Monday, November 24, 2008


At Thanksgiving dinner, my family doesn't "say grace" as such. Instead, we go around the table and each person there tells what he or she is thankful for at that particular point in time. Here's a list I've been working on:

I'm thankful that we took over a year shopping for a house because we absolutely insisted on staying within our price range, rather than taking advantage of low interest rates to buy a bigger house with a fancy adjustable-rate mortgage. I'm thankful that our house isn't among the 1 in 410 in our state that's currently in foreclosure.

I'm thankful that last year we kept so much money in our boring old bank account, earning a trivial rate of interest, instead of putting it all in the stock market to maximize our return.

I'm thankful that my being without work for the past couple of months hasn't really hurt us financially, because we live frugally enough to get by easily on one income. I'm thankful that we're not among the millions of people scrambling for minimum-wage jobs at federal employment centers. I'm thankful that this year we are still giving money to our local food pantry rather than relying on its services.

I'm thankful that I don't live in the Congo or the West Bank. I'm thankful that, if my country is involved in a war, it's all happening far away from me and my family--and I'm thankful that we will soon have a president who is prepared to set a date for ending the war altogether and bringing the troops home.

I'm thankful that my best friend, who was in the hospital for over a month with a dangerous heart arrhythmia, is now recovering, able to work again if not yet able to go dancing. I'm also thankful that he had a job waiting for him when he got out of the hospital after going for nearly a year without work. I'm thankful that he is engaged to a sweet woman who is taking good care of him during his recovery.

I'm thankful that my sister has found both a good man and a good house to share with him--and that she was able to sell her condo, even in a down market.

I'm thankful to have a wonderful, supportive (if goofy) husband, and a warm, fuzzy little cat to keep me company around the house (even if she does loudly request that we get up and feed her earlier than we might consider reasonable).

I'm thankful that we were able to get our attic insulated before the really cold weather hit.

I'm thankful that gas prices have come down (just in time for our annual cross-country drive next month to visit the Troll family). I'm also thankful that, despite the lower prices, Americans are continuing to drive less and pump less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

And I'll be very thankful to spend just one day focusing on all the things I have to be thankful for, rather than on the things that bug me.

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