Happy Thanksgiving

“What are some things you’re thankful for?”  That was the question Sunday, and people took turns telling of how blessed they are, in spite of a variety of difficulties.

I sat there – not quite sulking, but almost – miffed at how crummy this year has been.  Poor me.  I was having quite a pity party, when it dawned on me that I needed a major attitude adjustment.

Instead of feeling sorry for myself for needing 28 doctor appointments, I can be grateful that medical help is so easily obtained.

Instead of grumbling that I haven’t been able to spend as much time with my horse as I’d planned, I can be thankful that I have my own horse.  I actually, really and truly finally got a horse - the exact kind I’ve always wanted.  How cool is that!

We still have an income – significantly smaller than a few years ago, but enough to pay the bills.  We still have medical insurance.  We have a nice warm house to live in.  We have land to raise our own organic vegetables and chemical-free beef. 

No more sulking.  By then I truly was thankful.  God has blessed me greatly.  I have much to be thankful for.

And then I remembered hangers.

When our children were small, my husband would tuck the toddlers into bed while I nursed the baby to sleep.  He would pray with the children, then they would lay in bed and say, “Thank you, God, for …”  The kids would take turns naming things for which they were thankful.  Once the baby was asleep, I loved to eavesdrop to see what they’d come up with.  They didn’t just name the same things night after night, but were creative.

One night, my son said, “Thank you, God, for hangers.”  Hangers????   I didn’t think that was suitable.  What about more noble things, like, family, or peace, or good neighbors?

God nudged me.  You’re NOT thankful for hangers?  I could arrange for you to not have any.  How would that be?  

I pondered for a moment life without hangers – or life without the need for hangers.  I decided that my son had the right idea.  I, too, am thankful for hangers.

It’s easy for me to get complacent, and sometimes I need a reminder of how very much I have to be thankful for – hangers and all.

May you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.

Veteran’s Day

Thank you, all who have served in our military.

Repost from last Veteran’s Day.

My grandfather received a college scholarship to play baseball.  He was never drafted, and could have stayed home while others went to do the fighting during WWII.  Instead, he volunteered.  His country needed him.

Like most people his generation, he didn’t say much about the war.  A few stories, though, we loved.  Once he was assigned to teach the non-swimming recruits how to swim.

In the middle of the desert.

With no water.

When he questioned his superiors as to how they proposed he could undertake such a possibility, the swift response was, “That’s your problem, Sergeant!”

Only the army would try to teach soldiers how to swim without any water.

Never one to let details stand in his way, Grandpa lined up rows of benches on the parade grounds.  The men lay atop them and learned the arm, leg, and breathing motions they’d need when they hit the water.  Over and over again, out there in the 110 degree heat, those soldiers practiced and practiced until the day they got orders to their next destination.  Grandpa later heard back that every one of them was able to swim when the time came.

Not all his service was stateside.  He trained with paratroopers in England.  Due to an injury, though, he was in the hospital when everyone shipped out.  Not a single person on that mission survived.

Later he marched through Europe.  He was at the Battle of the Bulge – something he never spoke of other than to acknowledge that he’d been there.

He was injured, and I never heard the details of when or where or how, but doctors told him he’d never walk again.  He proved them wrong.

What incredible things he saw.  What incredible sacrifices he and others like him made.

He chose to go to war, to fight for his country, when he didn’t have to.  Unlike so many others, after the war he got to come home.  His scholarship was no longer available, though, and there was no money for school.  He married, worked hard, and raised a family – on a lot less money than he would have had if he’d attended college.  Life’s goal isn’t to see who can accumulate the most money.  It’s what’s inside that counts.  Grandpa knew that.

Today is Veteran’s Day.  Honor a vet.