Thanksgiving Trunk

What’s in the trunk?  

My dad just moved to Colorado and I’m here for the week, visiting for the first time. The cold, snowy mountains outside of Denver are filled with deer, elk, and other creatures that wander up to the backyard and say hello. (There’s also a new dog in the family that’s a giant 1-year old puppy. I really mean giant. But I digress).

As they were showing me the house, we stopped and took a look at this trunk standing up against a wall in one of the bedrooms. My stepmom cracked up when she showed it to me–“Guess what’s in it!?” 

When you open in up, the trunk is completely empty. So… what goes inside?

It turns out when you look at the bottom there’s just a hole in the floor. Or rather, it’s a verified secret chamber that they added to the house.

What the heck?

When they moved in, in addition to knocking walls and windows down and building new counters and cabinets (she’s an interior designer; she can’t help it)–she knocked a hole in the floor to create a laundry chute. When they lift the trunk lid, they  drop laundry down to the room below. Rather than leave an unsightly hole, she put this trunk over the top of it.

But that’s not the best part: take a look at what’s stenciled across the entire outside of the trunk.

On the outside, she wrote all of the things she was thankful for. (You’ll see my name on there!) Every time she does laundry, she gets to use a small piece of furniture that reminds her just how much she has to be thankful for.

How cool is that?

It’s that time of year: what are you thankful for?

Gratitude is a practice and can take hundreds of different forms. You’re probably inundated with thoughts of kindness–and that’s one of the reasons this is one of my favorite times of the year. From the breath we take to closing our eyes and appreciating the simple gift of being alive–there is so much to be grateful for. We can practice gratitude in our appreciation of the small things, by adding little rituals into our lives, and by reaching out and telling someone that you’re thankful for them. (You can learn several of these inspiring tools in our upcoming Grace + Gratitude workshop, beginning December 1).

Through these little acts, we can literally reprogram our brains. Over time, they have a huge effect.

I am thankful.

I am thankful for courage, of which the latin root (cor–) doesn’t mean bravery, but rather it comes from the latin word for heart. As Brene Brown writes, courage originally meant “to speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” Courage is the act of gratitude: of speaking your heart, and letting your voice be heard.

I am grateful for my imperfections, and the grace to be able to acknowledge them each time I goof up. I am grateful for mistakes, because they mean that we’re living and moving.

I am grateful for time, and for the present. For this delicious moment. For the wonder of being here at all. (It’s really crazy if you start to think about it.)

I am grateful for experience, because it is the best teacher, even if it’s mighty uncomfortable.

I am grateful for the internet, for connecting online, for meeting so many friends who can see me more fully through my writing than I’m sometimes able to explain in person.

I am grateful for my family, a rambunctious and boisterous bunch who likes to sit on top of each other, no matter how big the house. We’ll just pile on top of each other like a football stack, dogs and cats and kids and blankets and everything.

Every day, I’m thankful for the gift of life and for living. I am thankful for breathing, which is made particularly poignant when I’ve experienced losing my breath.

I am thankful for swimming, dancing, moving, and singing.

I’m thankful for my hands, because hands are so weird and wonderful and downright cool in their digits and bends and abilities to do what we command them to do so tirelessly.

I am grateful to teach and I am thankful for all of the studying I get to be a part of in order to become a better teacher.

I am grateful for you, reading this, building a community online, being a part of this space. I cherish you and I hear from so many of you. Through you, I’ve learned how important writing is, and how telling stories—my job in this world, in this time—is for showing various ways of thinking and being and becoming and doing. For that, I’m truly humbled and grateful.

There’s so much I’m thankful for this season.

What are you thankful for this season?

And if you have a gratitude post, link it up in the comments and I’ll read it this holiday–I love reading about what you’re doing!

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Looking for a place of love and kindness? Join our upcoming Grace & Gratitude micro-workshop, a two-week journey to cultivate grace and gratitude in your life. Two weeks of daily stories and exercises designed to bring light, love, and joy into your life–one photograph, project, and quote at a time. Sign up here (or give as a gift this holiday). We begin December 1. 

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