Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Something has gone missing. 

I would send out an Amber Alert but it's 396 years old (according to Wikipedia - yep, I went there).

I would send out a Silver Alert but it didn't wander on it's own out of confusion. 
I would put it on a milk carton but I haven't seen milk in a carton for years and it's a tick early for egg nog. 

Somehow, sometime, somewhere, we ungrateful (I'm typing generally) Americans have misplaced one of the greatest ideals we've ever been fortunate to know:


Several years ago (circa 2009), Thanksgiving was a holiday where we showed gratitude and thankfulness for the many things that had been afforded to us. 

Our freedom (what the heck happened to that, by the way?)

Our health.
Our jobs. 
Our ability to live the American dream and define it how ever we choose.
Our family. 
Our mentors.
A spread of food that made us want to throw up right around 1:00 PM.
College football.
The awful invention known as stretch jeans. That hang down to your knees after three sit-downs or a car ride that is longer than 17 minutes. 

Sadly, Thanksgiving today seems so trivial and commercialized. Because of Thanksgiving, when I log onto Facebook, I see "friends" declaring one thing they're thankful for during the month of November. Keep in mind, these are the same "friends" who complain daily about 

1) Daylight savings time
2) Co-workers
3) Their kids
4) Spouses/girlfriends/baby daddy 
5) Politics
6) Facebook privacy 
7) Illness
8) The weather
9) The price of gas

But, alas, in November they're the most grateful people you'll ever meet/accept friendships with. News for you, I'm-Only-Thankful-In-November-Because-It's-A-Social-Media-Trend-People, Jesus does not have Facebook. Santa doesn't even know what that is. They judge you by your actions when you're not logged on. When you're naughty and when you're nice: Selfies included. 

Growing up, Thanksgiving was a holiday where Dad would actually slow down. Not Christmas. Not Easter. Not the 4th of July. But on Thanksgiving he'd (kind of?) give us a break to appreciate one another. He would look us in the eye while telling us he's thankful for our health. He'd go to Grandma's. He'd ask for seconds. We'd all watch our beloved Steelers

I fear that the general public views Thanksgiving as none other as the day before Black Friday. 

Americans have completely bypassed the beautiful virtue of Thanksgiving Day and instead taken advantage of a discount off of electronics made in a country that I cannot locate on a map. Or spell. Or pronounce. 

We - the consumers - have ruined Thanksgiving. You see, for a large percentage of Americans, Thanksgiving is nothing more than a Get-A-Deal-On-Something-I-Don't-Need-Day. Not all, but some. 

And even if you reflect negatively on the Pilgrams and Puritans who migrated from England in the 1620's to settle this American Dream, I'm confident that somewhere in your bloodline you have something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Even if it is eggnog.
Not judging.  

This November, I urge you to remember what this holiday is about. 
It isn't being the first in line to buy something for your son who doesn't need anything but a swift know where. 
It isn't yoga pants and pumpkin spiced lattes.
It isn't the over/under on college football. 
For my beloved Shafer family - it isn't about being the first in line for Abby's dessert. 

This month - as well as the other eleven - be genuinely be thankful for the amazing things you have in your life. 
The people. 
The places. 
The things. 
The jeans that fit. 
The heifers that breed. 
The Moms that write letters. 
The friends that never left. Ever. 
The grades that reflect your effort. 
The money that transferred just in time.
The little occurrences during the day that make you smile. 
The cousin who got a really positive report from the oncologist.
The undeniable passion that lies within you that keeps you awake.

Remember this: 
Thanksgiving is a perfect time to give thanks for all everything you have, not necessarily build your weekend around all the things on sale. 
It is even a perfect time to give thanks for all things you don't have. Those things, in fact, have shaped your character. And this idea reaches far beyond November. 

For instance: 
I'm thankful that we don't have one dishwasher. Instead, we have two: left hand, right hand. 
That was a horrible example. 

This year, remember that it doesn't take dates on the calendar to make you appreciate all that is around you. 
You are fortunate to live in America. 
It is your responsibility to build thankfulness from that. 


  1. Thanks for helping me slow down and be appreciative. I get too caught up in work and life that I forget sometimes everyone is human and you're allow to take a break. So thanks for helping me step back and breath a little. Not everyday are we suppose to take life so seriously, but to enjoy it as well.

  2. You're quite welcome! Remembering to enjoy life often gets pushed aside by other more demanding - not necessarily important - things. And thank you for reading the blog!