Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thanksgiving Wisdom: Finding Gratitude

As we move into the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, I pray that everyone who reads this is able to truly find gratitude and thankfulness in their lives.  Maybe it is a consequence of growing older or maybe it is just the realization that there is more to life than “stuff” and “things” but with each passing year I find myself increasing my sense of gratitude for all that I have been blessed with.  It isn’t the “stuff” or the “things” that I am grateful for, it is the opportunities and the relationships that God has blessed me with.  Even in the hardest days or in the simplest moments, there are moments of gratitude.  I started a gratitude journal a couple years ago when I was going through a hard and painful time in my life.  At the end of each day I would write down at least 3 things that I was grateful for during that day.   I have continued this journal and write almost every night.  I was recently at a women’s conference where one of the keynote speakers, Laura Daniels of Heartwood Farm, spoke about the importance of keeping a gratitude journal, especially to keep us grounded in our crazy hectic lives.  How right Laura was!  That gratitude journal helps me focus on the joys in my life rather than dwelling on the sorrows as well as an increasing sense of happiness for life itself.  In the spirit of Thanksgiving and gratitude I would like to share some of those gratitude moments for the Thanksgiving Holiday:

·       I am so grateful to live in a country where we have dedicated servicemen and women who sacrifice their lives for my freedoms; I will forever be grateful for their service, God bless them all!

·       I am grateful to live in a country where I am free to practice the religion of my choosing; a freedom a hope to never take for granted by continuing to develop my faith in God.

·       I am so grateful for a government that while it is dysfunctional at times, does provide leadership and democracy for our nation when so many other countries live in oppression.

·       I am grateful to have family and friends that are near and dear to me; that have been there for me in my darkest days and shared in my brightest joys.  These people are irreplaceable and I know God has blessed me with them for a reason.

·       I am grateful for a career in agriculture which allows me to work with some of the best people in the world, those who would give you the shirt off their backs and invite you to supper.  Farmers are some of the most humble, honest, and caring people and I pray for all of them. 

·       I am grateful to be me, with all of the wisdom and knowledge that I have acquired in my few short years and I pray that I have the ability to be open to whatever may come my way in the years to come.  I pray that I will be open to new opportunities, have the courage to take risks and the strength to pursue my dreams with love.

·       I am grateful to have grown up on a dairy farm where I was taught values and morals that have helped me to be the best person that I can be, caring about my community and environment.  I am truly grateful for all of the times this farm offered me the opportunity to show love to people, to animals and to the land.

My father shared some precious wisdom growing up.  On Thanksgiving, many years ago, we worked as a family to get milking and chores done as quickly as possible so we could enjoy a huge family meal, made by my mother, with my aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents.  After a few hours we had to leave our company and return to the barn for milking and chores, which we also did as a family.   As we walked out to the dairy barn I will always remember the words my father said: “I am thankful to be able to go to the barn and do chores at the end of Thanksgiving Day!  How else can you work off all of those calories and still have room for another piece of pie?”  I sure do love my father!  Thanksgiving Blessings to All!