This post by L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction
Thank you for the world so sweet
Thank you for the food we eat
Thank you for the birds that sing
Thank you God for everything.
Child’s mealtime prayer
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. The prayer above was one we children often said at mealtimes. We each went around the table and said one thing we were thankful for before we started our holiday dinner. These traditions still warm my heart as I remember what I was thankful for (sometimes not much different from what I am thankful for today.)
I journal every evening and always sign off by writing one thing I was thankful for that day. Sometimes it’s hard, especially if I’ve had a tough day, am not feeling well, or am just a little crabby. This daily habit helps me in many ways. When I’m crabby, I may write that I’m thankful for the warm flannel sheets on the bed. When I’m excited about something I write about my progress. I’ve even been thankful for my crossword puzzle book when I can’t think of anything else.
I read a very interesting article in a Bipolar Health Magazine yesterday. The title was “But what if I’m NOT thankful?” The post explained that it is often harder for someone with Bipolar Disorder (or any other mental health issue) to feel thankful all the time. Often, no matter how hard you think about thankfulness, nothing comes. This writer came up with some funny things to be thankful about, but at least she started somewhere.
In her words, “If you can’t be thankful for the big things, start small”, she says. “I looked at my toes – I have nice toes, I thought. I’m thankful for them.” She continued to think of anything she might be thankful for. “I love smelling my wet dog when he comes inside from the rain and shakes himself all after the rug. I know, weird, isn’t it? I am thankful when I can’t sleep and I watch my husband and dog sleeping peacefully; the rise and fall of their chests and their soft breathing.” I think what this writer is trying to say is that everyone has at least one thing to be thankful for, even when things are at their worst.
I wonder how often we return that thanks? How often do we go out of our way to thank someone for something, give him or her a compliment, or simply smile?
This morning I watched a news segment with my husband and the local broadcaster was interviewing the/manager of a pizza and pasta restaurant called Luigi’s Pizza and Pasta, located in Menasha, WI. The pizza restaurant is popular with the local crowd and is gaining customers from other areas. The main pizza restaurant is in New Jersey. About 15 years ago, the family decided to branch out, scouted locations and ended up near Appleton, WI. Luigi’s Pizza and Pasta just received the 2015 “Best of the Valley” Award.
According the broadcaster, there are many reasons this restaurant is thriving. It caters to families. It makes all fresh-cooked foods with fresh ingredients. The elderly mother of the family still makes all the lasagna and the Tiramisu.
But more than that, this restaurant loves to give back. They were full on Veteran’s Day, as they offered free meals to Veterans and their families from open to close. They have started another program that is going fantastically well. Each month or so, the manager picks out a table, goes to greet them, and says, “This meal is on us. We only ask that you pay it forward whenever you can.” The patron is given a small card to do something random for someone else and give him or her the card to do the same thing. I was totally amazed that a restaurant this large and busy would take the time to implement a wonderful program like this.
Immediately, I remembered the 2000 movie “Pay It Forward”, based on the book written by Catherine Ryan Hyde, starring Hayley Joel Osmet, Helen Hunt, and Kevin Spacey.
In the movie, Kevin spacey is a teacher, Hayley Joel Osmet his student, and Helen hunt the mother of the boy. The teacher challenges his students to come up with a plan to make a difference in the world. The kid comes up with an idea of doing three things for each of three people, those three people doing things for each of next three people, and so on. He is excited about the project and explains that if everyone follows through the world would be a much better place to live.
If you’re interested in seeing the movie trailer for Pay it Forward, you can watch it here, but I warn you that if you take time to watch the end you’ll be overcome emotionally.
Oprah had a day of giving and what some of the receivers did with their money will make you happy. You can read about her project here.
Wikipedia has a definition and page on Pay it Forward. You can read about it here.
The movie spawned a “Pay It Forward Day”. Here’s the link.
I had a thought this morning. How about paying it forward within our own Writing Wranglers and Warriors group? I was flattered this week when Cherley gave my book a plug in her post. What if we were each to do that? The exposure might be even better than it is now. We’re all here to help each other, right? Let’s pay it forward, not because we have to but because we want to.
You can also find L.Leander here: