Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Spread a little sunshine with words of gratitude July 26, 2019


GRATITUDE. How do you define that word, express it, show it?



I express my thankfulness mostly in words, written and spoken.



For that reason I was especially drawn to a tree on a hillside outside the Northfield Public Library. Upon the branches dangle colorful tags. And on those paper pieces, people penned their responses to this prompt: What are you grateful for?





I filtered through some of those answers last Saturday when heavy rains ended and the sky broke to partially cloudy. To read those responses brought more sunshine into my day, I expect exactly as The Spread Sunshine Gang intends. The Gratitude Tree is a project of the group, β€œa non-profit with the mission to share goodness, kindness and generosity to the Twin Cities metro area and beyond,” according to the Sunshine website.






That mission makes me smile as do these additional thoughts from the website:

The Spread Sunshine Gang believes the world needs more love, happiness, forgiveness and kindness. We are a motley crew of hard-working people who make time to spread a little sunshine. Through random acts of kindness and dedication to paying it forward we create events for others to do the same.





I love this, absolutely love the purpose behind projects like The Gratitude Tree. In a world where selfishness and meanness and anger seem sometimes all too prevalent, we need to pause and ponder gratitude. And then we need to act on that word and shine our thankfulness and love.



TELL ME: What are you grateful for? Have you seen a Gratitude Tree or something similar? I’d love to hear.

Β© Copyright 2019 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


20 Responses to “Spread a little sunshine with words of gratitude”

  1. valeriebollinger Says:

    I have not seen this gratitude tree yet even though I go to the library almost weekly. There is another gratitude tree in town that has been around for a couple of years. I think it’s a wonderful idea. I was always going to post about it but never got around to it. I’m grateful you did. πŸ˜‰

    • I don’t know how long the Gratitude Tree has been in place at the library. It’s just up from the corner sculpture along Division Street. When I looked inside the box, there were no tags on which to pen gratitude notes.

      Where is the other tree located in Northfield? I love this idea.

  2. Almost Iowa Says:

    The top of my grateful list belongs to cinnamon bagels. And though I am also grateful for the love and companionship of those dearest to me, we are talking cinnamon bagels here. πŸ™‚

    Sorry, I just had to toss out a little humor here. It is my way of bringing sunshine.

    • Greg, I appreciate your humor, so do NOT EVER apologize for it. Cinnamon bagels sound yummy.

      One of these days I will catch up on blog reading. I miss reading your work and that of all the other bloggers I regularly read. Time is limited for me these days.

  3. What a WONDERFUL Idea and SO NEED MORE KINDNESS!!! I love the one gratitude about bears – yes to the stuffed, cuddly bears. I am most grateful for each and every day πŸ™‚ Life is precious and should be savored and treasured as well as the sharing of love, kindness, compassion, etc. This made my day and made me SMILE BIG – thanks. Happy Weekend – Enjoy.

  4. What a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful idea! I’m so grateful for all of the people in my life who inspire me, support me, and love me–and I’m so thankful to wake up every morning with the ability to inspire, support, and love them back with my whole heart.

  5. Walter Says:

    I’m grateful to read your blog, one of my favorites. Greeting.

  6. Beautiful!! I am Very grateful for my WordPress friends! The love and support of my family is HUGE. My employer and the people I work with!! These are true blessings in my life! ❀

  7. I think every town should have a “Gratitude Tree”!! Me thinks I will search this out in Houston!

  8. Jackie Hemmer Says:

    My Saviors unconditional love πŸ™‚

  9. Beth Ann Says:

    I love this idea and your library has really hit it out of the park with this one. The brightly colored tags are a really wonderful way to share gratitudes. I have seen prayer trees that are similar. I hope the idea catches on in a lot of places. Thanks for sharing!

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