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10 Things to be Thankful for This Thanksgiving

November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, traditions and giving thanks. So often we get wrapped up in the day to day stresses of ‘life’ and forget we have it good. Even as we struggle to keep the bills paid we live in a country with an abundance of food that many cannot even dream about. What are you thankful for this year? Here are some thoughts as you look around the holiday table.

1.Family and friends. Since my mom passed away in 2007 it has changed holidays in that there’s no longer the call to chat with her, but it also brings up Thanksgiving meals shared. We think 5 years, 10 years is a long time and yet so often we look back and it seems like the blink of an eye. Many are facing the holidays this year without someone special for the first time. A mother, a father, a spouse or son or daughter. The reasons may vary but the end result is an empty chair at the table and hanging on to precious memories of years they were here. Treasure friends and family – we never know how long we have with them.

USDAgovSoldierMeal2. The abundance of food. This seems so easily taken for granted that we don’t even think to thank the farmers who work hard all year to produce food for the many who don’t grow their own. From the turkey or ham or roast beef or chicken to the potatoes or wheat in the rolls some farmer grew it. Many of them are facing an uncertain time now, and as farmers struggle it helps them to put real butter, milk and ice cream for dessert on our holiday tables. Food purchased direct helps small farms and empowers your choices. Without our farmers we have no security – those who control the food control the people.

3.The freedom we enjoy. We drive to work or to visit friends and we don’t have to worry about hitting roadside bombs or suicide bombers. We can worship as we want – be it Muslim, Christian, Catholic, Mormon or ourselves. We can generally speak our opinions without fear of death for speaking it. America has problems yes…but we take so much for granted also!

4.Health. Something that we also take for granted until it fades or illness threatens. When we look at a child battling cancer who may never graduate from college or get married or recognize the painful recovery of so many soldiers and civilians who have endured life altering injuries we should be thankful. If you can walk that extra 20 or 30 feet from the disabled parking spot you have it good. If you can sleep without pain and get by day to day without or with a minimum of medication be thankful. Even with medication be thankful it is there to preserve what health we have.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA5.Pets are another reason to be thankful – they look at us as if we’re the person we should be instead of the people we are. For many their pets are also working dogs, enabling them to see, to navigate in public despite challenged abilities the world may not see. Dogs have abilities to help with predicting seizures, guiding the blind, helping with day to day life in a world not of their making. Pretty incredible.

6, Be thankful for those who are working today and every day. Farmers, police, fire fighters, paramedics, soldiers, nurses and many others who stand ready and unseen until they get our call for help. When most people run out they run in, and somewhere even on this holiday there will be some who don’t make it home to their families.

7.Until you haven’t had one you don’t appreciate having a home. Really appreciate it. From having a place to shower to a stove to heat up soup or other meals when we want it, a warm, dry place to be. A place of safety from the outside world. Home. Forget the it’s not good enough or not what we’d like it to be. Be blessed to have a place to call home.

8.Friends. Real friends are there in good times and bad. They’re an encouraging word on a difficult day and a “thanks for doing that!” that is appreciated. They’re also willing to be honest enough to point out, privately, something we just messed up on! Friends hold us accountable in life and with each other.

9. Our talents are another good reason to be thankful. We all have weaknesses and things we’re just not good at, and usually those things are well known. But we also have things we’re good at. It might be the ability to listen or fix a car or build something or prepare a wonderful meal but whatever our talents they are no good if unused.

10. Finally among the many things to be thankful for is compassion. Not the politically charged compassion to insult and harass others but the genuine compassion that helps a stranger just because we can. It costs nothing to hold that door open for the person a few steps behind you. It costs nothing to help the person struggling to load something in their vehicle or trying to retrieve something that is out of reach. It costs nothing when we have much to see someone who could use one of our extras and give it to them without expecting anything back. It costs nothing for a smile and a hug and a thank you. We all should do it more.

None of these things have status, money, power as a qualifying factor. It just takes seeing what we have and a thankful heart.

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