The season of giving thanks is upon us, and this year I plan to triple my efforts in that department. I try to keep the “count your blessings” mentality somewhere toward the front of my mind all year long, but even with that daily awareness it can be so easy to forget how good we have it. Have you ever traveled to a less fortunate country, visited a children’s hospital, or volunteered at a soup kitchen and returned home promising yourself/God/the universe that you would never take anything for granted again and that you would be happy and content with your current situation? How long did you keep your word? How long until your blessings turned back into givens and your good fortune was no longer enough? I’m sure we all have a few similar ebb-and-flow stories.
Early in October, my husband and I experienced one of our most painful times yet with the unexpected and tragic death of our beloved dog Bevo. While he may have simply been a pet to the rest of the world, Bevo was infinitely more to our family. He taught us how to be parents and how to love and care for another in a way we never knew was possible. He was our baby before we had a baby and our child when we were unable to have children. During my first pregnancy, I was often quoted as saying, “This baby will have to take a back seat to Bevo!”
However, once Trent and Emily came along, Bevo took on a different role in the household. He was a protector, a nanny, a watchdog, and still a loyal companion, but he no longer had our undivided attention. I’m ashamed to say that on most evenings, a walk around the block was just too much to ask after a long day with work and the kids. But Bevo didn’t mind. He cherished every single moment with us, and when he was suddenly gone, we realized all too late that we’d forgotten to do the same. Our love and appreciation for Bevo was never absent, but we had let it slip from the front of our minds, pushed back from a daily thought to something buried away.
It’s heartbreaking that Bevo’s passing had to occur to wake us up, but as with all tragedies we have tried to take something positive from it. The very day we lost Bevo is the day I chose “cherish” as my inspirational word for this season, as I intend to finally stop riding the tide and settle, once and for all, into a permanent state of thankfulness. Of course that doesn’t mean that I’ll freeze my ambitions or dreams or anything else, but I do want to put forth a genuine effort to burn a true appreciation into my heart for each of the things I cherish in my life.
If you sit down and make a list of your blessings, I’m quite sure you’ll be shocked at just how many items you end up with. The obvious: your friends, your family, and your health. But think even further, and you will come across so much more. Setbacks and negative experiences can be looked at with thankfulness for lessons learned and strength that was found. The most painful of losses only feels so because of the joy and love that was present—cherish that. An undesired change in circumstance somewhere in your past has led you to the here and now. How many things about your life and how many people in your life do you genuinely love? They wouldn’t be so without each and every step you’ve taken over the years.
When I asked my closest circle what in life they cherish most, memories were on almost everyone’s list. I was excited, then, to incorporate that into my craft this month. Many families use Thanksgiving dinner as a time to go around the table and say one thing they are thankful for, but I thought this year it would be fun to share a cherished memory instead. Borrowing a little inspiration from the episode titles of Friends, I thought of one funny, sentimental, happy, crazy, significant, or even insignificant memory for each of my family members and wrote them on these exclusive MB printable place cards*.
As everyone fills the dining room and starts looking for their place at the table, they’ll have to read the placecard at each setting and think about who that particular sentiment is tied to. The hope is that this will bring back long forgotten memories and spark laughter, conversation, and reminiscing between us all. A fun alternative could also be to use an old, silly or rare photo of each diner as their placecard. And If you are a little more traditional or already have placecards in mind, use our printables for each person to write down something they are thankful for. Whatever you choose, there are sure to be endless giggles and reminders of all our blessings!
For a festive and colorful placecard holder, follow these simple steps:
All of us here at Model Behaviors wish you a happy Thanksgiving and can’t wait to see how you incorporate our cards into your holiday!
* download your choice of the pumpkin pie or “chalkboard” placecard sets below. Use a white or silver Sharpie paint pen for your lettering if you select the chalkboard cards.