Saying THANKS This Thanksgiving

Maremma, Tuscany, Italy

“Thank you, always say thank you; it’s the greatest gift you can give someone; because thank you is what you say to God.” -Maya Angelou


Every summer, I plant a tomato plant. Usually it’s from a 3″ pot, already growing. Sometimes it shows promise, maybe even bears a tomato or two, but they’re no bigger than a walnut. I know. It’s not a very good track record.

Two years ago, I bought a raised bed for my tomato plant, one which said if I filled it with water into a tube and it watered from below, the tomato plant would thrive. Of course, after two years of trying, I can say that it wasn’t the magic ticket for gorgeous tomatoes.

My neighbor, whom I love, planted her tomato plant about eight feet away from mine, and it bore loads of tomatoes. I admired it from across the fence as mine withered, and I realized I can’t control these things. Sometimes it’s a bumper crop, sometimes not. But life, when the good pours in, needs to be celebrated. The good things are truly gifts.

Gratitude changes everything.

Saying Thanks this Thanksgiving

My favorite holiday in the US is Thanksgiving. I missed it, desperately, for the 4 Thanksgivings we spent abroad — it was a normal day with school and work. There is  something about an entire nation taking time together, to stop and say “Thank You” for all we’ve been given. And we have been given so much.

I’m grateful for my family and dear friends. But one of the best results of being an expat is the deep feeling of appreciation for everything when we return home (I wrote more about it here).

I’m especially thankful for the simple things like ice cubes for a cold glass of water, window screens to keep insects outside (and not crawling up my arm as I sleep), clean water, the baggers at the grocery store, a kind smile from a receptionist, lines painted on the roads, and snow plows. The list goes on and on and on in my mind, daily.

An article in the NYTimes talks about gratitude being the defeating force for impulse buying, or impulsiveness in general. But there are countless benefits to having the ability to say thank you.

Gratitude helps create deeper relationships, greater contentment, and virtually eliminates the need to complain. Because if the glass isn’t half empty, it is half full. At least for me. We do have so much for which to be thankful.

So this thanksgiving, as I sit down for my meal, I’m saying thank you, again, for all the things–the light and life and love, the food (even tomatoes) and family and friends–who and which make my life so rich. And thank you to all of you for joining me here.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Maremma, Tuscany, Italy

“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.” -Maya Angelou


Published by Jennifer Lyn Art

About Jennifer Writer Author Photographer Artist Corporate Marketer Happy Wife & Mom World Traveler Grateful.

12 thoughts on “Saying THANKS This Thanksgiving

  1. Can totally relate to the non-green thumb ! And,vicariously, to the ex-pat feelings. My daughter married an Austrian and is now living in Vienna, where they are raising two sons (ages 2 & 5). Every year she does a big Thanksgiving dinner (on the week-end since, of course, they don’t have a holiday from work). She invites their friends and her husband Reini’s family. Since Reini works at the World Bank and she works at the United Nations, their friends are from all over the world.Those friends and family, while honored to be sharing a very meaningful American holiday with her, don’t have the deep associations with Thanksgiving that she does. She misses being here among those who do. And, like you, she also misses many things here that we take for granted. But she is thankful that she lives in a country that is so rich in culture and beauty. And I’m thankful that she living in a place that is easily accessible – she could have married an Australian (: There is so much to be thankful for all over this wondrous world of ours. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours !!

    1. No matter our circumstances in life, there is always room for gratitude. Thank you Jennifer, for providing such rich content and beautiful images on this blog. Thanks for the Thanksgiving wishes. Blessings to you as well during this wondrous season of praise and thanks.

      1. Pheralyn, thank you. I really appreciate your thoughtful notes. You are such a kindred spirit. Thank you! And have a wonderful Thanksgiving! xo

    2. I love hearing about your daughter, who lives in Vienna now. That is wonderful that she still celebrates an American tradition. Yes, she does live in a country overflowing with culture and beauty, and you’re right– it’s not too far. Thank you, Barbara! I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving! xo

  2. What an abosolutely beautiful post, Jennifer. We all have so very much to be thankful for this and every year. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

  3. Jennifer,

    I too have experienced the shock of having the world go on as usual on Thanksgiving Day. (I think it is something that only those of us who have experienced it can truly understand) I lived in Germany for 3 years, and the only culture shock I experienced was seeing Thanksgiving Day treated as just another day (maybe that and having to pay to use a public toilet and learning there are many ways to get a toilet to flush.)

    Thank you for all the beauty you send into the lives of others with your words, your painting, and your photographs. Best wishes to your family this holiday season.

  4. This comes at a perfect time. At times of loss, it’s hard to remember all the things we do have. Thank you, my friend, for this post and for everything else you’ve given me this year. xox

    1. Thinking of you, as always, Julia. And, I will never forget standing on that sandy inlet in Maine with you this summer. A gift. Thank you! And happy Thanksgiving! xo

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: