Monday, November 17, 2014

a THANKFUL heart {a give-away}

To me, my parents are kind of like "Thankful Gurus."

Whenever I stop to notice a sunset or nestle a new baby on my shoulder or feel my heart fill up to overflowing with gratitude for little things like how someone said "thank you" at dinner, I think of growing up with my parents and how their gratitude seeped into me.

They love thanks-giving so much that they have always sent out "Thanksgiving Cards" rather than Christmas cards.  In each one, for forty-four years, my dad has written a poem.

I wanted to share part of this year's poem because I love it:

Family, Friends, we ask you,
From whence cometh peace?
                                        joy?
                                        love?
Are they skills or gifts?
Do we earn them, develop them, master them over time
Through our own deliberate effort?
Or are they gifts from their Divine Author, to whom we ask,
and from whom we hope to receive?

We lean toward the latter,
But we think there are complementing, precipitating, access-providing skills
Which we can develop for each:
Calmness and perspective which prepare us for the gift of peace.
Awareness and serendipity that open us to the gift of joy.
Kindness and empathy that help us access the gift of love.

And there is one skill, one developed quality, one deliberate practice
That helps hugely with all three.
It is gratitude.  It is Thanks-Giving.

It goes on but I love those thoughts because really we all want peace, joy and love, right?  I love the thought that gratitude and thanks-giving bring us those beauties.  

This year, my parents have put together a book all about gratitude:  

It is beautiful and chock full of pictures and the "how tos" of bringing more gratitude into our lives. 

And I get to give three of them away.  

Here's what my Dad has to say about the book:  

In our family, Thanksgiving has always been the "key" holiday.  So many of our traditions have centered on Thanksgiving, and we always felt it was the perfect lead-in to Christmas and the perfect harbinger of the holidays.  After all, what could be a better precursor to Christmas and to celebrating the birth of Christ than all kinds of gratitude and Thanks-Giving!

Early in our marriage, we decided that rather than get into the Christmas Card frenzy, we would jump the gun a bit and send out a Thanksgiving Card each year.  We have done that now for 44 years, and the cards actually tell the story of our family.  The pictures that went with the cards each year show the growing up of each child, and the poems we wrote to go with the photos trace the pattern of what had happened each year and where our gratitude was centered.

Finally, as Thanksgiving continued to mean more and more to us, we decided to write a book about gratitude, and about the connections of Thanks-Giving to Joy, to Peace, and to family security and unity.  Since much of what we wanted to say was about feelings, we felt the book needed to be as much about pictures as about poetry and prose.  Luckily, we have some great photographers in the family, and we were able to use their work to illustrate the book.

As it was finished this fall THE THANKFUL HEART has become not only a how-to book on the ways to enhance and magnify gratitude, but a kind of short hand history of the Eyre family (Eyrealm as we call it).

The subtitle of the book is a good summary:  "How Deliberate Gratitude can Change Every Texture of Our Lives."

And the back cover quote is the essence:  "Gratitude does not lead to happiness; gratitude is happiness in its most obtainable form."


Amen, Dad!  I'm so glad to have this book sitting on my coffee table so that I can scan through it when I get hungry for the thickness of the air surrounding Thanksgiving back home.  I love to have the thoughts my parents share knit my heart even tighter around all that I am grateful for.  It's also good for a good laugh because those old family pictures....

My sisters did give-aways on their blogs too and asked for the comments to include a favorite Thanksgiving tradition.  I would love

Just leave a comment about what you are thankful for this holiday season for a chance to win. Update:  My sisters did give-aways on their blogs too and asked for favorite Thanksgiving traditions in the entry comments and I loved it so let's add that option. :)  I would love to hear any traditions I can as we are preparing for Thanksgiving here and I'm sure other readers would love to hear some new ideas too!  

I will announce the winner on Wednesday so that we can get the books sent off in time for the big day.  

If you don't want to wait and want to just get yourself (or your mom or brother or cousin's friend's sister) a copy, (great Thanksgiving gift) click HERE .

With love and lots of gratitude,

Shawni

211 comments:

  1. Like you, i am sending my oldest off on a misison at graduation. i am thankful this year for the 17 thanksgivings i've had with him living in our home as my "little boy." change is good and exciting but it's just about breaking my mama heart. i am also super thankful for his 4 siblings that aren't leaving for a few years! ;)

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  2. You have awesome parents! I enjoy reading your blog. Thank you for the opportunity to win a book. I am grateful for my husband who works hard to provide for our family. His hard work allows me to be home with our kids and for that, I am eternally grateful.

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  3. I am grateful for the new life growing inside me, and the three beautiful children I already have!

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  4. This year I am grateful that my 10 yr old daughters cancer is in remission!!!!

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  5. I love Thanksgiving too! I'm so thankful for my wonderful family and long-time friends. :)

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  6. This holiday season I am thankful for the ability to recognize and more fully enjoy the little moments in life.

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  7. First, can I say as a long time joyschool mom and "Eyre-ite" I am so thankful for the great example of the Eyre family!!! What an inspiration you are! Thank you for all that you do, your sphere of influence is immeasurable! I want to be just like your dad when I grow up! ;)

    This Thanksgiving, although my own little family is separated for the first time ever (my first son left to serve a mission 3 months ago) I'm thankful for the Gospel that ties us together forever, nothing is more important, and for the good people in this world, some of whom I'm sure, will take care of my son while he spends his first Thanksgiving away from home. #longliverunonsentences

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  8. Hmmm, no big thanksgiving tradition other than celebrating the day with family or friends, depending in where we live. Leading up to Thanksgiving I have my children write down the things they are grateful for that we either make into a chain or a tree of sorts, although this year it is just a bunch of post-its on our I try door.

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  9. Love the idea behind this book, and it looks beautiful!

    I am thankful for my smartphone. Maybe that is silly, but I do feel like it's changed my life for the better! It wasn't until I had a smartphone with GPS that I was finally picked up a running habit. With that same smartphone, I have years of scripture and conference talks and piles of manuals (in text AND audio, in a lot of cases) right in the palm of my hand; I'm delving into my daily scripture reading time deeper than ever because of it. In that same device, I keep up with friends and family from all across the globe. Isn't it crazy?! For all the bad rap technology gets, I am grateful for the good it does! (And not to mention -- it's because of technology that I have "met" good people like you!)

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  10. Ever since I joined the lds church, I've learned a deeper meaning of Thanksgiving. This year I started doing a "what are you grateful for" list and I'm hoping to make that a tradition :)

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  11. We started a new tradition a few years ago of running a race for charity on Thanksgiving morning (or that weekend if we can't find one the day of). It's been great to get out and get moving, and fun to find a cause we can support. So excited about this new book and hoping to get myself a copy!

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  12. Hi:) I'm a fifteen year-old girl from California. I am the third of eight children in my family. I am thankful for my two brothers and friend who are serving missions for the Church in Columbia, Cambodia, and Romania. I am soooo grateful for my eternal family and for all the blessings I receive for being a daughter of God.

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  13. My favorite tradition is when we gather around and smell, see and taste the beautifully and deliciously laid out food and then look up into the content and excited faces of my loved ones around me and usually the only thing that I can think is "God has been good to us!" [Name that movie]. My heart does cartwheels when I hear my children tell what they are most thankful for.

