Thursday, November 24, 2016

A Thanksgiving Day List

I am on my annual Thanksgiving week retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemani and off the technological grid. Here is a post from 2013 (tweaked ever so slightly) that I hope you will enjoy.
Happy Thanksgiving.

Here in the United States we celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday in November. It is my favorite holiday. A quiet day to spend with friends and family. 

I am grateful everyday and don't really need a special holiday to remind me of the many treasures in my life. But I began a tradition long ago that I still practice. For years, I have begun Thanksgiving morning by getting up early, sitting quietly with a cup of coffee, and making an ABC gratitude list in my journal. I note the A-B-Cs down the side of the page and then quickly fill in with something that I am grateful for.

Apples, Baseball, Coffee, Dandelions

For instance, from last year's list, November 21, 2012:

Elvis, Friends, Goats

And, an oldie from almost 25 years ago, November 23, 1989:

Hope, Intuition, Joy, Kindness

If you love lists like I do, you've got to love making a gratitude list. I think the ABC list is carefree and casual and spontaneous. I simply write whatever pops into my mind and sometimes surprise myself.

Lemonade, Magic, Nightingales, Ohio River, Paris

You could also use the ABCs to guide your list to include only foods or animals or people. Or you could go for a list of totally non-material things.  One year I listed authors:

Quiller-Couch, Rhinehart, Simenon, Thirkell

Even a non-gratitude list will give you gratitude if you can just flip the list around.

For example, I may not be grateful for floods, plagues or pestilence, but I am grateful that I am not experiencing any of those right now. I may not be grateful for all the torn-up streets that plague the city right now – construction, utility company updates, repaving, bridges – but just think how thankful we will all be when eventually the streets are clear and smooth.

Umbrellas, Vegetables, Writing

It seems to me that having a grateful heart wards off resentment, envy, self-pity, and despair. Gratitude is the cornerstone of a spiritual life. And the only way I know to foster gratitude is to say “thank you” often.

Say '”thank you” out loud. Whisper it before falling asleep. Say it to your family and friends. Write it on your check to the electric company. Wave it to the stranger who lets you out in traffic. Write thank you every morning in your journal.

Buy a small notebook to keep by your bedside and every evening record those people, places, events, and things that you are grateful for. 

Take a few moments in the morning and start your day with gratitude. 

eXcellence, Yellow, Zinnias.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!


  1. Happy Thanksgiving a day late! Still, I'm thankful for fellow readers and blogs like yours. Your list is a lovely idea.

    1. Hi, Joan. Thanks for the Thanksgiving wishes. I am slow getting back to my computer...coming out of my retreat reverie. Hope your day was splendid. And that you got to eat plenty of pie!

  2. Love it! Hope you have/had a refreshing and rejuvenating retreat. We had a quiet family gathering, and I took some time off from my usual writing/household chores schedule and that made a difference. Happy Thanksgiving to you, Belle. I'm grateful for our friendship.

    1. Thanks, Kathy. The retreat was just what you wished...refreshing and rejuvenating. I wrote a bit, played with a few art supplies, and read. Even managed a nap or two. It's good to take some time off. I am glad you took a break for yourself and could spend time with your family. I am grateful for your continued friendship.