November. The month in which we celebrate Thanksgiving. A time to talk about Pilgrims and Indians and The Mayflower. Let me just say, before going any further... since doing research for my book, I have come to a much greater understanding and appreciation for those Pilgrims. And believe me, our celebrations pale in comparison to theirs. Oh yes, we enjoy tables heavily laden with food, and the modern conveniences with which to prepare it. Then there's the nice soft sofa, and the flat screen TV for the big game. Most homes offer a prayer of sorts, just because ... well, it's Thanksgiving, you really should say The Blessing before feasting, right? Some homes will have a "religious" person who will offer up a beautifully-worded soliloquy that creates warm and fuzzy feelings in the hearts of those gathered. Other families will pause for a moment and everyone who is willing will say a word or two about something in particular for which they are thankful.
When I think of that first Thanksgiving, I envision a cold, windy day with snow flurries dancing in the wind. I see the pale-skinned men, women and children gathered around a fire, welcoming their red-skinned neighbors for a harvest celebration that would last several days. I see the sad, drawn faces of those who have survived the previous year, and who are grieving for those who did not. Husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, and children who mourn the loss of their loved ones who succumbed to the hardships they encountered. The journey that was hailed with such glory had turned so tragic. The New World. Such a harsh beginning. I hear them thanking God for the four things for which they were most grateful: Life, Food, Shelter, and their new friends who had taught them how to grow the food they needed to sustain them. Their Saviors, if you will. No such silly thanks for the frivolous things we approach with such a sense of entitlement, but a raw sense of gratitude so deep within their souls that I imagine it was palpable.
To me it is quite humbling to think that the ones after whom we pattern our Thanksgiving celebrations were so very grateful for the basic things that are commonplace for most of us.
After my divorce in 1992, I felt the need to do something that mattered. Absolution, perhaps. I volunteered to work at the Homeless Shelter in Athens, where I quickly realized that no matter how miserable my life was at the time, it was a far cry from the reality of the people I served there. Thanksgiving and Christmas at the shelter brought with it both blessings and heartaches, and it was an experience I'll not ever forget. Seeing the grateful look in the eyes of a mom who can, at least for this night, feed her children, or a street person thankful for a warm bed and a hot cup of coffee, caused me to be more mindful about keeping a thankful heart every day, and not just in November.
All that being said, however, I thought I'd make a little list here about some of the things that make me happy, and for which I'm thankful. Some things on the list are serious things, while others are of a more casual or fun nature.
I know I won't get back to post one-a-day for the month of November, so I'm doing it all at once.
Of course, it goes without saying, that I am most grateful for
~My Family (all inclusive)
Those are the easy ones.
Here's a list of 30 things. One for each day of the month. What about you? Anything you would add to the list?
1. The Pilgrims who started it all
2. Healthy parents
4. My anchor. My best friend. DJ.
5. A job I enjoy.
6. New Beginnings!!
7. Phillipians 4:19
9. Sweet memories of family members no longer with us
10. Diet Coke
12. My in-laws
13. Comfy PJs and warm fuzzy socks
14. Unlimited opportunity
15. The American Soldier
16. The ocean
17. School teachers, firemen and policemen
18. Losing a few pounds this past year
19. The Internet
20. My church family
21. Facebook, and reuniting with old friends
22. An excellent pediatrician for the grandbabies
23. Blessed Assurance
24. Clean sheets
25. The Fly Lady book
26. Being passionate about the things and the people I love
28. The crazy, fun, precious relationship with my daughter
30. Second chances
While we should count our blessings every day, let's try extra hard to think of something every day this month, serious or silly, instead of only on Thanksgiving Day. Happy November, ya'll!! Be Thankful every day!