    On thankfulness, I am thankful for the times when one of our family members is feeling down and out that we gather together and each person tells that sad soul five things they are thankful for about them. It is hard to keep feeling sad when you have a cheerleaders thanking you on.

    --Melanie

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  14. We just started a tradition this year with a thankful tree. I believe I got the idea from you. :) I love thanksgiving.

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  15. We have lived away from family all 16 years of our married lives. Our Thanksgiving has taken on a life of its own as we have reached out to include friends and neighbors and we become family for the day. Our Thanksgiving table tends to be pretty international. Last year's table included "family" from Lebanon, Palestine (via Kansas,) New Zealand, The Philippines and India. We were the only Americans at our table! We always go around the table, each person taking their turn to share what they are grateful for and we have learned that gratitude is universal. Our Indian friend of a friend said, "Its comforting to know that no matter where in the world you are from it is always possible to sit down to good food as friends." Happy Thanksgiving!

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  16. The older I get, the more thankful I am for the gifts and blessings I have. I love that lately, my kids have started to be the ones who say "Wow, look at the beautiful sunset - Mom, come and see!" and other little things like that instead of me calling them over. This is truly a beautiful world and I hope that I can remember to always be thankful for the little things and the big.

    It's not an every year tradition, but when we can (depending on where and with whom we're celebrating that year), my husband smokes our Thanksgiving turkey. He learned the art of smoking meat from his dad who passed away several years ago and I love having that little part of him stay with us. Plus, the turkey is sooooo good.

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  17. Such a wonderful giveaway! One of our favorite family Thanksgiving traditions is to put up a "Thankful Tree," an idea we actually borrowed from you and your family, Shawni! We always do it for FHE (family home evening) and it always includes donut bites/holes, soft background music, a clean house, and lots of bellows from the little ones as they declare their gratitude for the most random things and slap their scribbled leaves onto the Thankful Tree. Thanks for passing along this tradition! It's our favorite!

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  18. My favorite Thanksgiving tradition is simple, just being together with family. I love that we work to seek out and include those who may not be surrounded by family. This year we will have seven non-family members around the table, and I love it!

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  19. Love your blog so much...I love seeing so many of the principles I've read about in your parents' books put into daily practice in your family. Thank you for your willingness to share your life.

    I am thankful for my husband's PhD program. We are on year eight of grad school (!!!) with five kids. I'm not going to lie...it is HARD. But it is simultaneously the biggest trial and the biggest blessing we have gone brought in our marriage, and I am doing my best to focus on the blessing part.

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  20. I love baking my mother in laws rolls with my husband. Love that my man likes to cook.

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  21. Oh...and my favorite tradition is to have each person write down one thing they are thankful for every day. We write on little strips of paper (usually red, orange, and yellow construction paper) and step them into links. We start on the first of November and by Thanksgiving our whole kitchen is covered in happy thankful chains!

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  22. Our favorite Thanksgiving tradition is to participate in the Utah Food Bank Human Race. We get to help out the Utah Food Bank, burn off some calories before the big meal and spend some fun time together as a family!

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  23. I am thankful for so much in my life but this year I am thankful for the birth of our third child in April, Maxwell James. I am also thankful that after two years my husband and I both had the opportunity to graduate from graduate school :) I am also thankful for all your wonderful ideas on your blog for how to instill so many virtues into our families!

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  24. I love the cranberry sauce that my father makes every year (it's the only thing he has ever prepared in the kitchen I think) I miss helping him add the ingredients like I did as a child. Our family covers the pantry door in paper and we write what we are thankful for all month. Anyone who enters our home is also invited to add to the list. We love it!

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  25. We bake cinnamon rolls on the morning of Thanksgiving, we share them with a neighbor, then eat them and watch the parade. I am extremely thankful for my husband's job this year and for tithing and the power of paying it in full!!

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  26. we don't have so many traditions as we do comforts. food of course; turkey mashed potatoes and family. wherever we may be; family. we often escape to the family cabin, just our small immediate family over thanksgiving and it's been fantastic. something our kids ask to do. i am thankful for simplicity during the holidays.

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  27. Love your blog, Shawni, and with kids in the Chinese dual-immersion program we have loved following your China adventures even more than your usual blog! We too have read the Tiger Mother book and pondered the pros and cons as we participate in the fast-paced program. One of our Thanksgiving traditions has been the Thankful Tree as I see many others have mentioned too, but it really does add meaning to the holiday.

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  28. One of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions growing up was before we said the prayer over our meal, we would go around the room and everyone would say something they were thankful for. We had Thanksgiving with my aunt and uncle each year, and would often invite others to join us as well. Last year my husband and I had Thanksgiving just the two of us (well, and our at the time 6 month old), and throughout the meal we would say things that we were thankful for. I imagine we'll do that again this year with my brother-in-law who is visiting us for the holiday, and maybe my 18 month old will be able to say some of the things she's grateful for (as long as we give her some good prompting I bet she'll say Mama, Dada, milk, paca [for pacifier] and doggy!).

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  29. We do giving leaves and thankful leaves on our thankful tree. It helps us remember that service is a blessing and a natural result of a thankful heart.

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  30. Our kids are little, so we do simple traditions. A thankful trees that we add leaves to, reading and discussing some thankful scriptures, and singing thanksgiving hymns to them.

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  31. Our Thanksgiving traditions are very simple and include not shopping... not even a grocery run. My husband's sister married into an Amish family, so we spend the day having an amazingly peaceful and simple gathering - games, chat, food and a wood burning fireplace. No electronics or tv. Then, we spend the remainder of the weekend as our little family decorating for Christmas and just BEING. No rushing no fussing. And I hope that as the kiddos get older we can always keep this weekend sacred!

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  32. Thanksgiving tradition for me is getting together with siblings and our children for big meal

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  33. My favorite Thanksgiving tradition growing up was spending the entire Friday after Thanksgiving baking breads and cookies with my mom and sister.

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  34. I love passing around a beany baby stuffed turkey and each taking the opportunity to express thanks!

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  35. I love all of the traditional traditions at Thanksgiving but in addition to them i've started writing down in my journal all the things i am grateful for that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has brought into my life. Several years ago a friend of mine encouraged us to do this during a Relief Society lesson, since then my friend has passed away from cancer but i love to carry on her encouragement of reflecting on the blessings the gospel brings and to write them down. Also, it makes a good Family Home Evening activity. Thanks Shawni for sharing so many great ideas on your blog!!!

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  36. We do a "thankful tree"... real branches in a vase, with paper leaves and everyone writes down what they're thankful for on leaves & hangs them on the tree. It becomes a centrepiece that reminds us of all that we have to be thankful for! :)

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  37. We always do the gratitude tree, but this year we added a new tradition: doing an act of service as a family every day for the month of November. It's been wonderful and it seems to be a good way to how our gratitude.

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  38. I love Thanksgiving! We have a special FHE about being grateful for our blessings early in November, and then on Thanksgiving we talk about how being especially thankful throughout the month of November has helped us to be better.

