A Thankful Heart

Hi Friends! 

A special welcome to everyone joining us for the Papertrey Ink November Blog Hop Challenge! Hop over to Nichole’s blog if you would like to join in the fun!

November is flying by! Can you feel it, too?  It always takes me more than one day to count my blessings. The entire month has been filled with giving thanks every single day. Small moments that add comfort and joy to each day have made my thankful heart overflow with gratitude…

These small moments are always there. We just have to be still and mindful to recognize and appreciate them. Cultivating gratitude helps me to keep my worries in perspective, cope with life’s challenges, and brings joy to every day!

Early on November 1st, we headed west to spend time with my parents in Arizona. We cherish each chance to celebrate their birthdays together. I hold dear each day spent helping out, enjoying old family stories, and making sweet memories together. My parents continue to be our best teachers, constantly showing us how to live a good life and nourish a beautiful, loving marriage.

My mom is the charming soul who taught me all about gardening so long ago. It’s always a delight to take walks together through the desert neighborhood where she has been gardening for the past 23 years.  Last week, we worked together to trim her Bird of Paradise shrub and deadhead the Desert Marigolds.  The bright orange berries on her Pyracantha shrub are visited daily by a family of quail just waiting for the berries to turn crimson and sweet. One day a roadrunner joined us in my mom’s garden. Autumn in the desert has been extra special this year for so many reasons!

Together we drove through the nearby Tonto National Forest, past breathtaking mountains, to visit lovely Saguaro Lake. My family has so many wonderful memories of hiking along the lake together over the past two decades. Seeing mighty Saguaros growing along the sparkling water always amazes me!

While heading back to the Midwest,  I admired the majestic, snow capped mountains of New Mexico and the earthy, patchwork quilt of the heartland. The natural beauty of our country always fills me with hope for this land that I love.

I thought about the excited (but nervous) three young men and four young women that I met at our boarding gate just hours before. They talked about how excited they were to shovel snow for the first time. (I promised them a lot of snow during their two months in Illinois!) I wanted to be among the first to thank these young Americans for their service, as they headed off to Navy boot camp at Great Lakes Naval Station.  These young men and women and their families will sacrifice so much for all of us. We owe them our deepest gratitude.

It feels wonderful to be back home again in our cozy Midwest home just in time for the holidays! The seasons changed and snowflakes fell upon my garden while we were away. So, I happily spent a few quiet moments in the garden gathering dried flowers and seed heads to fill an antique wooden box on our front porch. These garden gatherings are sweet reminders of those glorious Summer days spent in my perennial and herb gardens. Yesterday I raked so many leaves!  It was a quiet, poignant time to reflect on all of the changes of the past year.

Throughout the year, my heart is filled with the blessings of two passions that help me blossom and grow in new ways. While my perennial and herb gardens sleep through the Winter, there will now be much more time in my little Paper Garden studio downstairs.

Kindness has always been one of my love languages. Creating handmade cards to share with family and friends truly warms my heart. I find the most wonderful stamps, dies, inks, and paper at Papertrey Ink.  (So grateful for the exciting, new supplies that arrived in my mailbox this week! 🙂 ) The talented Design Team at Papertrey Ink constantly inspires me. Time spent designing special cards always nourishes my creative heart and soul.

I just love thinking about those I hold dear as I create each card. It feels like a little ‘visit’ with them as I stamp, ink, cut, and emboss. Lettering the envelope, adding a special postage stamp, and dropping it into the mailbox makes sending my little ‘paper hugs’ such a happy, little thing!

I’ve been busy making extra Thanksgiving cards for the dear friends and neighbors who watched over our home while we were away helping my parents. For me, hand-delivering cards is always a special part of the joy of card making!

This little ‘paper hug’ is especially for all of the dear friends who gather here to read and leave their thoughts on our blog. 🙂 I cherish your kindness all year long. I am humbled by the worldwide visitors who take time to visit each day. We are a small, but wonderful group who constantly remind me of everything good in the world.  You inspire me, teach me, and encourage me to blossom in new ways!

Thank you for being YOU and for being here!

Wishing you all of the beautiful graces

of the season…

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


With a thankful heart,

♡ Dawn

P.S.  What small joys fill your thankful heart?

Hope you will share… 






67 thoughts on “A Thankful Heart

  1. Lovely thoughts of gratitude during this season of Thanksgiving, dear Dawn. I’m so glad you had a nice visit with your parents in beautiful Arizona. We have very fond memories of our visit to the Tonto National Forest–so diverse and beautiful.
    Thank you for the joy you spread with your beautiful art and especially your grateful heart, dear one. ♥

    • Warmest hugs, dear Martha Ellen! We enjoyed our time together immensely. I’m always looking for new ways to help my parents!

