Giving Thanks, Turning Things Around

Today I am giving thanks. Real heartfelt thanks (which is what I should give to God everyday) derived from the reminder of a National holiday. I have a mixed bag of circumstances, and that has seemed the rule for me, rather than the exception; but whatever our circumstances, whether we are without a job, under financial strain, struggling with family breakups, isolated and overlooked, however challenging some of those circumstances seem, one thing is constant. God is always worthy of our thanks and praise.

You Lost Me

If that statement lost you, you will never find the key to turning around your situations in life. If you believe that the momentary difficulties you face or the disappointments in your life are the only defining factor of your emotions, efforts, and mental outlook, then you have little hope of stepping into a different road. You sit in your blockaded path, or as that famous little book,”Who Moved My Cheese?” puts it:

Old cheese is old behavior.
What we really need to let go is the behavior that is the cause of a bad relationship, and move on with a better way of thinking and acting. The New Cheese is a new relationship with the same person.
Repeating the same behavior will just get you the same results.

What does that have to do with thanking God? When we get angry that God isn’t giving us the usual amount of cheese in the place we are used to getting it, we want to blame him and sit there angrily. When we really should be thankful that we get any cheese in the first place, and start using our senses ( given that we come to them) to find a new course, and new place- or new situation. Giving thanks to God for what you have now, and what you have had previously sets you up in a position to move forward, to understand that your best ally in a life worth living is the God who made you. That is hard to do if you don’t believe God is good, and that He loves you. But “counting your many blessings”, is one of the most powerful ways to get out of the funk you are in, and come to the realization that there is so much that is good; the good simply being eclipsed by your momentary barriers, disappointments, and losses.

This can be perceived as a gimmick or as a principle, but being grateful is one of the best alternatives to being stuck in life. I can’t quantify how much a mental attitude impacts the arrangement of conditions in our lives, or what we as individuals can do with those, but there is enough evidence that people often make their own reality by the choices that they make with their attitudes.

OK, What’s God Got To Do With It?

At some point, it will be apparent that it isn’t all about you. For many, that is where an effort is made to blame someone. Anyone else, but ourselves; although some of us sit blaming ourselves. The trouble being that this never gets us anywhere different. Which is the whole problem. That someone else is going to make a difference for us getting beyond our present situation. The “No man is an island” idea lights up for us. It isn’t that only others are somehow responsible, and thus to blame, but the dawn of the idea that we are synergistically combined in our ability to help or hinder one another.

Some are willing to get to this conclusion and gratefully recognize the help and influence of others. But eventually, if we pursue the stream to its source, we will find something, Someone, greater, to whom we owe thanks. And if we discover the source of our “cheese” supply, perhaps we will also discover the help we need for turning our difficult circumstance around. Perhaps we come to realize that it is more about the whole of life than the finding of the “cheese”.

Giving thanks today is more than an expected exercise. It is more than indulging ourselves in our good fortune, and more than a temporary reprieve from the negatives in our lives. Giving thanks is the pathway to opening ourselves to new understanding of the good resources of our lives, the good we have enjoyed, and the goodness that is yet to be discovered in life. It is also the entry into the courts of God, if we wish to find something more than the futile cycles of our own machinations. Giving thanks can do more than turn circumstances or our attitudes around; it can turn our whole selves around. To face what direction? The God who loves us.

See if it isn’t so, for you, too. Giving thanks is a beneficial action. It will be beneficial to the extent it is implemented. Give thanks and see your mental outlook change; give thanks for people in your life, and see your relationships change…if only in how you relate to others; give thanks for all the things that you previously took for granted, as a habit of your character, and see if it does not lead you into a place of greater spiritual insight. Just see.


So, today I am deeply thankful. My troubles haven’t changed through this, but I have, and I know that this is the best hope of something different for tomorrow.

I can see how good God has been to me, and it gives not only comfort, but hope for better things to come.

And I appreciate those who have been a part of my life, have done me good turns, who have highlighted where I need to change, and who are instrumental in whatever way to making my life an experience. I am thankful for the experience. God bless you all who are a part of that.

Thankful Days

If we can’t be thankful when things are good, when can we?

You know, we Americans complain a lot. I mean that is our right, I know, but still… we tend to overuse it. We exploit our right to complain; and that’s too bad, because we have so very much to be thankful for. Even today, even when the stock market is so down and unemployment is rising…. we still have it good here in the USA. We have freedom, we have opportunity. We have some of the most generous people as a group- which means that if we are hurting there is more help available to us than in most places in the world.