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  39. We have never really had a Thanksgiving tradition until this year. We made pine cone turkeys this year with strips of paper for feathers to write what we are thankful for. I realize now how much we were missing from thanksgiving before and the importance of recognizing the things we are thankful for and expressing gratitude for them. It is heartwarming to watch these little children listing the blessings that they recognize in their lives. I hope to continue this each year and to incorporate some other traditions from these comments as well! Thanks!

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  40. We enjoy our thankful tree, making loaves of pumpkin bread for friends, spending the entire day with family cooking, eating, cleaning, a turkey bowl and more eating! This book looks terrific! I heard your parents talk about it on BYU radio. So wonderful.

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  41. We don't really have thanksgiving traditions...besides hosting dinner, but I'm excited to read through these and start something this year!

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  42. Mid-Oct *when we are dealing with entitlement issues* we make a thankful jar and write on slips of paper and then read all the slips after dinner on Thanksgiving. Also, I've made a Thanksgiving Playlist. Thanksgiving should have a soundtrack too. Would love to win the book! hicken at gmail dot com

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  43. I am thankful for my family & health. Every Thanksgiving my family gets together at my grandmother's house for a meal.

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  44. My favorite tradition is just being with family. I don't have many Thanksgiving traditions now, but as a newlywed I'm excited that we get to start our own! Our first Thanksgiving tradition has been the thankful tree, inspired by you and further prompted by Charity. Thank you so much!

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  45. We almost always host Thanksgiving at our home. We love it! In fact, there have only been a couple of times we have enjoyed this day of gratitude away from our home. Our children have voiced their desire to be at home surrounded by the people and food they love the very best. In addition to being home together we get up early and run the annual Turkey Trot and make sure each person around our bounteous table has the opportunity to share what they are most grateful for. It's a wonderful day filled with the love, warmth, and peaceful Thanksgiving.

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  46. We have a Thanksgiving advent countdown where we can tuck in little "thankful notes" each day leading up to Thanksgiving. I feel like this is a great way to bring in the spirit of gratitude by the time the big day arrives. This book sounds like another great way to bring in the spirit of Thanksgiving - something we can always do better at!

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  47. We've done the thankful tree as well. I'd really like to do a thanksgiving table cloth. http://blog.sharpie.com/category/ideas/

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  48. The end of the year comes in such a hurry, its so nice to slow down, be together and just be.

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  49. I guess I need to buy the book myself. Being German, I don't celebrate Thanksgiving and so there are no traditions...

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  50. Looks like a great book!
    Thanks for the chance to win!
    I am currently thankful that it has been two weeks since my son with Dravet Syndrome has had a day full of grand mal seziures. HUGE! :)

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  51. We host a Thanksgiving party with about 35 people: family, friends and neighbors. It has been such a gift to our family of 6 to host this holiday. This week I am teaching an art lesson in my 3rd graders class. The children will create an art project based on what they are thankful for. I'm hoping their masterpieces prompt a discussion about gratitude in each of their homes.

    Shawni, thank you for sharing your mothering journey. I love seeing how you foster individuality in each of your children and how you reach them at their varying ages. My children are 13, 11, 8, and 4. You have given me many ideas as a mother.

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  52. I just love this! My family does a Thankful treeas many others! We also as a family write a thank you note everyday in Nov. It could be to a teacher, neighbor, friend, or some one who helps us at the grocery store. I love how this helps my children become aware of a the little blessings that our family has received!

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  53. We always make these silly turkeys out of netting and pipe cleaners (and filled with candy, of course!). While I love this tradition, I'm hoping to add some more meaningful traditions in the coming years.

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  54. I am thankful that my sister moved to the state where I live after not living by family for 12 years. I'm grateful that my children and her children can now interact on a daily basis rather than once a year. Its been a great blessing in my life and so wonderful that we can spend Thanksgiving together!
    My sister and I have a tradition to run a half marathon the morning of Thanksgiving. We haven't been able to do this the last 2 years because I was pregnant and then she was pregnant the following year. We are really excited and ready to do it this year and then stuff ourselves silly with lots of yummy food! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Shawni!

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  55. Somehow Thanksgiving has become my favorite holiday (and that's saying a lot because I'm British!). We're a young family just beginning our traditions, but our favorite is a thankful tree family night. We make the trunk out of a pre-scrunched brown paper bag and then cut leaves out of fall colors. I think it's my favorite holiday because to me it's a lot like Christmas except without having any gift-stress, but there's still great food, family time and it's not as easy to get distracted from the real meaning of the holiday.

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  56. We always had my dad's special pie on Thanksgiving night. To celebrate his birthday as it always falls during this time of year. He got birthday pie, not cake!

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  57. We try to make the whole month of November a focus on gratitude with a thankful tree and special Family Home Evening lessons. Living in gratitude is the best way to live!

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  58. I love Thanksgiving and how it gives us a time to stop and reflect upon what we have and what we want to better in our lives. One of our traditions as a family is talking about being grateful and helping each other recognize what we have.

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  59. We hang a thankful tree or turkey up on the wall and add things that we're thankful for on paper leaves or feathers throughout the month. I think it all started when we were using joy school. :) Thanks for the giveaway. I just love your blog and family!

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  60. No set traditions really, but I think I'm thinking a "Thankful Tree" might be a good idea to start.

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  61. I love our Thankful tree. My husband and kids draw a big tree on brown butcher paper, and I die cut leaves from cardstock. Every morning at breakfast, we each write one thing we are thankful for on a leaf and hang it on the tree. I love the insight I get into my kids' brains, and the full tree we have by Thanksgiving!

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  62. We make our Christmas countdown chain at Thanksgiving and we write things we are thankful for on each link. I've kept all the links from previous years so we can see what we were thankful for each year. It's been fun. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  63. We started the thankful tree tradition after seeing it on your blog. I love Thanksgiving because it is about gathering with family minus the extra hoopla other holidays have become...

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  64. My husband and I have been married 12 years. Of course we get together with a whole heap of family for a turkey dinner but then that leaves us with no leftovers of our own! So we have always had our own Thanksgiving meal, somewhere around the actual holiday. With four children now, we have really enjoyed sharing this meal of thanks together, and enjoying the leftovers for days. :)

    Love you, your parents, and all the advice you guys give on parenting. xoxox

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  65. A candy corn on each plate at Thanksgiving dinner as a reminder to share our Thankful thoughts after the prayer.

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  66. A Thankful Tree and a Gratitude Journal! Always keeps me in the right frame of mind!

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  67. We've enjoyed your thankful tree tradition for a few years . We also like to find a local turkey trot/fun run when the weather cooperates to get moving outside before spending so much of the day in the kitchen. Happy Thanksgiving!

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  68. One of my favorite traditions at Thanksgiving is having extended family members over. My extended family is not close and my mother has worked tirelessly to keep them connected as much as possible. She has always viewed family as number one and I am so grateful that she has passed that on to her children. No matter what happens in a family, we can be different than the past generations. So we have cousins and their families over so we can get to know them better and build a bond with them. No matter what has happened between the past family members, we try to make it different and introduce them to a new way to have family relationships and new ways to love and be grateful for each other.

