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An Attitude of Gratitude: Don’t Just Express It, Show It This Thanksgiving!

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I’ll admit it: I’m not a huge fan of Thanksgiving. Out of all the holidays, it is the one that resonates the least with me. This is probably because it has become very little about gratitude and more about spending the day slaving in the kitchen, only to be rewarded by a football game I do not care about.

At least the pumpkin pie isn’t all bad.

With recent stressful events in my family’s life, it would be easy to throw a bit of a pity party. But this year, I decided Thanksgiving would be different. Or rather, that I would make a difference. Instead of just expressing gratitude, I vowed I would show gratitude. Two great companies made it very easy for me: World Discovery Box and Caring Corners’ Mrs. Goodbee Dollhouse.

[photopress:goodbee_1.jpg,full,pp_image]I am often contacted about doing reviews and giveaways on Mile High Mamas. But the folks promoting the Mrs. Goodbee Dollhouse were different. They challenged me to anonymously give their interactive dollhouse to someone in need. And I did–to a family with several boys and one little girl. A family whose trials and difficult circumstances have humbled me and whose positive attitude through it all inspires me. I heard from a friend of a friend (must not blow my cover, of course) that Mrs. Goodbee’s Dollhouse has been a ray of sunshine in their little girl’s life.

Then, the Colorado-based owner of World Discovery Box contacted me about doing a giveaway on Mile High Mamas. And I just didn’t feel right about it. Don’t get me wrong–I thought this wooden chest of drawers filled with amazing natural items like fossils, shells, geodes and insects was genius. Epic, even. How many toys are on the market that create a family lifestyle and culture around discovery?

But I just felt like I needed to do more.

That “more” came to me as I was retrieving my daughter from preschool. I remembered an article about Ralston House that I had read in the newspaper. This non-profit agency provides services for sexually, physically or emotionally abused children and their families. This safe haven is a place where they can share their stories and begin to heal. I would donate the box to them.

World Discovery Box’s owner John Skowland was thrilled with the idea and we contacted Ralston House.
[photopress:discovery_box.jpg,full,pp_image] John personally delivered the World Discovery Box from Durango and I got the tour of my life at the Ralston House. As I listened to the services and stories of the many battered children who are helped during this fragile time in their life, I was so moved.

What would be more appropriate by showing these precious children the world of The Discovery Box when so many of their worlds are crumbling?

And you know what? These simple gestures have made me that much more mindful of all that I have to be grateful for this Thanksgiving. Football games and all.

My challenge to you this Thanksgiving? Don’t just express your gratitude, show it. Whether it is extra time spent in meaningful activities with your children or if you are in a position to help someone in need.

What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving season?

Amber Johnson
Author: Amber Johnson

Amber is the founder and editor of Mile High Mamas. She is a passionate community builder and loves the outdoors. She has two awesome teens and is happily married to a man obsessed with growing The Great Pumpkin.

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  • comment avatar Kari November 24, 2008

    It’s funny how we always associate with giving for Christmas but you’re right. No better way to express gratitude than showing it.

  • comment avatar Kari November 24, 2008

    P.S. LOVE that discovery box!

  • comment avatar Tonya November 24, 2008

    Wow, that discovery box is amazing and the dollhouse isn’t to shabby either. You’ve given me much to think about this holiday week.

  • comment avatar calibosmom November 24, 2008

    That was extremely thoughtful and sweet of you. I feel a big lump in my throat and will find a way to express my gratitude in special ways this week. Thanks Crazy Canuck!!!

  • comment avatar Laura Moffitt November 24, 2008

    That is amazing that you, with the companies, where able to do that. You have given me some ideas of how I will show gratitude this season.

  • comment avatar Kagey November 24, 2008

    What a great way to reclaim the holiday! I dislike calling it “Turkey Day” because it makes it all about eating and not about giving thanks.
    And what a neat idea – a discovery box! Do the discoveries come with descriptions, so you can learn more?

  • comment avatar Amber November 24, 2008

    Yes, The Discovery Box comes with descriptions. What I also loved about it is it encourges kids to go out and explore their own world and collect treasures to add to it. Brilliant.

  • comment avatar Bonnie November 24, 2008

    Wow – thanks Amber – what a great thought-provoking post! I am on the look out now for how I can show my gratefulness.

  • comment avatar Debbie Davis November 24, 2008

    Thank you for sharing this Amber. How wonderful. Wishing you and your family a blessed week.

  • comment avatar RookieMom Whitney November 24, 2008

    Great story, Amber. I am going to post about it on

  • comment avatar One Mom's Opinion November 24, 2008


    Great story. I never heard of Ralston House before.

    I’ve been supporting Ronald McDonald House for quite a few years now. I try and take Harley with me once a year to drop-off donations.

    He somewhat understands charity, but doesn’t seem to understand how or why others might struggle. That seems to be a hard concept.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  • comment avatar Kassie November 24, 2008

    What a wonderful way to truly be grateful. It always makes me feel so blessed when I am able to help other people.

  • comment avatar Momma, The Casual Perfectionist November 24, 2008

    What great ideas!! I am grateful for a happy and healthy family. I’m always on the lookout for ways to show Claire how important it is to care for others. This post was great!

    (My browser is acting goofy and I can’t read all of the other comments…I’ll check back later to read them.)


  • comment avatar Kimberly November 24, 2008

    I love that idea! This is why I love this time of year. I love watching others give and do things for those who are less fortunate and need a boost during the Holidays. Great Post!

  • comment avatar Karla November 24, 2008

    Wow Amber. You humble me. You inspire me. I’m awed by your heart, and your giving nature. Thank you for spurring me to act, instead of talk. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • comment avatar 4 November 24, 2008

    I am guessing this one likely comes as a no brainer to those who know me. I am grateful to be cancer free. It has been a long hard battle. But more than grateful for being rid of the cancer, I am thankful for those who helped me battle. I am thankful for prayers, good wishes and friends and family who picked me up when I was down.
    You Miss Amber were among the champions- and apparently, you continue to be a champion. Brava!!!!

  • comment avatar Jewel/Pink Ink November 24, 2008

    Love this idea, of showing instead of just being.

    I am grateful for my good health. And that I can be a mom to my kids.

  • comment avatar shonda November 25, 2008

    All the cliche things, husband, kids, job. But, also, that 30 Rock and The Office are back on air.
    That the election, as much as I loved watching it daily, is over so I can be more productive.
    That gas is getting cheaper.

  • comment avatar yvonne November 25, 2008

    You amaze me, Amber. You are such a thoughtful, caring woman.

    I will be sure and DO something to show my gratitude.

  • comment avatar Paige November 26, 2008

    That is awesome! What a wonderful experience to be able to give away such treasures, and to people who really need it.

  • comment avatar Allie November 26, 2008

    What a truly wonderful post Amber. It was very thought provoking and warming all at the same time. By the time I finished reading it, you put a smile on my face.

    I have always been really big on teaching my children about gratitude and giving to others. Each year at Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas we do what we call Random Acts of Kindness to many unsuspecting individuals, in hopes that it will help lift their days or week. Whether it be delivering a home cooked dinner, to purchasing annonymous gifts for presents, we try teach our children that it is always better to help others. So far, my son is tremendous and often comes up with the best ideas for us to do.

  • comment avatar Shannon November 29, 2008

    What a wonderful home you found for the doll house and Discovery Box. You must have been smiling all through Thanksgiving – football games and all. 🙂

  • comment avatar Char December 3, 2008

    Very cool. We all need to do more. I think I’ll plan something – like my next giveaway will be one for the reader, AND one donated to charity – to someone in need. Spread the love!

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