Contributing Writing free printable Homeschooling Inspiration When life is tough

Making a Family Thankful Tree

It’s definitely time. I need to venture into the barn attic and bring down the makings for our family thankful tree.

thankful tree

I know it’s time for our thankful tree to grace our carriage house walls again.

The signs of pending November are shouting with insistence that I give in and prepare for winter. So many leaves around our homestead have given up their grip on autumn, now offering the chickens a brittle brown carpet to scratch in for their daily treats.


My high-school sweetheart and I have walked the property marking the maples worthy of taping for sap this winter.

things to be thankful for

The garden is barren, except for lonely bushes of broccoli that are still providing a fresh veggie snack every so often.

thankful tree

And the apples have all been picked.

apple picking and thankful tree

But it’s more than the signs of a pending November that have me longing for our Family Thankful Tree. Truth is, I’ve felt like I’m more incapable than usual the last few weeks.

For one thing, Scout’s empty field is a continual reminder of my most recent homesteading failure. Our sweet little Holstein is a 10-minute drive down the dirt road, staying in a neighbor’s field, on a 6-week vacation with their bull.

But much heavier on my heart is my distance from my parents as Mom prepares this morning to start her cancer treatment. She’ll go into a doctor’s office and wait for six hours while a conundrum of medicines slowly pump through her veins. She’ll sit and watch the leaves that are blowing outside, the news announcers on a big TV screen who are spewing political analysis, and the others around her who are fighting similar demons; and I will be sitting 400 miles away, completely helpless. But I will also sit with a thankful heart. Yes, I am thankful to serve an omni-potent God who has given me many promises to cling to and words of hope that sustain me. And I am thankful that I have a paper tree, painted on a brown roll of paper, tucked under the eaves of my barn attic, waiting to be filled with reminders of the overwhelming blessings I have to be thankful for.

My friend Tauna, of Proverbial Homemaker, asked me months ago if I would write a post for today about our Family Thankful Tree. How perfectly timed by God’s loving, omniscient hand that this was the very morning I would need a physical, painted reminder of His goodness. So please glance at my post on Proverbial Homemaker, where I’m also sharing a free printable to get your family started on this wonderful Thanksgiving tradition, while I go uncover and hang a joyous paper tree in our carriage house.


For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. 2 Chronicles 16:9


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UPDATE: I’ve walked through many hard days after writing this original post, but I’ve also been blessed. Blessed to be sitting with my sweet momma in the wee quiet hours of the morning when she met Christ. Blessed to be with my handsome southern-boy Daddy when he stepped into eternity where he’s gardening without weeds and pests today I’m sure.  A few of my experiences I’ve written about here. But through it all I have gone back many times to that verse in 2 Chronicles that I was clinging to in the beginning of this journey of grief. The verse I shared in this post on the day mom started her chemo treatment.

I had no idea when I first shared this verse with you how much I would need to remind myself of it in the months ahead. Remind myself that I could rely on God’s strength and rest in His sovereignty. That would be enough.

If you would like to follow along here and receive my weekly-ish newsletter “Failure. Delivered weekly,” you’ll have immediate access to my subscriber library. Please enjoy all the printables under the section of ‘Encouragement”–including a list of 14 verses that gave me great comfort when I was grieving the loss of both parents.

And yes, that’s really the name of the weekly-ish newsletter you’ll receive: “Failure. Delivered weekly.” Cause it’s no secret. Michelle is an expert at being a failure. But it’s okay, from my failures I always learn something. Because God is good.

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Glance at my Resource Page if you’d like to get a glimpse of all the supplies I use and recommend for everything from gardening, to homeschool, to nature journaling, to maple syrup making.

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thankful tree

Many readers often ask what camera I use to take the images you find here on SoulyRested. I love my Nikon; you can read more about my camera and even purchase your own here.

And please follow along!

Please take a second to follow along here on SoulyRested to catch up on a few of my memorable mishaps, enjoy musings about my centuries-old farmhouse, or glean a little parenting/homeschooling insight from this momma who’s been failing at the effort for almost 2 decades. I hope my focus always helps you Keep it Simple while being Souly Rested on Christ.

As soon as you subscribe, you’ll have immediate access to my subscriber library of resources, which I’m continually adding to, and which includes lots of printables. You might enjoy a great resource to inspire you to learn more about fall leaves with a child or grandchild: my popular e-booklet–5 Things You Should Know About Nature Study.

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