Because I’m thankful

Today I gave the baby (14 mos) a plate of cut up grapes and cheese. She looked up at me with her little toothy grin and said, “Danke!”

It was the first time she’s ever said thank you. I don’t know if anything could have made my day better than to hear that sweet little angel tell me (in German) thanks for her simple little lunch.

It got me thinking about this Thanksgiving so I decided to do a little research and see if I could peel back the many layers of gratitude and come up with something deep and soul changing to write about.

Turns out there’s no such thing where gratitude is concerned. Gratitude isn’t complicated. We don’t have to dig deep into the recesses of our blessings to truly be grateful, we just have to start with the first person/object/circumstance nearest us and work our way out.

For instance, I can hear my two middle babies playing in the living room. They’re taking turns pushing each other around the downstairs tiles on a big plastic tricycle, trying to see who can go the fastest without crashing into Mommy’s hutch.

I have babies, what a blessing. They are all healthy so double that. And don’t ask me how, but at least 75% of the time they love and play with each other. I’m grateful for kids who cry when they think someone in the family is lost, and are quick to offer each other ouchie kisses if I don’t get there fast enough.

And speaking of those ugly downstairs tiles, it gets cold here in Germany. The air is freezing and damp and my house is wall to wall tile floors. Never has a person ever been more grateful for the miraculous luxury of heated tiles than I. They might be old and ugly, but I can step into the kitchen each morning and feel blessed heat beneath my feet.

While we’re on the topic of kitchens, can I get a hallelujah for microwaves this Thanksgiving? That invention is the jaggersauce to my schnitzel. Sure it beeps incessantly when the food is finished, but maybe it just wants a little grateful attention. This year I will give my microwave a good scrub and thank it for all those healthy electromagnetic radiation waves that give me a hotdog in 30 seconds.

And hot dogs, how great are they? Not only do we have microwaves to cook our food, but we have food. Everywhere in America families are hungry. This Thanksgiving I can’t help but wonder what all those other hungry children are doing, the ones who can’t afford to eat turkey and stuffing.

It’s easy over the holidays to get caught up with the shopping and the eating and the self-involved partying. But not everyone is so lucky. Whatever your blessings are, someone will always have it better, but someone will always have it worse. Which ones are you noticing?

If you haven’t done it already I suggest taking out a pen or a keyboard and making a thoughtful list of the things you’re grateful for this Thanksgiving. It doesn’t have to be eloquent or unique, and it’s not about impressing people with your depth of character. Take time to make a written record of all the good things you’ve got going for you this Thanksgiving. It’s far healthier than pumpkin pie.

I’m thankful for Jesus Christ, and for my hardships and blessings. You can’t have one without the other and I wouldn’t trade my plate for anything, no matter how good the gravy looks.

Lastly, Happy Thanksgiving to my wonderful family home on the harbor! To my parents, Rex and Diane Valentine, my brothers and sisters who are gathering together with their own kids and grandkids to celebrate. Kerry, I wish we could be there with all of you this year…bleh! Now I’m crying.



  1. I am thankful for you, my sweet, thoughtful friend.

  2. Sweet, delicious gratitude! Serve it up on a plate of personal experience and you’ve got a buffet of everlasting blessings. Danke for sharing!

  3. What a beautiful list, I will work on mine tonight, thank you for the reminder.

  4. Can I second that Danke! What a sweet post.

  5. Hey Annie, Kathy Diamond from Idaho!! I saw your article in The Standard and I didn’t know you were such a talented writer!! So fun to open the paper and see a familiar face! Your articles are so fun to read. Just wanted to say hi!!

  6. awwww… not complicated, but definitely most-heartfelt! this is a sweet post filled to the brim with gratitude. they are my most favorite kind.

    btw, as if i didn’t already want to come visit ya, now that i know you’ve got HEATED TILE, i may have to fill up my “germany” change jar at lightning fast speed! 🙂

    grateful for you. for your outlook. for your inspiring spirit. for your contagious spunk. you are a blessing in so many ways. keep being you & edifying the rest of us! ::hugs::

  7. Happy Thanksgiving to you! Thanks for your delightful writing through the year…years.

  8. Danke…she said that. How funny.
    Well, here’s a Ditto Danke, for this lovely post, to hear what you are thankful for (and I know that was just a fraction)….and reminding me to “make my own list”.
    We have heated tile floors in our bathroom and boy oh boy…it is such a treat.
    and a heated toilet seat………awesome.
    I’ll add those to my thankful list


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