Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Truly Blessed Thanksgiving

Today is the second day outlining all the wonderful responses I received from Operation Thankful and my request to you about what you are thankful for. If you missed the first installment yesterday, you can check it out here.

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I went back to read last year's Thanksgiving post this morning as well. And it's pretty much still all true, a year later. I still am very thankful, I still very much miss my Indiana family on days like today, and I still hope you are all going to have a wonderful Thanksgiving. What's different is this - by reading all of your thoughts on being thankful, I'm feeling a little more loved, a little more lucky, a little more blessed than I might have felt otherwise. And I hope you feel that way too after reading all of these wonderful, different, engaging, thoughtfully crafted responses.

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So - in this year's Thanksgiving post - the continuation of all the wonderful responses I received. Today, I thought we'd start with the responses from children. They are mostly short and to the point. Here we go:
  • my beautiful family - age 13
  • my family and belongings and school and friends and holidays - age 8
  • water, and food, and a house. and mom and dad - age 7
  • family night - age 7
  • my trucks and the holidays - age 6
  • Mario Kart Wii and my sister - age 5
  • My blankie Lovie and doggie pillow - age 5
  • Santa - age 3
  • mommy, daddy, dog and cat - age 3
Thank you to the little ones to keep it simple and say what's on their mind, no? We should remember to do that with more regularity.

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OK, on to some more responses - some more "one liners"- each of these came from a different person:
  • Being born in a country that gives women the right to vote, the right to education and the freedom to dress openly...I am also truly thankful for indoor plumbing!
  • Life in a free country. The Grace of God. My beautiful family.
  • My happy and (mostly) healthy family.
  • a good liberal arts education (you can say that again - editorial added)
  • My family and my email friends
  • changes in seasons - being healthy and happy
  • persistence and progress
  • the chance to change how I live
  • My healthy family
Families, education, freedoms, health. All things we Americans can agree on, I think!

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Moving to more responses - trying to get them all in:
I am thankful for my friends and family who understand that I am not good with keeping people updated but love me anyway. My wonderful husband who gets up to check on our daughter and replace her pacifier without waking me up. And I am most thankful this year for our beautiful, happy and sweet new daughter.
Love that.

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Keeping them coming:

I am thankful for my faith in Jesus and His gift of grace. Recently, during a conversation with my granddaughter, we were talking about a great grandfather that had recently died. I told her death was a beginning and not an ending. She smiled and seemed to understand. Her parents have done a great job in sharing their faith with her.

I am thankful for each of my children because they are my legacy. I have nothing that I have done or will do that will better demonstrate my time on earth than the legacy of my children.

I am thankful everyday that I can live free. Our daily news reminds us of others who are less fortunate. As I get older there is a greater appreciate for the many beautiful things around me that God has provided.

I am thankful for my wife. The best was I can describe the way I feel about her is that she completes me. I cannot imagine life without her in it.

Today on the radio they told a story of a 15 year old paraplegic boy who was being wheeled to the mall by a friend. The friend asked if the paraplegic boy could wish for anything and have it happen, what would it be. The boy thought and said, "Nothing. I have parents who love me and friends like you who help me with my needs. I have a loving God who has promised me a place where there are no wheelchairs." Stories like this make me thankful as well.

And, finally I am thankful that when asked this question, I had so many thoughts of thankfulness, I can never list them all.
I like to read the words of wisdom from those more senior than me. It helps me have perspective on life. This is what I thought when I read that one.

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Now for some medium length responses - each paragraph from a different person:

I am thankful for this year's uncertainties, which have made me focus on what IS certain: my family, my friends, my church.

I am thankful for my wife, my family, and my ancestors as they inspire me to be a better man and create a better world.

I am thankful for everyday that I wake up next to someone who loves me for who I am and what I am and though my day will be filled with challenges, disappointments and expectations, that I will always go to sleep with love in my heart for my partner.

I am thankful for full life that exceeds what I imagined as a child. I am grateful that my daughter is growing up in a home with two parents who love her and each other more than words can say. I am thankful that I have discovered what I am meant to do for a living even if I am not doing it right now. I am thankful for generous friendships with individuals who are as diverse as the United States.

