This is a letter of thanks:
For the simple act of breathing,
For hands, reaching and holding,
For children — bright eyes, simple wonder, contagious giggles,
For shared tears of joy or woe, for friendship’s embrace,
For lifelong commitment to another,
For the exquisite beauty of the tiniest insect to the largest mammal,
For the Earth, our home.
For seasons — death to resurrection spanned by mere months,
For generous hearts, tireless labor unselfishly given for those in need,
For faith, in all its names and forms,
For all these, and more, I am dazzled, blessed and thankful.
Candi Ayres Phillips
Living, loving change
I have many things to be thankful for.
First and foremost is a strong knowledge that I’m a child of God and a recipient of his promises and blessings.
I am thankful for being an American living in the Midwest with its variety of seasons. Each has its own special natural wonders.
My teenage years were during World War II with four brothers in uniform, rationing, saving scrap and tinfoil from cigarette wrappers dropped on the street and working. We received word by telegram of one brother “seriously wounded in action.”
One was on the invasion of Iwo Jima and ready to invade Japan.
Another’s ship was torpedoed.
But all my brothers came home safe.
I was born in an age of ice cards in the window, to enjoying deep freezers, love computers and what I’m allowed to do with them. We went from eight-inch disks in 1982, to 5¼-inch, to 3½-inch, to today’s wondrous change of Windows from 95 to No. 7 (not having 8 yet).
My family sends me pictures from gatherings or games.
I’ve loved and worried about changes.
I’m still able to work as a volunteer in thanks for all the blessings.
Norma J. Cross
Thankful for Jesus
Come all ye people.
Let’s enter his gates with thanksgiving and into his counts with praise. Jesus will share love in a most joyous way.
Jesus is the reason for the season to be thankful unto him and bless his name with a heart that serves and prays on a Happy Thanksgiving Day.
Kansas City, Kan.
Riches from living
Am I thankful?
Yes, I am.
I grew up on Kansas Avenue in Armourdale, Kansas City, Kan., as a latch-key kid with a single parent before, during and after the great flood of 1951.
Four years ago I retired as an associate vice president for one of the top five global pharmaceutical companies.
For this amazing journey, I’m thankful for:
• A tough, little, poorly educated woman who worked in a factory for take-home pay of $52 a week and yet raised four kids who never got into drug or alcohol abuse or legal problems. She taught us the value of education, hard work and discipline.
• The nuns at St. Thomas the Apostle Grade School who taught me to love learning, the value of hard work and, of course, discipline.
• The U.S. Marine Corps, which furthered my sense of personal responsibility and taught me the true meaning of “team” and how to use force — and when not to.
The corps taught me the meaning of larger-than-self issues.
• Life, which has taught me that in America you can improve yourself if you work hard, respect others, do your best and forgive yourself when you fail.
Happy Thanksgiving and best wishes.
I’m thankful for angels that breathe life into memories.
Mom, 87 years old, living in her family home, was nestled in her comfy chair before asking me the big question.
Clouds intrude on Mom’s memories, and we listen intently for her to speak. Some days she is cogent, and other times she reads the newspaper and listens to the birds, which she so dearly loves.
On this particular day, Mom was immersed in tranquility as the sun danced upon her shoulders.
Like a shot in the dark, she inquired, “Is Grandpa dead?”
I clasped Mom’s hand and replied, “Yes, he passed on five years ago. He loved you very much.”
“I loved him, too,” she said.
I replied, “I loved him so much and I miss him.”
She said, “I do, too.”
Mom softly sighed, and we retreated into golden silence.
I felt an intense sense of emotion, serenity and connectedness.
The cloud had lifted, and we were bathed in peaceful reverie.
Displays of gratitude
Thanksgiving, to be truly thanksgiving, is first thanks then giving.
God provides each of us 86,400 seconds each day.
We need to use as many as possible to express gratitude not only to God but to those who make our lives worth living.
Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone and can appear to be ingratitude.
It’s not what we say about our blessings but how we use them.
That is the true measure of our thanksgiving.
Gratitude is the music of the heart, when its chords are swept by the gentle breeze of kindness.
Thanksgiving for one’s blessings and the hard challenges one faces are good spirituality.
Shakespeare understood gratitude. “Oh Lord, that lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.”
May each of us thank God, not only on Thanksgiving but each day for the special moments in our lives when we are profoundly grateful for the gifts of faith, family, friends, life and love, as well as the privilege of being Americans.
