When I think of Thanksgiving, I think of a time of giving thanks. Then I wonder if I have a life filled with Thanksgiving like I could have. Really, I know there is plenty of room for growth in that area.
I wonder what a life filled with Thanksgiving would actually look like? I was impressed with a picture at school which colored and hung on the wall as a part of their Thanksgiving decor. It said, “Thanksgiving is an attitude of gratitude that becomes an expression of the heart.”
That’s what I want.
No human being, or at least not me, is naturally filled with thankfulness.
There’s a person I know who has gone through more pain than any human could ever tell and more surgeries than I can count, and that individual is probably the one who stands out to me as the one who expresses gratitude more than anyone else I know.
Then there are those whom, even before greeting them, you know that they will have a negative to remark about it. No matter how beautiful the day is or how many blessings they have, the things that go wrong in their life splashes over others crossing their life.
Now think about it, no one on earth can make us the persons we will be in a year from now, whether thankful or ungrateful. It’s hard to comprehend.
As my mind flashes to those I classify as having the hardest life and still wearing radiant expressions, I know that Christ within is the only way through the perils that life hurls our way. How can I be anchored deeply enough that I will not be overtaken no matter what? I am reminded of someone more mature than I, who shared with me the power of simply being aware of all thoughts that cross our minds. If it’s a thought that won’t build me up, it needs to be replaced that very moment with something that takes me in the direction I want to go. At first, it was too simple to grasp how profound it was. With time it becomes a new habit that fills my heart with joy. In times of utter grief and anguish of missing my dear Daniel, I allow my thoughts to be shuffled toward God and his promise to give everything needed to those who trust Him. With time these truths start sinking into my heart, and I find relief and even peace too gentle to describe. Thank you, Lord! All at once, the only option left is to thank God because if I couldn’t completely trust him, life would be nothing short of complete disaster.
Even children are strengthened by expressing gratitude even if they don’t feel like it. It is interesting to have them express what they are thankful for. At school, Julia had the assignment to write 100 things she was grateful for and write it all on a poster she designed and decorated.
This year Daniel’s family plans to come to our house for Thanksgiving. Julia and the two cousins closest to her age will be writing little notes ahead of time with things like, “Say something about the person to the left of you that you are thankful for, start your favorite song, share something you have learned through Daniel’s death, or tell of something you are most grateful for.” A slip will then be placed under each plate and then we’ll go around the circle and do what our paper says.
Someone asked how it feels to think of having everyone here but Daniel. You know, it would look so much more fun with Daniel, yet I know in my heart that God is the source of all true joy, and he can bring rainbows out of showers of tears.
Now I am curious to know what you all like eating for Thanksgiving? We’ll have the traditional mashed potatoes, gravy, veggies, salad, pie and the like. And let me tell you about the Caramelized Baked Apples!
Hopefully, you’ll enjoy these Caramelized Baked Apples as much as we did, and remember you are not alone as you grieve through the holidays, and for the hundredth time through your tears, you tell God you accept his plan for your life. May God be with you.
Carmelized Baked Apples
· 4-5 apples
· ½ cup sugar
· 1 tablespoon flour
· ½ teaspoon cinnamon
· ½ cup brown sugar
· ½ cup water
· 1 teaspoon butter
Peel and core apples, cut in slices and place in a 9 by 9 inch pan.
Place remaining ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a boil.
Simmer a few minutes until thickened.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until the apples are soft.
Serve warm with whipped topping or ice cream.
Gloria Yoder is an Amish mom, writer, and homemaker in rural Illinois. The Yoders travel primarily by horse-drawn buggy and live next to the settlement’s one-room school-house. Readers can write to Gloria at 10510 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427