Filling out Hearts with Good Things

Gratitude Day 367

Sat., Nov. 23, 2019

Psalm 107:8-9: Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for humankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.

It’s the weekend before Thanksgiving … and time to just be a wee bit reflective about the upcoming holiday. Today, I’m thinking about some of the traditions that I have experienced today and how they relate to life now.

In Wisconsin, it’s opening deer hunting weekend. Growing up, my Dad went hunting with the neighbors. Sometimes, I went with him. Other times, I stayed back and helped take care of chores on our family dairy farm with my mom and sisters. I really preferred the later of these two choices.

This morning, Hubby Rick headed out with our eldest grandson to go deer hunting. Truth: Rick outgrew a need to go hunting years ago. Another truth: when your grandson asks you to take him hunting, you go hunting. My role? Pack a cooler with snacks and make a thermos of hot chocolate for Braeden before they left. Wish them well and pray that they, and all the other deer hunters, remain safe today and throughout the week hunting.

While many of us will gorge ourselves with too much food this week, there are other families who are trying to figure out how to make sure they have a traditional Thanksgiving meal. We live in a fantastic community. On Thursday night, our local food pantry provided 50 meals to local families who might not otherwise have a real Thanksgiving dinner. Our local grocery store, Piggly Wiggly, partners with our local food pantry in helping provide these meals. While people are checking out, they are encouraged to donate towards this cause. The Pig helps provide the meals. Each meal is valued at $60. This means, $3,000 was put towards making sure 50 families will have a Thanksgiving dinner this week.

Ruth Ann and her husband Mel manage our well-tuned food pantry, along with a huge group of volunteers. Extra volunteers showed up this week to help get the turkey dinners organized and ready for distribution.

While at the pantry on Thursday night while families were picking up their dinners, Ruth Ann shared that four families, who previously have received turkey dinners at Thanksgiving, contacted her this year. They said that they do not need a dinner right now and wanted another family who really needs the dinner to receive one.

This type of attitude and desire to helps others makes our little community a great place to live.

Read the envelope. I don’t know Bridget and I don’t know the farm where she works. What I do know is that the dairy industry right now is struggling … and has been for five years. Record numbers of farms have declared bankruptcy in 2019. Farms are not only struggling with low milk prices; this year’s crops have also been a huge disappointment because of poor weather and growing conditions.

Yet, this dairy farm went out of their way to thank an employee for making sure their animals are well-cared for. They are being thankful no matter what their current situation is. Hats off to this farm. You are teaching others how to be a good employer.

One of my favorite Thanksgiving memories involves my Grandma Deaton. A number of years ago, my parents came to my house for Thanksgiving. They brought along my Grandma Deaton, who is in her late 90’s at the time. When they arrived at my house, she was so excited to help prepare the meal. We baked pies and peeled potatoes and prepped the stuffing. This little 115-pound pint of a lady wanted to get her hands into rolling out the pie crust. She laid out the newspaper on the counter for the potato peelings like she had thousands of times previously. She chattered non-stop about how she was so excited to be at my house for one night.

At this point in her life, Grandma was living at a nursing home. I think she felt like a little child on a big adventure because she got to leave the nursing home for a night. All the ladies at her meal table were jealous that she got to pack an overnight bag and split the joint, if only for one night. We lad a lovely Thanksgiving dinner that year. But looking back, I think watching my Grandmother help me make the dinner was even more precious.

What are your family traditions around Thanksgiving? What are the aspects of this week that you LOVE? What is a way that you might change-up how to celebrate the many blessings in your life? How can you create a special memory this year, whether for a grandchild, a local family, someone you work with or for yourself?

Rather than making sure the gravy has no lump or the turkey is “just right,” let’s contemplate how we can feed others, whether with food or a good deed or a special memory, this Thanksgiving week.

Dear God – No matter what is going on in our lives right now, I pray that we give thanks. Thanks for a place to live. Thanks for family and friends. Thanks for food. Thanks for clothing. Thanks for a vehicle to drive. As we encounter someone who may not have these things, soften our heart towards them. May we help create a special thanksgiving blessing for someone else this year. Amen.  

Blessings –


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