Thanksgiving display in a North Carolina shop, September 2013

Thanksgiving display in a North Carolina shop, September 2013

“The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts.  No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.” — H.U. Westermayer

I was unable to find out anything about who H. U. Westermayer was, though I did find others asking the same question. While they were similarly unsuccessful at learning about the person who originated this oft-quoted thought, many did verify the historical accuracy of the quote.  Sometimes our quaint stories about the first Thanksgiving tend to obscure the harsh reality of the context in which it took place.  Perhaps our greatest lesson to be drawn from that celebration is the example of people who were able to find reason to be thankful amid circumstances more adverse than most of us can imagine.  Whatever you may be facing today, I hope the difficulties will not obscure the blessings.

One year ago today:

Absolutely, positively, certainly


  1. raynard

    Julia, It wasn’t the Thanksgiving dinners I missed the several times , while being overseas.The one I missed the most was the one that never happened.. My mom passed away Nov 1990. It was 3 weeks before Thanksgiving. She was in her usual prep mode .. It was one of my brother’s x girlfriends who family was close to my mother that invited me to share dinner with them in honor of my mom. Thank you God for making a way when 1 I couldnt find or see”the way “.. Julia I wish you and your family a happy and blessed Thanksgiving and would be honored if you allowed my family to add you to our Christmas card mailing list. (Now let me get off here before”I need “tissues for my issues and elbow “Oprah” in the ribs” as I sing the theme song to”The Golden Girls”….lol

    • Raynard, I am so sorry you had to lose your mother right before Thanksgiving. I am sure you remember that every year at this time. It sounds like you have happy memories of her meals on that day. I love Christmas cards! I will email you where to send it.

  2. “Whatever you may be facing today, I hope the difficulties will not obscure the blessings.” Today some mischievous kids at school gave me a tough time. Thank God, I could finally solve the mystery behind ‘the blood-spitting ghost in the last toilet.’ Anyway that was an interesting episode. Wish they would use their imagination in a useful way. And I must do something to help them.
    Got an idea! Let me work it out. Thank you for inspiring me. Shall come back later with the idea. 🙂

    • Oh my, that sounds very interesting for sure! Yes, let me know your idea. Maybe you can harness that imagination and put it to good use! Meanwhile, I hope you are able to stay one step ahead of them and keep them guessing!

  3. With prayers and mindful of all of our bountiful blessings.
    Thank you for your spiri!

    • Thanks Carla, it’s been really rough but we hope the worst is over. Keep those prayers going up!

      • whew

  4. Still here, ever praying.

    • Thanks Eric, we are still very much in need of the prayers!

  5. MaryAnn

    Thankful to our Heavenly Father for the Denton family. In prayer for all of you.
    Jesus’ Light shines brightly through you, Julia!

    • Thank you, Mary Ann – keep those prayers coming! Jeff is far from out of the woods yet, but the doctors sounded a bit more positive after today’s OR trip (yes, another urgent procedure for yet another complication – long story but I’ll update you later).

  6. Sending caring thoughts to you and your family, Julia. xox

    • Thanks so much, Alys! Your presence here brings a bit of that California sunshine back to us at a time when it’s truly needed.

      • I wish I could box it up and send it your way, Julia. You need all the bright spots you can get.

        I’ll continue to hold sunny thoughts for what that is worth. Tender hugs, too.

        • Once the California sunshine takes up residence in one’s soul, it can be easily re-activated by even a virtual box and cyber hugs! So keep sending those rays. 🙂

          • Let’s see if this works: ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

            • It works! Virtual sunshine. I can’t even figure out how to do the hearts. All I can make are smiley faces.

              • If you use a Mac, I’m of no help. If you use a PC, try these:
                Press the Alt key first, then while holding it, press one of the numbered keys, for instance a heart is Alt +3


                • Oh, how totally fun! I ONLY use PC (don’t get me started on Apple) but I couldn’t get this to work, I’ll have to play with it later and see what I can come up with. I’ll send you some cute little symbols if I figure it out!

                  • You have to hold down the Alt key while pressing the number key. Be sure your Num lock key is working, too

                    • Hmmm, still can’t make it work. When I hold down the alt key and type a numeral, nothing at all happens. It’s like it disabled the number key somehow. Oh well, probably my computer (a Dell laptop).

  7. sam

    Continuing prayers are for each of you. God’s peace and comfort for all and healing for Jeff. May God supply all of your needs according to His riches…

    Praying that you will be blogging next year about God’s blessings and Jeff and Matt being able to enjoy Thanksgiving 2014 with much improved health and Thanks Be To God!!!

    • Sam, thanks so much for the prayers. With Jeff literally in a no man’s land between life and death, they have never been more needed or more appreciated. I love your vision of Thanksgiving 2014! Let’s plan to meet back here then! (And hopefully many times in between.) We are so indebted to the good wishes, support and prayers of so many. Words are truly inadequate.

  8. Sheila

    Julia, I know the circumstances that you’re enduring are far more adverse than we can imagine. I just keep remembering you in my prayers. I know Jeff is being lifted in prayer by so many. I really appreciate the update! Love, Sheila

    • Hi Sheila, I think often of you and your faithful presence in this online community. I count it one of the special blessings to come out of the nightmares of the past 14 months. In the wee hours of this Thanksgiving morning, I am thankful for you! Love and blessings to you and your family!

      • Sheila

        Julia, a day to be thankful for friends in my life, like you. When I count my blessings I count you twice! I admire Jeff so much, strength and faith beyond words! Your family has been in my heart more than usual today! Love, Sheila

        • Thank you Sheila, our daily contacts have given us “radar” and you were just hanging in there with us yesterday in that ICU :-). I am so happy you found us here and have walked with us for so long now!

  9. Well said. At a prayer group last night we talked about “rejoicing in suffering,” — not being thankful for hardship, but grateful for God’s presence in the midst of it.

    This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for bloggers like you who keep me reading and writing and finding God’s amazing grace along the way.

    Have a blessed holiday season.

    • Thanks Tony, I echo your gratitude for the many bloggers who inspire us and keep us all connected to each other. Thanks for being among them, and for sharing with us your own experiences of God’s grace in the turmoils and troubles of life. I wish you a wonderful holiday!

  10. Jenelle

    That is one of the most beautiful Jim Shore carvings I have ever seen. Wow. Incredible. I’m extra thankful this year for God’s blessings and I sent letters via snail mail (gasp!) to some people who have been on my heart and told them how much I appreciate them. It’s not Christmas yet, but giving is WAY better than receiving!

    • Don’t you just love Jim Shore? I have a little Jim Shore Santa ornament Amy gave me and I hope to be hanging it on our Christmas tree in a couple of weeks (or at least sometime by Christmas Day!) I normally get my Christmas tree up by Thanksgiving, but this year, I’ll be happy with finishing it on Christmas Eve, as long as Jeff is there to watch :-). Kudos to you for sending out those letters. I know they will be appreciated as the increasingly rare gift they are in today’s world. YES, giving is way, way more fun! It sounds like a cliche but it’s not! That’s why I had to do the blog party. Sometimes when I try to convince people that giving is actually fun, I can sort of see their eyes glaze over as if they think I’m just saying things I don’t mean. But I’ve learned it from all the many people who give and give and give to us without expecting anything back, and the best we can all do is spread that joy — for anyone who is not too immune to “catch” it, it’s quite contagious! Thanks so much for being here.

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