Many Ways to Give Thanks

This postpropic11_1 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 thefile0001832696048/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 PAY 10Forward”,  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.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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20 thoughts on “Many Ways to Give Thanks

  1. You just paid it forward in tears. You are such a blessing, I love your blogs and your journey. You seemed to be living a happy, normal life until you fell, and your husband found his heritage, then wverything turned upside down, not to mention some of your family issues. But through it all you’ve held yourself together and blessed us all. I think your idea is a great one, we should encourage each other and whenever possible support each other. I went to Joe’s book signing in our little city, and I was nlessed to meet him, and get a signed copy of his book. Thanks Cher’ley

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Cherley. I also read that before a diagnosis, Bipolar disease often goes untreated until something catastrophic happens. My life seemed to be a series of them until God picked me up, made me realize I needed help, and walked me to the door of a fantastic counselor. I am so very thankful for both my counselor and Psychiatrist, because they talk to me about my care and give me a voice. I am also very thankful for a group of writers who know me and the issues I’ve been going through and love me anyway and urge me to continue writing. I love you all! I wanted to put a book in this post, but realized I’l like a little more info before I do that. Next month I’ll contact one of our writers for a little background info. I love to spread the word about good writers and friends!


  2. Thank you Linda. Gratitude is a wonderful force in the world, but we forget in the struggles of trying to get by. The thing is, we get by better when we’re grateful. Paying in forward in gratitude in advance. I agree, helping others helps ourselves. Here’s to a lovely remainder of the year and the many gratitude’s we share with our fellow man. Doris

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thoughtful post. Thank you, Linda. I pay it forward, when I can, with my fellow Crooked Cat authors, sharing their posts on Facebook – so what you suggest is a great idea. I also have many authors do promotional only slots; author guest posts about writing topics; or guests posting about their own writing on my blog. If any wranglers would like a spot they’d be very welcome and it doesn’t have to just be for new releases. I haven’t filled my Monday and Wednesday diary slots for December, Jan or Feb and I’d be delighted to fit in anyone.


    2. I have found it cathartic to think of others before myself as I struggle with my own issues. Doing something nice for someone else feels good and brings a smile not only to my face, but the face of the person I’m helping. Aren’t we lucky to have a loving God who gives us opportunities to give back? I am definitely working on this this year. I felt good just writing about it!


    3. I agree Doris. It’s so easy to forget to be grateful when we are thinking about our own struggles, but if we spend just a little while trying to think of someone else it actually turns our personality around and our struggles don’t seem so mountainous any more. I think if we pay it forward, our own lives benefit and we are happier.


  3. A beautiful post, Linda. I’ll start off by saying I’m grateful for you and your posts.

    Your comments about Bipolar Disorder remind me of an essay by minister and writer Charlie Shedd that I heard on the radio years ago. Every night at dinner, every member of the family said something positive–one night what they were thankful for, one night a compliment (sincere, not left-handed), and so forth. One night they said something they DIDN’T like about another member of the family, but they had to end with, “But I love you anyway.” That might help when I’m in gripe mode about something (WP’s new version?): But I’m grateful for you anyway. ~ Kathy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Neat essay. I could use use what I don’t like about a family member on my crabby days, but I’d have to be careful, because I love all of my family members, even though we don’t always agree. You said something I’d like to know more about. Did WP change its version this month? I had so much trouble with my post that it almost didn’t get done. I miss the ability to pick which size photo I want to insert, instead of having to resize on the page, I kept losing my working page and it took a long time to retrieve it, when I reviewed my post none of my links worked, so I kept re-doing them. Is there a way to go back to the old “write post?” This is definitely something I’ll have to work to be grateful for!


  4. Great idea… paying it forward in life, as well as here on Writing Wranglers & Warriors. I’ve got a new novel coming in January and would love to get a plug from fellow Wranglers & Warriors, either on this blog or even a personal blog. And of course, I’d so the same. I’ve try at various times to plug Cherley’s new anthology (It’s a bit selfish on my part since I have 7 short stories in it).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think it’s selfish, Mike, to promote a book and feel selfsh just because you have stories in it. You are also promoting all the other authors who have stories in the same book. I love the idea of “Paying it Forward” within our own group, but even though I want to keep it short and sweet, I want to know my information is correct. I’ll be glad to feature your new book on my website. Let’s work toward that!


  5. Great post, Linda! I’ve heard of people paying for others’ coffees, lunches, and groceries, and I’ve always wished I could do more in this arena. I’ve done a few things, and always feel good when I do! I’ve kept a gratitude journal this fall and it certainly has helped me re-focus to the positive more. We all need those reminders of blessings, large and small. Thanks for a lovely, inspiring post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Because my husband and I live on such a limited income some of the things I’d like to do I can’t. But there are many things I can do. I’ve made preemie quilts for the hospital, Barbie Doll clothes for Christmas for little girls who don’t have any, taught people to play the guitar, – you get my drift. Just because it’s not money-based doesn’t mean you’re not paying it forward. I honestly didn’t think about the things I’ve done until I wrote this post. I plan to do more. The Mania and Depression that go with Bipolar makes it hard to get motivated, but we hope the medicine the doctor has just put me on will make a difference!


  6. Great post and inspiration. We were in a restaurant last February when a couple we had never met paid for our breakfast. We were on a mini-vacation after a very stressful year with my husband having open-heart surgery and my sister breaking her shoulder and needing to be moved into a nursing home amongst other stressors. I began crying as the waitress told us who it was and we went to thank them. The lovely lady of the couple said “there doesn’t have to be a reason for a good deed” when I thanked her. So we have passed it on. And I find a lot of things to say thank you God for each day–many of them due to my klutziness or something!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s funny, Neva. I just remembered being in an Ihop restaurant several years ago. The manager came to our table and asked if we like sports. We hesitated, but he handed us a pair of Detroit Tigers tickets with excellent seats. We thanked him and went home. We were at my sister’s and her husband mentioned he was going to Detroit on that very evening and wanted to go to a Tiger’s game. Voila! Imagine his surprise when we handed him two tickets with good seats on the very night his business trip with. He and an co-worker went and had a marvelous time. It felt so good to be able to hand him those tickets! Then last winter I fell out of our pickup on the ice. I was pretty bruised and banged up, but had to use the bathroom, so Ralph helped me in the store. I couldn’t quit crying because I had landed on my back and the pain was unbearable. We got to the counter to pay for gas and snacks and the cashier told us it had been paid for by the two young men who had walked out the door. There is so much goodness in the world, but all we ever hear about are the bad things people do.. Too bad.


  8. Such an inspiring post. It makes me think of all the entire days that I let go by without giving a second thought to all that I have to be thankful for. Thank you.


    1. Thanks Joe. When I journal at night I often think of the missed chances to be nice to someone or tell them how thankful I am for them. I also think of lost opportunities to be grateful and giving. Most of all, I am thankful for many things in my life and the people I can make happy because of my own thoughtfulnss and kindness. Giving back is an honor, not something you have to do.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks for an inspirational post, Linda. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and agree that paying it forward doesn’t have to be monetary. Emotional and moral support can be worth so much more.


  10. Nice post, The little boy in the movie was right. If everyone paid it forward the world would be a better place. The biggest thing about paying it forward is the reward you get, not money or recognition just the good feeling that rewards you.


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