Cultivating a Thankful Heart

Heart-shaped stone on Seven Mile Beach

By Dawn Onley

November always has me in a state of profound thanksgiving. I try to live in a perpetual state of gratitude year round, but this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, I’m decidedly ungrateful, sulking and fretting about everyday life stuff, such as cleaning my house or wistfully wishing I could be alone with a book for more than a half hour at a time instead of completely engaged in the non-stop actions of my toddler son.

My natural inclination is to be grateful, still at times I forget. Occasionally, I take my blessings for granted. I lose focus.

I love November and the official start of the holiday season because it brings me right back to thanksgiving. Before I sit down with my family over a meal fit for a queen later in the month, I want to begin November appreciating God’s bounty in my life. Valuing life’s lessons, even the tough ones. Counting my blessings with a wonderment at the beauty that surrounds me. Thanking God for the many examples of love and grace and mercy that He continues to bestow upon me.

Because, the truth is I have been shown astounding favor that leaves me breathless when I take it all in.

Butterfly 7

Butterfly 1

Butterfly 4

Like the butterfly that fluttered about on my front porch, and then on a patch of grass in front of me over the summer.

Or the unconditional love and faith that my parents have in me.

The support and encouragement my husband shows me.

Calvin and I -- family over everything

The wisdom of my 103-year-old grandmother. And the memories of my 98-year-old grandmother.

The raucous laughter and joy that my sister and I share.

The lifetime friendships.



Dawn. All 47 years.

The freedom of running my own business. (there is nothing like steering your own ship)


Dawn pix 13

A new day.

Second chances.


Coconut rum.

Rain, even storms.


Overcoming. #MeToo

Good eats. And wine.

Crabs and wine

Steak and shrimp

My optimism. My hope.

My faculties (most days, anyway).

My resourcefulness.

My creativity.

My ambition.

My hustle.

My curiosity.

My lovely home.

The library.

This big, beautiful world.

Sunrise and sunset.



Bowman Wedding Flowers

My hometown.

A happy childhood.






My honesty (because some people can’t tell the truth).

My passion.

My loyalty.

My family’s recent vacation allowing us time to recalibrate.

DeAngelo vacation Myrtle Beach 2017

The therapeutic sound of the ocean.

Getting things done.


Chocolate mint plant.

My ceiling fan.

‘This is Us.’


My son’s imagination. And his super-sized joy.

DeAngelo transformer Myrtle Beach 2017

Our hyperactive terrier pup.




God’s word.

You reading this post. Thank you.

This month, I will write something for which I am thankful in every post. I could never run out of things if I wrote each day of the year, several times a day, for the rest of my life.

It is autumn, harvest season. I am thankful for my journey and the yield of my crop.







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