Thanksgiving 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

 “ Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received.

    Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling.

     Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.” ~ Henry Van Dyke


Today I am thankful it is November,

my favorite month of autumn,

my birthday month.

I was only one week old for my first Thanksgiving

not declared our official holiday until I was one!

Seventy-one  Novembers string out behind

 like fence posts or street lights

 or white lines in the middle of a Texas highway.

Looking back I can see only so far,

then the fading distance

 brings blurred markers of where I have been.

Feelings, impulses, followings

 tumble around in kaleidoscopic color.


I was grateful in all those Novembers,

 thankful much,

offered thanksgiving in most.

I take joy in this November, 

I celebrate now.


Today, I give thanks for…


God’s enough

changing seasons of weather and life

learning both to let go and hold on

ordinary things

green leaves brushed with burnish

the fragrance of basil on my hands

 as I gather seed


Grace and Mercy following me all the days of my life

 Vision – the cornea donors who helped me see again

 church, worship

lingering echoes of my granddaughters’ laughter

red crepe myrtle leaves

gold and scarlet Chinese tallow trees

caring friends

patience for waiting

our Meyer lemon tree harvest

singing songs of Christmas

poetry of Luci Shaw and Ruth Bell Graham

waking to sounds of Joe making coffee

the smell of burning cinnamon sticks in the chiminea

truth in a pumpkin poem – “hollowed out but shining”

morning music that sings “Come to the Quiet.”

simplicity in the chaos all around me

light and shadow

a curtain of moonflowers at my kitchen window

planting baby kale and cauliflower

mockingbirds on the fence

clock chimes, church bells

open arms

tender care

“paying attention, being astonished, and telling about it” (Mary Oliver)

Jan Karon’s recipe for roasting Rosemary and Honey onions

Holding the hands of those who have gone before (remembering Mother)

stitches of love in a crocheted afghan

my Forever Friend, Joe

Homework.  Heartwork.

Seeds from our own pomegranates

books that are old friends

a stay at home day

my beloved sons

and my daughters who are my son’s wives

granddaughters, my delight

a garden to tend

Violin music

Kristin’s piano playing

porch time

love that will not let me go

Joe’s courage in spite of pain

cooking, my kitchen therapy

“the love which from our birth over and around us lies.” (J Rutter)









Our little satsuma tree looks like the Charlie Brown Christmas tree – spindly, lopsided, and scrawny.  This year, we thought it did not bear any fruit at all.  Then, we noticed this one glowing orange, weighing down its tiny branch so that it hung suspended, ever so much like a red Christmas ball on a stark bare branch I once saw spotlighted in a family’s front window.  Before our frost this past week, I brought it inside.  As Joe and I shared the sharp pop of fragrance when I peeled back the skin, and tasted the burst of tangy, tart and sweet juice, I was thankful for things that grow alone, unnoticed, and unappreciated.  I want to be more attentive.  I would hate to have missed this treat.

Thanksgiving for Seasons

 This display at our local garden center is created to be a “living wall”.  As I enjoyed all the color and texture growing on this one spot, framed by the thoughts of a living wall, I was thankful for the lessons seasonal loss and gain teach me.  True, there are no daffodils or spring green tree buds here, but oh, the richness and variation of autumn color.  In the autumn of my life I am thankful for colorful change. Just as surely, winter will come.  Then, too, I can draw strength from the one in whom we are rooted,

“There is a winter in all of our lives,
a chill and darkness that makes us yearn
for days that have gone
or put our hope in days yet to be.

Father God, you created seasons for a purpose.
Spring is full of expectation
buds breaking
frosts abating and an awakening
of creation before the first days of summer.

Now the sun gives warmth
and comfort to our lives
reviving aching joints
bringing colour, new life
and crops to fruiting.

Autumn gives nature space
to lean back, relax and enjoy the fruits of its labour
mellow colours in sky and landscape
as the earth prepares to rest.

Then winter, cold and bare as nature takes stock
rests, unwinds, sleeps until the time is right.

An endless cycle
and yet a perfect model.
We need a winter in our lives.
A time of rest, a time to stand still.
A time to reacquaint ourselves
with the faith in which we live and breathe.
It is only then that we can draw strength
from the one in whom we are rooted,
take time to grow and rise through the darkness
into the warm glow of your springtime,
to blossom and flourish,
bring colour and vitality into this world,
your garden.

Thank you Father
for the seasons of our lives”

written by John Birch, Methodist Lay Minister in Wales

Autumn Choices

I have planted ornamental kale and cabbage for spots of growth and color in my garden.  Our cooler temperatures create a climate for their thriving.  This makes me wonder what I am planting for growth and color in my life right now.  We have had a long dry season in which weariness is far too common.  I know that I need to choose what I plant and nourish in my garden – and in my life