Thankful Living

DSC04350When I am a very old woman, I want to be like some of the older women I know. Women who have a perpetual twinkle in their eyes. Women who draw everyone closer to learn the secret to their joy—the secret to their thankful living.

It occurs to me that since we tend to become more of who we truly are as we age, that it’s not too soon for me to practice thankful living: not too soon to turn grumbling into gratitude. I’ve observed that with the perspective of age thankful living has a deeper, broader definition. In years past grandmas and grandpas like us may have found it hard to be grateful if they couldn’t be physically with their kids and grandkids on Thanksgiving. With age, we understand that the real blessing is that these loved ones are in the world, are living the lives ordained for them to live, and that we have them to love. We give thanks.

My husband and I were once having breakfast at a restaurant during the holidays when we struck up a conversation with our waitress. She shared that she was indeed “having a good day” because she was excited about leaving to visit her grandchildren the next day.

“How old are they?” I asked.

“They are eight and six,” the waitress replied.

“How long has it been since you’ve seen them?”

“Oh, I’ve never seen them!” she answered.

I could barely swallow the rest of my breakfast as I realized how blessed we were. Not only did we have 12 grandchildren in our blended family, but we were able to snuggle each one as an infant—and have celebrated many birthdays, milestones, and holidays with various combinations of them over the years. Truly, we are blessed.

So how can we make our remaining days full of gratitude rather than grumbling? How can we engage in thankful living—the lifestyle of thanksgiving that brings a twinkle to our eyes? We might begin like the author Ann Voscamp. When Ann first accepted the challenge to list 1,000 blessings in her life, she had no idea the list would become the best-selling book One Thousand Gifts—or that it would lead to an international ministry. She simply developed the habit of noticing the smallest of blessings: jam piled high on toast, mail in the mailbox, the blue jay singing from the top of the spruce tree. We can do that. What great things will God do with our expressions of gratitude?

When I am a very old lady, I know what the secret will be that puts a twinkle in my eye—but I don’t want it to be a secret at all. It will be the fact that when I sit around a Thanksgiving table to give thanks, I have Someone to thank. I don’t have to thank the universe for my blessings, because I know they come from the Creator of the universe! I thank God. And I pray I can share all I know about His love and salvation until my dying day.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving—followed by a lifetime of thankful living. And may the Giver of all put a perpetual twinkle in your eye! It’s no secret that He wants to give you that gift.

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  1. Elizabeth Van Liere says:

    Thanks, Nancy, for another beautiful bunch of thoughts.

  2. Nancy, I love the twinkle in your eyes! And, I am forever grateful for you. Thank you for bringing an extra smile to my heart this Thanksgiving. You are a blessing in my life all yearlong.

  3. Good Job!! i will try to remember that when i get old!!

  4. There are things about getting “older” that really bug me (like aches and pains and wrinkles) but the easy access my brain and spirit have to life experiences (wisdom, I hope) are things I wouldn’t trade. Thanks for the post and for the way you use your gifts to lift others up.

    • Same to you, Diane! It’s good to have a purpose even as relatively young grandmas, huh? Enjoy this blessed season.

  5. alice scott-ferguson says:

    so may who are writing tributes to my husband, mention the twinkle in his eyes!
    warm and wonderful as ever, Nancy
    …so thankful for you!

  6. Mary Goulet says:

    Thanks for the kind words about kind words. It is so true. We get ourselves bogged down in feeling sorry for ourselves and totally forget all that we do have. There are so many in the world much worse than even those here who are such ingrates. Loved your sentiments and don’t quit sharing them. The book about 1,000 gifts is awesome. Perhaps, I should start my own list. Thanks again. You are one of my 1000 gifts and now I have to record 999 more. Be well.

  7. ONE THOUSAND GIFTS is both profound and touching, and I’m glad you recommended it.
    This essay/post is a blessing to all of us who read it, Nancy. Like you, I am so grateful that Jim and I see our grandchildren frequently and enjoy each other’s company. But the waitress’ grateful attitude that she would finally see her grandchildren was a beautiful thankfulness.

    • I pray I never forget that example, Marylin. Sure cures up the “whiny-ness” about not being with grandkids in a hurry. Thanks for your comment.

  8. Jan Keller says:

    Nancy, I don’t think I’ve ever heard you grumble — and you have beautiful ‘twinkling’ eyes.

  9. Nancy, I never think of you is as a very old woman. Ever. It is just not even in the words that I have to describe you. But this post is beautiful friend. You are the best!

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