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  69. For some reason when I was young I really wanted my mom to buy fortune cookies to eat after Thanksgiving dinner. She bought them and it has been our Thanksgiving tradition ever since. It's completely strange and random, but for me it just wouldn't be Thanksgiving without fortune cookies!

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  70. We always do puzzles Thanksgiving day after eating. It's a great way to visit and catch up.

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  71. Before dinner we go on a hike or snow-shoeing adventure (whatever the weather permits). During dinner we tell what we are thankful for and after dinner we play lots and lots of games.

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  72. With both sides of the family living in town, we visit both on Thanksgiving Day. We go early to one, so the kids can play with those cousins before the meal, then we go to the other for dessert and the kids get to play with those cousins after the meal.

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  73. I cut branches from our tree and put them in a vase. All month long we write what we are grateful for and put them on the "tree."

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  74. While growing up my dad was in the army, so on Thanksgiving he would dress up in his dress blues (dapper military attire) and the rest of us would put on our Sunday best and head to the Army hospital where my dad worked. We would enjoy the Thanksgiving cafeteria meal. It was always delicious. We enjoyed one another's company and being there with others who weren't traveling home for the holiday. :)

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  75. We usually had some special treat, like Hershey's kisses, that we would pass around, and then we'd go around the circle and each person would say one thing they are thankful for. After you had given your "thankful for," you could eat your treat. :) I would love to win a copy of your dad's book, it looks wonderful!

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  76. I set a glass pumpkin on our kitchen counter November 1 and each of us write something we are thankful for on a slip of paper and put it in the pumpkin everyday. On Thanksgiving day we read all the slips of paper together while we are having breakfast. It really starts the day off right.

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  77. One year, we asked our entire extended family to keep a jar on the counter through the month of November. Every time someone thought of something they were thankful for, they would write it down and throw it in the jar. When we all got together for thanksgiving, we went around the table and read the different things from each jar. It was a great time together as a family! We also do a thankful tree each year:)

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  78. We make the same food every year. That feels like our tradition. The preparation of the food. It is something I can always do, especially in years like this one when I am far away from family.

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  79. As we begin dinner we each take a turn sharing what we're grateful for from that particular year. It's a great opportunity to reflect on the happy times and how we've grown through the more challenging times that have come our way.

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  80. Shawni I love your blog. I love reading about your parenting tips. The one thing I'm grateful for is that my kids have an amazing step mom. She picks up the slack when I'm not at my best and we see eye to eye on so many issues. In the 4 years that she's been their step mom, we've only had a few parenting and communication hiccups.

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  81. We don't celebrate thanksgiving as a holiday here in Australia, but we have adopted your Thankful Tree which I make sure we do once or twice a year :)

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  82. I am thankful for my 7 month old baby who I am rocking at this moment. There is no greater feeling than the dead weight of a baby sleeping in your arms. I am so thankful to be her mama.

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  83. Each year we do a thankful idea. We have gathered around big long rolls of paper or large poster boards - each person with different colored markers or pens - and written as many things as we can think of. So fun! We have also gone around the table (with or without lighting the next person's candle) to tell one thing we are thankful for.
    Our one non-thankful, but sooo fun tradition is making and decorating gingerbread houses. We started this tradition with all the 'little' cousins about thirty five years ago and it has continued each year, with the cousins now being 'big' and doing it with their own families. I'm not sure how everyone is doing this now, but for many years we would rotate where we had Thanksgiving dinner, so we would set up tables in a room if the home we were in had a large enough room (we have a big family). Or, we would do it in the garage with space heaters set up to keep us toasty. Each child (or big 'child') creates their own house out of graham crackers and decorates their house with candy brought and shared (or not - ha!) by each family. There are big and little houses. Some of the houses are cute, well-planned and creative. Some not so much! Well, maybe not so cute and well-planned, but still creative! We use little Styrofoam meat trays that you can get at the grocery store meat dept. for a small charge or even free. I think the ones we use are usually about 10" X 12" or somewhere around there. In place of building the houses with graham crackers, some of us are now using the pre-built packaged ones or little wooden houses that you can buy at some craft stores, but most of the kids still like to create their own house out of graham crackers. The teenagers love to do this, too! Parents help the little kids. It is so much fun to get together and do this and laugh and talk. We look forward to this every year and it is so fun to watch the little ones carrying their little creations home with them.

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  84. All the family gathered, games, food, stories, lots of laughing! We aren't with family too often because of the military, so we try and make it a point to bring a single soldier to the house or another family and play games and eat... A lot of the times when being over seas (South Korea) currently, your friends become family... And that's just as important.

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  85. Every year at Thanksgiving, at our place setting, would sit a little mini dish full of mixed nuts and a truffle chocolate. It's been a tradition in our family for 4 generations and it always makes the dinner table feel complete. Also, my Granddad would always read something inspiring that our founding fathers wrote, just before we prayed and gave thanks to God for our abundant blessings, freedoms and family.

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  86. We haven't had a big Thanksgiving tradition in our families, just celebrating with our families. This year however, my husband and I have been changing that for our little family of 5. We have a few children's books about Thanksgiving that we've read. And two that I just thought were good for the season, "the little red hen" and "berenstain bears get the gimmies". We are also having deliberate convos with our kids around the supper table about what we're thankful for and why. We are going to make a thankful turkey next week.

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  87. My family didn't have any real Thanksgiving traditions growing up (unless you count eating the amazing pumpkin pie from Costco!), so my husband and I have been brainstorming ideas to do with our own small family. We've decided to plan a service project of some type. This year we're planning to work in a soup kitchen the morning of or the day after Thanksgiving.

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  88. I have started the tradition of having a "thankful tablecloth" that is (HUGE!) and thick white cotton. On Thanksgiving we write in fabric pens a (smal!) snippet of what we are most thankful for that year. Each year as the traditional cloth is pulled out, we remember and love and see growth as the years go by. The little kids grow older and giggle at what they wrote when small. It is glorious.

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  89. I am so grateful for the ability to feel. Joy, peace, sorrow, pain, gladness, all of it!

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  90. One of my favorite ways to express gratitude anytime, but especially this time of year is through handwritten thank you notes. There's just nothing quite like receiving a handwritten note in the mail!

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  91. I am thankful for my beautiful, healthy, growing family and being able to spend time with my loved ones this Thanksgiving!

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  92. I'm grateful for family miracles, great friends and and a supportive community.

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  93. So thankful for good health and the good health of my husband and children. I do not take it for granted. And I love the tradition the day after Thanksgiving of making a perfect, leftover turkey sandwich, complete with cranberry sauce and stuffing.

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  94. Every thanksgiving, my entire family on my side gather together. Usually our gatherings are thirty people or more depending on who can come from afar. We all bring food. We share things we are thankful for, eat and fellowship. This is such a special time for all of us and becomes even more precious as my parents age and my mother's Alzheimers advances.

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  95. Shawni...I am grateful for you, your words of wisdom, and this blog. Your recent post on Lucy and her sight really made me grateful that you get to do this awesome adventure and taught me to cherish all the little things in my life. Simple things like beautiful sights are amazing when you look at them in this light.

