Nov 122012

Since the beginning of November, my friends on social media sites have been writing daily about those things for which they are thankful. I welcome this idea.

A number of years ago I read “Simple Abundance” by Sarah Ban Breathnach.

Have you read  a book that changed your life? “Simple Abundance” changed mine.  The author encouraged readers to think of three things every day for which to be grateful. She cautions there might be days when there were not three, or just one.  Perhaps just having another day was the only thing to be thankful for on that day.

She also encourages readers to keep a gratitude journal, or a running list of those items or individuals or places for which we are grateful.

As we approach Thanksgiving, I learn from my friends on social media and remember Breathnack’s challenge.

At the fear of mortifying those I love, here goes:

I am thankful for my husband who makes me laugh every day after 28 years of marriage (he says, “the best eighteen years of his life.”)

I am thankful for my son who has grown into a fine man.

I am thankful for my father who will be 82 on December 4th.  Dad has dealt with many losses and still manages to tackle life with a vigor and positive attitude. He packages backpacks with food for elementary school children to take home on weekends, leads groups and projects at his retirement home, and still advocates for his university and college fraternity.  (I will not disclose any names, but it is the one with the slogan “Boiler Up.”)

He is also not afraid to speak against injustice where he sees it, which makes me so incredibly proud of him, and proud to be his daughter.

I am grateful for the life of my mother, who passed away February 17.  I do not believe I was cheated in any way because I had her in my life for more than 54 years.  Her total devotion to my brother and me, especially during our younger childhood, is one of the greatest blessings of my life.  She is missed every day.

I am thankful for my only sibling, my brother, who lives near my father and is incredibly faithful to him.

I am also grateful for other family members and friends who keep me grounded in reality and uplift me up I’m down.  I am thankful for women in the Powerlifters class at my church – the oldest of whom is 89.  These women make me laugh and make me think.

I am grateful for the gift of faith; the stark November beauty of late fall in Indiana;

adequate eyesight to read a constant pile (and virtual stack) of good books and magazines;  the many colorful birds who visit feeders outside my office window;

and the sound of beautiful wind chimes—gifts from close friends—in honor of my mother.

I am grateful for meaningful work and that I can still learn (without too much hair pulling) the technology that allows me to write for publications and sites all over the world.

I am thankful for the millions of volunteers in America, who are in fact the engine behind many wonderful programs to assist those less fortunate, especially those who serve adults and children with disabilities like Easter Seals.

I am grateful for educators who stretch beyond what is expected of them because they care about the future of our students.

I’m thankful for the Macy’s day parade, Honey Crisp apples, hot pink nail polish, a lumpy old gray cat, fountain pens, a red tea kettle that whistles in the kitchen, Clark’s walking shoes, turtles, digital cameras that take zillions of pictures, “I Love Lucy” reruns and personal letters by snail mail.

I’m thankful for my readers, and I’m thankful for the emails sent with comments and ideas.

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday.  Unlike other holidays which focus on giving, Thanksgiving reminds us to look at what we have received.  I pray for those who are struggling with serious health, employment and family issues especially during this time of year.  I pray that each of you can find a spirit of gratitude in your own way.

Published November 12, 2012 in “The Raven Lunatic” newspaper column.

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