Three Thanksgiving Questions

November is a time to think about gratitude, especially here in the United States.

With our holiday dedicated to the concept of giving thanks for our many blessings on the horizon, I posed three questions to myself about things I am grateful for. Maybe you could answer one (or more) of the questions in the comment section.  Or just tell me something you are grateful for.

Photo by Emre Kuzu on Pexels.com
When was loss a reminder to be grateful?

This has been a year of loss across the globe. The pandemic has caused an immeasurable loss for so many – loss of income, loss of health, loss of freedom, loss of lifestyle…I could go on.

The most significant loss for me, however, was the loss of my father-in-law, which was not pandemic related.

We visited my husband’s stepmother, his widow, last week, and the visit sparked a reminder for gratitude in me.

My mother-and father-in-law had been married for 44 years when he passed, the majority of them after he retired at age 55. They were inseparable.

Both of them were outgoing and made friends easily. They loved to go out dancing, shared similar political views, and were both extremely independent and stubborn, sometimes frustratingly so.

Last week, my mother-in-law told me, “I knew I would miss him, I just never knew how much.

My husband of 42 years and I are now retired. We are inseparable. We are both outgoing and love to go running. We share political views and a stubborn streak. Let me remember to be grateful for the time we have together.

What is something easily overlooked that you are thankful for?
Photo by medium photoclub on Pexels.com

I have been sleeping better lately. Knock wood.

Not every night and certainly not all  night, but recently I have been getting more hours of slumber, for which I am grateful.

I never realized until I lost it, how the ability to wake up rested affects my outlook for the day.

When I toss and turn for hours each night, I wake up crabby and anxious. Sleeping well, even if it is just for four or five hours, allows me to begin my morning with a much more calm and confident attitude.

It reminds me to be grateful for the small things.

What is something beautiful you are grateful for?

Last week we were blessed with several days of warm sunshine. It was shirtsleeve weather, unusual for November in Pennsylvania.

I was working in the yard with my husband, ostensibly raking leaves but actually taking in the sights of the final warm, bright days of the year.

Leaning on my rake, I happened to notice an unusual butterfly, a Comma, flitting among the late-blooming asters. (As a writer and daughter of an English teacher, how could I not love a butterfly named after punctuation?)

I walked over to get a better look at the Comma. She sat on the flowers and seemed to be panting. Her abdomen heaved with the exertion of breathing.

Yes, I thought, it’s tough, isn’t it, little Comma? It’s November. Winter is approaching and with it the loss of flowers, nectar, and the bright warm sunshine that fuels their growth.

I went inside and asked Mr. Google how Comma butterflies overwinter in our area. As it turns out, they store up nectar, then curl up in bark crevices or tree hollows and dream of spring.

This fact cheered me far more than I expected it to.

This little butterfly’s doom wasn’t imminent. She will doze the winter away in a cozy hidden nook until the warm spring sunshine awakens her.

When time is what we are given, I was elated to realize this Comma had far more time left than I anticipated. Unless, of course, a robin catches up to her.

I am grateful for the beauty of a butterfly on a November afternoon and the time I have remaining here in this sun-drenched world.

What are you grateful for today?

 

You can find the places I link up here.

 

 

 

106 comments

  1. Laurie, I’m grateful for so many things that my list would take up too much space here. But I love these three thoughts about your own gratitude in this season of thanksgiving. May we remember with hope all the blessings God has granted us in the past, and expect new and sweet blessings in the days ahead.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I’m thankful to have friends that are such good writers! That’s you!
    I am lucky and I know it – I sleep very deeply for 6+ hours the great majority of the time. The week of the election though…. I am grateful that insomnia is only a very occasional thing. And even more grateful that elections are only an occasional thing.
    My mom is 89 and healthy and active. We are isolating, I think more than the norm, to try to be available to her and not expose her to Covid. So far we are all still sane and surviving and enjoying our pursuits. I am thankful for that, but boy will I be glad when we can all get vaccinated and return to normal life! I miss hugging up with the grandkids!
    Peg

    Liked by 3 people

    • Haha! Thank you, Peg! I am thankful for friends who are talented quilters! 🙂

      My insomnia was in high gear the week of the election. I got only about 2 hours of sleep on November 3. Yes, your mom is definitely something to be thankful for. We are helping my mother-in-law move out of her house by the end of the year (she is 88) and I want to be especially careful for her sake.