Thanks to the family of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
It is amazing to me that we still have honorable, intelligent, moral and capable individuals who are willing to sacrifice so much to campaign for the office of president of the United States.
They are ridiculed, humiliated and drained dry.
The Romney family members are patriots, and Gov. Romney exemplifies outstanding presidential qualities. Is it a good thing that they were analyzed in depth and were then expected to apologize for their personal, spiritual and material gains? Is this our country’s future?
Must the news media scrape up or even make up insignificant happenings that the candidates must then defend? Let us hope that honorable citizens will not be discouraged by the ugliness of the campaign and irresponsible reporting.
Is it time to demand changes in this expensive, expansive and sometimes dishonest procedure of selection? Thank you Romney family and all of the candidates who are willing to serve this great country with honor.
Grateful for immigrants
All during the campaign we heard many Republican candidates talk with great pride about how members of their family had immigrated to the United States. They embraced their foreign roots and declared what a great country we live in, enabling them to run for office because of sacrifices their earlier family members made.
Sadly, these people also ran on drastic immigration reform. Since the election, we have heard prominent Republicans talk about the white vote being reduced from a majority and saying we have to take our country back.
Not much has been said when immigrants, mostly European, came to this country. Now that the greater number of immigrants are of a different skin color such as Hispanic and Asian, the demand for immigration reform has reached a fever pitch.
They forget that the people coming here are looking for the better future their families came here for. The fact that the majority of immigrants are people of color and no longer white does not mean we have somehow lost our country.
Just like my grandfather, these people are coming here for a chance at a better life, and skin color shouldn’t matter.
Love for senior services
I recently spent a week in Branson, Mo., with a wonderful group of senior citizens. They belong to the Grand County Senior Center in Ulysses, Kan., which should be the envy of the nation.
The senior center is operated by Lavone and Mike Michaels with their son, Anthony, and dedicated staff. They have given their time and talent to support the seniors of Ulysses.
Some of the services provided: hot home-cooked meals Monday through Friday. They serve about 100 for breakfast and lunch. They deliver 30 Meals on Wheels Monday through Friday.
They chauffeur the ladies to the beauty parlor, doctor appointments and at-home services on request. They do lawn care, foot care, nursing help, tax help, etc.
A bus also takes them to local concerts.
Besides all of this, there is a once-a-year trip to Branson and to San Antonio for the Christmas lights.
I pray other communities provide half the services that are provided to seniors at the Grand County Senior Center.
These seniors are loved and cared for by a staff led by a wonderful couple who give more than their time. They give their love.
Time, money, blood
Jesus admonishes us to feed the hungry. He does not say, “Give your money to Caesar so he can do it.”
Charitable giving is an individual responsibility. When government takes taxpayers’ money and redistributes it, it is not charity, and there is no virtue in it.
The myth persists that the liberals and Democrats are socially compassionate and the conservatives do not care. However, Arthur C. Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, published results of a study in his book, “Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth about Compassionate Conservatism.”
He found that, matched for income with liberals, conservatives, especially religious conservatives, give more money, more time and more blood than liberals do.
Don’t believe it? Read the book.
Add optimism to politics
The entire realm of politics needs a healthy dose of optimism. This political season has turned the American psyche into mush.
I stated this in a Facebook post to a “birther,” who in Donald Trump-like fashion has hung onto a deeply held wish to find conspiracies where they don’t exist. Individually, we hang onto pain or disillusionment until it no longer serves us.
Moving forward is a choice. It doesn’t matter if you are liberal or conservative.
Getting real requires letting go of embedded expectations. For Thanksgiving, it’s time to start to get real.
Our nation is only as rich as its mix of people of all races, religions and genders living and working alongside each other in the spirit of willingness. Only when we let go of what was or what we think should be, can we embrace what could be.
Blessed with freedoms
My gratefulness on this Thanksgiving is that we can.
We can participate in elections. We can speak out on myriad issues.
We can, and do, have everyday items like electricity, water, trash pickup, grocery stores, a warm place to be, a place to live, friends, family, the freedom and ability to worship, the availability to be educated, libraries and the list of ordinary blessings goes on.
My prayer of gratitude and thanks to God is that I am always able to see the blessings in these “ordinary” gifts.
Yes, I believe we are blest because we can.