Life's Unseen Blessings—Are We Really Thankful?

Pippa claims she is "helping" with laundry, but I KNOW she is hiding her mouse friends.

Pippa claims she is “helping” with laundry *head desk*

I make it a point to begin every day with an attitude of gratitude. I think it is important, especially these days where it seems like every commercial tells us we aren’t thin enough, rich enough, successful enough, happy enough. We always need more “stuff” to be enough.

I wrote a blog ages ago about focusing on success, that we tend to drift where the eyes focus. Race car drivers learn that if you want to cross the finish line, never ever take your eyes off the goal line. Look at the wall and you will hit the wall. I believe everything is that way. If we focus on where we are lacking, we run the danger of being ungrateful for what we have, and that can be an extraordinarily defeating way to live.

Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 9.18.48 AM

The Spawn is “helping” me edit….

Lately, I’ve had a hard reality to face. I’m so busy potty training the toddler and teaching him and correcting him, but have I taken enough time to ENJOY him? There are the dishes, the laundry, the dusting, but am I ENJOYING the home I have? I love serving writers, blogging, teaching, but am I taking a moment to ENJOY all of you? I have the world’s best husband. I make it a point that, when he gets home from work, a fresh, hot meal is made and his clean pajamas and towel are laid out next to the shower, but am I ENJOYING him?

Am I truly giving thanks?

I don’t know about you, but I know this is an area I can ALWAYS come up higher. Grateful people are happy people.

Thanksgiving seems to be the middle child of holidays. Halloween is fun and glitzy and exciting. Christmas is cute and we adore it and look forward to seeing it…and oh yeah, there’s Thanksgiving. Hey, do we even have decorations for that? Christmas is this magical time, and we often hear how we need to keep Christmas in our hearts all year long. Well, that is a great idea, but we would be wise to keep Thanksgiving there too.

We have all kinds of ways to be thankful and many things to be grateful for that we might not even notice. The next time you go to complain, I challenge you to think of the blessing that inconvenience really is. I do this myself when I hear complaints and grumblings coming out of my mouth. I’ll show you what I mean…

I am thankful for all the laundry I have to do, because it means I have clothes to wear.

I am thankful for the dishes that need washing, because it means I didn’t go hungry.

I am thankful for the big electric bill, because it means my home has lights and heat.

I am thankful for the sheets that need to be changed, because it means I own a bed.

I am thankful for all the reading I have to do, because it means I’m literate.

I am thankful for the car that needs all new tires because it means I don’t have to walk miles and miles to get what I need.

I am thankful for that parking space waaaaayyyy out in the back, because it means I don’t have to park in a handicapped space. I can walk.

I am thankful for the garage that needs to be cleaned out, because it means I am blessed with plenty.

I am thankful for the chores to be done, because it means I have family who love me enough to travel to see me.

I am thankful for the litter-box that needs cleaning and the dog blankets that need washing because it means I have pets who love me unconditionally.

I am thankful for the split ends I have, because it means I haven’t lost all my hair to chemo.

I am thankful for the Christmas cards I need to send, because they could as easily be funeral announcements.

I am thankful for the traffic snarls that catch me, because the body the firemen pulled out of the fatality accident could have been me.

I am thankful for the gutters I need to clean, because it means that I have a home.

I am thankful for all the Christmas shopping I have to do, because it means I’m not alone.

I am thankful for my less than perfect thighs. It means I didn’t lose my legs in a car accident or to diabetes or an IED.

I am thankful that I sometimes have doubts and confusion about my future and my purpose when I think of the lives cut short before they ever had a future.

I’m thankful for the government I like to gripe about, because I don’t fear going to prison or being shot if I disagree with my country’s leadership.

I am thankful for my freedom and the amazing men and women who put their lives on the line to protect it.

I am definitely thankful for all of you who bless me on this blog by giving me your time. Time is the most precious commodity we have and we never seem to have enough, but all of you are so generous to me. You share the very thing we all need more of….TIME. Thus, I’m immensely grateful you guys give to freely to me. I’m WAY thankful for my amazing WANA community. You guys are the bright spot to each and every day in my world and the world around you. It is such an honor and privilege to serve you.

What are you guys thankful for? I’d like to hear your comments (which I am super especially thankful to get, by the way).

I love hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of November, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

Also, for all your author brand and social media needs, I hope you will check out my new best-selling book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World.

Make sure you check out all the awesome WANA International Classes. You take care of your family, why not yourself? Sneak away. We won’t tell. And Dollar Store Bags make AWESOME wrapping and they will all get better gifts once your book is a best-seller, right?