      I’m so happy that you were able to explore the Tonto National Forest during your Arizona trip. It is just steps from my parents’ backyard. A short 15 minute drive takes us into the mountains, to the Salt River, and Saguaro Lake. It truly is a national treasure!

      I know you will cherish every moment with your family during this Thanksgiving weekend, Martha Ellen! There is nothing better than making warm family memories! So grateful for our friendship! 💗

  2. Dawn, I was trying to think of a word to describe your writing style and what came to mind was Eloquent: clearly expressing or indicating something. And what your words and your cards clearly express are your lovely heart. ❤️

    • Happy tears and heartfelt gratitude, Cathy! Thank you for your very kind words. I’m still SO very grateful that you introduced me to Debra’s online book club. We are continuing to work our way through Julia Cameron’s book. We are an international group of creative souls who inspire and learn from one another. 😊

      Thank you for always joining in the conversation here, Cathy. Kindred spirits! Today is one of my favorite days of the year, Decorating Day! It’s my way to welcome in the magic and love of the Christmas season. Wishing you a delightful day, too! 💗

  3. I agree with Cathy above – eloquent describes your posts and your craft. Your cards are so beautiful that I can imagine many find themselves in a frame to be preserved. I can only imagine how much your parents appreciate your visits. The outside chores are done here and I’m at the sewing machine while you are in your craft studio. Hope your holiday season is a lovely one. 🙂

    • You are so sweet, Judy! You and I are both passionate about creating handmade gifts from the heart. Your quilts truly become lasting family treasures that will be cherished and used by generations to come. Happy stitching, my friend!

      It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here. It was so warm this afternoon that I was in the garden gathering dried flowers and seed heads to decorate our front porch ~ no jacket or gloves needed. 😊What a nice, late November treat! Enjoy the Poinsettia show, Judy!💗

    • Heartfelt thanks, Julia! When my garden slows down in Autumn, I enjoy much more time for card making. Autumn colors feel so warm and cozy. Happy hopping! ♡

  4. Dawn, what a lovely collection of Fall cards! The cards made with the Mix & Mat die and Autumn Beautiful Berries are two favorites. I didn’t get the Autumn BB set, but may have to rethink that decision after seeing your beautiful card!

    • Oh, thank you, Lainey! I really love the versatility of the Mix + Mat dies. Can’t wait to try the Autumn Beautiful Berries stamps for Winter cards. I think it might work in shades of bright reds and greens, too. Fingers crossed! Thanks so much for hopping by today, Lainey! ♡

  5. Beautiful cards, and a lovely post as well. I chuckled at the comments of the young people. My son-in-law had never shoveled snow before they moved north of Chicago. The year they moved was the worst in 30 years, and he was pretty well done with that by the end of the first winter. My daughter grew up in Western New York where we get lots of snow, so she was the least taken aback!

    • Oh no, Karen! What a first Winter in Chicagoland! Our first snow always feels magical to me, but after that it wears off. Now that I’m retired, I love to peek out the window and watch the snowflakes fall with a cup of tea! 🙂 It’s so nice to avoid driving on snowy mornings. It’s much better to stay inside and play with paper and ink! Thanks for hopping by and stopping to chat today, Karen! ♡

  6. Dawn, your cards and tags are so beautiful!! I love how the branch graces the sentiment on your last card. Also, I loved hearing about your trip out west. When I visited my father in El Paso, we would walk around the desert of West Texas and New Mexico. I miss the west…thanks for sharing your trip with us!

    • Thank you so much, Cindy! We both have such warm family memories in the Southwest. It’s so nice to remember the warm sunshine, the cacti, and the colorful flowers now that our weather has turned cold here in Illinois. So happy that you hopped by today and stopped to chat a bit! 💗

  7. Oh my, what an amazing and inspiring post. This is my first visit here and I will definitely be back for more heartfelt inspiration! You have a marvelous attitude of gratitude and it warms my heart. ❤ Your cards are all amazing little works of art. I'm especially fond of the cards with the bittersweet. That stamp set just arrived in my mailbox yesterday and I'm wishing we could extend the fall season so I can put it to good use. I guess I still could, but I am focused on Christmas from here on out. So thankful to you for visiting my blog too!

