There were ‘hellos’, hugs and ham. My mom, sister, my daughter and myself were busy bees in the kitchen. Preparing all the wonderful Thanksgiving usuals. Unless you ask my Farmer and our daughter…they’d disagree wholeheartedly. Thanksgiving food is not their jam, actually they’d probably prefer jam. So here we are just about to put the finishing touches on the yams and by finishing touches I mean the most important part, marshmallows!
You know the phrase ‘out of sight, out of mind’? Well, that’s exactly what happened. Suddenly the yummy food fragrance was tinged with a slight smokiness. The yams! We opened the oven and sure enough, they were toast, burnt toast. Not the yams!?! We can fix this, my mom said and she began to scrape the burnt gooey topping into the trash. We re-mallowed the yams and back in they went.
Well wouldn’t ya know it? We forgot…again! Pulled the hot dish out and here comes the spoon to scrape the burnt top off, again. At this point we were laughing and opening the kitchen window. Burnt marshmallows do not smell appealing, unless you’re sitting around a campfire. And camping we were not. Ok, third time’s the charm. With fingers crossed we stood at the oven, all eyes on the marshmallows. Dinner was enjoyed by all and we have a Thanksgiving story we’ll never forget.
Thinking about this reminds me of 1 Thessalonians 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Now I realize that my burnt yams may be stretching this ‘thanks in all circumstances’ but hear me out. If I can’t have a good attitude when small things don’t go my way, how will I ever be able to face life’s big disappointments? Thanksgiving in itself is an act of faith. We are not naturally thankful. How many times do you hear or have said yourself to you children, “What do you say?” Gratitude is a learned behavior. We are taught at a young age to say ‘thank you’. Well, most of us are…I have my doubts with some people.
A thankful heart is a heart at peace.-A
I have never met anyone who truly had a dislike for peace. Peace brings all the good stuff like contentment, joy and marshmellowed yams. Ok, maybe not the yam part but when I’m at peace I’m definitely more mellow.=) I was looking through my (one of many) journals and noticed something. Just about every other page entry began with “Thank you God for…” I’m so spiritual huh? Um, no. One thing I am, is thankful. I’ve seen some pretty dark valleys and I’ve seen God move some very big mountains. I know what hurt feels like and I also know the soul quieting peace that healing brings.
Grateful, thankful, pleased; however you say it, mean it. It sounds so trivial to say ‘count your blessings’ right? But it’s not. A thankful heart is a heart at peace. At peace, it’s quieted and contented. “I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:8) This scripture whispers to me. It’s like curling into my bed with the smell of freshly washed sheets, my soft down comforter and my fluffy pillow. Closing my eyes with the assurance that I’m safe and cared for. Isn’t this the longing of all our hearts? To be at peace? And who would have thought it all begins with thankfulness?
When I’m thankful I find that I’m much happier with what’s in my hands instead of what (I think) I lack. My list of ‘thank yous’ might look very different than yours but that’s cool. Here are a few of mine:
- a morning walk with my mom
- messy countertops after a night of giggling girls in the kitchen
- a hot cup of coffee brought to me in bed from my Farmer
- tiny hands in mine as we cross the parking lot
- a text from my dad with a picture of yet another fish he’s caught
My soul longs to be one of thanksgiving. A constant flow of ‘thank you’ notes to God for all that He is and has done in my life. And in spite of me. He’s taken my sorry attitude and transformed it into one of gratitude. As we prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday (such as it is this year) take time to stop and make your own list of ‘thank yous’. I love looking back in my journal and remembering the big and small things that I’m so grateful for and blessed with.