Once again it’s the time of year to reflect and give thanks. Heck, Oprah Winfrey practices intentional gratitude all year long, listing nightly five things for which she is grateful at that moment. For some folks, though, overt, conscious expressions of gratitude don’t come easily or naturally; for others, troubled minds and heavy hearts can make gratitude of any measure difficult to contemplate.  I find myself struggling with expressing gratitude as the holiday season approaches, though I know without doubt that I’m blessed beyond measure. The problem is that I allow the busyness of this time of year to turn me into a moody, growling, frenzied mess who feels more like climbing Mt. Crumpet and dumping the holidays and all its trimmings and trappings right off the top. My husband knows this all too well—last year at Thanksgiving he fancied himself delightfully funny when he kicked off our “jolly” holiday season by presenting me with a sweatshirt bearing a huge image of the King of Crotchedy himself, the Grinch.

Don’t get me wrong with this next statement; I adore Oprah, and I’m aware that there is scientific evidence showing that expressing gratitude has positive effects on your psychological well-being, your relationships, and your physical health.  However, I’m certain I would be less of a holiday curmudgeon and more of a gratitude journaling enthusiast if I were Oprah Winfrey. For us non-billionaire, ordinary folk who have to clean our own turkey fryers, untangle the knotted mess of Christmas lights that went into the box neatly folded 11 months before, and compose family Christmas letters that make our quiet lives seem as extraordinary as those in the letters we receive, gratitude is not always so easily voiced.

All I have standing in my way of expressing gratitude is a bad attitude about the busy holiday season—there are so many who struggle this time of year with so much more. One thing I know for sure, though, is life’s troubles become more bearable with the healing power of time and the sustenance of God’s goodness. For that we can be grateful. And in the meantime, we can laugh, can’t we? After all, laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict, and so I’m grateful for it, too. I couldn’t help but chortle when I read the following Thanksgiving quotes. I hope they make you smile, too, and I hope that when it’s your turn to express what you’re thankful for at the Thanksgiving dinner table, you’re able to come up with a list so long everyone has to indulge in a second helping of pumpkin pie while you pontificate.

 “Thanksgiving is not a good day to be my pants.” (Kevin James)

 “[On Thanksgiving], people travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover once a year is way too often.” (Johnny Carson)

“Thanksgiving—when the people who are the most thankful are the ones who didn’t have to cook.” (Melanie White)

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Lake Norman Woman!