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  96. Happy Thanksgiving to your family from far away! Our traditions are simple...we wait for a day not usually on the actual holiday when we can ALL be together...so we traditionally MOVE Thanksgiving and are sure to laugh together!

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  97. I am grateful for people who listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. I am also grateful to be hosting Thanksgiving dinner at my home this year and start new traditions. Even though we are late I want to put up a Thankful Tree and add to it when my family comes to see us.

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  98. What a great reminder that we all should be grateful! While we don't have specific traditions, we practice gratitude all year long.

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  99. The month of November we start with a special gratitude fhe and then write things we're grateful for on paper leaves throughout the month that we hang on a garland on the mantel. I save these year to year and it's so fun to look back. I too think gratitude is so important and am looking forward to reading this book!

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  100. Back in 2002...before either my brother or I were even close to be married. We had a Thanksgiving dinner with our parents in our condo. He did bring his girlfriend at the time up to meet the family. Which was a big deal and everything. My mom made my grandma's sweet potato recipe with marshmallows. It was the best Thanksgiving ever.

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  101. I am very thankful for a warm house to call home. That is something I heard my mom say over and over growing up.

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  102. A tradition I started back when my kids were small was using a big white, cotton table cloth on the table that we could use fabric pens on. Everyone gets to sign it or draw a picture, or whatever they would like each year. It is fun to look back each year at all the old messages, drawings etc!
    Your parent's book sounds amazing!

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  103. We love Thanksgiving dinner at home, but for many years, we took our children to the dining hall at whichever Air Force base my husband was stationed. He was an AF Chaplain and would offer a prayer of Thanksgiving for the airmen and women who were on duty for the day. it made for good memories.

    We also sing, "Said Mister Turkey fat and gray, Gobble, gobble gobble, gobble, gobble.
    It soon will be Thanksgiving day, gobble.....
    Folks all say that means great fun
    But I think that I will run and hide until the day is done.
    Gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble!"

    Yup, my kids are Joy School grads.

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  104. I live your parents books!!
    My tradition is inviting whoever wants to come.. The more the merrier

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  105. We make a "Thankful Tree" we have everyone write on leaves what we are thankful for. It is fun to see what my kids come up with!

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  106. This year I am grateful for the trials I go through. This summer I was diagnosed with PCOS and I am at risk of infertility, although this was hard, I am grateful that it is something I can take care of and hopefully fix. I am grateful for your words of advice when it comes to a positive attitude, it has helped me grow during this trial and to be more grateful for the body I have been blessed with, :)
    and my favorite tradition is traveling from Idaho to Arizona to see family and spend time with them.

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  107. I am thankful for a warm house. I am thankful for a few thanksgiving decorations collected over the years that help me feel a grateful spirit. We also do the thankful tree, and actually made it after church yesterday, finally! I love that my kids are old enough to make leaves and write their own words.

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  108. We do not have a specific tradition. I try daily to have this discussion...pointing out sunsets, discussing what we are so fortunate to have. It is something we practice daily...gratitude!

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  109. This sounds like a beautiful book. I don't have any great Thanksgiving traditions, but I will have to choose some!

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  110. We make a thankful tree and add leaves through the month. I love to hear the things my kids come up with!

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  111. we put up a thankful tree each year, actually it used to be a thankful turkey with pictures of blessings on the feathers when the kids were really little. Now they can all write so it's a tree with leaves. We also make it a point to make our prayers more gratitude based as we approach Thanksgiving, we have each family member say one thing they are thankful for before every family prayer, and then the spokesperson thanks our Heavenly Father for all of those things + whatever else they want to include as they pray. I think it's a great prelude to Christmas to remember where all of our blessings come from.

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  112. Each year we gather the immediate family for a dinner at our house. We watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade in our pajamas and then get started cooking dinner. I love spending time in the kitchen with my mom because she teaches me recipes that her mother taught her. I still make sure the candy Turkeys line the table. I learned to make them at my grandmothers house 13 years ago. We have a second Thanksgiving the following day. We travel north to spend the day with most of my mom's five siblings. My aunt always makes Turkey Tetrazzini and everyone brings their leftovers. We spend the day going on hikes, playing card games and cuddling the new babies. We spend the day being thankful that my grandparents love has spread so far.

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  113. Before we eat Thanksgiving dinner, we all sit around the table and one by one each family member has the opportunity to tell what they are thankful for.

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  114. In early November, I write the quote, "Never let the things you want make you forget what you already have." on our large kitchen chalkboard. We then spend the month writing what we are thankful for and blessed with all around it. By then end of the month the board is filled with reminders of joys and blessings we have everyday. I love seeing the kids sweet handwriting, along with my husbands and I. It really sets the tone for the holidays.

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  115. This was such a great post. I love Thanksgiving! Our favorite Thanksgiving tradition is to drive over to Nauvoo (about 6 hours away) and enjoy the holiday remembering the sacrifices of the early saints. We always stay in a log cabin that is equipped with a kitchen. We cook a basic Thanksgiving meal and then spend a few days enjoying Nauvoo away from the craziness of Black Friday. There are not many visitors in the winter, so the missionaries are able to spend plenty of time sharing their stories with us. I love this simple, peaceful beginning to the holiday season where we can reflect on what matters most! Thanks for the great giveaway!

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  116. This year, I am grateful for the opportunities of growth my family is experiencing! I am grateful that I know Heavenly Father has a plan for us and that He is the one leading us into and through these experiences!

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  117. I love Thanksgiving. One tradition that we have is we write one thing we are thankful for this year and then put them all in a bowl and someone else reads them and we try and guess who is grateful for what blessing.

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  118. I love Thanksgiving and spending time with my family. My husband and I always sit down with our little kids and talk about gratitude and make a thankful tree of some sort. We also go bowling every year with my family and that has become a favorite tradition too.

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  119. Growing up, every even year my extended family would gather in my Grandparents' Nebraska hometown. We almost doubled the population (only a slight exaggeration) of the small town. The last time we gathered together happened to be Thanksgiving and my Grandma's 90th birthday, before she passed away the following February. I have such fond memories of food, fun, and family shared on the special day.

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  120. I love that we make a Thankful Tree each year at the beginning of November & continue to add leaves (things we're grateful for) each day throughout the month. My hope is that it helps me and each of our children focus more on our blessings instead of the ever looming Christmas list. ;)

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  121. It's funny how easily a simple act can become a tradition. Four years ago when I was home with our newborn twins, my husband took our 2.5 year old daughter to the local grocery store to pick up a newspaper Thanksgiving morning. Donuts are a RARE treat at our house and he let her pick out one for each of us. She thought it was the greatest thing EVER! The special trip out with dad, the special treat, feeling the accomplishment of completing a simple task...all made a mark on her. We never gave it a passing thought until the following Thanksgiving morning when she bounced into our room and announced that it was time to go get the newspaper and donuts. : ) We had started a tradition without even realizing it! And she informed me just yesterday that we would for sure be doing it this year! It may not be the most exciting of traditions, but I love that it was child-created and that makes it so meaningful to her!

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  122. I am grateful for virtual mentors like yourself and your parents! Would LOVE to win this book!

