Gratitude Journal – Prompt #11

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Photo credit: Pedro Lastra/StockSnap.io

What holiday are you grateful for?

30 Days of Gratitude

Day #11 of the 30 Days of Gratitude prompts asks us which holiday we appreciate the most. My answer is that I enjoy most of the ones we celebrate here in the United States.

Holidays usually mean time off from work and the fast-paced lives we lead. However, getting ready for the celebrations themselves is  a lot of work!

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorites. Who doesn’t enjoy a day filled with delicious foods, family, and playing board games or watching football?

I have fond memories of waking up to the sounds of pots and pans banging around in the kitchen. The unmistakable aroma of stuffed turkey wafted up the stairs, as I scrambled out of bed to watch the Macy’s parade on TV. I marveled at the size of the giant balloons and always wished I could be in New York City for the festivities.

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Against the cacophony of the hand mixer and other assorted sounds, I could hear my mom and grandma in the kitchen, sometimes in disagreement about how to prepare something. My dad would warn us not to get “underfoot.”

I helped set the table using the good china and fancy cutlery. A cloth table cover and napkins were used and some years I even made small place cards. We lit the candles with their autumn flower rings, enjoying the smell of cinnamon and apples. My mother served wine and even the children were given a small glass. I didn’t care much for the taste in those days, but certainly enjoy a good Cabernet today!

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We looked forward to the yummy desserts, as well. Apple pie was my favorite and I came to appreciate pumpkin pie with a “healthy” dollop of whipped cream. There were usually cookies, a nut roll, and other assorted goodies.

All of these memories come flooding back as the sights, sounds, and smells occur every year. Of course, the setting has changed and the people have grown up and grown old. Some are no longer with us. 

What remains the same is the emotions that all the familiar sights and sounds evoke. These feelings of anticipation, gratitude, and nostalgia are an important part of the magic that makes holidays so special!

Happy Thanksgiving!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gratitude Journal – Prompt #10

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30 Days of GratitudeWhat taste are you grateful for today?

I feel inclined to use a metaphor for Day #10 in the 30 Days of Gratitude  prompts. The word “taste” implies the flavor of something perceived by the mouth or tongue (i.e.taste buds.) 

However, after carefully tracking Hurricane Matthew for several days and hearing that my family in Florida came through safely and with minimal damage, I’m grateful for the “taste of good luck.”

Is there such a thing? I’ve heard of the taste of success, so why not?

Many people rely on religion and prayer in the hope of achieving a desired result. Faith offers strength and sustenance to those who believe that all things happen for a reason. However, after reading When Bad Things Happen To Good People my views changed a bit. 

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This book was written in 1981 by the Conservative rabbi Harold Kushner and dedicated to his young son who died from progeria, an incurable genetic disease. In this book Kushner addresses the conundrum of why an omnipotent and loving God allows so much suffering in the world, particularly by good and decent people.

His answer to this philosophical question is that God does his best and is with us through our suffering, but isn’t fully able to prevent it. 

And that’s where luck comes in.


Now, I realize that many people of faith won’t accept this analysis. But, it brought great comfort to me in 1983, at a time when I doubted God’s love. Yes, the book questions his omnipotence, but offers an explanation that makes total sense to me. In exchange for absolute control, he offers us free will, to make wise choices and repudiate sin. And sometimes, bad things are simply random events that do happen to good people.

God doesn’t pass out x number of malignant tumors each month or hand pick certain children to die in a bus crash, while others survive. He waits alongside us, to support and lift us in our times of grief and despair. That’s a God I can believe in.

While I’m grateful that my own family came through safely, my heart aches for the people in Haiti and the other Caribbean countries. They live in poverty on their best days. The devastation that they’re facing is unimaginable and the death toll is over 300. Here in the States, 32 people died and property damage is estimated at $6 billion.

In an effort to show my gratitude for the minimal effects Hurricane Matthew had on my loved ones, I’m going to donate something for those suffering the greatest. I can’t give as much as some people, but I can give something

Let’s all think about what taste we’re grateful for today and if you’d like to help the victims of Hurricane Matthew, you can donate here.

Carpe diem!