Four years later I am in a much healthier place mentally and can look back and see clearly all of the reasons I should have been thankful on Thanksgiving 2008. If you are struggling with having a heart of Thanksgiving this year, try these activities to help ease your pain and open your heart. It can be done.
1) Sit in a circle with your kids and have each person say something they are thankful for in the other people individually. I guarantee that tears of joy will follow.
2) Look through photo albums of your children and relive the memories by telling your children what stories surround each photo.
3) Create a blessings board with your kids. This can be a simple piece of paper taped to the wall, but have each of your kids fill this paper with the blessings in their life. Make it fun and put pictures or drawings instead of words. If you are really feeling down, post the papers ALL over the house so that you are bombarded with the blessings in your kid's lives.
4) Take an outing to a park or another scenic place and spend some time with your kids talking to God and pointing out all of the wonderful things around you that He's made.
5) Serve at a food pantry, shelter, dinner service with your kids. I guarantee you will walk away feeling more grateful for the roof over your head and food in your cupboard.
6) Dress up in your best clothes to attend your Thanksgiving dinner. It is a known fact that a shower and some primping will lift your spirits.
7) Invite others to your Thanksgiving dinner and make it more potluck-style. You make the Turkey and your guests bring everything else. This also helps on the expenses!
8) Spend time on your knees in prayer everyday. Even if you do not feel like you want to speak with God, do it. You might be surprised to find that He has something to say to you.
9) Decorate your house! This doesn't have to be expensive at all if everything is homemade. Have the kids make drawings and little cut outs that you can put around your house. This is a definite "smile-maker" for you as a parent to see your kid's talent put into action.
10) Do not isolate yourself. If your kids will be with the other parent, ask friends/family if you can come to their event and GO! It is extremely hard to motivate yourself if you are facing a holiday alone, but it is the most important thing for you not to be alone. You'll be much happier if you are amongst other people.
What other ideas do you have or have you done?