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  123. We usually start off the month of November with a FHE lesson on gratitude followed with writing down and sharing all that we have to be grateful for. On Thanksgiving day, we spend time with extended family eating a yummy meal, visiting, and playing games.

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  124. My favorite Thanksgiving tradition actually developed in response to the annual family Turkey Bowl. Every year the older kids, dads, grandpas, uncles, and friends have gathered at the park behind our house to play the traditional football game. And every year, I was responsible for a house full of Littles (my own children, plus cousins and others), while the gang was out playing. I found myself feeling a little frustrated. And then I thought how ridiculous that was! I decided that rather than sit around having a pity party, I'd plan an activity to keep the Littles and I busy and engaged during the football frenzy. That year, I decided we'd do a service project for the sweet elderly residents at the nursing home around the corner. I purchased really inexpensive wooden ornaments, and some markers and glitter glue, and the Littles and I set to work making Christmas tree decorations. We had a great morning- and rather than feeling frustrated, I felt lifted- especially when we delivered the ornaments to the residents. Several years have passed since that Thanksgiving. In the intervening years we've done a service project every Thanksgiving morning. Always with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade on in the background, and always with Krispy Kreme donuts (I know- right before Thanksgiving?!). Over the years, we've made snack-sacks for the juvenile justice system, made hygiene kits for families in disaster areas, made education kits for children without basic resources, and made fleece blankets for Project Linus. Sometimes most of the kids (big and little) stay inside and work on the project, and some years many of the kids go outside to play football. But every year it's been a great opportunity to remember our blessings as we serve others in need, to build unity among family, friends, and neighbors, and to experience the joy that comes from service.

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  125. This is the second year we have done a thankful tree on our hall wall. It has really helped our family focus on all we are grateful for. We have little ones and it is fun to hear the things they are grateful for!

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  126. We get a new puzzle or a new game and play it together on Thanksgiving Day. I love that it's such a family-oriented kind of day.

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  127. We play Bingo after the dinner is cleaned up. Everyone brings inexpensive gifts. The kids love it.

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  128. We play lots of simple "Carnival" type games with the kids. Then everyone helps cook dinner.

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  129. We've done a thanksgiving tree the last couple of years thanks to you and your amazing blog! Thank you!!

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  130. i don't know if my comments posted ??
    I really love the book and it's concept. I agree whole heartily with it's basis. Gratitude changes lives.
    CeCe

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  131. We started the Thankful Jar this year. We add our strips of paper in the month of November. Then on Thanksgiving Day, we open them up and read them!

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  132. I think my favorite thanksgiving tradition is just having everyone in the kitchen cooking together :) My sisters come and my kids all participate and there is so much excitement and love in the air as we prepare the feast :)

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  133. My favorite tradition is our thankful tree. We sit down as a family each night in November and write down one thing we are grateful for. That on it's own is great, but what makes it so special to me is how much my 5 year old loves it and gets excited for it each day.

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  134. I love the idea of sending out thanksgiving cards! My favorite t-day tradition is getting books from the library that help my family put things in perspective (my favorite is where children sleep) and create some meaningful conversations.

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  135. Our game of Scrabble at the end of the day is the best! Playing with little kids, coming up with their own words, adults "bickering" over whether it's a word or not....lots of laughs and lots of memories!

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  136. Our Thanksgiving is simple. Two sisters cooking in a kitchen for their family (and anyone else who needs family that day). Football on the television, and pie waiting on the dessert table.

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  137. I grew up in a home that followed a religion that didn't celebrate Halloween, Christmas, Easter (pagan holidays was their excuse) so Thanksgiving was and still is my favorite holiday (I celebrate all those holidays now!). We never had any set of traditions that we followed. Four years ago my family and I went home for Thanksgiving... and while there my grandpa padded away unexpectedly. On his favorite holiday itself... Thanksgiving. My grandpa was the best at reminding us to be grateful for everything. He and my grandma helped so many people out in their hard times of life. He was such a great example to me. He was also known for making a very special peanut butter pie. Now every year my little family heads to our little cabin in east Texas....and there is a restaurant that sells what I think is the perfect peanut butter pie..just like grandpa used to make! So we buy a pie and we remember grandpa each Thanksgiving (his recipe doesn't turn out the same for us..we tried!!!) and try to find ways to be more like him !

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  138. We don't quite have any Thanksgiving traditions established yet. But since we rarely live by family we try to find others who are also by themselves and all get together.

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  139. We usually spend our Thanksgiving in Florida ! So nice to be all squished in a condo and I lug with me our roaster and do a TUrkey. We also invite other families we know from Atlanta who are down there too and after dinner we go swimming.

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  140. The day before Thanksgiving, my children and I go to Grandma's house and make homemade pies from scratch. It has been fun to watch Grandma teach the kids the art of pie making. And to also see the famous family recipes being passed down. Grandma has terminal cancer and won't be around many more Thanksgivings....it is this tradition that makes me grateful because I know Grandma's pies and LOVE will continue throughout the generations. Another tradition we have is family football out in the yard. This is what the boys look forward to most. But not only the boys- the girls and aunts get out there too. It is a time when you can hear laughter and see high-fives, fist bumps, and all kinds of positive interaction. I don't think the young boys even notice the cold. :)
    Lisa in Washington

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  141. Thanksgiving is on the top of my list of favorite holidays. We have a quiet celebration-just my husband and 3 children. We always watch he Marcy's Day Parade together while our turkey is cooking. At the dinner table we get out our blessing box and relive some of our memorable moments that occurred throughout the year. This year I am making paper place mats that have journaling lines on them for us to record things we are thankful for. We put up our tree and other holiday decor on Thanksgiving night and then all watch How The Grinch Stole Christmas (a family favorite). We always travel to Connecticut for Christmas (an 18 hour road trip) for Christmas to celebrate with my parents and 5 siblings and their families so the intimate Thanksgiving celebration is lovely.

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  142. Years ago my husband purchased a blank journal and proclaimed it would be our Thanksgiving journal! Every year each of us write down what we are grateful for or blessings that we recognized that year. Since I still have little kids, we trace their hands in the book to see how much they've grown over the years. If we have family/friends over we invite them to write in it as well. It's been so fun every year to go back and read all the entries! Happy Thanksgiving!

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  143. I am an American who was raised Canadian, so we celebrated thanksgiving TWICE when I was growing up (Canadian Thanksgiving is in October, and we would celebrate with American missionaries in November). It is my faveourite holiday. No chocolate or gifts required. Just beautiful fall weather, good food, family, and nice warm sweaters. And deliberately thinking about being thankful is the best part. The only tradition we have with my family is listing what we are each thankful for. But, back to growing up with two thanksgivings....back then, we would get sick of turkey by Christmas,so we ate lobster for Christmas dinner. I have carried on that tradition!

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  144. Before we eat, we go around the table and discuss what we are thankful for. I think it sets the tone for the dinner and helps the meal to last longer!

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  145. Love your blog and would love a copy if this book, your parents are amazing! One of my favorite traditions is going around before the prayer on the food and saying what we are thankful for. As I've started my own family we have gone to different organizations to help serve food or give food/items to those in need. It makes thanksgiving so much for meaningful to see how truly blessed we are and serve others.

