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Mindful of our blessings
November 22, 2010
by Jenni Sebora

The poem, “Thanksgiving” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, eloquently reminds us that we need to be mindful of all of the blessings that we take for granted instead of always desiring more. In our daily lives, there is much to be thankful.

“We walk on starry fields of white – And do not see the daisies, For blessings common in our sight – We rarely offer praises. We sigh for some supreme delight – To crown our lives with splendour, And quite ignore our daily store – Of pleasures sweet and tender.

“Our cares are bold and push their way – Upon our thought and feeling; They hang about us all the day. Our time from pleasure stealing. So unobtrusive many a joy – We pass by and forget it. But worry strives to own our lives, – And conquers if we let it.

“There’s not a day in all the year – But holds some hidden pleasure. And, looking back, joys oft appear – To brim the past’s wide measure. But blessings are like friends, I hold, – Who love and labour near us. We ought to raise our notes of praise – While living hearts can hear us.

“Full many a blessing wears the guise – Of worry or of trouble; Far-seeing is the soul, and wise, – Who knows the mask is double. But he who has the faith and strength – To thank his God for sorrow – Has found a joy without alloy – To gladden every morrow.

“We ought to make the moments notes – Of happy, glad Thanksgiving; The hours and days a silent phrase – Of music we are living. And so the theme should swell and grow – As weeks and months pass o’er us, – And raise sublime at this good time, – A grand Thanksgiving chorus.”

To help our children to be gracious and mindful of their blessings, we, as adults need to be gracious and discuss with them our many blessings.

Create a paper bouquet of thank you cards. This craft idea is from Amanda Formaro, on kaboose.com.

Cut some leaf shapes or flower shapes out of construction paper. Write what you and your children are thankful for on these cut-outs. Glue these shapes to craft sticks and insert them in some floral foam that is contained in some kind of a basket, pot, or other container. You can cover the floral foam with Spanish moss if you like. This is the perfect centerpiece and conversation piece for the Thanksgiving dinner table.

Here’s a neat Thanksgiving snack your children could help prepare, to represent the horn of plenty. Fill sugar cones (the cones with pointed ends) with treats such as small candies, fruit snacks or a snack mix or fruit, such as various berries and grapes. Place by each table setting or in a large bowl if a buffet style dinner is being served. (Source: unknown).

It is also fun to teach our children some facts about the holidays. Here are some interesting facts about Thanksgiving from americanhistory.about.com.

The first national celebration of Thanksgiving was declared by the Continental Congress in 1775. It was to celebrate the win at Saratoga during the American Revolution, but this was not a yearly event.

In 1863, two national days of Thanksgiving were declared. One celebrated the Union victory at the Battle of Gettysburg; the other started the Thanksgiving we celebrate today.

The date of what is typically known as the first Thanksgiving is not exactly known. It occurred between Sept. 21 and Nov. 9, 1621 as the Plymouth Pilgrims dined with the Wampanoag Indians.

This first Thanksgiving lasted for three days. According to Edward Winslow, a participant in that first feast, the dinner consisted of corn, barley, fowl, including wild turkeys and waterfowl, and venison.

Let us remember to say thank you, danke, arigato, mahalo, or merci to those that have been gracious to us. It feels good to receive a word of appreciation, but it also does us good to pass along words of thanks.