I am thankful for the progress my new husband and I have made during our first year of marriage. We're more of a unit and more aware of one another's needs. At the end of the day, we can still just be together and laugh.

I am thankful for my family, health and most of all our Lord and Savior who watches over us each and every day.
I am sure you are seeing why getting all these responses in has been such a treat for me by now! It has been really wonderful.

IMG_9199 (by Ateupamateur)

There are, of course, some more to go - here's a really well written long one. By the way, I did decide to truncate or leave out some of the longer blog responses, since they are already posted on the thankfulness posts, in the interest of time and space. Not that they weren't all wonderful, but as you can see, I had a lot to get through. So, the wonderfully written longer statements in today's post came from the thankfulness cards I mailed out because you cannot see them anywhere else. These people obviously chose to use their own paper:
First of all, I know I'm not supposed to be thankful for you, but really am thankful you gave me this assignment. I've thought about it A LOT. So, thank you for making me take the time to reflect on myriad things for which I am sincerely grateful. My list is quite long, but also very true. The things for which I'm thankful range from the mushy to the oddball - but I am really consciously thankful for everything on the list. Oh, and this stuff is in no particular order.

I am thankful that my children will grow up in a world where it is not the least bit unusual to have a black President.

I am thankful for the First Amendment and our inherent right to speak freely even when we disagree with our friends, neighbors, colleagues, etc.

I am thankful for thoughtful, rational debate even though I’m sad that there’s less of it than I would like to see.

I am thankful for our Veterans who are serving and have served our country and protected our freedoms.

I am thankful for the Daily Show and Jon Stewart who put a comic twist on real world issues while keeping me informed and making me think.

I am thankful that I have two beautiful, healthy sons and for how their eyes light up when they smile at their Mom.

I am thankful that I have a host of family living near us that are always willing to help with the boys.

I am thankful for my Mom who keeps my kids twice a week and helps around the house such that we don’t live in squalor – because I can assure you , if it wasn’t for her, we would. I love that she has the opportunity to have such a close relationship with my boys.

I am thankful I had boys. I thought I wanted a girl so badly. It's good that God knew better than I that I was made to be a boy Mom.

I am thankful for my loving husband who is a great partner and the best Dad ever.

I am thankful to be happily married to my very best friend.

I am thankful for Nana. She has been a loving, Christian influence my whole life. I so hope she makes it through her current cancer set-back and is around to be the same influence in the lives of my children.

I am thankful for my sister who listens to me rant and rave when I just need to vent.

I am thankful for my children’s Godparents.

I am thankful for my extended family even when they get on my nerves.

I am thankful for all my friends who are each special to me in their own unique way. I am thankful for all of them, but a special “thank you” shout-out goes to Brook, Meg, Valerie & Steve.

I am thankful that I still have a close circle of friends from SMU. I love them all so much, and even though I don’t see them nearly as much as I would like, when we do see each other, it’s just like we get to be together every day. Even though I might not see them as often as I see some of my other friends, they are still my closest, dearest friends.

I am thankful that I still have a close relationship with my favorite professors from SMU.

I am thankful for Peruna!

I am thankful for SMU and the Mustang Band – almost 15 years later I am still close to friends and professors from my college days. I still love to go to campus and games. I love the education I received. My time in college is still one of the best times of my life.

I am thankful for Facebook. It’s so nice to reconnect with friends from High School, College, previous jobs, etc. It’s great to be able to keep in touch with folks I have lost track of over time and to at least peripherally stay informed about their lives.

I am thankful that I have a great job that I enjoy getting out of bed to go to every day.

I am thankful that I am a Texan – even though I don’t exactly fit in politically sometimes.

I am thankful that I am happy and healthy. I have a great life, and I am comfortable in my own skin.

I am thankful for my co-workers. It’s nice to work in a place full of intelligent people.

I am thankful for our church and the choir who welcomes us with open arms, open hearts and open minds even though we’re on again/off again with our regular attendance.

Well, I think that about covers it! But, of course, there is more!

IMG_9200 (by Ateupamateur)

Some more "medium" responses - each one from a different person:
I am thankful for great friends, of which I have many. Because of another great friend, I met you and we became friends and I'm thankful for that. I'm thankful for my husband and my four sweet children who each make me laugh and smile daily.

