Thursday, March 23, 2023

Something to Muench on: Finding gratitude

Many years ago, when the kids were little, I saw a cute November craft project on Pinterest. I decided to implement it in our home. The project required me to cut a 5-foot tree shape out of a roll of brown construction paper…the trunk was beefy and the tree had at least a half dozen thick-to-thinner branches added to it so that this tree, when tacked up, took up a good portion of our one of our family room walls.

In addition to cutting out the tree form, I also spent hours cutting out dozens of leaf shapes from a variety of patterned papers I’d carefully chosen from Hobby Lobby to adorn the tree on the wall. Each leaf was meant to represent a thoughtful aspect of life each one of our family members was thankful for. Thirty days in November meant thirty days of gratitude from each participant…it made for a full tree by month’s end. (Which was kind of ironic because trees are pretty full at the beginning of November but bare by the end, lol.)

Those were the days when there were a lot of kids around and I was oozing with creative juices.

Fast forward to this November when our youngest, Mia, the only child still at home (I say “home” loosely because she’s a junior with a job and a car so basically she sleeps and occasionally eats under our roof). Mia would likely not elect to participate in the activity.

How can I implement gratitude in our home, especially this month?

If you’re like me, I imagine we’d agree that over the past year (or more) it has been harder to focus on the things we are thankful for and yet, maybe that’s exactly why it’s so important we have a month that asks us to highlight the many ways in which we might pause and be grateful.

It’s ridiculously easy to think of and list out life’s challenges, why is it harder to see the value in our blessings?

I’ve decided to create a mini version of the tree activity and buy some pre-cut paper leaves and a big mason jar. I’ll leave the cut outs and some pens on the kitchen island to inspire myself, Tom, and Mia to add their blessings to the jar. Maybe she will participate more than I give her credit for. Either way, that material reminder will help Tom and I to become more awake and aware of the ways in which life blesses us daily. At the end of the month, we can look through the contents as we ponder all the positive parts of our lives.

Come to think of it, this shouldn’t just be a November thing, right?

Sometimes the best we can do is become the example we wish to see. Perhaps Mia will take me up on it now…or perhaps, in the years ahead, she will remember what was shown to her and want to replicate it in some way for her own family.

What are you grateful for as we begin the season of thanks? One thing is for sure, I always feel blessed when someone from this community stops me to say they enjoy my column.

Have a happy, healthy November y’all!

Kimberly Muench
Kimberly Muench
Kim Muench is a Flower Mound mother of five kiddos. She is a certified parent coach who loves working with moms and dads of adolescents to build stronger, healthier connections in their home. To learn more, visit her website at

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