    • Your kind words have truly touched my heart, Birgit! I am smitten with the Bittersweet stamps, too! I’m sure that we can make the Autumn Beautiful Berries set work throughout the winter, too. Let’s experiment with red berries and different shades of green. Thanks for hopping by today, Birgit! Come visit again soon! 💗

    • Thank you so much, Marlena, for your very kind words! I love to share stories here because I truly believe that our stories matter. Each card seems to have a story, too, since it was made with someone very special in mind. Thank you so much for visiting today, Marlena! Paper hugs! 💗

  8. What an absolutely beautiful post Dawn…thank you! Living in Michigan, I love all the seasons and all the gifts it provides too…well maybe not the snow so much. But anyway, your cards are absolutely delightful and SO pretty!! :0)

    • Heartfelt thanks, Marcia! We love visiting Michigan and sharing a Great Lake with you! 😊 I embrace the four seasons here, too. In fact, I call my little studio space downstairs my Paper Garden because I hang dried flowers and herbs from the ceiling rafters over my paper crafting space. I feel SO fortunate to be able to spend time in my ‘garden’ all year long! Thanks so much for hopping by today! 💗

  9. Stunning post! Your gorgeous cards and words warmed my soul today. I’ve taken a boat tour up Saguaro Lake in the past and thought it was so beautiful but different from our PNW rain forests. thank you for all of the beautiful inspiration.

    • Many thanks, Vikki! We must hold on to those warm, sunny Arizona memories! I’m enjoying more crafty time now that I’m back home for a while. Wishing you creative, crafty hours, too. Thanks for hopping by to visit, Vikki! 💗

    • Thank you, Lyn! I try not to share card photos until I’m certain that family and friends have received their ‘happy mail.’ So, there were quite a few card photos to share this time! 😊 So happy that you hopped by to visit today, Lyn! 💗

    • Such a sweet thing to say, Betty! Heartfelt thanks! I hope all of this ‘happy mail’ felt like warm hugs to family and friends. Thanks for hopping by today! 💗

  10. Dawn,
    Your beautiful card brought me here from the Blog Hop, but I’ve been captivated with your touching stories and lovely spirit as I’ve spent time reading your posts. Your sharing is inspiring and your voice is needed. Thank you!

    • Oh, Cindy! Your very kind words brought tears to my eyes. Happy tears! I just love sharing stories about the small moments that make life sweet. Sometimes those small moments really are the important things in life. Heartfelt thanks for taking the time to read so many posts today. I’m delighted that you hopped by and left such a kind note! ♡

  11. Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos from your visit with your parents, Dawn. And, thank you for your awesome post which is full of Love and Gratitude not just at Thanksgiving but for all of the Blessings He has given us and continues to give us!
    ~ Love your cards and creative inspiration too 🙂

    • So grateful for all of your kind words, Helen! I truly believe that our stories matter. I try so hard to be mindful of the small moments that bring joy to each day. I’m so happy that you could feel that in my post. Many thanks, Helen, for hopping by to visit today and for stopping to chat, too! 💗

  12. What a wonderful collection of cards! And I’m so glad you took the time to speak to the young men and women off to the Great Lakes training center. Yes, thanks so much for their service!

    • Thanks so much, Peggysue! When I retired from teaching, I knew that I wanted to continue to make a difference. So I began volunteering to help our military families. It’s always so interesting to listen to young people, recent high school graduates, who give so much in service to our country. They have chosen to do a job that I could never be brave enough to do. I also love to thank our veterans whenever I see them, too. Such small expressions of gratitude that can mean so much! So glad that you hopped by and stopped to chat today, Peggysue! 💗

  13. Oh my goodness, Dawn, your post is so inspiring and beautifully written. I totally agree about so much to be thankful for. We’re just at the end of five days with some of my DH’s family and had the best time enjoying every. single. minute together. Your creativity is endless and I love your cards.

    • Heartfelt thanks, Kathy! Creating new family memories and sharing old stories are among life’s sweetest moments. I’m so glad that you were able to have lovely family time during Thanksgiving!

      It has been such fun visiting everyone’s blogs today today! I love seeing so many different ways to use our favorite Autumn stamps, dies, paper and inks. I feel so inspired to get inky! Thank you for hopping by today, Kathy! 💗

    • Many thanks, Greta! Now that the weather has turned cold and my garden is sleeping there is more time to make cards.😊 I just love mailing them off to family and friends.

      It has been such fun to hop around to see everyone’s amazing cards! I am a huge fan of Papertrey Ink. Thanks so much for hopping by today, Greta! 💗

  14. Love how reading your post felt like a visit with a friend, it’s very inviting and comforting. Your cards and tag are gorgeous as well. I’m in Illinois as well, but much further south, we spent the weekend days in shorts and flip flops – no snow flurries here!

    • Such a sweet thing to say, Teddra! Heartfelt thanks! It has been such fun to hop from blog to blog for wonderful inspiration. Celebrating Papertrey Ink… and so many beautiful ways to share handmade kindness!

