Sunday, November 22, 2015

Ten Things of Thankful: Thoughts on Thanksgiving


I've been pondering lately about thanksgiving--not only Thanksgiving the holiday, but thanksgiving, the action or trait.   I'd like to start this TToT with some insights on thanksgiving before I move into some specific thankfuls for this week.
1.  Declaring oneself thankful (or anything, really) helps develop that trait.  

When I started blogging years ago, I didn't know what I was going to call my blog.  I wanted something significant, but not stuffy.  I thought of a verse of scripture that says, "And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments." (Doctrine and Covenants 59:21) I knew I wanted to be able to see the hand of God in my life--including the difficult times--so ThankfulMe was born. 

When I feel like complaining about one thing or another, I will think, "But I'm ThankfulMe!  I might not be happy about this situation, but there has to be something good here."  Declaring publicly that I am a thankful person has caused me to offer thanks more often, and complain less. 

2.  Being thankful is a commandment.  Colossians 3:15 says, "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful."  While obedience to God is a good thing, some might question why He would command being thankful, which leads us to. . . 

3.  Being thankful is an act of faith.  God gives us commandments because He loves us and wants what is best for us. Obedience allows us to acknowledge His position as our Heavenly Father, and demonstrates our trust that He does know what is best for us. 

4.  Being thankful blesses us.  Secular studies abound which show the many benefits of gratitude.  It  doesn't surprise me that so many good things come from being thankful.  Anytime we are obedient to a commandment, we receive much more than what we give.  

5.  Being thankful in all things prepares us to be able to accept great gifts.  John 3:16 is oft-quoted:  "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." What greater gift could there be?  

Christ came to earth to atone for the sins of man, but the atonement covers so much more.  All that is wrong in this world--the pains, the unfairness, the sicknesses and grief--can be healed and made right again through the atonement of Jesus Christ.  Being thankful is a recognition that although the hardships of life are very real, everything will be right eventually. 

And knowing that really helps put things in perspective.  

6.  I can be thankful for the small things as well as the big things. There are so many things in life that make me smile.  Right now, as I am typing this, I hear the soft, "whoo, whoo" of an owl outside my house.  I hear Drexel lapping up water from his dish.  The sky outside is dark, but my home is filled with light and warmth.  

7.  I'm thankful for thoughtful people.  Drexel and I received a surprise package in the mail (Well, we were told to look for its arrival, but before that, it was unexpected.) It came on the perfect day, and was much appreciated.  (You know who you are!)  

Photo:  Yellow lab, Drexel, waits for the package to be opened

8.  Even though the demands (mostly self-imposed) of this time of year cause me a bit of stress, I love Thanksgiving and Christmas. I'm thankful for the meaning behind both holidays, and for the peace that comes when I focus on the reasons, and not the to-do list.  

9.  I'm thankful for church leaders.  Today, our stake (a geographical group of congregations) was reorganized.  I love the fact that, although positions are unpaid and unlobbied for, those who are asked to serve, do so willingly and out of love.  Our stake presidency had been serving for 9 years.  Now they have been released, and a new presidency has been called.  You would think that such huge changes would cause disruption as the new presidency learns their responsibilities, but no, it is a surprisingly smooth transition.  No matter where you go in the church, things run in a familiar way.  I've been to church in Japan, England, and in various states in the United States, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the same no matter where I go.  

10.  I'm thankful for John.  He is so good to me.  We had a date to the temple Friday night.  I always love going there, and particularly when I go with him.  We share insights together, and we leave feeling even more united.  

How about you?  What are you thankful for, in this week leading up to Thanksgiving?





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24 comments:

  1. What a wonderful post, Kristi. Did you anticipate the boundary changes? Our ward Christmas party is going to be held at the Stake Center, because the ward is to large to hold the activity in our building.

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    1. No boundary changes, Mom, just the new stake presidency. :-)

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  2. I love knowing about the name of your blog!
    I love your reflections here on thanksgiving - our family always looks to remember that it's about far more than a turkey dinner. I always think when I read here. Thanks for that!
    Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Kristi!

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    1. Oh, thank you. It's good to hear that my writing encourages thought. :-) Happy Thanksgiving to you, too!

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  3. I pay so much more attention to what I should be thankful for since the TToT started. It always serves as a reminder that there is always something to be thankful for, whether it be big or small.
    Love the pic of Drexel! He's so grown up!

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    1. It is a great reminder, isn't it? Lizzi had a great idea!
      Drexel just celebrated his 3rd birthday on 11/11--can you believe it?

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  4. Any stress around the holidays, I believe, can be dealt with when peace is considered and felt.
    Thanks for sharing the story behind this blog's name. I always like to learn that. I think names are very important.
    Happy Thanksgiving from here in Canada.

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    1. I agree with your thoughts about stress, and about the importance of names.
      Thanks for your Thanksgiving greeting!

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  5. Awesome post!!! Love knowing the evolution of "Thankful Me." And that Drexel face!!!!!

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    1. He is so enjoying that toy so much--his first squeaky toy!

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  6. Making note of all the smaller happy moments seems to really minimize those not so happy moments doesn't it? At least that is what I'm finding.

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    1. Oh, absolutely! Life really is beautiful.

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  7. Life is good even at its worst when I look at things with a grateful heart.

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  8. I had a troublesome day - mostly disappointed in myself for not being more than I could be. I appreciated your words on deciding to be thankful through a difficult situation and not just after. I too thought about how my life is still beautiful because I choose to be happy and find the good when it is hard. I recently learned that the fruits of our faith come after the trial. Being thankful in a trial and not just after helps my spirit begin to heal. Tomorrow will be another beautiful day full of many things and people to be thankful for.

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    1. I'm sorry you had a hard day. I really think that we reason we are commanded to be thankful is because it is only through gratitude that we can fully access the power of the atonement in our lives. And the atonement can empower and strengthen us like nothing else.
      I hope that today is a brighter day!

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  9. hey! Drexel! (you know, you could open that package yourself….)
    lol no, not encouraging D. I'm certain he's much too well-behaved to take matters into his own paws…
    liked your items on development of Thankful me… identification is such a powerful, yet very often subtle thing… but very cool that it's possible to deliberately take to ourselves qualities that make life better (for us and them)….

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    1. I read an article once about a man who deliberately chose his passwords to be affirmations of what he wanted to be/develop. He found that the constant reminder really helped him. I think he said he even quit smoking that way. I already was blogging when I read the article, but it was definitely food for thought.
      As for Drexel, he is much too well-behaved to open the package himself. In fact, the package contained a toy for Drexel, but he had to be convinced to take it, because it was unlike any toy he has had. Guide Dogs has a strict list of approved toys, and even though Drexel has career-changed, we really haven't gone out and purchased "non-approved" toys. Drexel is having a blast with his squeaky toy, and we just make sure Deedee isn't around when he's playing with it. :-)

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  10. I am always amazed at how being thankful changes one's attitude for the better. What a terrific list you have this week!

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    1. Thank you. Being thankful does improve attitude, doesn't it?

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  11. I have to say that since I started reading your blog I am more thankful. It has made me more aware to be thankful. You have made me a better person and I am thankful for that!

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    1. What a sweet thing to say! Happy Thanksgiving, my friend!

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  12. What a decent list of gratitude. Happy Thanksgiving.

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    1. Thank you. Happy Thanksgiving to you, too!

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Thanks for making this a conversation. I love to hear your comments!