Monday, November 21, 2011


As we start the week heading toward Thanksgiving, it made me think about the time I got all philosophical and used my newspaper column to ask if we don’t use the Thanksgiving holiday as an unconscious excuse not to be thankful the other 364 days of the year. Or at least not be aware of all the things we have to be thankful for. So I decided to make a concentrated effort to search my soul and come up with something to be thankful for every day. Here is the list I made that year:

I'm thankful for the cold weather that chills my bones and helps me to appreciate the heat of summer. (Next August you're free to remind me I said this.)

I'm thankful for the puppy that comes in my office to chew on my toes and remind me there's more to life than just work.

I'm thankful for mail delivery because I know it will draw me out of the house at least once a day. 

I'm thankful for the kid who will bail me out and cook dinner when I'm working on a deadline, even though he hasn't cleaned his room for the past six months.

I'm even thankful for those deadlines that loom like monsters and fill me with dread. They've been known to prod me into working when I don't really feel like it, and they've saved me from cooking when I didn't really feel like it.

I'm thankful for the buzz of the dryer that beckons to me periodically throughout my day, everyday. Did I really say that? Of course I did. At least it gives me a chance to unbend and stretch my legs when I've been sitting too long at my desk.

I'm thankful for the car I don't always have. The days it's mine, I can make important appointments and keep them. The days my daughter takes it to work I find that some appointments aren't all that important.

And I'm even thankful for the 4 p.m. onslaught, when everyone comes home from school and needs me right this minute. It helps me appreciate the peace and quiet of the rest of my day.

But most of all (here I'm going to serious-up folks) I'm thankful for the gift of life and living, family and loving, friendships and sharing, laughter and all the little joys that dot my life. That includes my colleagues here at BRP, and all the other wonderful friends I've made in cyberspace. Happy Thanksgiving to all.
Maryann Miller is an author and freelance editor. Her latest book is Open Season, which has gotten nice reviews from Library Journal and Publisher's Weekly. One Small Victory, is a top seller in the mystery bestseller list at the Amazon Kindle store. Visit her Web site for information about her books and her editing services. If you have a good book, she can help you make it better. She will stop playing with her horse and work, honest.

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  1. I was with you, Maryann, until you got to the one about deadlines ... I have used many words about them, and not one includes any form of the word 'thank'.

  2. My list could have been a lot like yours, Maryann. But you expressed it much better than I could have. There is always something to be thankful for, isn't there?

  3. LOL, Christopher. I've written some not so pretty words about deadlines before, but I do appreciate the fact that they have taught me a lot about staying on track and finishing a project. Not that I am great about it, but I do better than I used to. I appreciate those years I worked for newspapers and had to get stories done on tight deadlines.

  4. You are so right, Sharon. If we just stop for a moment, we can find something to be thankful for, even in the midst of great difficulty.

  5. You summed it up so nicely, Maryann. Bottom line: we have much for which to be grateful, even when our "blessings" momentarily seem to be quite the opposite - like deadlines. Standing back for an objective look at our lives often surprises us with a multitude of positives that we never considered before. Thank you for this wonderful reminder.

  6. Great list, Maryann. In every aggravation, if you look hard enough, you can find a blessing.

    Morgan Mandel

  7. Thanks for stopping by Morgan and Linda. It is nice to take the time to stop and appreciate what is good in our lives. I am having a really stressful Monday, and I made myself stop and pet my kitten, just taking a moment to be thankful for the fact that I can do that. May go pet him again. LOL

  8. I'm thankful for all the times I go crazy juggling everyone's activities and their demands on my time because it means I have four healthy grandkids who live close enough for me to be part of their everyday lives - something my parents did not have.

  9. We're thankful for you too, Maryann!

    To help us heal after my first husband's suicide, my sons and I incorporated gratitude into our evening grace. Each of us had to list three things specific to that day that we were thankful for. When it began to sound the same every night I had to add the rule, "From now on you can't say dinner, dessert, or our dog Max."

    As for the deadline debate, I too fall on the side of gratitude. Being "finished" can be quite the philosophical quandary for a writer, but when a deadline is firm, the project is simply done.

  10. This is a great list, and I'm thankful for this blog, even though I don't comment so often.

    This inspired me to write a post of my own in the spirit of Thanksgiving.

  11. I'm glad you came by and commented today, Donelle. It's nice to know you find the blog helpful and interesting.

    Kathryn, I like your idea of mentioning what we are thankful for before dinner with the famiy. We did that with our kids, too, and not just on special holidays.

    LD, you are lucky to hve your grandkids close. Mine are not now, and I miss them.

  12. Love the warm weather. Oh yeah. You said cold. I do love to ride my horses in the cold weather.

    Thankful for deadlines too. Uh-huh.

    Love, love, love the last one. Wonderful. Happy Thanksgiving.

  13. Ditto, Maryann! It's amazing what a difference it makes when you are thankful for something you think of as negative!

  14. Thanks for stopping by Robyn and so glad you enjoyed the post.

    I used to love to ride my horse in the cold when I was younger and lived in Michigan. We both liked to tromp through the snow. Sometimes I miss that.


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.


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