      Like

  3. I am thankful for my health which permits me to go out and enjoy nature and forget about screaming headlines for a while, because without those two items, I’d dwell on the negative and not on the positive. It’s hard to be Pollyanna with rising COVID stats, political madness and the “new norm” in general. The Comma butterfly hovering on still-vibrant asters would be a plus in my day and something to be grateful for too, but we often think alike Laurie. I never knew a butterfly would overwinter – that amazes me. I wish her luck. I like your line “I am grateful for the beauty of a butterfly on a November afternoon and the time I have remaining here in this sun-drenched world.” I don’t dwell too much on the fact that there are less years ahead than behind me, but you put such a wonderful and positive spin on it, I will adapt that attitude as well, especially since we are the same age.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Health is a good thing to be thankful for. I often think the same thing. I see Michigan is at the center of a political storm right now. Crazy! I did know some butterflies overwintered in these parts, but I didn’t know a Comma could. We have to make every minute count at our age, Linda! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, like the quote: “Life is not lived in hours, days or years, but in moments.” We must savor the small things in life to get through this big thing here in 2020. I hear a lot about Monarchs migrating, but the other butterflies never get any attention, so I didn’t know and assumed the others migrated too. See what I know! It is crazy here in Michigan – first they objected, then agreed, now back to objecting and feeling pressures. Some State legislators are headed to Washington, D.C. for a pow wow with the President to discuss Michigan’s election polling issues – when does it end?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, I love that quote. It IS especially good for this crazy year. I read about all those Michigan shenanigans in the paper. There are plenty in PA too. I am worried for our country. Yes, when does it end?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I thought that quote was good for 2020 too. Just when you think nothing more could happen in this post-election debacle, something else crazy happens. Michigan and Pennsylvania are making headlines for all the wrong reasons!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I was reading on CNN today that Dr. Moncef Slaoui, (chief scientific adviser to Operation Warp Speed), anticipates that thanks to vaccines, life in the US could return to normal around May. That depends on how many take the vaccine – I believe 70% would be required to achieve herd immunity.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, that would be wonderful, Linda. That gives us something to look forward to. Bill and I just made the decision to not participate in any social events (except those that are outside, with masks) until the vaccine.

        Liked by 1 person

      • You and Bill are smart to do that Laurie … for me it is a no-brainer as I have nothing planned but my daily walks, having done the last of my errands yesterday and no plans to go to any stores, or anywhere (God willing) for several months. No friends live near but Ann Marie and we’ve not gotten together in 2-3 years. No family so no worries of people visiting who might have COVID symptoms.
        Now is not the time to mix/mingle. The worry is how many people will take the vaccine. Every day on Twitter or some other form of social media, there are polls which don’t look good as people will stall/hesitate. When Dr. Fauci gets it, so will I!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, unfortunately, I think the smart thing is not the appealing thing. We have gotten so used to holiday get-togethers, it is tough to give them up! I will definitely get a vaccine that the scientists recommend.

        Liked by 1 person

      • A year ago you all gathered in Arizona for Thanksgiving if memory serves me right – picturesque, perfect warm weather and your entire family gathered around. What a difference for this year. I heard a psychologist on a news program suggest we make vacation or fun plans for late Summer 2021 to give us something to look forward to through the long Winter months.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, you are right, Linda. We gathered in Arizona last year for Thanksgiving. This year my youngest son and his 2 boys came up for dinner. We had a good time – just the 5 of us. I hope we can plan for late summer next year.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I thought it was Arizona Laurie … I hope late Summer is a go for plans we make to give us a little boost to get through this pandemic and Winter. We’re now getting 4-8 inches of snow Monday-Tuesday. They said “stay tuned Sunday – we’ll know better.” Sigh.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. A beautiful post on gratitude, Laurie! With so much loss, as you said, it can often be difficult to remember that there is still so much to be thankful for. Wishing you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving in this unusual year. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I love your three things, Laurie.
    Today, I am going on a hike with my husband. I am grateful that we are both fit and healthy enough to do that.
    And I’m grateful that we have the time to do it. The older I get, the more I realize how precious time is.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Every November, I’m in awe of the light. It’s unique in November…a grayish purple. The yellows are brighter. Maybe it has something to do with bare trees and shorter days. Whatever it is, I pause for the light more this time of year than any other.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am an observer of light too. I love the light when it snows – that grayish purple hue, especially against the pine trees. Snow in November is a rarity for us.

