Sunday, November 23, 2014

"Thanksgiving Is a State of Mind"

How wonderful it feels to be at this time of year right now...
the rainy Autumn days, the excitement of getting to go get everything
for cooking and baking, the prospects of the joyful days to come this season. 
The last week of November is one of my favorite weeks of the year,
 if not my favorite... it feels like it is the true beginning of "the  most wonderful
time of the year" because it brings on the cheer and loveliness of the late Fall-
early Winter season.  Most of all, I am taken to a place of such joy from the
way it brings an ultimately warm-hearted and nostalgic time full of 
family and thankfulness.
 I think it is a feeling so present that in a way it seems
 to blanket everyone with an added personable kindness and warmth.

I thought this old-fashioned ad, with it's homey, perfectly nostalgic
artwork, exuded the heart of this feeling.  Memories of past years gathering
together with family and soaking in the blessing of the most completing
gift in the world- time with them- come to me when I look into this picture...
the woman preparing the meal to be taken to the family anxiously
awaiting it to eat it at the table, surrounded by love.
Looking at it is almost like smelling a candle that burns with a scent that
 brings back a memory or a feeling of remembrance that makes you
 smile inevitably.

.            .           .

The words below it have an equally stirring effect on me
in thinking of this delightfully blessed time that comes each Fall,
and although this time of year is definitely a state of mind and
such a sweet, memorable one,
 I might change it to saying "Thankfulness is a state of mind"
for the fact that nothing other than thankfulness is the
root and foundation of what we feel when this week comes
each year.

Being thankful or grateful for what I have is one of the things that is on my
mind constantly, mostly in asking God that he would help me to have
a thankful heart and never allow me to be numb to the blessings he has
and does allow into my life each day.
I do believe that thankfulness is a state of mind and reading these words
in the ad- as I thought of them, with the slight change- has made me think
of how being really and truly thankful for what we have
is indeed a state of mind, something that we
 have to be conscious of.  Thankfulness in our hearts does not
come from simply being happy with how our lives are going, but from
looking at our situation- whether we feel our lives are going well or not-
and having the strength and heart-condition to be able to focus on what 
we DO have and be thankful.

Thankfulness is a state of mind in being thankful when we
look at our lives and recognize that our hardships do not hinder
us when we recognize how blessed we are.  To me, the most important
thing that has helped me to stay in a thankful state of mind no matter
what comes my way is knowing through my faith
that God goes out of his way to provide me with blessings that
I do not even deserve.  He humbles my heart and fills me with immense
gratefulness when I reflect on something that may seem simple,
like that I am loved by an amazing family, I have food and go to bed each
 night fed as many others do not, and I have a home to go back to everyday.

Thankfulness, to me, is also a state of mind that is so beautifully
brought to us through our trials and how they cause us to
find a renewed sense of what it is to be grateful for the smallest
things we may take for-granted.
Reaching the greatest sense of thankfulness for each and every
blessing, "great" or "small", has come for me especially as a result
 of going through a time a couple of years ago when I didn't have my health.
I was losing my joy, my love for life, and my excitement about things
I always loved because I couldn't go anywhere or have a day where
I was free from what I was going through.  I felt hopeless.
I had never gone through anything like that before then and trusting God
with everything was my greatest stronghold everyday.
He allowed me to find strength and I kept my faith in the feeling that He
had something better in store for me than living like that and he did...
there was so much thankfulness inside me that it is indescribable when
I found something that fixed what was wrong with me.
I have been back to being me ever since and although it was the most
difficult thing I've ever gone through, it was through this that
I came to know the most powerful meaning of what it is to be thankful...
and that is because it became my state of mind to find everything good that
was happening to me when I didn't have my health, to help me to focus
on the good and not what was wrong with me.
After I started to feel back to normal, the second phase of that gratefulness
came to me and has stayed ever since... knowing that something I had taken
for-granted before then was now the most precious blessing, just feeling good
everyday and looking forward to each day, appreciating being alive and
being healthy enough to enjoy that.  God also put it on my heart
that although I am better, there are countless people in the world who are
dealing with the same thing that I was or worse and are not well yet.
He compelled me to serve those others in the only way I could, to pray for them.

That experience, combined with loss, combined with being hurt in my heart
at looking around at those who are suffering is ultimately the greatest inspiration to
me in making thankfulness a mindset that I never want to let go.
This year, as I reflect on what we have to be thankful for- which is infinite!- I
wanted to share the ways I have been thinking of that I can show my thankfulness
to God for what he has given me and what he has brought me through...

To say that thankfulness is a state of mind also means to me
that a person who is thankful shows compassion for others who do not
have what he has been blessed with.  I have been thinking of what I could
 do to serve others in this small way of simply having compassion
 and this is what came to me, random thoughts on
how a simple expression of gratitude for my own life can be reflected
in my heart and hopes for others...

Bringing a homeless person a blanket  in the Winter

Write a letter to a soldier overseas to lift their spirits

Make a meal for or serve at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter

Praying for the person in an ambulance that is going by

Use your talents to serve others, like knitting scarves for those who are
homeless or for animals in the shelter so they can stay warm

Including those who do not have anything to eat constantly in your prayers

Including those who do not have a home in your prayers

Including those who are ill and losing their battles with illness in your
 prayers- praying that God would work miracles for them.

Visiting hospitals' sick children or anyone who is sick and to pray with
them or just comfort them.

These small things that I have on my heart to do
are a reminder to me as I ponder on them that they are opportunities
to be a blessing in the life of someone who is not as fortunate to have
their health, home, food, or even hope.
And isn't that what thankfulness is all about?
Giving others who do not have the opportunity to, to have something
be a part of their life, if even for a moment, that shows them that they
have something to be thankful for, too.

I think one of the more frequent thoughts I have when I get into
a self-pitying mood of feeling that my life could be better is that I know
that no matter what is going on with my life, there is a hospital not far away
where there is a three or four year old with cancer who has only moments
to live.... and when that hits me it makes me want to cry and I wonder how
 in the world could I, for even a moment, feel sorry for myself.
I think about how those kids, or anyone in that hospital, would be overjoyed
at the things I was taking for-granted.
 And that brings one of the greatest senses of gratitude
 in my heart for what God has blessed me with and an even greater
sense of how easy it is to lack appreciation for what someone
else is praying for.

I didn't expect to write this much, but my heart is so moved by the things
 God has laid on it as in just the past few years, impressing upon me
that Thanksgiving may be the time that thankfulness is focused on,
but everyday should be a day of thanksgiving.

Thess. 5:6  

-Native American saying


God bless you and may you
have a week ahead full of thankfulness and blessings as you
enjoy the food that will be before you and the time with
 those you are most thankful for.


  1. Amen! Great message! We need to remember to always be thankful for what we have and to be a blessing to others. I do like to see old advertisements!

  2. Jazzmin, this is beautiful..,
    You are wise beyond your years. : )
    Blessings to you and your family during this wonderful time of year. : )

  3. Jazzmin,

    Such a beautiful post! I hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving!



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