Yes, I am an enabler. But we are more fun :D .


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    • Rj on November 27, 2013 at 5:38 am
    • Reply

    Exactly, as everyone wants to make the world a better place to live but isn’t the world already on a much greater extent?

    1. It truly is and I think we forget that.

  1. Awesome post! I’m thankful I found you, your books and your blog. I love the idea of keeping Thanksgiving present throughout the year. Your turnarounds of less-than-ideal-things into things-that-show-our-fortune are brilliant! It’s like magic. And the brain scientists have shown that precisely such turnarounds can rewire our brains into finding the good and gratitude as a matter of course. Thanks for the reminder and:

    Happy giving and feeling of thanks to you, all the readers and the WANA community!

    1. GO TEAM WANA!

  2. A thought provoking post! Gratitude is surely one thing that makes us internally happy. It also makes us radiate happiness to others we come in contact with. Often, we tend to forget this simple fact and just continue bemoaning, complaining and criticizing.

  3. Reblogged this on santo1872.

    • Joanna Aislinn on November 27, 2013 at 6:41 am
    • Reply

    What a beautiful round-up, Kristen. The one about the government really hit home. As per enjoying keeping up with Spawn? IDK, sometimes, I think that part comes in longer stretches later. (I have a 15-year-old spawn and still working on it some days, lol. ;)) Be well!

  4. Wow. Really powerful, and I loved every one of these! Along with all of these, I’m thankful for the distraction of the internet, because while it sometimes keeps me from doing what I should be doing, it also allows me to connect with so many new and interesting people.

  5. I am thankful for you reminding me to be thankful

  6. Thank you for this! Thanksgiving was done with here last month, and I haven’t been keeping thankfulness at the top of my thoughts lately. This one hit me like a punch in the gut:

    “I am thankful that I sometimes have doubts and confusion about my future and my purpose when I think of the lives cut short before they ever had a future.”

    I’ll try to remember that, and to remember how fortunate I am to live a life where I have options in that regard. Even on days when the most tempting option is hiding under a rock, I can still be thankful!

  7. Wow Kristen this is a really great post! Thanksgiving has passed two weeks ago for us Canadian’s but I don’t think I really took the time to be thankful for everything I have. I am thankful that I found you a while back because you really are an inspiration. I love the part about being thankful for the parking way at the back…It is really snowing today and I had to park waaayyy at the back but you are certainly right on. I am thankful that I can walk…and the walk does me good. Don’t stress too much about the spawn, you enjoy him lots we can all tell by the way you talk about him and the zombie movies and stuff. I have 4 of my own and one inherited and I make a point to enjoy them everyday. I have split custody so the time they are with me is even more special. thanks again for the great post.:)

  8. What a fantastic way of looking at life. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

    • Cathy on November 27, 2013 at 7:56 am
    • Reply

    Wow! Thank you. (sniffles and wipes away a tear) What a great reminder of all we have to be thankful for. Have a great Thanksgiving, Kristen.

    • Randy Rothfus on November 27, 2013 at 7:58 am
    • Reply

    I woke up early this morning because I couldn’t sleep. I opened my inbox to find a link to your blog post. I’m so grateful our lives crossed passed, you really gave me inspiration for gratitude. I feel convicted on the one about government, what a great perspective! Thanks! I’m also grateful for Lisa Hall-Wilson’s Wana webinar, and I’m almost halfway through Rise of the Machines! Thank you, thank you!

  9. I am thankful for my family who help to make me keep trying to get published, because I want them to see that if you pursue your dream, you can reach it. I am thankful for my crit group who help me become a stronger writer. I am thankful for my pets who make life so much pleasanter. And I’m thankful for God who not only gave me all the above, but who is always in my corner, seeing me through the day!!

  10. You touched on it in a couple of points, but if you have your health (physical and mental) that is the most important thing to be thankful for. Without it, you can’t do anything, but with it, the world’s your lobster! After health, everything else is a bonus.

  11. I’m thankful for this post. Such an eye-opener. It was a smack in the face, actually–but a light one, with love behind it. 🙂

  12. Ditto on the things you said. I am also thankful that you are there to help us through this writing journey that we are on and that reading your blog, Kristen, is like sniffing the roses along the way. (the flower, without the thorns).

  13. I should like to tell you how much I appreciate you through the inspiration of your blog and how Thankful I am that you touch my life. Happy Thanksgiving, Friend!

  14. Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE holiday — simply because it’s a time with family, friends, and a heart of gratitude. I am very blessed in my life!