I know it can be tough for some. There were times our family was hurting, too. On unemployment checks, with little children to feed, trying to scrape together enough to make it through the month. There were many years we drove old cars, and wore used clothes, and found free entertainment (walks in the park, free days at the Art Gallery and the Historical Society). We still do some of that, and I know if we have to tighten our belts, we can. I also know that we have so much that we enjoy in life, and it seems that there was always someone to help at just the right time. It makes me thankful and grateful, not fearful and angry.

These are days to be thankful. God is still good to us and has blessed us in this country. Freedom is priceless, and we still have plenty of that, thank God. I intend to enjoy this Thanksgiving and then remember how richly God has blessed us. I hope that this will be a holiday where people count their blessings – counting them and focusing our eyes to regard the good is an important part of retaining it in our lives. Have a Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Thankful and Hopeful Quotes

“Be of good cheer, my brother, for I feel the bottom, and it is sound.”
~Mr. Hopeful, in Pilgrim’s Progress

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” ~ C S Lewis, Mere Christianity

The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful, and has nobody to thank
~Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Our whole life should speak forth our thankfulness; every condition and place we are in should be a witness of our thankfulness. This will make the times and places we live in better for us. When we ourselves are monuments of God’s mercy, it is fit we should be patterns of His praises, and leave monuments to others. We should think it given to us to do something better than to live in. We live not to live: our life is not the end of itself, but the praise of the giver.
~ R. Libbes

O Lord that lends me life, Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness!
~William Shakespeare

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.

Thanksgiving is the holiday of peace, the celebration of work and the simple life… a true folk-festival that speaks the poetry of the turn of the seasons, the beauty of seedtime and harvest, the ripe product of the year – and the deep, deep connection of all these things with God.
~Ray Stannard Baker

Forever on Thanksgiving Day; The heart will find the pathway home.
~Wilbur D. Nesbit

I cannot give thee less, to be called grateful.
Thou thought’st to help me, and such thanks I give
As one near death to those that wish him live.
~William Shakespeare, All’s Well That Ends Well

Continue reading Thankful and Hopeful Quotes

Thankful Thursday

Thankful for:

High(er) speed internet. I can get so much more done.
My Laundry. How often we take for granted that we have our own laundry facilities at home.Today, I am thankful, not unmindful.
My grandchildren. I hope to see more of them in the coming year
The weather this summer. It had so many beautiful days that I thoroughly enjoyed.
The Margaritaville Frozen-Concoction Maker. Anyone who knows me here at home, knows how often I enjoy this – I make my own frappacinos and save money, I make lemonade into one of my favorite summer drinks, I enjoy my fruit juice blended with the shaved ice… I am thankful for it because it makes me feel that I’ve indulged myself without really doing so in either calories ( compared to store-bought concoctions) or in finances ( because the cost of those things on a regular basis breaks the budget.)

If you are cynical about my gratefulness… well, you just don’t know how really thankful I am for that one thing!

I’m thankful for my tomato crop

For the flowers which brighten my existence… in my garden, along the roadside, in others landscapes… in photos, even!

For a husband who works hard

For rain.. when it comes…

For Chinese food…

Today I am thankful for all these things.

Thankful Thursdays Redux

Been awhile since I’ve done one…with all my moping and such, but here goes, an exercise in the worthy art of gratefulness.
( Thanks, as always, to Uncle Sam’s Cabin for being such a thankfulness role model )

I have lots of things to be thankful for:

  • a new camera… to take great pictures for my garden blog – yipppeeee. Of course that won’t help my lack of expertise, but it will mean better pictures of what I do manage to photograph.
  • beautiful beautiful days, perfect weather for me
  • good friends, even if I don’t return the favor as I ought
  • Curves- really like it
  • frappacinos sp.? you know what I mean: those frozen blendy things- I’ve been making my own
  • the blooming gardens and my husband voicing appreciation of them
  • hope. I’m so thankful for hope, because sometimes I get so discouraged about my faults, my kids alienation from me( not all, but enough), the many things that make me want to give up. but then along comes hope, seemingly out of nowhere, to keep me stepping forward, believing for the better day
  • good memories- like they say, those can’t be taken away from you. Ok, quibblers, don’t quibble with that
  • sunshine, blueskies I love them! but only because we have had our quota of rain
  • so, for enough good rain… and not the overwhelming bad kind… like in Iowa
  • that I don’t live in Iowa, just that I can pray for them
  • for God’s Goodness… isn’t God good?!!

