‘In every thing give thanks’

“That they might have joy” column by Jacki Wood

It’s November, a time for thinking about giving thanks.

If you’re on Facebook, you may have noticed people listing what they are grateful for in the days leading up to Thanksgiving.

I decided to join in this year, but I wanted my thanks to be simple things. One short sentence of things we take for granted or things we sometimes fail to recognize as blessings.

So I started November 1st:

Day 1: I’m grateful for uplifting music. It has the power to affect you in ways nothing else can.

Day 2: I’m grateful for rain. It rained for the first time in weeks and smelled so clean and fresh.

Day 3: I’m grateful for warm blankets. After a chilly night, it was nice to snuggle up with a warm quilt.

Day 4: I’m grateful for clean socks. Who doesn’t like a clean, snugly fit pair of socks?

About this time, I heard someone say instead of being thankful for our stuff, we should value our relationships.

Hmmm…

Well, of course we should value our relationships, but I’m one who believes “In every thing give thanks” — 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

In every thing. Everything. Including stuff.

I have been blessed with a great family, good friends and a job that I love. But there’s so much more I am grateful for and don’t always take note of, including warm blankets and clean socks. Not everyone enjoys those comforts.

So I continued on with even more purpose to be thankful in all things.

Day 5: I’m grateful for falling leaves. I love watching them float and dance to the ground, one by one.

Day 6: I’m grateful for Grandma Lee’s macaroni and cheese recipe. More than a recipe, it carries with it memories of her making it for us as kids.

Day 7: I’m grateful for hot water. If you’ve ever had to take a cold shower when you didn’t want to, this is an easy one to be thankful for, especially on cold November mornings.

Day 8: I’m grateful for my dog, Nishna. He was missing. He returned home a couple of days later, hurt, cold, wet and exhausted, but thanks to our vet, he’s on the mend and will soon be out once again chasing tennis balls and squirrels.

Day 9: I’m grateful for snow. First of the season. Two inches of pure beauty. If only it had lasted more than a few hours.

Day 10: I’m grateful for toilet paper. Need I say more?

Day 11: I’m grateful for those who serve. 11/11/11. Veterans Day. Thankful to those who’ve fought so we can have all these things.

Day 12: I’m grateful for farmers. It’s easy to forget where all the good food comes from that we buy so conveniently at the store or at our favorite restaurants.

Day 13: I’m grateful for Apple. The influence of Steve Jobs is everywhere in my life. Work computer, laptop at home, iPods and iPhones. I can lie in bed, listen to Miles Davis while checking email, Twitter, Facebook and the weather, take pictures or videos, order a pizza or watch a BYU basketball game. All on my phone.

Day 14: I’m grateful for trees. We’re surrounded by our own little forest at home. More than just their beauty, they protect our home, clean the air and supply food.

Day 15: I’m grateful for the smell of a wood-burning stove. Smells like winter and Christmas and trees and love and warmth and home.

Day 16: I’m grateful for diversity. What a dull world this would be if everything and everyone were the same. I love learning new things about other people, places and ways of thinking and then sharing those with my children.

Day 17: I’m grateful for my fibromyalgia. Gratitude in all things means even the things we struggle with. They help us grow and learn. I’ve learned I’m stronger than I thought and that I have limitations (and that’s okay).

Day 18: I’m grateful for Hunter’s hugs. That kid has so much love for everyone. And he loves to share it.

Day 19: I’m grateful for Hannah’s smile. Her beautiful smiling face makes everything all better again.

Day 20: I’m grateful for Larry’s adventures. It’s been quite a ride. Never a dull moment.

In the days remaining before Thanksgiving, I’ll be grateful for many more simple — and not so simple — things, the relationships I value and even the stuff I enjoy.

One final thought on gratitude from English poet John Milton:

“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.”

It’s been a month full of everyday epiphanies that change how I view the world. Who wouldn’t want that? Gratitude in all things.

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