    Here’s one turnaround for the parents out there: I’m thankful for the all the little battles with my teenagers, because they really are little. And my kids are still here, with me…annoying the stuffing out of me at times, but don’t the people you love the most do that sometimes? I ache for those families who approach the holidays with the loss or absence of a child firmly planted in their lives. But whatever we have or don’t have, there is always something to be thankful for!

    Blessings to you and yours, Kristen!

  15. Thanks for the reminder, Kristen. It is so natural for us to focus on the busyness of what we do that we forget to enjoy. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  16. I do those very things pretty much every day. You are so right in that it’s easy to get caught up in the stuff that in the end, doesn’t really matter at all. And one thing I’m grateful for?? That the WANA community brought me your friendship 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!!!

  17. As so often happens, a post of yours reminds me of what I already know, already am, already have but in this moment, I am most grateful for a woman named Kristen Lamb and all she does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

  18. My thanks for this thoughtful post. I’ll be alone this Thanksgiving because my daughters are far away and making me proud of all they do. Thus, I’ll have a nice meal, talk with them on the phone, watch some football with the cats, and write. And I’ll be thankful for all of it, including having my health back. Happy Thanksgiving. 🙂

  19. Reblogged this on Sharon Lee Hughson's World and commented:
    Here’s a post from my writing Jedi Master, Kristen Lamb, that completely echoes my Sentiments about the holiday coming up tomorrow. It is one we should keep in our heart daily and all year round.
    Thanks for emphasizing this with your usual panache, Kristen!

  20. I agree whole heartedly… well maybe not the cat box thing but other than that I agree !!

  21. Thanksgiving: the best holiday ever (and not just because of the stuffing). The list of what we should be thankful for could go on indefinitely. Thank you for your caring heart and your willingness to share your wisdom and experience with those of us still working toward the goal of becoming published authors.
    I am thankful I found this blog, WANA, and all the “friends” I’ve met here who encourage me not to give up on my dream.

  22. Reblogged this on Dr. Shay West and commented:
    An amazing reminder that we should be thankful for all of our blessings each and every day 🙂

  23. I truly liked your gratitudes. I used to complain to my father about my taxes and he’s say, “that only means you’re making a good salary.” Sometimes we forget to be thankful for the daily things in our lives. We so often take for granted clean, tap water or forget to look at our Nature, the people we come in contact with. I am Canadian and know that thanksgiving is BIG in the US. But being grateful is universal. And I am thankful for blogs that put me in contact with people around the world and people like you. Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow American bloggers.

    1. Most of my favorite people are Canadians. It is SO AMAZING to connect with beautiful people regardless of distance ((HUGS)).

  24. I’m so with you on this one. Our lives get so busy we forget the blessings we have. The part about enjoying my Preschooler resonates–like you, I feel I spend all my time correcting, teaching, and nagging rather than remembering to enjoy these 4-year-old moments that will never come again. Preschooler asked me last night what I was thankful for, and we went through a very long list, but it ended up with simply being thankful for everything. We have enough to eat, we have a home for shelter, we have clothes to keep us warm, we have our health, we have people around us who we love very much. We are lucky in all we have, and we should take time to remember that every day–especially when we feel like we have it tough. Thanks for the reminder, Kristen!

  25. Kristen, I am with you on this post. The Thanksgiving holiday gets lost, unfortunately. I saw a retailer with Christmas decorations for sale in July this year. I’m sorry, I like Christmas as much as the next person but, that’s just wrong. As I get older, I find myself being being more aware of the things I’m thankful for. I am truly blessed. Even though life throws interesting twists and turns that try to bring us down, the positives are there. Sometimes they are taken for granted, but they are still there. Happy Thanksgiving!

  26. Great post, Kristen. One of the items on your thanksgiving list especially struck a chord with me: being thankful for the parking space waaaaay in the back, because you could walk. During most of 2011 and 2012 I had to use the handicapped spaces because I couldn’t walk without some kind of total support, either a walker or crutches and even then it was extremely painful. Both hip joints had become super bad, but I finally got them replaced. Now I AM thankful – every day – that I can walk again and even hike the trails of the nearby national forest although I can’t go as far or do the more difficult trails I used to do. But that’s okay: I’m just sooooo grateful that I can walk again. Yes, Thanksgiving is the day everyone should put aside their wants and give thanks for what they have – and remember those who don’t even have what they need for a decent life.

    1. I broke my back in 1995 and had to use a cane for almost a YEAR. I was in college and there was NO such thing as “Handicapped Access” and it seemed ALL my classes were on the third floor. I remember how hard it was to get dressed, go to the bathroom. I did an entire semester standing for all my classes because I could NOT sit. I am SO grateful that I am blessed to be healthy. Thank you for your love and your time. I SO enjoyed your comment and may you be immensely blessed!