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  146. a great give away! thanks for the chance.... for me thanksgiving is all about family. as many as I can have! we do the 5 candy corn on the plate to name five blessings we are thankful for. also certain dishes have to be made every year. like banana pudding, and pistachio pudding. oh and my MIL's dill dip! Happy thanksgiving!!!

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  147. This will be our first year as a smaller group. My son just moved across the country, another one has to work all day as a new nurse. I am thankful my husband has a great job and works so hard for us to provide for our needs and I am thankful we have a church that reaches out and helps everyone in need, whether it's an illness, new baby or a death. They are there to love and support each other.

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  148. We love to get together with family and also friends who do not have family near. The more the merrier! I am so thankful for a house full of people. What a blessing. We always need to be cultivating gratitude, and this book looks like it will help along with being beautiful and inspiring.

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  149. We do a thankful tree (inspired by you!) and I love reading the things my kids and husband write! Thanksgiving cards is such a great idea, too. Maybe I'll start doing that!

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  150. I love Thanksgiving so much and the traditions that I have with my family. I grew up in a family of 6 kids and we love to get together as much as possible... Every other year with my family we stay at a cabin for the whole weekend. We love to bake together, watch movies together, go sledding etc... but my favorite tradition is our "Thanksgiving" table cloth, we write right on the table cloth little notes of what we are thankful for, it is so fun to go back and read the previous years notes and remember what we were thankful for then and what we are thankful for now... You can see how we have grown through trials etc just in the little notes written.
    Thank you so much for your blog by the way I read it every day and love your family I too have taken the thankful tree idea from you as well as writing on my kids (and kids that I teach) fingers. Your blog has helped me to instill some new traditions with my family so thank you for sharing!! I think too btw that your trip to China is a great decision and would love to do it!!!

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  151. The only tradition we have every year is making candied yams. One year I tried to get my extended family onboard with the idea of a gratitude journal that we pull out every year and add to but they didn't want any part of it. The biggest lesson I have learned from Thanksgiving is to be thankful for the good in your family and what they have to give even when it's not what you want or expect. This year I am going to start a new tradition and make my Aunt's rolls. She taught me how last year and now I am teaching my girls. My grandma taught her. When I make them I feel like I am holding hands with the past. With every amazing strong woman that came before me and that made me who I am. I am thankful for family for sure!

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  152. Our traditions were simple - family together cooking and laughing. And the special dishes we always used - good memories there!!! Can't wait to read this book! THANK YOU!!

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  153. We traditionally cook together with a lot of testing to get the seasoning jussssst right. One daughter traditionally have her first slice of pumpkin pie for breakfast which is why we make 3-4 pumpkin pies, 2 apple and 1 pecan.

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  154. One of my husband's family tradition is a magic and fire juggling show on the lawn in between dinner and dessert! It is so fun! One of his cousins has that particular talent and we always look forward to it.

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  155. We have been trying to do a turkey trot in the morning, we used to play football in the morning and now that our kids are getting big enough, that may be fun too. We try to do something outdoors and active in the mornings!

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  156. I enjoy all the work of cooking and working in the kitchen while others play.

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  157. Thank you for offering this giveaway! The timing is perfect...I could really use some positive, happy reading to reflect on. We come together as a family and do everything from the cooking to the cleaning...everyone pitches in. One special tradition we started was that each member of the family shares one thing they are truly thankful for. We have children thru grandparent aged people and each individual answer is so unique :)

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  158. We do a thankful tree as well; each day of the week (and sometimes the entire month) leading up to Thanksgiving we take a moment to reflect on something that we are grateful for and write it on a leaf that we attach to branches we've collected from the yard!

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  159. My kids are young, so we are just starting our own Thanksgiving traditions. I am keeping it simple with one tradition of a Thankful tree like yours. My husband's family has a tradition of putting three corn kernels on each person's plate at dinner and they each say three things they're grateful for, which I really love!

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  160. I am starting a new tradition this year of having everyone make a hand turkey and write in it what they are thankful for in 2014! Then I will put them in an album that we will keep out every November!! A great way to see the grandkids hands grow too!

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  161. Both my husband and I have always done a very traditional American Thanksgiving - turkey, stuffing, pies, football, family. But when we moved away from family a while ago, we decided to make new traditions. For the last couple of years, we've had friends over Thanksgiving, and we love it. We have some amazing friends that feel like family, and spending a long weekend with them does our hearts so much good. Our boys now know that "family" extends beyond our blood relatives, a lesson they'll carry with them forever.

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  162. One of our Thanksgiving traditions is to watch "Kitt Kittredge-An American Girl." This cute movie fills my heart with love as I watch Kitt try to help and love everyone around her--I love it! Plus the movie closes with everyone gathered around each other to enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner. I cry every time!

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  163. I asked my church class what their favorite holiday traditions are. My son said, "food". I asked him to elaborate and he said, "That's really just it. It's nothing specific. You buy, cook or make whatever WE like. Knowing I have that to look forward to makes it awesome." It warmed my heart!

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  164. Thank you for the giveaway! So kind and generous of you and your parents. We have a "Turkey Cup" our own version of The World Cup (a little less violent than football, less injuries and all ages can play) in the morning, add more feathers to the "Thankful Garland" then dinner, dishes, games, dishes, movies, dessert, dishes, visiting and cousin sleepovers. Our great grandma also passes out her Christmas money, books and ornaments on Thanksgiving as most of the family is together. My favorite day of the year!

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  165. Love our Thanksgiving Tree! We got the idea from you and it has been a favorite!

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  166. We do thanksgiving leaves around our mantle with words of what we are grateful for. My favorite this year are the random letters my 4 year old wrote all over hers. But my family tries to do something active like hiking the morning if thanksgiving to celebrate being together, nature and healthy bodies. It doesn't hurt that it makes us feel a little less guilty about gorging later in the day.

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  167. I'm grateful for eternal marriage as I watched my sweet husband leave us a short 6 months ago. Grateful for 4 wonderful children and their families that watch out after my needs. Would love to share this book with them.

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  168. We do a turkey.. colored and hung on our front door. Every morning (in Nov), before we go out the door for school, we add a feather to the turkey.. with something listed that we are grateful for that day. It's been a fun tradition the past five years with my boys.. (who are 8, 5 and 3 months old). I love the THanksgiving Card idea too! I'm grateful for three healthy boys..and a willing husband. He does his best and I love him for it.

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  169. Nerf gun family war. And gathering pine cones for holiday decorations.

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  170. I am thankful for challenges that force me to grow and change to be more like our Heavenly Father....even if I do drag my feet a little (or a lot) when those changes are uncomfortable.

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  171. My kids and I make a Thanksgiving Tree where we add a leaf with something we're grateful for written on it, each day. Oh and we also do secret drop off treats of "You've Been Gobbled" to neighbors :) So grateful for my family to make traditions with!!

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  172. One of our family tradition is cut out a tree which is made of paper. As the month progresses we write what we are thankful for on pre-cut leaves. At the end of the month the tree is completely full of gratitude. It's a fabulous experience for our family every year. It feels like we slow down to think about what we really love and appreciate about each other.

