A Story of Thankfulness

If your family has a story to share about how you share your thankfulness for the earth please share – I would love to be inspired by you all – I know so many of you and you already inspire me. I will be reading the stories you send to my children this Thanksgiving.

One of our stories is below…

Update: This story is from 2009. Thankfully we are all doing well now.

I’ll share something very personal with you – in the past five years we “almost” became homeless twice. It is amazing how quickly it can happen to someone and how hard it can be to find help. I was fortunate enough, in both circumstances to be saved – literally at the last moment – by a blessing. However, these experiences, combined with living overseas for 16 years and seeing the face of poverty in different countries – have made poverty issues one of my main concerns (along with the environment and empowering people to heal themselves). We give thanks every day that we have a home, good food, clothing, and even some extras like pets and an Ipod. At the same time I am shocked by the state of people in America – how easy it is for credit card companies and banks to “rob” hard working Americans, how easy it is to lose a job and how hard it is to earn enough to pay for all the family needs – and how easy it would be for anyone to slip from the blessed ones who have a home and job into the crowds of those who don’t – it is very easy and can happen in an
instant.

I remember last year my son asked me “Mom, if they charge so much for
gas, why don’t gas stations look like palaces? Why are they so small and
not very good?”

That statement says so much. WOW. It is symbolic of how so many big businesses focus on earning rather than on being fair. Although there has been a slight rise in worker owned businesses (http://www.ncba.coop/abcoop_work.cfm). Every day I try to remind myself
and my children not to function like that. But it is so hard. We are ingrained, from childhood, and trained by ads and by alluring magazines and displays at stores to always “want more”. We are trying, as a family to think differently. We already have everything we need. Really. We have a home, food, clothing and plenty of books and toys. Logically,
then, we should be distributing our extra instead of making Christmas lists of “what we want”. It is a hard habit to break, but I feel it is worth the effort. If we can all try to distribute more and consume less, I imagine that it might reduce the poverty of a great number of people – some of these people may even be our friends and relatives. Every time I am tempted to purchase that $5.00 “extra” at the store I think – what could someone else do with this money?

That is why, this Thanksgiving, we will be volunteering at a homeless shelter instead of preparing a lavish feast. Now, don’t get me wrong – if we had a large family nearby or a gathering to travel to that was close enough to travel to – we would be there – the gathering of family is an amazingly important event and honorable and great tradition to
hold. However, we are unable to travel this year so, it being only I and the three children, we feel the energy and food would be better shared with others.

A friend of mine, who is a teacher, also sent me a wonderful curriculum plan she is using with her class. I will be adapting it to our own needs – basically just using some ideas from it but not all. You can find it HERE If anyone else has resources or thoughts to share on this topic I would love to hear them.

My children and I look forward to hearing other stories on how you all share your thankfulness. There are so many different ways!

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