Author of The Ultimate Guide to Frugal Living and the online course Bloom Where You’re Planted
Have you ever thought about how gratitude has changed over the years? The historic “first Thanksgiving” – you know the one that schoolchildren across the country have re-enacted on gymnasium stages for decades if not centuries – people were grateful just to have enough food to eat so they wouldn’t die of starvation over the winter.
The past few years have been some of the most overall difficult in my lifetime. I say overall difficult because, like many others, I’ve had time periods that were personally far worse than this. Like the two-year span when I lost my dad, my job, my house, my car, and then my children’s father? That really sucked indescribably.
But as far as overall mental health crises, grief, financial problems, stress, dystopian laws, rage, crime, and a change to our way of life, these two years take the American cake for my lifetime.
So what the hell are we so thankful about right now?
I’m glad you asked.
Gratitude will get you through a lot.
Just as our long-ago Puritan ancestors were grateful for some corn and pumpkin and their new neighbors who showed them the fruits of this land (before all-out slaughter occurred, but that’s outside the scope of this article), we too have small, humble blessings which we must not overlook.
Perhaps you’re having chicken instead of turkey this year, visiting a soup kitchen for your meal, cobbling together a feast based on what you have on hand, or just having a burger. It could be that you’re all alone and missing your family and a video call is a cold comfort when you just want a hug from the people you love. You may have downgraded your living accommodations due to our economic crisis, or you could be packing up to do just that, or hosting your last Thanksgiving in a home where you raised your children and lived the story of your life.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that some people have it worse. You already know that and it surely does not make your situation any better. Life isn’t a game of, “Well at least things aren’t as bad as they are for Hildebrand next door.” (And if that IS your life, you need to re-prioritize, ASAP.)
Your life and your financial situation may have been better in the past. But you’re still alive to fight another day and what greater gift could there be than that?
(How do you survive a winter power outage? Read our free QUICKSTART Guide to find out.)
The simplest things are the most important.
Instead, think about the things you have to be grateful for without comparison, because I assure you, your low point would be a high point for many others.
- You have a roof over your head.
- You have food on your table.
- You’re not in immediate, life-threatening danger.
- You have someone, anyone to love.
The simplest things are the most important. Look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The base of that pyramid is made up of the things that are most essential to life.
It sounds like nothing and yet it’s everything. Trust me, if you have lived without having those needs met, without knowing where your next meal is coming from or where you’ll stay that night or if someone is going to come home and beat the crap out of you, you will agree that these pieces of security that so many take for granted mean the world.
If you have those needs met, then you have something for which to be grateful. While it may not be fancy and it may not be what it once was, you have the basics of survival, and you have this day to be thankful for it. If you have the internet or a phone to reach those who can’t be with you, you are still blessed with their presence in some way. Instead of thinking about what you don’t have, think about what you do have.
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Not everyone has those needs met.
Think about all the times throughout history when these things were not a given as they are now. Think about people living on the streets, those who survived the shelling and mayhem of the Balkan war, those who are victims of trafficking, those who live life in fear of not finding their next meal or surviving until the next day.
For one day, just this one, I encourage you to focus on the meaning of the day. Tomorrow you can pick up where you left off, complaining and worrying. (You might instead consider adding gratitude as a practice to your daily life.)
But for today, let’s put aside politics, social tribes, talk about viruses and vaccines, and all the things that divide us. Let’s ignore someone’s purple hair or new tattoo, or better yet, find a way to compliment it. Let’s enjoy people for who they are, not who you wish they were. Let’s focus on the things we have to be grateful for – those noisy kids running around, the dog, the cat, the family member who always complains, the roof that shelters us, the food on the table. We have no idea what next year will bring, but we have what we have today.
No matter how humble, we have more than we know.
Happy Thanksgiving, to all of you who have stood by us here at The Organic Prepper through thick and thin. You have our gratitude every single day.
And stay tuned tomorrow for our OP Friendsgiving, right here on the website.
Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites. 1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2) The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.
Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand Survival.com You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.
Excellent reminder Daisy and one that touches my heart after just seeing headlines of articles I have no interest in reading about canceling Thanksgiving or a reminder of alleged injustices from years ago.
