Playdates with God: Painting Thanks

The sun slips slow over the horizon—spills grace on rooftops and frost-dipped grasses and washes the world in honeyed hues. I sit in my morning place and invite Beauty in and I am wrecked every time in the acquiescence.

On Sunday, our pastor shared the history of Thanksgiving, and she told us the story of the five kernels. The pilgrims, who had suffered so much loss, would put five kernels of corn on their plates and use this to remind them to count their blessings. I’d never heard of this tradition, but apparently, some families still practice it today. Our pastor reminded how many of those early settlers died in this new land—so many that some proposed a day to honor those who had died. Instead, they chose a day of thanks.

I watch that amber glow bind up the rough edges of my every day world and I think about the losses involved in stepping into a new land. And I think that choosing to give thanks must be a lot like painting with sunlight—illuminating beauty in even the darkest of life’s corners.
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come…No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God…It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens…to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens…
(excerpt from President Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation, Oct. 3, 1863.)

How do you embrace the God-joy? Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us:

The Playdates button:


  1. says

    Oh! I see what you are painting!! But you paint with words and with your camera lens all the time, too. I love how you jump in with glee, like that day on the trampoline, you just keep jumping.

  2. ro elliott says

    “I think that choosing to give thanks must be a lot like painting with sunlight— illuminating beauty in even the darkest of life’s corners.” This is just beautiful…what a lovely picture with words to describe what true thanksgiving looks like…Have a wonderful Thanksgiving week…blessings to you~

  3. messymarriage says

    I’m grabbing my “paint brush” and painting thanks right alongside you, Laura. And it will be a beautiful thing to behold. Thanks so much for this encouragement and for all you do for the blogging and Christian community!

  4. Christina says

    Painting in sunlight, love this. One year we read Abraham Lincoln’s speech at Thanksgiving. It’s very moving and applicable to us today. Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. says

    Oh! I know that image. Are you painting one of the Laity Lodge photos? Painting and words are luminous. Thank you for sharing the Lincoln quote, too. How interesting and curious that the date was right in the middle of the Civil War. “Hard eucharisteo,” indeed.

  6. Elizabeth says

    You and your art are beauty to behold. Please share your watercolors too. Your words are such a gift to us, I know your painting will be too. Happy Day of Grateful Thanks to you….wishing you Happy Thanksliving.

  7. Hazel Moon says

    I loved to paint when I was younger, but I am not an artist. My neice is and does miniture works of art. Each christmas she sends us a small magnet for our refrigerator with one of her paintings. I love it when God paints the sky at sunset! And your words can be something lovely to paint our hearts.

  8. soulstops says

    you are so talented, Laura…painter, poet, writer and photographer…thank you for sharing your gifts with us 🙂 We have been going over the story of the Pilgrims with our girl for the past few weeks, and it is amazing and humbling to read all they experienced and suffered, and yet they gave thanks …Happy and blessed Thanksgiving to you and yours 🙂

  9. says

    This is really something beautiful. I have a similar quote from George Washington. I love it. It is amazing how time changes the focus and we lose the true origin of the traditions we follow. I love this reminder.

  10. kingfisher says

    How great that you’ve had time for a little “playing” with painting. I’m so happy for you!
    May you have a blessed Thanksgiving — and a lot more to eat than 5 hard kernels of corn! Every blessing to you and yours.

  11. Jacinta Huang says

    Thank you for this. I’ve never been explained the American tradition of Thanksgiving, and now I know it’s such a beautiful thing that started! Though we don’t have such a practice over here in Singapore, I’m still going to try setting aside the day, simply for Him.

    Have a blessed week ahead! 🙂

  12. amyscanderson says

    I love your painting! i love that you are painting and exploring and continuing to take steps in that new land. (Just reread that post—truly, a favorite.) I’m thankful for you, Laura. Happy Thanksgiving.

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