  27. What a beautiful post! We are blessed and thankful! I am thankful that you keep on blogging & share your expertise and your goodness!

  28. Thank you so much for this post. I love the way you turn negatives into positives and in that vein I offer my thanks:
    I am thankful my Nest is empty, because it means I raised my daughters to be independent, confident women who are ready to begin their own lives.

    • Anne Stuessy on November 27, 2013 at 12:04 pm
    • Reply

    I’m so grateful for you, Kristen, and this timely post! I’m so blessed to have my small family intact and that this is one day we’re all together with no expectations other than to enjoy each other. Well, they do expect a good meal, but I’m grateful to be able to provide that too. And I’m going to work on being grateful for my bad knee, because I at least have a knee to whine about. Happy Thanksgiving!

  29. I’m thankful that I have to work free for my parents during november and christmas because they’re letting me live with them for free and I’m glad to help them.

  30. Love this.

    I think your dog is doing an *excellent* job folding that laundry.

  31. Amen. I was in a crabby place, and you reminded me I don’t have much to be crabby about.

  32. Great! Really brings home the “glass half full” way of viewing life.

  33. Ah Kristen, my answer to your question’s in my last blog post! I wrote it last night and then woke up to this in the morning (when I reminded myself to wake up grateful because of what I’d written last night, focused on starting and ending each day with gratitude – asking yourself, whatever’s happening, whether you’re happy to be alive and adjusting your attitude accordingly) – we’re in tuuuuuuune!!!! *spooky music*

  34. Lovely post, Kristen. Have a great Thanksgiving tomorrow!

  35. I’ve heard a lot of people grumbling about not getting a raise. But, I am thankful to have a job. So many people have been laid off around the country. I was one of those 3 years ago, but was blessed with another job.

    I, too, have reflected that you don’t get to spend enough time enjoying little ones because there is so much to do. Make the time you do spend with them memorable. My girls remember little things that we did. They remember walking to school, having breakfast for supper, looking for four-leaf clovers, blowing bubbles, etc.

    I lost my Dad this year. Since then, I’ve been seizing opportunities as they’ve come up. I am not procrastinating as much. I’m running toward new opportunities. I’m choosing to not be hurt from spiteful comments. Let’s choose to be thankful!


    • Laurie A Will on November 27, 2013 at 3:57 pm
    • Reply

    Ironically, I am sometimes thankful for my debilitating allergies. There are some days where I am just too sick to do things, but not so sick that I have to lay down. I find on these days when I have to slow way down and although they may put me behind in my work, they also cause me to sit back a look around and really appreciate my family and everything around me. On a normal day I often for get to take the time. Thank you for the reminder, Kristen. I am thankful for so many things, but often forget to remind myself. It’s so easy to get caught up in everyday life, we don’t notice what’s right before us.

  36. Would love to chat with you about your views on life and my views on death. I think we meet at the same place of inspiration and gratitude for the very experience of being alive.

  37. I like that you begin your day by being grateful for something. A great post! Enjoyed it.

    1. Kristen, I commented on your post and linked from my blog out to yours. Please to check it out. Happy Thanksgiving!

  38. Loved this post. In fact, loved it so much, I might have mentioned it on my blog. I put in a link to it. Thanks for the post, I really needed to read this today.

  39. Amazing post on gratitude! I already knew as a writer and a writer who shares by teaching that YOU were amazing, and now I know why. Each time we show our gratitude we are once again blessed. You have reminded me that I need to take more time to ENJOY — in capital letters, yes! — all the goodness I’ve been given. Happy Thanksgiving and every day after!

  40. Amen, Kristen, Amen.

    I’m thankful for your encouraging blog.

    Happy Thanksgiving,

    Kathy Akins

  41. I’ve been learning lately that THIS is the day that the Lord has made, and I should rejoice and be glad in it, instead of pining for the maybe-someday. Hard lesson for a dreamer, but even I got sick of listening to me moan!

    1. LOL. On my worst days, when I am feeling awful or sorry for myself, I say aloud, “THIS is the day the Lord has made and I WILL rejoice in it!”….or else, :D.

  42. This year we’ve had a “lack of Thanksgiving bash” in my family. All of society seems to have shoved Thanksgiving in the closet and obsessed over Christmas. It’s really kind of pissing us off actually. I’m pretty big on being thankful for what I have and I hold myself accountable to that. Thanks for the reminder. I love the way you think out what you’re grateful for. Using the complaint to ring out something extremely positive. 🙂

  43. Thanksgiving is this middle child of holidays, Kristen. I try to make it a point to fuss when Christmas decorations go up the day after Halloween. My favorite line is, “We haven’t even roasted the turkey’s yet, people!”

