Authors: Richard and Linda Eyre
I had the great pleasure of visiting with Richard and Linda Eyre at their home this past spring as part of a Power of Mom’s Retreat. Never have I met such loving and gracious people as the Eyre’s. I have long admired them for the beautiful way they raised their family and for their continued encouragement to so many families. While there I was able to learn wonderful things and soaked in every word.
As I read The Thankful Heart I felt like I was having a conversation with them again as I did before. It is personal with stories and photos from their own life. This is not a self-help book, textbook, or essay. This is a living testament to the art and skill of living in Thanks-Giving daily. This book will teach you about having a thankful heart, but more than that, it will show you what having a thankful heart can do for you and for those around you.
The Thankful Heart This book is printed in high quality color pictures and, visually, is a work of art. Flipping through the pages you find Eyre family photos, as well as photos from around the world. Part One introduces what Thanks-Giving really means and how to expand it throughout the whole year. The remaining pages are divided by month, each section written in beautiful poetry, looking at Thanks-Giving through different principles such as Grace and Adversity. Each month shares a simple challenge to help further what you have read and learned.
Parts I Liked Best:
One of my favorite sections of the book is Part Three: One Family’s Journey Through Gratitude. The Eyre’s have a long held tradition of swapping the traditional Christmas cards for Thanksgiving poems. In this section they share forty three years worth of their poems as well as family photos from that time. One of my favorites was from 1995, a part of which reads: “ Instead, gratitude can be a joyful awakening to God’s glory, to our own dependent childhood, our ultimate potential nothingness, a powerful spiritual emotion, thrilling us to our core, tearing our eye, striking deep-space awe and humility so pure it hurts.”
I enjoyed learning more about Thanks-Giving and “Elevating from Thanksgiving to Thanks-Giving.” A part of this section I loved reads: “Instead of using Thanksgiving to eat turkey, we can use it to awaken our awareness, to prick our perspective, to lengthen our love, and to connect our spirits to God. Instead of letting it lie like an offering on an altar, we can exercise it like a muscle, strap it on our backs like a pack, and aim it like a ray at the recognized source of all blessings.” This book should be on every Thanksgiving table to encourage all to take a moment to look a little deeper and show Thanks-Giving in all things.
I enjoyed how beautiful this book is! There are so many gorgeous photos from page to page, often with inspiring quotes accompanying. There are photos of nature such as a wooden raft floating down a calm river, lightning striking in front of a purple sky, or droplets of water sitting on a green leaf. Many of the photos are members of their family and those photos have been taken by talented professional photographers who are members of their family as well. The pages themselves are truly works of art.
How This Book Made an Impact in My Life, Especially as a Mother:
In a world where entitlement is so prevalent, particularly among the youth, it is becoming harder to find those who are teaching gratitude and thanksgiving. As the Eyre’s have shown through their book and their example, it is so important to begin teaching these principles when our families are young and our children are small. This book is the perfect tool for reading as a family or using as a lesson for a night spent with your family. The challenges can easily be adapted for any age and would be great family challenges to work on together. I particularly look forward to doing the May challenge where we are to send a hand-written note of thanks each week that month.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving Day my hope is that my children will not only enjoy the food and the family time, but will also focus on the things we are blessed with. Then it will be the lifelong challenge to continue learning for ourselves and teaching it to our children over and over so that we all can find the true joy that comes through Thanks-Giving. As the Eyre’s wrote regarding their card tradition: “Providing a conviction that gratitude brightens rather than dims with time, and a reminder that time flies, that kids grow up too fast, and that, in these fleeting moments, family must be a priority.”