Let’s take a day to celebrate what we have, what unites us and how much we appreciate the simple things in our lives.
I hope you enjoy yours. You deserve it. Much love.
Happy Thanksgiving Daisy and the OP Crew.
Thankful for our entire Organic Prepper Family too.
Thank you Daisy for the reminder of the value of gratitude and humility.
You and the Organic Prepper are a wonderful source of good suggestions.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and all the members of this little group.
Hope you had a great 2021 Thanksgiving. And yes, who knows what we will ALL be going thru next year or even if we will still be around at all ?… Be thankful NOW…Today is the PRESENT, yesterday is our PAST and tomorrow starts our FUTURE…I am happy that we have enjoyed life till now and pray we will have more days to come, and remember to never lose HOPE…Our faith, our hope and our love are three that we must cherish…
It’s NOT what is in our bank accounts that should make up joyful and happy, but the love in our hearts that we decide to give to others!!! The one that is the cheerful giver is the one that will be blessed…
GOD bless you all at the Organic Prepper and remember Daisy YOU ARE APPRECIATED!!! We enjoy your articles and you are just a part of our extended families…lol
Wandakate in North Carolina
Happy Thanksgiving, Daisy, and for the optimism you bring.
Happy Thanksgiving to all the denizens of TOP!
May you be warm, safe, with loved ones, and eat a stoopid amount of fantastic food that puts you into a food coma!
And left overs. Never skimp on left overs! Make them last for more than a day or two.
For those whom volunteer their time to help and serve the homeless, I thank you.
The wife just reminded me, do not throw out that turkey carcass!
Put it and whatever remaining bits of meat into a slow cooker, cover with water and slow cook to make stock.
Freeze it for future use.
Let nothing go to waste!
Amen to That 1st Marine!
Happy Thanksgiving Marine
Exactly! Plus turkey salad and turkey pot pie. We had 2 birds this year we are truly blessed. More food than I know what to do with. And the entire family here too. Nothing better than my granddaughter asking for the Christmas tree before we’re done eating dinner. Yes her uncle got EVERYTHING down and it will take days to finish but to see the joy on her face makes it all worthwhile
A great reminder article about being grateful and thankful Daisy . With the turmoil going on around us and in many cases to us as well , we need to step back from the chaos of the world and be thankful for all the blessings that each one of us enjoy.
Food, clothing and shelter are our basic needs ,and critical for sure but the blessings of family and friends around us are important to help us to maintain a balanced perspective in a topsy turvy world.
Thanksgiving seems to be a wonderful time to take a couple of days and enjoy meals together, share memories and strengthen relationships with those we love and care about.
I wish all here a wonderful thanksgiving.
A tear or two (or more) formed. Which I do not produce very often. These were happy tears, however, for what you have posted, Daisy, is exactly what I was thinking, literally moments before I read the article. It was when I saw it in my email list and was about to click on it most of the thoughts that turned out to be in it went through my mind.
All of the people, things, and even places that are, or have been, in my life. Some reading this may know how bad my health and my body is now, but it does not matter if no one does. Because I am thankful that I still have a body that can get sick and can feel pain. A mind that still works.
And Daisy, I add you to that list, because of what you give to me, and give to all the other people in the world that you influence in positive ways, and provide information and often hope to them so they have a much better chance of seeing another Thanksgiving that will be better than they one they are having today, no matter how good it already is.
So, thank you, Daisy, for all that you do.
And I thank my family and friends, my so loyal and supportive fans, for being in my life, near or far, in person or by phone, by text, or by email.
And thank you, God, for all of it.
Not just my opinion. Hard and fast belief from:
Jerry D Young
thx Daisy and crew
y’all have a good time, now
Thank you, Daisy. That was beautiful.
Lovely words. Lovely.
Happy Thanksgiving y’all.
Bless you and yours
Blessings to all. Hope you’ve had a wonderful day.
I was given the makings of a Thanksgiving feast. I gave it all to a neighbor who’s having a hard time. In turn she invited me to come and eat. We had a wonderful day and she’d invited two more friends also alone for the day. I came home with a plate of food to eat tomorrow. Quite a lovely day after all.
