Today, I am tired: But I am so very thankful for the long, late-night talks with my Dad that kept me up too late, and my beautiful daughter who woke me up too early this morning by turning on the light without warning.  I am also thankful for coffee – the elixir of life.

Today, I am cold: But I am so very thankful for this beautiful sunny California day, and the sparkly frost on the cars and roofs, and the changing seasons.  I am also thankful for fuzzy socks and our home’s furnace – the cozy-makers.

Today, I have a sore throat: But I am so very thankful for the voice God has given me to sing, and to speak love and kindness to the world.  I am also thankful for throat lozenges and licorice tea – the restorers of my raw throat tissue.

Today, my rugs and couch are covered in dog fur: But I am so very thankful for the sweet huskies that God prompted me to adopt.  Despite the many challenges we’ve had with them so far, my love for these canine babies has grown, and they brighten my day and give the best hugs. I am also thankful for vacuum cleaners and sticky rollers – the defenders of my home from fur invasion.

Today, I have a lot to do: But I am so very thankful for the house I live in that needs cleaning, and the family God has given me that needs care.  I get to pick my Mom up from the airport today – that alone is plenty to be thankful for.  I am also thankful for pre-made pie crusts – the savior of my sanity when attempting to host Thanksgiving dinner while fighting the remains of a cold virus.

Today, I feel sad and concerned about the US federal election: But I am so very thankful that we still have a constitution that guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of religion without fear of being jailed by the government for our beliefs. I am also thankful for my loud and boisterous activist friends – the campaigners who fight complacency and fill my Facebook feed with witty truisms and thought-provoking arguments.

Today, I recognize that many people are at odds with their families over really big social issues and that family gatherings will be difficult or impossible for some:  But I am so very thankful that, while we don’t always agree on everything, my family chooses love over being right.  We have learned how to discuss controversial topics without attacking each other personally.  We are kind even when we are passionate.  I am also thankful for great food – the one thing we can all rally around and enjoy together no matter what else is going on.

Today, the United States celebrates Thanksgiving. Plenty of people in the US and the rest of the world have a lot to complain about.  There are really bad things happening everywhere, and some of them hit close to home.  But I want to encourage you to be thankful for what you have.  It is cliche to remind people that there are always people suffering so much more than they.  It invalidates their experience and their pain.  That is not what I am doing here.  What I am suggesting is that, by taking a break from activism, family feuds, mourning, complaining, anger, fear, and distrust, and focusing on what is good and right and positive, we open our minds to a better world, a better life, a better day than we would experience otherwise.  It is not easy – it is a choice; a decision; perhaps a calling.  That doesn’t mean we stop fighting for what is right.  But it might mean that we are able to do so with a better attitude and a lighter heart.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, even if you don’t live in the United States.  I know it’s a historical holiday here, but we can choose to be thankful every day, no matter where we live or who we are and no matter what our circumstances.  I recognize that I am saying this from a place of privilege and comfort.  My complaints and challenges are small and very first-world.  But I have seen how those who have little can be the happiest people because they choose to be grateful.  So this post is as much a reminder to me as it is an encouragement for you.

Love to you in this holiday season.