Be grateful? Let me find the many ways...

An offering of Thanksgiving flowers from Matthew, my husband

Thanksgiving is truly a great holiday; the feasting, the family, the friends, the counting of blessings and the sharing of goods and talents, not just in preparing food but in spreading joy to those less fortunate, all make it a day we Americans should cherish and celebrate.

Of course we should reflect on our big blessings that day as we (if we are lucky) sip Beaujolais Nouveau and gaze on a perfectly roasted bird, but we all know that building an attitude of every day gratitude that lasts through good times and bad is really where it's at if we want to be amicable and generous the whole year.

The simple things in life are the backbone of joy.

Fruit is one of those simple things for which I have no trouble being grateful. Our family usually has plenty in the house, including berries. My children love their fruit, and I am glad to know they are consuming it, because I believe they will be much healthier.

I am truly thankful for fruit.

My gratitude in having a nice, warm bed also increases as I get older.

Likewise, I am grateful for big trees and birdsong, sunsets, my little home, vehicles that run, water in the desert and always and especially for my large family, my healthy children.

I feel blessed that I know peace to a far greater degree in this country than I would know in many other places of the world.

Okay, I guess I mentioned some pretty big things there.

But there are things and circumstances that I have a much more difficult time bringing in line with everyday gratitude: housework, our family's busy schedule, my husband's blasted smartphone.

Though I despise the tendency I have to complain, I nevertheless cave more often than I wish. So I try diligently to turn my own rotten attitude on its head.

For instance, if I am balking at the never ending housework, then I try to say (out loud, mind you, for my kids to hear), "But thank God I have the health to do it!"

I know how it feels to be temporarily unable to perform the simplest tasks, so overall health is indeed something to treasure and extol while we have it.

As for the fact that every evening of the week after school and work and volunteer hours, our family is running to this or that practice or class, splitting up to go separate ways when I just wish we could be together calmly, it's hard for me to be grateful for that time apart. My childhood was nothing like that. But, after all, what is that time for? It's for the development of our four children. We don't believe at all in over scheduling them, but the one activity (or two) that each is in contributes to running around.

Yet, I am glad we have the money to put them in those activities. I am grateful that they are getting abundant exercise in sports practices instead of sitting at home in front of screens. I am happy to see my children outside for a good part of Saturday at their own or their siblings' games. I am privileged to see them pursuing their interests.

As for my man's phone, I grit my teeth and I try to bear its presence, because what does it represent despite the fact that its steals my husband's gaze and attention? It represents a good job with benefits that provides very well for this family, and he rightly needs it because he has a team that looks to him for guidance while working different hours and days. He's a busy, important guy who mentors and guides.

So thanks for the smartphone, business world!

I guess...humbug...grrrrrrrr....

I'm still not inviting it to Thanksgiving dinner.


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