‘Tis the day before American Thanksgiving, and many of us are going in all directions as we travel, or welcome friends and family, make lists of items we might have forgotten for the feast, and if we’re hosting a gathering, we might be doing a hasty clean up that involves shoving things into closets and hoping they don't explode.
In the midst of busyness, it’s good to pause and take a deep breath now and then. Thanksgiving is mostly a North American holiday, with Canadian Thanksgiving held earlier, on the second Monday of October. There are other countries that have their versions of Thanksgiving as well. The holiday is rooted in harvest celebrations which go back to pagan times.. After all, having grown and preserved enough food supplies to take the community through the harshness of winter is an achievement well worth celebrating!
But thankfulness can be for more than just the harvest. I’ve asked the various Wenches for a few words each on what they’re thankful for:
I love the aromas of Thanksgiving, the roasting turkey, the cooking sage and celery, the baking pumpkin and apple pies, and outside, the scents of autumn leaves and woodfires. This Thanksgiving, as all others, I'm grateful for the never-ending supply of books to curl up with after dinner, and for the ability to shop online so I needn't go out in the cold and stand in line when I'd rather be reading!
After experiencing the terrifying force of Hurricane Sandy, Cara/Andrea is thankful that her family and neighbors, as well as her house and all the irreplaceable memories inside it, survived unscathed. She's also grateful for things like power, electric lights and the fact that she will be enjoying hot food on the morrow (cold cereal and peanut butter sandwiches begin to taste like cardboard after several days.) But most of all, she's grateful for all her wonderful friends, whose warm hugs and sense of humor kept her smiling through all the chaos. Now, as romance writers, we Wenches all write about love . . . but as Winnie the Pooh says, "You don't spell love, you feel it."
(Above is a picture of Joanna's beautiful cat, creating beauty in a simple moment.)
I am on holiday (for which I am very thankful <g!>) so I'm sorry I don't have time to contribute to this post but I do wish all Wenches a very Happy Thanksgiving!
We don't have Thanksgiving in Australia, but I do have a journal in which, from time to time, I list seven things I'm grateful for. It's an excellent thing to do, even when you're feeling totally miserable and down — especially then, in fact. And why seven things? I don't really know, I probably read it somewhere. I think the theory behind it is to push yourself to think of more than the obvious things. And I don't just list them, I write about them in a little bit of detail.
Doing this regularly has changed me in small ways. One of the things I once wrote I'm grateful for is that the increased planting of native vegetation in the suburb I live in has resulted in more native birds living around me, so I wake up to the sound of lorikeets chittering and magpies carolling. Now every time I notice them, I smile and it lifts my mood.
I don't write in my journal every day, and I don't do a gratitude list every time — that would be a bit too Pollyanna for me — but I try to do it regularly enough for it to make a difference in how I perceive my life. If you're interested in learning more, here's a link,
I could also add in that right now I'm extremely . . . slurp. . . thankful for . . . slurp. . . mangoes. The mango season has just started here and. . . pause to lick fingers . . . they're delicious!
Here in England we don't celebrate Thanksgiving, but Canada does, so I'm used to the concept. It's not one of my traditions, but I'm always up for appreciating the good stuff in life. So, I'm thankful for good health, my lovely family, and the fact that my writing is going very well, plus my nerine bowdenii, which puts on a lovely display of flowers at this time when nearly all the rest are dead. I hope everyone reading here has as much or more to be thankful for.
I've always figured if you're lucky enough to feel happy just because — Hey, look! The sun's come up! — then you're going to have something to be grateful for most mornings. I am in this felicitous situation.
This year, I've pulled up in a safe harbor after a long tumultuous time. The sun's coming in the window. Lunch is simmering on the stove. I'm doing work that I love. (I'm currently studying a map of London in 1800 which is where my head is at.) I work in blue jeans and tee shirt and stretchy red slippers with nifty pompoms on them.
I've kept a gratitude journal for years, jotting down a few thoughts at the end of the day when/if I think of it — and if I'm too tired, I try to tick off a few thankful thoughts on my fingers as I go to sleep. Lazy girl's gratitude air-journal! I figure it works as well as ink and paper. It's the thought that counts, after all.
This year at Thanksgiving–a time when we're reminded to be thankful for all that we have–while the turkey is roasting, the pies baking and the potatoes simmering, I'll look around and be thankful for family and friends, for health and happiness, for being able to do work that has meaning for me. And I'm thankful for the small things too. This will be a quiet Thanksgiving for us, with two of our kids working that day (medical people don't get a break, but we're all grateful for what they do), and I'm looking forward to a quiet, peaceful day of cooking, football, reading, and taking some time to just plain enjoy a simple day off. I'll be thankful for the savory, sweet, a bit rich dinner (why do this just once a year? I love the Thanksgiving menu!) And I'm particularly grateful that I'll be finally over the flu by Thanksgiving day (I am thankful for antlbiotics!)
And I'm thankful just to be aware that gratefulness is truly important on Thanksgiving Day, and every day. Or as one of my sons once summed up Thanksgiving gratitude years ago — "I feel great and I feel full!"
I have so much to be grateful for! I love this holiday, which is a warm, friendly gathering of some family and friends with everyone contributing and no football games on the TV. I’m very grateful for good health, and glad the election is over, and all those ads that came with it! I’m grateful that I can write stories, and there are still people who want to read them. I’m grateful that cats have soft fur and purrs. (That’s the Elusive Lacey on the left.) And I’m grateful to a world that has (mostly!) useful technology that enables us to connect with our friends and readers.
Sherrie Holmes, Word Wench Whipmistress:
Every day is a blessing to me. From my early childhood I was known as a Pollyanna, always managing to see the good in every situation. I never outgrew that. In fact, I have a little booklet where I record 3 things I'm grateful for, every day. (Well, almost every day!) The great Victorian writer, humorist, and editor, Edward Sandford Martin, summed it up for me: "Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow."
Last year, a diagnosis of endometrial cancer changed my life. I made it through surgery with flying colors, and the news was good: they got it all. It hadn't spread. No chemo, no radiation. They say you can judge a person by the company they keep. If that's so, then I must be a very fine person indeed, because I have the best friends and clients in the world. They surrounded me with love and support and prayers during my ordeal. Support came from quarters I could never have imagined. If there's one thing women do well, it's that they know how to support each other!
This Thanksgiving I will put on my Pollyanna hat and reflect once more on the bounty of my blessings, not the least of which includes two comedian dogs who are a daily inspiration on how to live with a heart of gratitude, and an equally comedic cat with a penchant for stealing pencils off my desk.
MJP again. At Anne's suggestion, here's a link to a wonderful little clip that says so much about the spirit of thankfulness.
What are you grateful for this year? Life tends to cycle through ups and downs, but even in a down cycle, there are usually a few bright spots for which we can give thanks. Just to add to someone's small pleasures, I'll give away a copy of my most recent historical romance, No Longer a Gentleman, to someone who leaves a comment between now and midnight Thursday.
Mary Jo, adding a picture of a harvest corn dolly similar to the one that hangs on the door of her office as a memory of living in England–an experience I am eternally grateful for.