I originally answered this question by saying I was thankful for YOU. Reason: you make us think about things like this. So here is another reason to be thankful: HEALTH. Reason: (and this could be a function of growing older and wiser) We have all seen family, friends and loved ones who are sick, who have suffered and died. It makes me thankful for each and every moment of healthy living where we can enjoy each other.

Mostly, I am thankful for God's favor. I've been blessed with a wonderful family, life and friends. Even when life lets you down, God is there, you just need to look up!

I am thankful for God's compassion and love for me. I am so undeserving of his grace and mercy but he loves me in spite of it.

I am thankful that even though there is war in the world, it is not on our doorstep. Poverty, unemployment and hopelessness have not darkened our door. Illness or fear have not entered our lives. We are safe, want for nothing and enjoy the luxury of free will.

Amy, this is so sweet! I want to do this very same thing. I'm thankful for my friends and family that love and support me. I'm thankful for laughter. I'm thankful for my animals who never get mad at me and are always home to greet me and keep my company. I'm so thankful for the time one arth and memories I had with my grandmother - I miss her so much. I'm really thankful for everything I have.

I'm thankful to wake up each morning to the sounds of my daughter. Not the waking up part, but I just love hearing her talk to herself, count, say the alphabet, whatever. Listening to those first happy sounds over the monitor feels like such a stolen moment of joy. Even if it shortly devolves into her shouting "Daddy!" or "Mommy!" to force one of us out of bed.

I am very thankful this Thanksgiving season. I'm thankful my husband is home from the hospital and improving daily. I'm thankful for my wonderful family, for good health, for my home, for wonderful friends, for the seasons that I am always ready to see when they come around, and for the wonderful way God takes care of us. When I slow down and really see things around me I am always amazed at the beauty everywhere you look, if you only take time to see it. Thank you Amy for making take time to really think about Giving Thanks.

Even though our culture and society seem to be solely based on the acquisition of material things and cause de celeb, separating fact from fiction, news from opinion and splitting our population into segments based on our personal, private lives, I am still thankful that I live in the USA. I am thankful because of freedom. I am thankful because I have the right to express myself.

I am thankful for my two beautiful, happy, healthy boys God entrusted to my husband and me! There isn't a day that goes by that they don't teach me something new or help me appreciate the simple things in life. I'm also thankful for a husband who loves and adores me no matter what.
OK, we're on the home stretch now!

IMG_9221 (by Ateupamateur)

And to conclude all this thankfulness - all this inspiration - here is one I thought was very poetic:
At the end of the day when I look to the sky and the sun's colors of red, pink and purple all stream into the white clouds and the rays of silver dance across the sky I am thankful for another perfect day.
Here is a family prayer shared by one blog reader:
We thank you God for autumn.
For frost upon the ground.
For ripened apples, golden corn and pumpkins fat and round.
We thank you for our table, and all things good to eat.
And for our happy family gathered here to make the day complete.
Just lovely. Just perfect for an autumn holiday. For a day of Thanksgiving. Thank you for sharing it!

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Here is another prayer I found recently written for this holiday. It was written by the great priest/poet George Herbert:

Thou hast given so much to me
Give one thing more - a grateful heart:
Not thankful when it pleaseth me, As if thy blessings had spare days,
But such a heart whose pulse may be
Thy Praise.
Amen. May you and yours have a fun, wonderful, joy-filled Thanksgiving Day, and may we all give proper thanks for the many blessings we enjoy.

See you tomorrow.


  1. Dear Daughter,
    Thanks for sharing all these wonderful responses! Many of them echo my thoughts and others brought to mind things that I am thankful for, but had not come to mind. They have made me think of even more reasons to thank God. I also want to make sure that you know how much I love and am thankful for you and S and how much I miss you this holiday, this year in particular. May your Thanksgiving Day be full of blessings with your 'other' family.

  2. Uh..."thanks" for the post.

  3. What an amazingly inspiring entry. :)

    Thank you for doing this and sharing it with the world.

  4. A great collection of thankfulness daughter, good job.



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