      Like

  7. I will answer the first question. My husband had brain cancer and passed away at the age of 63, 14 years ago. It took me a while to find anything to be grateful for after that, but, I am grateful that I had been able to retire early, so was available to take him to all of his doctor’s appointments. When I hear about other people who have horrible marriages, or at least seemingly so, I’m so glad that we loved each other and completed each other and were able to spend so much time together. I have decided that quality over quantity is a good thing. And, finally, I am grateful that after all of these years, I am still a part the lives of his children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and even his ex wife, who is a wonderful lady.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I admit there are times when my prayer time, prayer life is not what it should be. But every day I pray I always, almost always say to God, “Thank you for my family and friends, who nurture and enrich my life.” In the last year, I have expanded that to include “classmates and cousins” who are also friends and family, yet it seems important to me to distinguish them rather than lump them in a group. And of course blogging friends and the gift of writing, the gift of my education…I echo all of the things that you shared. So I will share this post on my Facebook page. Happy, Blessed Thanksgiving, Michele

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Am thankful for a new place where we will stay at least for a few years (this is the 3rd house), even though we are still adjusting to the culture here (California – Texas). I revel in easier time financially and the new things we were able to buy (I do not take that for granted!), and we are not so isolated anymore, having neighbors.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. While I’m all about gratitude for friends and family, I think it’s easy to overlook the small comforts we have in our homes. Things like high count cotton sheets and comfortable chairs on which to sit. I am grateful for these things. Small joys, I guess.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Hello,

    Great thoughts and post. Thanksgiving always seemed like a family time for me, this year will be different. My parents died years ago, but I think of them even more during the holiday. I can not imagine having a loved one sick with Covid right now. I am thankful my family and I are healthy. Take care, enjoy your day! Happy weekend!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I hear you about the importance of good sleep, Laurie. I’ve been sleeping a bit better lately, and it does make a big difference. As a writer, I am delighted to learn that there is a butterfly called a “Comma.” 🙂 And as for loss, I miss my parents terribly, but I’m so very grateful they did not have to live through 2020 in the nursing home. Happy Thanksgiving, my friend!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Although my mother passed away at the end of August and it was a hard time, I was grateful that she lived as long as she did. She taught me much in life and was there for me. I know people who can’t say that. Thanks for linking up and have a great weekend.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Unless a robin catches up to her… lol… that’s how I feel like my comma is going lately – LOL!!!
    So they hole up? How long do they live? That’s interesting actually.
    when I see little creatures I know cant handle the cold, I’m always like, “Can I bring it inside?” to which the hubs just gives me that look

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Lovely and uplifting, Laurie. At the moment I am grateful for the huge Chinese pistache trees on the campus where I work, which are all in their full autumn glory. And every single day, I am grateful for every minute I get to spend with my beloved husband.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I have so much to be grateful for… but I would definitely put my husband at the top of my list. He drives me nuts sometimes (I’m pretty sure he’d say the same thing about me), but he inspires me, makes me laugh, and is the best companion I could imagine having during these last several months. Thank goodness we also share political views too.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I have so many things to be grateful for! I have a great husband and a happy marriage, a wonderful family that I mostly get along with, a job, interesting hobbies, and so many other blessings!
    One time a loss was a reminder to me to be grateful was quite a while ago when my husband and I had just started to date. A friend of ours, a young, recently married man, died unexpectedly in an industrial accident. His wife kept saying how glad she was she had said “I love you” when they left for work that morning and that she had kissed him good bye. She said they didn’t always do that, but she was so relieved that that was the last thing she said to him. That was a good reminder to both my DH and I to be grateful for each other and always say “I love you”.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Friends. I lost two this year to cancer and another had serious surgery and almost died.

    One was a running friend and blogger. I think her almost daily. The other was a tennis and mah jongg friend. The reality will set in once I play again. The one still in the hospital was my travel friend and weekly wine drinker companion.

    So I am thankful for friends and even in this pandemic you have to make time for them somehow and let them know you are thinking about them.

    It’s so easy to stay in our own selfish bubble.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. It’s a bit ironic. We attended a Zoom Shiva (sitting farewell to loved ones, basically) for my husband’s aunt last night. We didn’t know her well; she was his step-aunt; his uncle got divorced pretty much after our wedding, and for many years we lived far too far away to visit — no Zoom back then!

