Adriana Zoder: 10 reasons I’m thankful this November

Nov. 16, 2013 @ 11:03 PM

Recently, I bought a few handmade creations at the Amish store across the street from the Walmart in Sevierville. One of them is a wooden piece for my children’s room, which reads, “Thou shalt not whine.”

I want my children to develop an attitude of gratitude. I’m working on myself, too. Sometimes I move that wooden sign into my own room.

It’s so easy to complain we don’t have the latest thing that caught our eye in a store window. It’s harder to appreciate what we do have. Why? Because we don’t practice an attitude of gratitude.

During this Thanksgiving season, why not pause and list 10 reasons to be thankful? Here we go:

1. Health – Even if you suffer from a chronic illness, things could be worse.

2. Sight – I once met a young lady who lived a perfectly healthy life until her sweet 16 turned bitter. Her DNA developed a weird twist and she went blind in a matter of weeks. She asked me not to pity her and then added, “At least I have seen what the world looks like.”

3. Hearing – They say not hearing is worse than not seeing. I tend to agree. Would you stand the silence? I would not.

4. Walking – I know several people in a wheelchair. They don’t wish it upon their worst enemy.

5. A home – Some people want a bigger, more luxurious home. Think about the people in this world who live on the street, in a mud hut in the jungle, or in a tiny apartment somewhere in a big city.

6. Food – If you are reading this newspaper, I am pretty sure you have had three meals a day for the past week and longer. On my fridge, I taped a drawing of Yustine and her three children – a Congolese family living in a Ugandan refugee camp. My relief agency of choice sent me this picture in one of its regular mailings. Yustine and her three sons eat once a day.

7. Your children – I have a friend whose children suffer from a genetic degenerative disease. Right now, they are highly functional, but the disease can advance out of the blue and kill them. It’s not a matter of “if.” It’s a matter of “when.” My friend treasures every moment with them.

8. Internet access – Think about the freedom to read news 24/7, chat with people from across the globe, and access information with a few mouse clicks. If you can’t connect to the Internet at home, you can go to the library. It’s free.

9. Running water and electricity – Many people in this world cannot enjoy the simple pleasure of a warm shower. Nor can they read a book in their bed at night.

10. Living in the mountains – Do you know how many people like your backyard? About 10 million. They spend money to come here regularly and enjoy what you see every day.

You could probably come up with another 100 reasons to be thankful. Let’s remember to practice an attitude of gratitude throughout the year, not just in November. It keeps depression and self-pity at bay.

Adriana Zoder, a Gatlinburg resident, is a writer and homeschooling mom. She and her husband have two children. She maintains the blog