Thanksgiving is a time when people tend to count their blessings, but making it a daily habit is the best way to live a life of gratitude.
Some people keep journals. Others express thanks by sharing what they have with others.
It's all good as long as we remember not to take our lives for granted.
Last Sunday, I was reminded again why being grateful is so important. I know three families who held funerals for their loved ones that day, one of the deceased being a dear relative.
Though I couldn't attend the funerals, I mourned with all three families and reflected on the ephemeral reality of life. Those of us who remain are blessed to be here, and that's something we should never forget.
So as the holiday approaches, I'm revisiting some of the blessings I experienced during the past year. And when my family stands around the Thanksgiving table, I'll mention a few. The list is so long it would take all day if I tried to give a full account of God's goodness.
So, what are some of the things I'm thankful for? Here's a sneak preview:
1. My faith: In life there are so many ups and downs that it helps to have a foundation. My faith in God, nurtured from childhood, has been a steady anchor through the storms of life. I don't know where I would be without it.
2. My family: I'm sure you expected this one. But I don't let a day go by without thanking God for the wonderful people he has placed in my life. I'm blessed with a loving husband and two beautiful daughters, not to mention my parents, sisters, in-laws and all of my extended family. The love and support I receive from them is immeasurable.
3. My five senses: I consider it a blessing to be able to touch, feel, smell, taste and hear the world around me. I can't imagine what Thanksgiving would be like if I couldn't taste my favorite dishes and smell them baking in the oven. Or if I couldn't see the beautiful spread on the table, feel the hugs and kisses of my relatives or hear their voices. Life has its seasons and I want to cherish such moments while they last.
4. Good health: All it takes is one doctor's visit to turn the world upside down. So, I thank God every time I leave the doctor's office with good results.
5. The natural world: Since moving to the countryside about a year ago, I've developed a new appreciation for nature. The clouds, the trees, the setting sun and the nighttime sky. All are wonders that remind me of God's bountiful blessings.
6. My job: In 2009, I was laid off with hundreds of journalists and I didn't know where I would be five years later. A couple of close colleagues have died since then, and I know they would have loved to be alive doing what I'm doing now. So, as I do my job, I keep that in mind and try to take full advantage of the opportunity.
7. My frontal lobe: This area of the brain is the seat of human reason and moral decision-making. It al
lows me to think, create and live an abundant life.
8. The First Amendment: It's a blessing to live in a country where there's freedom of speech, religion and of the press. That allows me to worship, express my views and do my job without government interference.
9. A few good friends: I've learned over the years that popularity has its perks, but all you really need are a few good friends to be happy. My family has been blessed to find people like that in every city where we've lived. I also have a small group of girlfriends across the country with whom I still keep in touch. They're always there for support, advice and a good hearty laugh.
10. The here and now: Yesterday is past and tomorrow isn't promised. What I have at my disposal is the here and now. So, I'm grateful for today, realizing it's a moment that's quickly fleeting.
That's all for now. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Alva James-Johnson, 706-571-8521. Reach her on Facebook at AlvaJamesJohnsonLedger.