Catching Hawks and Changing Clocks
Turkey Day Shopping

Leaves of Light and Grace

Our gratitude banner is now underway! And it looks so pretty in the learning room windows.

At midday ...


... and just after dark ...


The original plan, if you remember, was to wait until Thanksgiving night to illuminate this banner. (Once all the "leaves of gratitude" had been hung.) Well, that was a nice idea and all, but ... we just couldn't wait! As soon as the sun started setting last night around 4 p.m., I decided we could use all the light we could get!

Now, funnily enough, it didn't really matter that I had gathered all the materials for this project in advance - we still got a late start!

Bill just got the string of lights up Saturday afternoon (after a little nagging nudging from me).

I just cut out our first five leaves Saturday night.

And then we had to catch up with the days we had already missed! 

(Originally, I planned to have a basket filled with paper leaves all ready to use, but I decided it would be far less taxing to just cut out a new leaf each night.)

And happily, we added our sixth leaf last night, so we seem to be on track. ;)

So see, plans are wonderful things - but "real life" always comes first and sometimes you need to tweak those wonderful plans a little so they fit your reality more, well, realistically. :)

And now for a quick step-by-step - not that this isn't a ridiculously easy and self-explanatory craft, but I took pictures as I made last evening's leaf, so I figure I'll share them!

First, I used that oak tag leaf shape as my template ...


(Though my favorite autumn tree is the sugar maple - for its vibrant orange and red foliage - I have a real soft spot for oak leaves. I think it's because they are usually paired with acorns, and goodness knows I love me some acorns! The shape of the oak leaf is very pleasing as well - large-sized and curvy - and they're sturdy. They don't rip as easily as do other tree's leaves.)

So our most recent leaf was cut from a piece of gray-blue cardstock. Now, blue might seem like an odd "autumnal" color, but really, this shade is like the perfect pale November sky - a kind of cadet blue, quite striking against the more traditional leaf colors.

I simply traced the template, then cut out the shape with my all-purpose scissors ...


Then I pierced the stem (serving as handle) with the point of my sharpest scissors, and threaded a length of twine (more rustic than yarn) through the resulting hole. (The stem was just a little too narrow for a hole-punch.)


Do you see the little tail in the background of the picture above?


Sweet, silly kitty.

Before a day's leaf is hung on the garland, we brainstorm the things we are grateful for on that particular day. I try to encourage the boys to focus on the little things, not just the big picture. And I absolutely love hearing what they have to say! I write down all our thoughts and then hang the leaf up on the light string, nestlng them in between the  glowing grapevine balls.


By Thanksgiving - if all goes according to plan - this whole window will be filled with pretty autumn leaves, celebrating our family's daily gratitude, and honoring how our lives are touched by Grace every day.



I just love the way soft lights like these shine through the darkness, both inside and out. And I love the idea that - symbolically speaking - we're making "our own light" to shine throughout the darkening world. Physically, we turn on those lights for all to see - and spiritually, we turn on our own inner lights, by acknowledging and sharing our gratitude. It's a really good feeling!

Well, my friends ... I'm finishing this post up as I watch another lovely sunrise. Six a.m. sharp, and it's pretty dark in this house ... but just look at that beautiful light heading our way:


The gift of another day together - now that is something to truly be THANKFUL for!

And speaking of gratitude, thank you all so much for stopping by and spending some time here - I appreciate your time and your thoughts. I hope your week gets off to a great start ... 

So have a good day, everyone ~ I will see you all here again very soon.