boarder so I cut about 25 inches of the masking paper (wouldn’t it be fun to spray paint your magnet board a pretty color?). Grab your sharpie and write the “We are thankful for…” – do any type of bubble kind of lettering you would like. Using the colored pencil color in at the bottom dark up to the middle, then slowly shade it, fading towards the top (an old boyfriend of my sister worked as a window advertisement painter – he taught me some pretty fun fonts:))

Grab your magnets and place the paper on the magnet board. Tie the twine to the pen, and the other end to the magnet board. This board is ideal because it has holes already drilled in the board.

There you have it! I set this one out for only a day and my family kept writing things on it as they passed by! Try it out! I bet you and those you live with will love it!