Family Relationships

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Giving Thanks - All Year Round

Today, we're delighted to welcome a guest blogger, Sherry Richert Belul. Sherry, mom to a witty and wonderful 10-year-old boy and founder of, shares her secrets about giving thanks. Like Martin Luther King, She has a dream - to bring more gratitude into the world.

Some of the best moments of parenthood are those first recognizable words that pop out of our children’s mouths. You know: When ma-ma-mamoo shifts into a solid, “Mama” and it’s obvious that his “dee-dee” refers to the fluffy kitty he is patting with pudgy hand. Usually it isn’t too long after those first thrilling words, that we begin teaching our children the dynamic duo, “Thank you.” (Usually parroted in the oh-so-endearing, “tank-you.”)

Ours is a polite society and it doesn’t take long for children to catch on to saying “thank you” when someone offers them something or does something nice for them. It becomes an automatic response. As well, it’s fabulous that our country has deemed the last Thursday in November as an annual day of thanks. Those two things are so wonderful. But they’re actually just the very tips of the great gratitude iceberg.

In my own life I’ve learned that it’s possible to create an ongoing practice for myself and my family that is a conscious effort to bring gratitude into our lives throughout the day, in a variety of ways. I promise you, if you commit to trying just a couple of these practices for just a couple weeks, you’ll experience the magic of gratitude. Because here’s the secret: every single time we pause to express gratitude for something in our lives, we get to experience receiving that thing all over again. When we’re giving thanks, we’re receiving more of what we’re grateful for. Saying thank you instantly multiples what we have!

Wanna start your own gratitude practice? Below is a “Chinese Menu” of places to begin. These are all simple things that you can incorporate into your day — and suggest to or model for your family. I hope you’ll write and let me know how it goes!

Gratitude lists are the easiest and most foolproof places to begin bringing more joy into our lives. This is what you do: first thing upon waking or last thing before going to bed, grab a piece of paper or the laptop and make a list of ten things you are grateful for in your life. Could be your daughter’s bubbly laugh. Could be that you can walk, see, or dream. Might be having a fridge full of food. Could be having shared a cup of tea with your friend. Don’t think that the items on your list have to be spectacular, like winning the lottery! In fact, the more we can allow ourselves to feel grateful for the everyday things in our lives, the more things we have to be grateful for!

Lists are a great way to involve your family. In our house, before our meals we go around the table once or twice and each list something we’re grateful for. You can also set aside a time before bed or in the morn when your family writes your list of ten things silently together but then share an item or two that you each wrote down. (Or if the kids are small, you can go around in a circle and share verbally!)


Something go your way? Did you get some praise or a raise at work? Find a parking spot at the busy shopping center? Your four-year-old eat some broccoli? You slipped, but didn’t get hurt? Take a moment to offer thanks for these kinds of sparkly moments. Lots of times, I’ll just stop for a few seconds, look at the sky, and whisper “thank you.” Not only does it offer us a chance to truly experience our good fortune, but also I’ve found that it reinforces my desire to look for or create more glitzy situations!

Log on again Wednesday – Sherry will tell us lots more ways to express our gratitude.You can sign up for Simply Celebrate’s free newsletter at And learn more about Sherry's ebook, "Present Perfect: It Really is the Thought That Counts," that includes dozens of no-to-low cost gifts that are fun to make and full of love.

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