Eric Blom, PIAP logo

Thanksgiving 2004

The National Holiday of Thanksgiving in the United State of America as we know it today was officially sanctioned by Congress in 1941 to be held on the forth Thursday of November each year. However, the national day of thanksgiving originates more than 300 years earlier to 1620 when 56 Pilgrims and 91 Native Americans joined together in a three day harvest festival.

Today many of us are so far removed form the agricultural industry and have access to such an abundance of food that it is difficult to understand the struggles of the Pilgrims to provide enough food for themselves. We also can not understand an environment where 46 of 102 Pilgrims died before the end of the first winter.

One thing that has remained nearly the same over the years is that Thanksgiving day has been used as a day to deliberately stop and thank Almighty God, as Lincoln said in his Thanksgiving Proclamation, for the blessings we have received.

This year I was blessed with the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with Linda and her extended family. I accepted the invitation with some hesitation because I did not know anyone other than Linda. However, everything turned out wonderfully. Ella welcomed me without hesitation into her home and the rest of Linda's family treated me like they had known me for years.

Reflecting now on this Thanksgiving I recall the words of A. J. Boyd who spoke at an inter faith service I attended on the eve of Thanksgiving at Cedar Cross United Methodist Church in Mill Creek Washington. A. J. proposed that as residents and citizens of the United Stats of America we are blessed with an abundance of food and shelter and that perhaps what we should be most appreciative of is our discomfort and our sorrows.

Be thankful that you don't already have everything you want. If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don't know something, this gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times. During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations, because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge, because it will build strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes. They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you're tired and weary, because it means you've made a difference.

And if I may steal from St. Francis...

Be thankful when you're blessed with discomfort... at easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships, so that you may live Deep within your Heart.

Be thankful when you're blessed with anger... at Injustice, Oppression, and Exploitation of People, so that you may work for Justice, Freedom, and Peace.

Be thankful when you're blessed with Tears... to shed for those who suffer from Pain, Rejection, Starvation, and War, So that You may reach out Your Hand to Comfort them and to turn their Pain into Joy.

And be thankful when you're blessed with enough foolishness... to Believe that You can Make a Difference in this World, so that You can DO what others claim cannot be Done.

AJ's words ring true for me because they remind me that every moment of every day we all have a choice to make: joy or sadness, joy or stress, joy or fear, joy or anxiety. It is easy to find joy when we are holding the hand of a loved one, playing with a baby, or spending time with a friend, but, I also accept AJ's challenge to be thankful, and therefore joyful, when times are difficult and not what I asked for.

For more information on the story of Thanksgiving visit Wilstar, the website for families.

(November 25, 2004 Thanksgivnig)

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Linda's fun socks. Virginia and Jerry. Linda Me.
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Garth and Mike. Ella and Kelly. Mike slicing the turkey. The turkey was cooked to perfection by Ella and Mike did a wonderful job creating a great looking platter of meat. Linda and Ella.
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Ella's cool bottle of wine. A beautifully set table. Linda and Garth. Thinking he could get a bigger smile out of his second cousin Garth goes in to action.
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Success! Lasting success! Linda and I. Siblings: Mike, Ella, Virginia, Linda. What a great group of smiles.
Linda's cat China Doll.

Click on a thumbnail above to see a larger version of the picture.

The pictures in this gallery were taken with a Nikon D70 Digital SLR camera. Any use of these pictures without permission from the photographer is strictly prohibited. Email me to request permission to use any of these pictures or if you would like a higher resolution version.

Last updated: 11/28/04