Monday, November 16, 2009

Having an attitude of gratitude

I love Thanksgiving. It is my favorite holiday. I like it better than Christmas. Some people think I'm crazy but I don't care what they think. It gets my dander up when I see Christmas marketing coming earlier and earlier each year. So each year I try just a bit harder to spread my love of Thanksgiving a little farther and to a few more people.

Why do I like Thanksgiving so much?

I like Thanksgiving because it reminds me of all the things that are important to me. Autumn is my favorite season. I love to watch the trees change color. Just the other day I slowed the car just so I could watch the leaves swirl across the road. It was beautiful and I didn't want to just drive on and miss that. I sometimes become so busy that I forget to notice the beauty of this Earth. It is the time when I start curling up in front of the woodstove with luxurious yarns and wooden knitting needles. I also like Thanksgiving because I love the food. I come from a family of good cooks. My Great-Aunt Erna made the most delicious yams in the world. I studied diligently under her watchful eye to perfect this one dish. People who hate yams love these yams. Period. I haven't met anyone yet that could pass them up once they tasted them. They are a luscious concoction of red yams, butter, brown sugar, fresh orange rind and juice, and marshmallows. They aren't your typical yams. I doubt that I could write down the recipe for someone. You'd just have to stand in my kitchen and watch me make them. That is the way I learned and it's the only way to truly get them right. If I had watched my Grandma Mildred a little more closely I could have discovered the secret of her perfect Lemon Meringue Pie. I keep toying with it and it's still not quite right.

But the real reason I love Thanksgiving is because for a full month I can focus myself and my family on gratitude. This year we have a gratitude journal with a page for each person in the family. Each evening before bed I ask them what they are thankful for that day. Just one thing. I write them down and on Thanksgiving Day I plan on pulling it out after dinner and showing them all the wonderful things in our lives. Just like other people I have problems. Some days it feels quite heavy. Taking the time to thank the Lord, even when things are heavy, softens and changes my heart.

I attended a Relief Society class a few years ago that changed my prayers profoundly. The teacher challenged us to try offering prayers of only gratitude, asking for nothing. I tried it and I was humbled by the difference in my whole outlook that day. I don't have a set schedule for offering this kind of prayer but it is definitely happening on a regular basis. Just this morning I offered a prayer of only gratitude. What a beautiful difference it made in my day! There are some areas of my life right now that are very challenging for me. Heart things. My prayer of gratitude this morning lightened some of those things. Not permanently but temporarily.

Sometimes the burdens I carry are lightened most when I offer the Lord my gratitude instead of my worry. I'm sure that's because when I take those few moments and start listing my blessings my worried heart starts fluttering it's wings trying to reach for hope. And when I can find even a glimmer of hope I feel able to put one foot in front of another a little longer. In Proverbs 31 it never mentions that she has problems but I'm sure she did. What I see is that she was busy using her talents to help her husband and others. She was mindful of continuing on in her duty. And in doing that which was hers to do she found joy.

1 comment:

  1. Well said. Great post. I love the idea of the journal for the entire month and then on Thanksgiving have everyone read theirs. I wish I would have heard about that earlier in the month.
    Have a blessed Thanksgiving!