Ever since I read Ann Voskamp’s book on gratitude (A Thousand Gifts), I renewed my efforts to practice gratitude each day.
Thanksgiving is really the icing on the cake; it is such a good reminder to be grateful for the many blessings we enjoy.
Ann encourages us to list those thankful thoughts each day, and if I don’t do it on paper, I do try make a mental list.
Gratitude can make a huge difference.  I see it in patients all the time, in my work as a hospital chaplain.  The ones who can face the most difficult of situations with a grateful heart… grateful for the care they receive, the love they have for and from family and friends, the knowledge that God loves them… these are the ones who often face their difficulties with peace.   I am inspired by them!
One can even be grateful for pain, it is the body’s way of telling us to slow down, to pay attention.  I’ve come to the place where I can be grateful even for physical challenges because it makes me more empathetic, most of the time, anyway!
Because it is thanksgiving, I want to make a list… I’ve come to like lists, they are very helpful!
I’m thankful for my family.  For beautiful children and adorable grandchildren.  Each one is a precious gift.
I’m grateful for my community, who could ask for better?  One day when we were living in the foothills of our beautiful city, (we’ve since moved across town)…my dad declared: we live on the most beautiful property (with the best view!) of the most lovely city, in the best province, in the greatest country…. it’s all in our own point of view of course!  But we do live in awesome beauty, and as we enjoyed the lakes nearby us just last week in the late summer sunshine.  I was full of gratitude.
I’m grateful for our church community.  For praying and caring friends, for hugs when we meet, for spiritual nourishment and encouragement.  What a privilege to worship in freedom!
I’m even grateful for Facebook and the internet!  Although I have to know my boundaries, what an incredible gift to stay connected to family scattered around the globe, to friends from long-ago, to new friends we connect with.  It is truly amazing and when used positively can be wonderful.
I’m grateful for friends!  Each one a precious and unique gift – you enrich my life!
I’m grateful for words.  What would we do without communication, without being able to speak words or share our thoughts.  I’m grateful for art and beauty and gardens, vistas, and the vast ever-changing sky. 
I’m thankful for variety… it is everywhere we see, from the food we eat and enjoy, to the flowers that bloom, to the birds that live among us. 
I’m also mindful of suffering… of tragedy, that we live in a broken world.  I’m thankful for those who rise up to help, to bind wounds, to reach out to the hurting, to fight for the oppressed.  I’m thankful for the helpers.
It is a never-ending list. 
Happy Thanksgiving!

“I will give thanks to You, Lord, with all my heart, I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.”  Psalm 9:1

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