“Where are your shoes? What? You can’t find your backpack? This is ridiculous! You need to put your clothes out the night before!

Tenney yevet
Yevet Crandell Tenney is a Christian columnist who loves American values and traditions. She writ...

Yes, you need to eat your oatmeal! It’s good for you! No, you can’t have two glasses of milk! We won’t have enough for tomorrow’s breakfast! If you are not bleeding, don’t tell me about it!

Remember piano lessons today. Don’t forget your violin, and if you don’t bring home your books, you will have times around the garden. Don’t miss the bus!” Squawk! Squawk! Chatter! Chatter!

And the peaceful birds sail silently across the sky and the autumn leaves paint glorious patterns against the expansive blue of a cloudless sky.

It must have been on such a day the pilgrims laid out the table with their bounteous harvest and bowed their heads in humble gratitude for the gift of life and liberty.


I rev up the motor and tap my foot as I wait. I know we are going to be late for the fall concert. We are always late! With six children, it’s hard not to be, but I think they dawdle just to make me squirm! What were we thinking when we adopted four more kids!

I jump out of the van and head for the house, bellowing, “Come on, you guys! What do you mean, you can’t find your tie? You had it just last night!

I don’t care if the band teacher said you could go without a tie! We wear ties at a concert! That’s just the way we do it! Get in the van!”

And the pilgrims bow their heads and remember a bitter winter where hundreds of loved ones sleep in watery graves and in shallow icy dirt cemeteries on a strange land. They remember a ship and tight, cramped quarters. The sick and the dying and the empty arms never to be filled.

At last, I settle down in my seat to wait for the concert to begin. I lean back against the plush chair and watch the students move the grand piano onto the stage.

The electric lights flood the auditorium and the thermostat adjusts the temperature. I hope my son, who is up in the loft, gets a good shot with the video camera.

The pilgrims snuggle together by a roaring fire, while the winter howls outside. They read the Bible and remember what great and marvelous things the Lord has done for them. Parents smile down into the pale, thin faces of their children and are grateful that they have them for one more hour of one more day. And they will praise God with heart and hand if they can keep them through the winter.

The conductor gives the signal for the students to rise and walk on stage. First, I see my daughter, Ashley.

She is the one with the dark hair and the dimpled smile that warms the world. She is the only one with a black tie.

She eagerly wore the tie – we’d had the fight with Paul, who would rather wear a T-shirt and tuck it in his underwear so the waistband shows above his belt line. He learned to dress in a Bulgarian orphanage.

The song begins. There is a boy on the end of the row, tucked behind the piano. His expression is a little offbeat with everyone else and he isn’t looking directly at the conductor. Suddenly I recognize him as Austin, the blind boy at the junior high. His face is radiant with joy and he is singing with the confidence of a Hollywood star.

Austin is a pilgrim counting his blessings. By our standards, he doesn’t have much, but in a way he has everything.

Every day he wakes up to a hot meal and someone to take him to school. He has someone who walks with him and helps him through the darkness, but that is not all.

He has gratitude to fill the empty spaces in his heart. He is reaching to be successful, even in the face of insurmountable odds.

Another song, another concert, and there is a blond beauty sitting in a wheelchair. She sings with the voice of an angel, filling the stage with glorious light.

Last year, her family was traveling. She had a sister who was engaged to be married within the month. A car crash ensued. The sister was killed, while she was left paralyzed.

How could she smile? Everything in her world was destroyed, but she too has allowed gratitude to fill the empty spaces in her heart.

Suddenly it all makes sense. Gratitude is a healer. It is a motivator, and a powerful connection with God. Faith comes from gratitude.

In recognizing God’s miracles in our lives with a strong soul-warming thank you, we pave the way for our hearts to recognize His power in our lives.

The ungrateful heart only sees the emptiness of worlds unattained. Ingratitude always sees the empty dish and does not recognize the full platters on the table.

The pilgrims had nothing but their gratitude. Their huge feast was nothing like our Thanksgiving feasts.

In fact, we would feel cheated if we had only what they ate that first Thanksgiving ... but they had a healthy helping of a dish we seldom serve. Gratitude!

They bowed their heads to give thanks for life, family and glorious harvest, grateful for their children, who are, in God’s sight, His heritage.

Today outside my window, the world is a glorious panorama of color. The artist of heaven paints the world in a majestic array of splendor, and I will reach down in my heart and ask some soul-searching questions to prime my gratitude pump.

What would the world be like if I could not see and hear? What would the world be like without music? No children’s voices and “I love you Mommy”?

What would it be like if the sun didn’t rise to paint the world in glorious splendor? If there were no winter or summer storms to renew the earth? What if there were no hope of a glorious resurrection?

In a world with so much to be grateful for, a word of complaint is like throwing a truckload of manure on Solomon’s temple.

“Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O Lord, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name.” (2 Samuel 22:50)  end_mark