I stepped around my house to open the chickens. Leaves were falling like giant brown snowflakes from the woods. I smiled as I watched them drift to the ground as I sipped my black coffee. I listened as they softly fell with a little chink on the ground.

They cover the ground like a warm patch-work quilt. I began to think of all the things I am grateful for this season in spite of the pain. It has been a tough 18 months. We’ve had much loss in our family. But our Lord continues to lead us through this valley of the shadow of death and reminds me of the little joys of the day.

And the blessings, like coffee running over the rim of my cup into the saucer below, continue to be poured out from a dear loving Heavenly Father who is there to carry us through all of life’s pain and heartache.

The orange flame licked the logs in the fire pit casting their light and warmth around me. I’m grateful my dear son and I can have moments outside. I’m acutely aware of how special it is to have my son alive and well and talking to me. We weren’t arguing or fussing and I wasn’t worried about where he was and he was enjoying picking at me about my age. His laughter bounced around me as my sides hurt over the joy we were sharing together. I’m grateful there is someone in my life who sees my warts and yet cares.

The tea pot whistled its merry tune on the stove and I poured the steaming water over the bags that held the dried bits of flavor. As I sip the hot amber drink, I’m grateful I can have the monies to buy a treat like this every day.

My big hound dog curled up beside me on the bed yawned contentedly Tuesday morning. I didn’t want to get up. She was turning sweet brown eyes on me as I sipped my black coffee knowing the floor was calling me to my day.

But for a moment I was grateful for the warmth of my sweet animal. And then I laughed at her as she suddenly jumped from the bed to make sure the cat wasn’t eating anything she should get.

As I surveyed the house that desperately needs cleaning, I was suddenly grateful for the four walls and the roof overhead.

And though it is in a disarray, my heart overflowed with yet one more thing to be grateful for, peace.

And in that moment I knew that I’d rather have an upside down house and peace than a perfectly kept house with turmoil all around.

So as I face Thanksgiving tomorrow there are already many things on my heart to give thanks to God about.

My family will be around me and my community is not ripped apart by war. And we have this special day to pause and give thanks to God for His love and peace even in the midst of hurt.

I pray each of you will stop and remember the One who put into the hearts of those pilgrims long ago to have a day of rejoicing in spite of the pain and suffering. Make sure you pause and thank God that we have a free America. Happy Thanksgiving!

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