    This truly is the day the Lord has made – I’m grateful the pilgrims were bold enough to come, and I’m grateful we still celebrate the first Thanksgiving.

    There’s simply nothing as wonderful as the smell of a turkey roasting in my kitchen.

    Thanks for this post. I’ll think of your words next week when the grumblings begin again.

  44. I’ve always loved Thanksgiving and have felt sad because it doesn’t get the attention it deserves. It’s not glamorous, it’s not expensive, it’s not gaudy. My memories of Thanksgiving are all about big old Texas guys like my uncles smoking cigars and watching football games on TV and aunts and grandmothers and moms and dads and lots of cousins and those great smells of roasting turkey and giblet gravy and sweet potato casseroles drifting from the kitchen. It’s all about family members and crisp weather and peacefulness and togetherness. It’s not about money or presents or maxing out credit cards to buy stuff. I’m grateful for all the memories of family members at Thanksgivings past, because so many of them are gone now. Thanks for the memories.

    1. Beautifully said.

  45. Reblogged this on Visions and Revisions and commented:
    I’m reblogging Kristin Lamb’s Thanksgiving blog. Enjoy.

  46. My dad used to always say that no matter how bad you think you have it, there so many others that have it worse. Which I think was his way of saying be thankful for what you have. And during dark times it’s hard to keep that in mind, but I have always tried to focus on my blessings. I find I am thankful for the really little things, like that there are so many wonderful words, that I can see the mountains just by looking out my window, that I have a dog that smiles, that I have the fattest cat in the world, that there are more books than I will ever be able to read, that my mom sent me an old family photo I’d forgotten about, that my sister is coming for a visit, that though I lost my brother and my dad years ago, I still have two sisters and a brother and a step father, that there are people in this world who love and understand me, that sometimes when it rains, I can see snow on the mountains the next day, that there is always sunshine somewhere in the world, that little children exist, that you can grow food and flowers. The world is a magnificent place and I’m thankful that I’m in it.

    Thanks for this reminder that we have so much, especially in our country, to be thankful for.

    God Bless,

  47. Very special, this post – I love it!

  48. Kristen, I was inspired by this post to look at my own life, and some medical issues I had this fall, from a different angle. I have a heightened gratitude this Thanksgiving, because I am so grateful to be alive. I linked back from my blog in part because you have said it so much better than I can.

    Thanksgiving is the red-haired stepchild of holidays because it is not me-centered. For all the original intent of Christmas, it is all about what one gets, much like comparing Halloween candy bags.

    Thanksgiving used to make me break out the wine to deal with the relatives, but now I see how much I have and treasure it all. Thank you for this beautiful post.

  49. Aw, this is a fantastic post! Thanks for helping us remember all these important things.

    • Donna Coe-Velleman on November 30, 2013 at 4:56 pm
    • Reply

    Fantastic list. I’m thankful for the same things but you seem to have put them in a way which makes them feel heart felt. Thank you.

    • Patricia Woods on December 1, 2013 at 1:34 pm
    • Reply

    Hi! Please change my email address to Yahoo isn’t working properly, so boo to them! Have a blessed day! Patricia

    1. I think you need to change that in your Gravitar.

  50. Beautiful post, Kristen. Gratitude is so important–for growth and healing and loving and happiness!

    I love the way you find gratitude even in the dirty dishes. Of the many things I am grateful for, meeting you and finding WANA are high on my list.

    • Author on November 18, 2016 at 8:49 am
    • Reply

    Reblogged this on Beth Mikell and commented:
    Here’s a wonderful way to be thankful in life’s little moments via Kristen Lamb’s post…

  1. […] as Kristen Lamb reminded us today (go read it!), in every complaint there is something to be thankful for. I am thankful for […]

  2. […] put a blog post up yesterday called “Life’s Unseen Blessings—Are We Really Thankful?” in which she brings a pretty cool and slightly different perspective on the concept of being […]

  3. […] my gratitude for my family, friends, and life.  I was struck by Kristen Lamb’s gratitude post because she concentrates on the blessings revealed by inconveniences.  One example, among many, is […]

  4. […] and (miracle of all miracles) it loaded! The first blog that popped up on my reader was one by Kristen Lamb. And guess what it was on? Being thankful instead of complaining. I think she sums up pretty well […]

  5. […] of finding gratitude in things that don’t at first engender gratitude. I especially liked her example about being grateful she has to wash the dog blankets, because it means she has a dog for […]

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