    She wasn’t that old, considering. 77. Breast Cancer, unfortunately. She had lived a very healthy lifestyle, too.

    I spent some time thinking about this last night. How could we honor her passing? By celebrating life, of course, which she fought so hard to stay in, we are told, even though it was so very tough.

    I know many people will point to such a sad event & say why bother to live a healthy lifestyle if you could still get sick & die? I say because it allows you to enjoy your time on this Earth better. Because it allows you to fight harder. Perhaps I’ve just found a blog post; thank you, Lauire, for your 3 questions.

    This year has been the year of many losses for us, of friends, of family, of Lola. It definitely hasn’t been easy, but I will continue to celebrate their lives by living mine the best way I know how to.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. I lost my sweet mother since last Thanksgiving, and while I miss her dearly, I am so grateful that she was my mother, that I was graced with her love and joy for the little things in life. That her DNA and her influence live on in me. I am grateful that I loved someone enough to miss her like I do. As for something easily overlooked, I am grateful for a hot shower. Our water heater was intermittently going out, so for a while we never knew what we would get in the morning, but it has been fixed now. I never realized how I depend on that water being warm when I stumble into the shower still half asleep each morning. And finally, something beautiful…I am grateful for the Wasatch Mountains and that I am privileged to see that view every time I go outside. Thank you Laurie for that fresh look at gratitude. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh Christie, I am so sorry for the loss of your mother. I feel the same way you do about my mom. She was my best friend and I miss her terribly, even though she has been gone for 12 years. And a hot shower?!? One of the biggest, most overlooked blessings! 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving.

      Like

  21. Beautiful post, Laurie 😉 Gratitude does not come easy for some, especially in this day and age of immediacy and technology. I’ve always been a glass-half-full person, but I didn’t realize it until I was sidelined after my knee surgery (2017). I could not run for almost three months, but found peace and solitude in walking. Although unintentional, I was taken aback and a bit offended, when I’d see fellow runners complaining about their running problems (mainly the heat of summer). How I would have gladly traded places with them LOL. Anyways, this lesson in gratitude has stuck…I’m a lot more mindful of my “problems” these days. And if I’m feeling frustration, I can usually find something from that situation to be thankful for.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Kim. Yes, we have become accustomed to immediate gratification. We should try to feel what it is like to walk a mile (or run!) in another’s shoes. You had a tough lesson in gratitude, but it has made you stronger and more likely to be grateful. You made lemonade when life handed you lemons!

      Like

  22. I think it takes having trouble sleeping to realize what a gift, what a blessing sleep is. About 8 years ago, I began having trouble sleeping on Sunday and Thursday nights. I think the Sundays were related to worries over the coming work week. Not sure about the Thursdays. Maybe just thinking of all that had to happen on Friday!!

    Now, 7 years, this December, into retirement I still toss and turn on those nights. A complete night’s sleep is such a relief. Such a treat.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Laurie – This was beautiful. I love that you checked google to see the fate of the comma. I was worried, too, as I was reading. It sure has been a year of loss. Yet, if we choose to see the blessings, they are HUGE. I am so grateful for many things from small, like stomping through the leaves, being able to run a block without my knee hurting, and for the big things like one more morning to wake up and see God’s blessings. Thank you for sharing with Grace & Truth. Maree

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are so right, Maree – it has been a year of loss, but God’s abundant blessings are still evident. So glad your knee allows you to run. Thank you for hosting!

      Like

  24. I did not know that butterflies hibernated! Good to know!

    I’ve been struggling with sleep for a few years now. I sleep better at night if I don’t nap during the day–but if I don’t sleep at night, I can’t help but nap. I try to limit naps to 20-30 minutes, and that seems to help. I just started using a CPAP machine, and that’s a whole other sleep adjustment. They say I’ll get used to it. I’m a little sad about needing to use it. But it’s supposed to help avoid afib, and if it does that, it is worth it. So I am trying to be thankful that we have such tools available these days.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have the same dilemma with napping. I know I shouldn’t but some days I am just so tired…Good luck with the CPAP machine. My son had to use one, but he did wean himself off of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. I love your post! It is so wonderful to be able to show gratitude in these hard times. I am grateful for my great support network of my husband, my care staff and mental health treatment team.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s