You are a classy act for what you did.
Your blessing to others came back to bless you as you got the chance to enjoy a meal with others, and again today with left overs.
1stMarineJarHead said it best, “And left overs. Never skimp on left overs!”
Thank you Daisy for the article. It is giving me a better perspective on Thanksgiving, which is great because we are having our Thanksgiving today with extended family.
This year I decided to write down the 5 things I’m most thankful for – husband even tho he drive me to distraction regularly, roof over my head even tho it needs some attention, plenty of food even tho most of it requires cooking from scratch and at 75 I’m tired of that, living in a climate that allows for growing at least some of my food year round, and extended family and friends that love me and care about my well being.
I know I’m very fortunate to have all this so I’m going to practice being thankful every day and try to pass on some of my good fortune by donating goods and services, volunteering when possible, greeting everyone I see with a smile, and passing on good news whether it be commenting on good service at the store or how wonderful the weather is. Life is what you make it and I’m determined to make mine wonderful till my last day.
Gratitude is the basis of my beliefs. Each day I thank God for at least 3 things He has provided for me. Yesterday was good friends with whom I shared a wonderful meal, a crisp blue true sky under which I took a walk in the late afternoon, and memories of a warm, loving family growing up. Yes, and might I add the ability to read your wonderful words and the comments from your online family.
I only wish this stunningly supportive article had surfaced yesterday:
The Profound Health Benefits of Being Grateful,
By Dr. Joseph Mercola
Reprinted here on Nov 26, 2021:
Blessings to the writers AND to the readers of the OP.
I look forward to the comments as much as I look forward to the articles. You all share your thoughts, care, wisdom, ideas, and brotherhood — all for which I am truly grateful!
Daisy…your best yet and that’s saying A LOT! Thank you to the whole group at TOP who do such a great job. You astound me.
Thank you for getting down to brass tacks, for reminding us what this life is all about, for encouraging us to be grateful and giving, and to suggest that approaching life with thankfulness, gratitude, and a giving heart is good medicine for everyone.
This is a POWERFUL article with an EXCELLENT meaning!! Thank you for writing this!
Wise words, Daisy.
I’m grateful for so much that sometimes I’m absolutely bursting with gratitude, and I know that when times get hard there are two things I start to lose…my sense of humor and my sense of gratitude. I think we will need both for the times ahead.
Agree with all that has been said here. Even though I had to take on a part-time job in retirement this year, I am grateful for the opportunity given to me, and I try to give a smile and some kindness to all my customers. You never know how that small act might brighten someone’s day, and it costs nothing. Daisy, I am grateful for having found your website, as it has enriched my life. Happy Thanksgiving to all.
i don’t see GOD mentioned anywhere, from anyone.. once you open this door, its currently a door not shut for you now, the rest will follow, eyes will open and worries will dissipate.. but open this door please, and thanksgiving!
Indeed all things come from His hands and He gives grace to endure hard times. Thankfulness lightens our burdens and gives us much need perspective. The past two Thanksgivings were lonely everyone trying to protect my compromised immune system. Now being smack-dab in a new series of treatments for cancer has been no fun at all. But the sched lightened up this week and the family has rallied to give me a sweet holiday which is my favorite feast of the year! I should be dead but I’m still here to witness another grandchild being added to our tribe. I couldn’t be more blessed or more thankful.
A bit of background –
My monogamous partner for the past 49 years (I’ll save you the arithmetic, that is almost 2/3 of my life) suffered a massive brain bleed 170 days ago. She was air lifted from Frederick MD to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. An emergency procedure took place at about 0130, to relieve pressure on her brain. She was released back to a care and rehab center back here in Frederick, only 6 miles from our home. In September she had a relapse, was sent to Hopkins, and returned to Frederick after a bit over a week. Today she was sitting up in a wheelchair eating lunch in the dining room.
I am thankful she is alive, and is making progress (although it is slow), and our two adult children and their families live very close by.
Even though this article is at least a year old it still has merit for 2022, be grateful for what you HAVE, not what you wish you HAD. We have all been through a lot since last year, and yet, here we are. Love to all of you.