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three ways to practice gratitude

    How wonderful is it to have this community where we can let down our guards, be honest for a moment and admit that we don’t have it all together?! It seems many of us desire to have hearts full of gratitude, but we’re falling short and not exactly sure how to get there.  I’ve spent this weekend thinking through a couple of things as a follow-up to the last post and have settled on three tangible ways to get ourselves into the thankful mind frame during the month of November {and beyond, we hope!}.


    I love this quote: Gratitude turns what we have into enough. For the next few weeks, let’s turn our hearts away from finding meaning in more and towards looking at what we already have and calling it enough.  It’s such a small change of perspective, but hopefully one that can make a difference.


    If you like, post to instagram, facebook or twitter and use the hashtag #ENOUGH to join together on this.


    The verse that keeps coming to mind through all of this thought on gratitude is:

    Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete. Romans 12:2 VOICE

    What I don’t want is to be committed to practicing gratitude for these next 30 days and then go back to usual come December 1. That’s called behavior modification and while it has a place, it’s not the right fit for this one.  What I truly want is heart transformation and that can only come through renewing my mind, changing the way I think and respond from the inside out.  I’m guessing you want the same. The way I think we can get there is through filling our minds with truth.

    To start, I’ve compiled 10 great scriptures about thankfulness {find them right here}. You can copy and paste to print them out, bookmark the page for a daily read or write down your favorites to commit to memory.


    For the past two years our family has done a thankful tree and it has become my kids’ favorite tradition for this time of year.


    A full explanation is on this original thankful tree post, but the idea is simply to grab a few branches, pop them in a pretty urn and put out tags to write on and then hang from the tree. As the boys went out the door to the bus this morning, each stopped to think of something they are thankful for and put it on a tag. It was so sweet to watch them do it on their own and take a few seconds to reflect before they went on with their day. You can dedicate a time each day to do this as a family, or just let them go at it – which is probably our approach this year – every time they pass the tree, they are welcome to use another tag.



    There are thankful tags from that first thankful tree post which you are welcome to use, or choose your favorite from these new designs.



    Just dowload the pdf, print on your favorite paper {I used this textured paper from Paper Source}, and cut around the edges. Punch a hole in the top if you’ll be hanging from branches, or just use as little cards to keep in a pretty bowl, or on your thanksgiving table or as lunchbox notes.






    Each of these tags are found in The Archive along with a bunch of other favorite JDC freebies.

    I do hope these little things can make a big difference in our hearts this year.

    xo, emily

    37 thoughts on “three ways to practice gratitude”

    1. I love this idea! I am so anxious to do this, my son will barely turn 2 in December and our daughter expected late October…I may just begin this as decor and once they get older we could begin with their own thankful cards

    2. Emily, I’m a devoted follower, Jones Design Monthly member, and fan. I have a paper cutter, but it’s not cutting straight anymore. Can you share what type of paper cutter you use? I’m looking for a reliable way to get good, accurate, and straight cuts on my printables.

      Thanks tons!

    3. I love the thankful tree printables! And the paper you linked…I was wondering if it printed through your own home printer well? I can never get a nice, thick paper that I like to go through my printer. It would be great if this one would!

    4. Emily, you are so generous! Thank you for sharing your talent and letting us bring some JDC in to our homes. All these tags are so wonderful, I don’t think I could choose a favorite! :) I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    5. Thank you so very much! We are currently in search of a few branches as our little property is branch less [aside from a willow of sorts which is a delightful tree but its branches are rather unsuitable for a hanging stuff on but are wonderful for weaving and making into wreaths, ask me how i know. ;-) ]

      I just want to say thank you for sharing your talents! You are truly such a blessing and whether you realize it or not, an encouragement as well as an inspiration! So thank you!

    6. I’m thankful for… you! And this free printable! Our gratitude bowl is going to look so pretty this year, thanks to you. You’re so generous with your free printables. Thank you, Emily!

    7. I love the idea of the thankful tree and how sweet to share your tags with us! Being grateful changes my perspective and after some very challenging months I started a Giving Thanks Friday on my blog to do just that. Practice makes perfect, right? Thanks so much for sharing !

