Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Thanksgiving: opening my eyes to the wonders around me

For all that has been, Thanks.
For all the will be, YES.
Dag Hammarskjold

One thing about living far away from home is that I miss celebrating holidays with my family.  This coming weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving.  

As a child Thanksgiving was one of my favourite feast days (literally). We would push two huge tables together in Grandma and Grandpa's dining room and squeeze all the aunts and uncles and cousins into the room to eat wonderful food. The table groaned under the weight of roasted turkey, amazing salads and pumpkin pie.  

Before we could eat, each of us young cousins was given a chance to list a few things we were thankful for. It seemed hard at first, but once we got started the lists became endless.  There was so much, so much, to be grateful for! Sometimes the lists were serious and sometimes there were silly. We'd make our silly lists as we ate: pens, paper, raisins, bread, orange juice, disney movies! 

Now that I'm older, I forget to be thankful. I forget to look around me and acknowledge all the blessings in my life.  Gratitude takes nothing for granted.  Gratitude opens your mind so that it is constantly awakening to new wonders around you.  

I always wonder... why doesn't the rest of the world celebrate Thanksgiving?  Surely giving thanks is one of the most important things we can do? Just a thought:  If we don't give thanks for the little things, we won't be able to receive the big things.  

Here's a small list of the things I'm thankful for this very moment

1. The sunshine streaming through our living room window, painting a golden square on the wooden floor. 
2.  A wonderful, warm, comforting cup of tea. 
3. My amazing agents at Advocate Art, who are working hard to sell our illustrations at Frankfurt Book Fair as we speak. 
4. Illustration work that is fulfilling and challenging. 
5. Skype.  All the better for keeping in touch with far flung family and friends. 
6. Blogging (all you bloggers are such an inspiration to me!  Don't forget to check out my ad swaps!)
7. A bookshelf full of books. 
8. Beautiful shoes.  
9. My amazing family, who are always there when I need them most. 
10. My husband: I still thank my lucky stars for him every day.
11. London, my favourite city in the world. (Look at these gorgeous photos of London by Mal!)
12. And a few less serious things: scarves, sunscreen, pillows, hot water bottles, cameras....

I can no answer make but thanks, and thanks, and ever Thanks.

What are you thankful for in this moment?  

P.S.  Do you like my little autumn inspired sketch?  Do you want to have her all to yourself?  I'm in the mood to send her out into the world.  Make me an offer over $5 (to cover postage) and the top bid will buy it!  The paper is 10cm x 10cm or 4" x 4". Email me if you're keen: (Bidding open until 20 Oct).


  1. You have many things to be thankful about! I'm also incredibly joyful about my life right now--and I want to actively remember how blessed I am on a daily basis.

  2. This is a great post Jane, reminding me exactly what this coming weekend is all about. My family moved away from our extended family when I was a young child, so I've never known a family thanksgiving like the charming one you describe. I've also never listed the things I am thankful for, however inspired by this post I think this weekend my husband and I will be making such a list. Because as you say, gratitude opens your mind.

  3. You are so talented! What a lovely sketch.

  4. At this moment, I'm thankful for...

    * a healthy, very active, and super loving daughter who shows her sunshine wherever she goes!

    *an incredible husband who challenges and loves me, who inspires me to grow, and with whom I find complete peace and love.

    *creativity and all that it inspires in me.

    *listening, for with it I hear the wonders around me.

    *green and our simple, amazing home by the ocean.

    *sugar cookies that were made this morning and are awaiting being frosted ... for then they will become fall garland!

    *laundry on the drying rack that stares back at me, and reminds me of all of that we have to cover ourselves and clean ourselves with.

    *the toys in my daughter's room that we found at thrift stores. She adores them and delights in them. So do we.. slides, a tunnel, a piano.. all for $6 combined.

  5. What a fabulous thought...

    "If we don't give thanks for the little things, we won't be able to receive the big things."

    I need to design a card like that. It says so much.

    I am thankful for my health, without which the rest of life isn't nearly as enjoyable.


  6. Hi Jane!!
    I'm so happy to read this post!
    Here, in Italy we don't celebrate thanksgiving, and I don't know why, because we really have to be grateful and thankful for a lot of things!
    You're so right!
    Have a nice and thankful days!
    A big hug

  7. Your artwork is simply gorgeous!! I'm grateful for a hot cup of coffee and a kind loving family!

  8. jane, i am so glad that you stopped by my blog. i love your writing, gratefulness, and illustrations. looking forward to your future posts :)

    Molly {Dreams in HD}

  9. love this. Also love your illustrations! Glad we found each other. :-) I'll be back.
    Happy Thanksgiving Jane! xox

  10. Right now I am incredibly thankful for my health. Not everyone is as lucky to be as healthy as I am in this moment and I really wish I could just give good health to everyone.

  11. What an adorable little face! So sweet! I am also grateful for my warm cup of tea and the chocolate that I am eating right now but really shouldn't be. Happy Thanksgiving!

  12. Always good to be thankful! We are so blessed yet we tend to put more attention on negative situations.

  13. Wonderful, my friend! Words I needed to hear. Gratitude takes nothing for granted. A great perspective, as always.

  14. I miss living far from my family like I can't even describe it. Birthdays, holidays, daily occurrences happen to be reserved for others. But I am thankful for time spent with them when it happens, for every meal, casual stroll, endless chats and going through memory lanes. My mum is visiting me this Christmas and I can't wait!

    Have a great day, Jane!


Hearing from you makes my day bright with sunshine. I try to respond to each comment on your own blogs. Who knows I might make a few new friends along the way! X Jane