Thankful Thursday

…Just under the wire in EDST.
I am thankful for

  1. a bit of summer vacation in Maui in March
  2. coming home
  3. signs of springtime
  4. God’s wonderful creation-everywhere there is something beautiful or amazing
  5. health and the ability to heal when health is not up to the task
  6. family
  7. sunshine
  8. hopes and expectations… it keeps me moving forward and raises my spirits
  9. the ability to work…believe it or NOT!
  10. the ocean; what God hath wrought in the oceans! Full of such an imaginative array of creatures, such astounding colors, so much power, such vastness
  11. the presence of God in my everyday life- sometimes I forget, but today… I thank God He is here and very present

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.

-inspired by Uncle’s Sam’s Cabin

Count Your Many Blessings

…name them one by one.
Christian traditions of counting blessings under girded by the admonition in the Bible, “give thanks in all things” 1 Thessalonians 5:18, have long been enjoined, but modern research is just catching up with the fact that giving thanks and being grateful is actually good for you.

Being Grateful is Good for Your Mind and Body

Emmons and colleagues, in their gratitude research, have uncovered some startling (in a good way) findings about the power of giving thanks. Consider these amazing benefits:

• Greater Optimism and Physical Fitness: People who kept weekly gratitude journals exercised on a more regular basis, felt better physically and about their lives in general, and had a more optimistic attitude about the upcoming week than people who recorded negative or neutral things in a journal.

• Achieve Your Goals: Those who kept gratitude lists were closer to attaining their personal goals after a two-month period than those who did not.

• Stress Relief: Being grateful is also an effective way to release stress, according to Emmons. “Gratitude research is beginning to suggest that feelings of thankfulness have tremendous positive value in helping people cope with daily problems, especially stress,” he said in a WebMD article.

• Greater Sense of Wellbeing and Positive Emotions: People who are grateful report higher levels of positive emotions, vitality and life satisfaction, and lower levels of depression and stress.

• Helps You Cope With Illness: Among people with a neuromuscular disease, Emmons found that a “21-day gratitude intervention” produced more “high-energy positive moods, a greater sense of feeling connected to others, more optimistic ratings of one’s life, and better sleep duration and sleep quality, relative to a control group.”

Of course, being grateful is also beneficial for others. Giving thanks helps other people feel recognized, which is a basic and fundamental need in all of us. -from the Seneca Method site

Helpful for the upcoming holidays is this reminder:

People often have unhappy holidays because they have unrealistic expectations for perfection among their loved ones, Emmons says. Christmas is also a time when people reflect on the gap between their current situation and where in life they wish they were.

“Gratitude, by contrast, is a deepened appreciation of circumstances in your life right now vs. where you want to be,” Emmons says. “Feeling gratitude reduces unpleasant feelings like envy, resentment and regret that rob people of happiness.”

Doesn’t it make sense to incorporate true thanksgiving attitudes of gratefulness into our celebration , starting with the Thanksgiving Holiday? I know I benefited from two types of blogging this year in terms of what kept me grounded in my thinking instead of being overwhelmed by thoughts of failure.One was the accounting of where my resolutions headed throughout the year, and the other was my (sporadic) Thankful Thursdays. Those are my form of journaling blessings.

This excerpted info from UC of Davis makes me want to ratchet up the gratitude attitude going into 2008:

Emmons’ gratitude research participants experienced fewer symptoms of physical illness than those in the other groups, spent significantly more time exercising and were more likely to report having offered emotional support to others.

In another study focusing on people with either congenital or adult-onset neuromuscular diseases, Emmons found that their gratefulness practices not only fostered daily positive feelings but also reduced daily negative emotions and increased overall life satisfaction.

Thankful Thursday

The holiday of Thanksgiving is just around the corner.. it seems like it is fast approaching in my mind and that means making plans for the menu, and how to incorporate more than just a day of stuffing- stuffing the turkey and then the face, and finally the tummy! I’d like to have a repast of devotional thanksgiving ready this year. So I was happy to find this idea at

A Thanksgiving Memory:
During Thanksgiving dinner, ask each family member to share a favorite Thanksgiving memory.

We usually go around the table with each one expressing their personal thanks for their blessings, but this seems a good time to be thankful for good memories, too, and to share them together.

What does your family do that you most enjoy on Thanksgiving? Any favorite dishes ( besides the ubiquitous turkey, of course)?

Thankful Thursday

Thankful for …

  • where I am in life right now
  • lovely September days
  • lattes- I don’t care! I’m thankful for lattes!
  • the peacefulness of this time and however long it lasts
  • the last of the summer tomatoes
  • the first of the fall apples – Honey Crisp was a good MacIntosh type
  • bucolic scenes that are every day fare in this part of the Ohio countryside
  • rodent hunting cats
  • purple asters
  • getting my hair done this week- I was looking pretty bad!

Thanks be to God who in goodness to me gives me so much to be thankful for and the ability to enjoy it. He has given me a quiet peaceful time.