Are you grateful at all times or just on Thanksgiving Day? Think about it.

Next week we will get out the good china and set a beautiful table loaded with special foods to celebrate giving thanks with family. But is that enough ... just one day?

Aren’t we glad that someone had the foresight to set aside a special day to give thanks? What better reason to gather with friends and family than to give thanks.

The celebrations of today are a far cry from the Thanksgiving feasts when our parents and grandparents were alive and we all met together. We all brought food, but Grandma or Mother made the dressing and cooked the turkey. We always served turnips to remind us of the meager times Grandma and Grandpa had when they first came to Indian Territory. They lived on turnips and wild game, but they ate what they had with gratitude and appreciation. Times have changed from those early days. Now we have so much, and some of us still complain and whine.

This year we will have our annual Thanksgiving-eve dinner with longtime friends before the big day with family. There will be only a few of us, but we will meet and eat and have a glorious time of thankfulness. We will talk and laugh and visit a while and then all go home, looking forward to cooking the big feast the next day with close family.

On Thanksgiving weekend, we will get to visit with other members of our family as they drop by for turkey sandwiches and leftover pie. No matter when we meet or what we serve, we will enjoy an extended day of blessings and visiting. No Thanksgiving is complete without stomping in the leaves that have filled our yards and countryside.

What plans do you have for Thanksgiving? By the time you read this, your plans probably are already made and preparation for your dinner is somewhat underway. I like to be prepared. Because of weather or something unforeseen, there always will be a few changes, and we have to be prepared for drop-in guests or those who had to change plans at the last minute. No matter who comes or what time the meal is served, it will be a festive occasion to have everyone around the table or going through a buffet line.

This year, as every year, I have so much for which to be thankful. Maybe it is because I am getting older, but every day is such a special blessing to me. Every day I awaken with a clear head and can breathe and eat and enjoy living is a blessing in itself. I try hard to make every day count for something positive.

I am eternally grateful for friends who bring special joy into my life. Church friends, Marine buddies, neighbors and many others are blessings. My “Wednesday Wonders” (the lunch bunch that once were Red Hatters, but we didn’t want all that trouble; we just wanted to eat and visit), my friends at the gym that I see almost daily who cheer me to keep going, and longtime friends from school all have a special place in my heart.

I am constantly grateful and give thanks for a warm home, food to eat, good health, love and laughter, God’s grace and mercy, direction for my life, caring physicians, my wonderful Bible Church, sight, hearing, our many freedoms ... the list can go on forever.

I thank God every day that I live in the United States of America. When I look at other countries, I realize just how very blessed I am to have basic necessities. We just need to count those blessings. There are two kinds of gratitude: the sudden kind we feel for what we have and the larger kind we feel for what we give.

We seem to think that the pilgrims had a fabulous feast every Thanksgiving. However, legend has it that after a while food became scarce and food supplies got so low that each person received a ration of only five grains of corn. They still were thankful for their blessings. Today in America, we need to look at what we have and not what we don’t have ... and be grateful. When we sit down to our special thanksgiving dinner, we probably will eat too much and talk too much and laugh too loud, but we can never praise too much.

From somewhere in the wrinkles of my brain comes this poem from long ago. I hope I remember it at least partially correct.

Thankfulness

“We thank you for all gifts, dear God, upon Thanksgiving Day.

For love and laughter and the faith that bids us kneel to pray.

For life that lends us happiness, and sleep that gives us rest,

These are the gifts that keep our hearts serene within our breast.

Love, laughter, faith and life, we cherish every one.

They carry us along the road until our work is done.’’

If you are having a large bunch of people in for the holidays, you might want to try this simple dinner roll recipe. My friend calls it “Dinner Rolls for Dummies” because they are so easy. I have never had a failure because I use water that is the temperature of baby formula or it will kill the yeast. This recipe can easily be doubled. One recipe makes 12 rolls. My special blessing this year will be my great-grandson helping me make the rolls. He has helped me in years past and is a lot of help and can knead dough as well as any grandma. I can hardly wait!

Easy dinner rolls

Ingredients

1 cup lukewarm water

1 package yeast, (or 1 tbsp. if you use the bulk yeast)

1 tsp. salt

3 tbsp. cooking oil

3 tbsp. sugar

2 2/3 cups flour

Directions

Dissolve yeast five minutes in water. Mix salt, oil and sugar in large bowl. When yeast is dissolved, pour into oil mixture. Stir in 1½ cups flour. Beat well. Let stand about 20 minutes until dough bubbles. Stir in remainder of flour. Knead on floured surface until dough is smooth. Put in greased bowl. Cover and allow to raise until double in bulk. Make into 12 rolls in 9-by-9-inch pan that has been greased. Allow to raise again. Bake in 350-degree oven about 20 minutes until lightly browned.

Count your many blessings. Enjoy a safe holiday and the comfort of family and friends.

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