    8. Thank you! I will be using this in my church nursery during the month of November (and hopefully throughout the year!) The tags are simply gorgeous- thank you for sharing your gifts with us so that your gratitude celebrations are not only meaningful, but beautiful as well!

    9. I am thankful for your beautiful ideas, and for your generosity in sharing them with us. These are wonderful, I can’t wait to start this tradition with my children. Thank you!

    10. we always did this family tradition at Thanksgiving and now our daughter does it with her children. :-) one summer while vacationing in our aunt and uncle’s oceanside home in the florida keys i realized that when my husband and i spoke to on one another we used the phrase ‘”we need”, like we need to buy a new sofa or we need to paint the house or we need to get a juicer…that sort of thing when we actually were in “need” of nothing at all! it was when i heard our children parroting us calling their wants “needs” that i understood we were teaching them discontentment. thereafter we tried to say we wanted something rather than we needed it. well, i think we “need” to get back to distinguishing those two concepts again because we have slipped back into our old piggish ways!

    11. Thank you! This is a favorite tradition of ours, too, and these new tags are just the inspiration I needed this year to get it going. They are beautiful!

    12. Thanks for the wonderful encouragement. Our kids always love, love, love the tree. We started our thankful tree last Saturday with your “vintage” cards from a couple of years back so it will be fun to add your new designs to the tree. Love it!!

    13. Thanks for the new tags, Emily! We have done this for the past 3 years and I always keep the tags from every year as memories (kids handwriting, their thanks, etc). So it is nice to have new adorable tags to distinguish each year! Your the best–I’m thankful for you!

    14. Thank you for the thankful tree tags. They came at the perfect time- I’m planning to start the tree with my family this week. Your No. 1, Enough, helped me fight the urge to buy pretty paper and yarn for this project. I’m going to look through the supplies I have and let that be “enough”.

    15. I love all of these reminders and exercises to grow gratitude!

      Thank you!!

      I myself am trying to make one change a day – even if is small in hopes of renewing my mind! Each change am committing to doing it all the time not just that day or for the next 30 days.


    16. Gosh, Emily. You are definitely striking a chord- in my heart and I know in the hearts of so many others. Thank you, thank you for these ways to act out the change that I know I want to come to fruition in my life. I notice, and so appreciate, your generosity throughout this blog, but on this post too- to give us tangible things that we can do to improve our life and make it more good, pleasing, and complete- without you gaining anything, per se, really does show your heart in this blog. it is a beautiful heart. thank you. looking forward to creating my thankful tree this afternoon! ~xoxo

    17. Thank you for the new thankful tags, they’re awesome!! I’m excited to see which ones my kiddos pick. The Thankful Tree is our favorite tradition, too. I am thankful for you always sharing your goodness and creativity, Emily.

    18. Thank you so much for always sharing such beautiful things for free! It really, really makes a huge difference for those of us on a teeny, tiny decorating budget. :) Always so excited to see a new blog post from you. :)

    19. Thank you so much! These are delightful :-) We have a branch sculpture that we use for thankful notes every year. These will be a nice way to spruce up that tradition. Happy Thanksgiving!

    20. Love this Emily. My CBS group is in the midst of a study of the book of Romans. I agree, while this month tends to get us all think about gratitude, I am really working to be grateful everyday throughout the year. I agree with Tori, great book, and just writing one or two things down each day makes you realize how much you already have to be grateful/thankful for.

    21. Our Thankful Tree went up over the weekend!! One of my favorite things to do with the family. I will be using #enough!! Definitely a good reminder that what we have is enough – most of the time more than enough. Love the scriptures! Thanks for sharing Emily – a new follower :)

    22. I absolutely love this. I can’t wait to look for a little tree sprig to use for ours today! Emily, have you read Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts? It was so life changing for me in the area of gratitude. Such an amazing, Christ-centered book about changing the way we look at the world around us, and seeing all of life through thankful eyes. I highly recommend it!

      My sweet almost-4-year-old daughter and I each list 3 “Thankful For’s” every night when I put her to bed. It’s one of my favorite parts of the day! Thank you for your encouragement to continue growing in this area!

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