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  173. We also do a Thankful Tree, what a blessing it is to reflect daily upon that! Thanks for doing the giveaway Shawni!

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  174. I have realized I have become more and more surrounded by people who use the word grateful. That has made me realize all the things I am grateful for. Just being open to all that is good around me, and not worrying about all the other things has made me more and more grateful. This is not only going to be a Thanksgiving tradition, but one that will last forever, I hope! As a person in healthcare, I have worked many, many Thanksgivings, and it is always so special to spend time with ones that can't be home for the holidays. The patients I have cared for have made my Thanksgiving even more blessed.

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  175. I love Thanksgiving and how it sets the stage for Christmas. We spend a little time each evening in the month ofNovember talking about what we are thankful that day and we write it down so we can see all that we are thankful for on Thanksgiving.

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  176. I love spending the day with my family and friends and any love ones who are around. I love a huge dinner together when time stands still for a little while and we can just enjoy each other and be thankful for time together. It's like the quite before the storm for me and a moment to really enjoy a break from our crazy school/work schedules and be grateful for each other. I love that it is a low key, family day all day filled with fun stories, memories sharing, game playing, and togetherness.

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  177. That's nice of them to giveaway a few copies, what a great idea! I have the best memories of waking up at or going to my grandparents' house early on Thanksgiving day and watching the MACY'S Thanksgiving Parade while we got things ready for lunch. There was something so comforting about being all warm and cozy at their house while watching it all. I still like having it on no matter where we are on Thanksgiving morning although the guys usually want a football game on in the background!
    We have started a thankful tree tradition with our kids and this is our second year. We start it on the first Monday of November for FHE and each Monday for the whole month we add leaves. Our kids are 5, 3, and 8 months so most of the time it feels like mostly my husband and I sharing with each other what we are thankful for (which is nice!) but we've gotten a few serious answers out of the older two this year (mixed in with Skylanders and candy)! Happy Thanksgiving to y'all! I'm grateful for your stories, advice, ideas and inspiration!

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  178. Some of the best Thanksgiving traditions that we have are from our Aunt my husband's side.
    1-going bowling
    2-indoor "snowball fight" with marshmallows
    These mean more especially since she has now passed on from her battle with brain cancer. So grateful for the wonderful memories that we have of her.

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  179. Each November, I cover our card table with paper. The words, "I Am Thankful For..." are in the center with a new box of markers. All month long, everyone writes the things they are thankful and I love watching it fill up as we focus on gratitude.

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  180. Thank you for your posts! The last little while has been difficult and the messages have lead to inspiration. Each day is a struggle, but we keep at it. I try and look at blessings, but have a hard time really seeing how blessed I really am. Anyway, favorite tradition is the 2 mile night time walk we take on the country roads where I grew up. It was amazing to look into the night sky and to feel so happy and at peace. Thank you again!

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  181. This year I am excited to be making the 18+ hour trip with our four little ones from CA to WA to spend Thanksgiving with my family. Thanksgiving had never been a big holiday in my family so I am excited to read this book to get ideas on how to fill my house with gratitude and some new traditions!

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  182. My favorite is from my childhood. We would serve breakfast to seniors at McDonalds on thanksgiving morning (for the rotary club or something). It was amazing and I always am on the lookout for something similar for my kids when they're a bit older (we have 5 under 7).

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  183. I am thankful for every new day I am given. As a wife and mother it seems that as I end and begin each day I'm thankful to see what I've learned, how I've grown and how it's truly a blessing to learn and change for the better. Very grateful for the opportunity to progress and become someone truly better. My favorite tradition is allowing my kids to be involved in the planning and table decorations. They write the name cards for our guests. They make and create the "goodie" on the plates. They create and make a craft or "thankful book" for all the children. Set the table. Pick seating assignments, etc. They do it all! It's been the best way to include my children and see them anticipate the holidays. It was the best choice I made to "let go" of the perfect Thanksgiving table, and truly fill it with love and warmth of children. Love it!

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  184. Last year I bought some cards prior to Thanksgiving and let everyone choose one to write a thank-you note on to someone they are grateful for. We stamped them and addressed them right then and there before heading to the table for Thanksgiving dinner. I think everyone felt a little extra gratitude and happy to have done a small act of kindness at the same time.

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  185. We always went bowling on Thanksgiving evening after dinner. It was fun because we are all such terrible bowlers!

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  186. Our family has a thanksgiving journal that we all write pur thankful thoughts in. It gets passed around throughout the day of thanksgiving to all members of the family. It's so fun to read what we have written on past thanksgivings!!

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  187. The past few weeks, we have gathered things to put together Humanitarian Kits to give away. On Thanksgiving, after dinner, we put the kits together. It has been a fun tradition to help others in need.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

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  188. Every year we have a special FHE where we make paper turkeys by tracing our hands on construction paper, then cut out paper feathers and glue them to the hand. We write things we are thankful for on each feather and hang our turkeys on the wall. We save the turkeys each year and it's fun to see how the things we are thankful for change over the years.

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  189. We have always played a soccer game the morning of thanksgiving which helps us have fun together while also creating bigger appetites for dinner :) We also like to create "thankful trees" and hang them up on the fridge to remind us what we are thankful for. I hope it teaches my little ones that it is important to count our blessings!

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  190. My kids are still little, but we make a Thankful List throughout November. I love to see the things they come up with, especially when they write it in their own handwriting and with their own spelling.

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  191. We started our call of "happiness". Man, I love that thing! It's here: http://comehometoroost.blogspot.com/2014/11/gratitude-rooted-in-happiness-family.html

    Miss you guys!

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  192. I love your blog, your parents books, and thanksgiving! :) their books and your insights have eloped me so much at trying to become a
    More deliberate mother. This year I am thankful for a hehy pregnancy, 2 healthy girls, and the health of my husband and I! And that we see my husband way more than expected as he started his first year in medical school. My favorite traditions for thanksgiving include writing one thing each of the family is thankful for on our thankful tablecloth and reviewing all of the previous years comments that are permanently etched on the tablecloth. My other favorite thanksgiving tradition that I hope to carry on with my own family is making candy with my grandma the day after thanksgiving. She is so knowledgeable and it is such a fun skill to have and makes delicious presents for family and friends for Christmas. I love this time of year and I love you and your family so much! You really hold a close spot in my heart for how much your families books and wisdom have helped me so thank you.

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  193. We have no family nearby, so we always join with friends in a big "family" thanksgiving meal.

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  194. We always make a grateful tree trunk on a big posterboard without leaves, then we cut out leaves and write on them things we are thankful for, then glue them on the tree trunk. It is awesome to see the tree fill up each year with all we are grateful for.

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  195. We also do a thankful tree. It is so fun to watch it fill up throughout the month. The cover of your parents book is really beautiful!

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  196. We eat a delicious dinner with the whole family. Dessert always includes pumpkin pie.
    I think I need to start some of the great tradition ideas!

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  197. Every November, we put up our Thankful Tree and add a leaf every day of the month leading up to Thanksgiving. It's a wonderful visual reminder of gratitude.

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  198. the thankful tree that i copied from here!

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