      Our Thanksgiving weekend weather has been so lovely this year! Yesterday I had fun decorating our front porch without a jacket or gloves. 😊 Hope the warm sunshine continues a bit longer! Have a nice, creative week, Teddra! 💗

  15. Happy Thanksgiving, Dawn! I love your paper creations; they really get across the spirit and warmth of Thanksgiving. And as we move into the Christmas season, I can’t wait to see what projects you’ll share with us. ❤ Hope all is well with you!

    • Heartfelt thanks, Chris! It makes me so happy to share handmade kindness with my family and friends. I just love sendin off Happy Mail and imagining the smiles that it brings! I’m looking forward to this holiday season and all of my favorite holiday traditions. I’m sure that you will be busy making holiday magic for your family, too! I’m so happy that you stopped to visit today, Chris! Sending Paper Hugs… from our home to yours!

  16. what a lovely post, Dawn. I’m trying to make sure to savor each and every day of this season. It’s my favorite and it always seem s to fly by. I am thankful for family, good health and good friends.

    • Kindred spirits, Karen! I feel the very same way. I’m trying extra hard to be mindful of what’s most important this year. The days and weeks do fly by too quickly. I will borrow your word ‘savor’… as I enjoy a nice, old-fashioned holiday season! Thanks for being here, Karen! Sending warm hugs!💗

  17. This is so very lovely in so many ways, Dawn. Your kindness and loving spirit shine through the photos, words, and your amazing artwork. Thank you for sharing your time away (Saguaro Lake looks amazing) and your time in your paper garden. My apologies for taking so long to come to this post.

    • Such a kind thing to say, Penny! Thank you! Each visit is so precious and it makes me so happy to be able to help my parents. So glad that you had a nice Thanksgiving with Kezzie and Ezra. I know they love to come over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s house! What a treat to have such nice weather in late November. Enjoy the day! 💗

  18. Hopping on over to your blog to see what you’ve been up to and wow! I’m blown away by these gorgeous cards that you’ve so lovingly designed and made. Loved reading about your visit to your parents in Arizona too – I’m sure the landscape there is pretty different compared to the mid west?

    • Many thanks, Loretta! Although I miss spending time in my perennial and herb gardens, I’m so thankful to have more time to create in my little Paper Garden studio downstairs. I just love sharing handmade kindness with my cards. I work very slowly, so each card is truly a little ‘work of heart.’ It’s such fun to send off Happy Mail to family and friends!

      Over the years, I have really enjoyed learning about the plants in the desert from my mom. Most importantly, I learned which prickly ones to avoid! It’s always fun to see the cacti in bloom and to help my mom in her desert garden. Since it’s very flat here in the Midwest, I just love seeing the mountains in Arizona, too! Thanks so much for hopping over to visit and stopping to chat, Loretta! Sending sunny hugs across the miles! ♡

  19. I so know what you mean about the gardens of the Arizona deserts. Lived in Arizona for so many years, most of which were spent in the high desert mountains. There is splendor in all locations if you observe it. It’s nice that you had the opportunity to spend time gardening with your mother and have a roadrunner visit. That was my son’s nickname as a small boy. Honoring and being grateful for our service men and women is a good thing any time of the year. Your handmade cards are truly beautiful. What a treasure they will be to those that receive them. Hoping your Thanksgiving was everything memories were filled with joy. Thanks for sharing your visit with us.

    • What a great nickname, Marlene! I’ve spent a lot of time visiting Arizona since my parents retired there, but I have only seen three roadrunners. It was a real treat to have one come to visit us in the garden! Each time I see a desert wildflower in bloom, it reminds me of courage through adversity. Those plants survive in the dry, desert heat and the rock hard soil and still thrive. We can take great strength from them whenever we are faced with adversity in our lives!

      You are so right about honoring our servicemen and women. In fact, I began card making a few years ago because I wanted to send cards to our deployed military through Operation Write Home. These brave men and women used our cards (blank inside) to write home to their families. 🙂 Now it’s fun to send my handmade cards to family and friends. It just makes my heart happy! 🙂 I’m sure that you are very busy being creative during this holiday season, Marlene! Sending bright sunshine your way! ♡

  20. Hello Dawn! Your kind heart pours out from every word and gesture. I love that you’re making these cards for family and friends, and how sweet that you hand-deliver so many of them. I like the idea of making blank cards for service people to send home. What a great idea. You’re always an inspiration! xo

    • Sending warmest hugs, dear Alys! I know you can understand the joy of making special cards for loved ones. They are little gifts from the heart that send a little more love into the the universe! I just spent a happy weekend writing our Christmas cards and letters. Although not handmade (just too many!), we are sending lovely cards that benefit UNICEF, so they also put a little more love into the world, as well. 🙂 Hope your holidays are wrapped in love, Alys! ♡

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