A Grateful Heart

Welcome to Real Life. Earlier this month, I was out walking. The cold wind hit my face. Without thinking, I quoted the opening lines of a poem my mother used to say,

“Blow, blow, thou winter wind. Thou art not so unkind as man's ingratitude.” –William Shakespeare 

She memorized it in high school. For some reason, it stuck. On a cold winter day, when the wind hit her face, the words resurrected from her memory.

Last Christmas with Mom 2011
My mother was known for her grateful heart. It’s funny, I never connected it to Shakespeare’s words … that is, until now. For, a few minutes after saying the lines myself, my thoughts turned towards Thanksgiving. It’s November, after all.

Thanksgiving is a holiday of gratitude. After the pilgrim’s first winter in Plymouth (1620-21), two-thirds of their number died of starvation and disease. One year later, at fall harvest, Governor William Bradford called for a special celebration to thank God for his provision of food, shelter, and a critical friendship forged with the Wampanoag Indians. Great loss the previous winter spurred great appreciation for life's basic necessities, often taken for granted.

The more we have, the further we seem to move from the holiday's original intent. When I think of Thanksgiving, I think of succulent turkey, pumpkin pie with mounds of real whipped cream, family gatherings, and a long weekend off work. Gratitude is an afterthought.

A thank you note from Mom
This brings me back to Mom. For, she was intentionally grateful. Many times, she’d call and begin with, “Peggi, did I thank you for …” She’d gently nudge my father if I rendered him some service, “Did you thank your daughter?” Or, I'd find a note of thanks she left on my pillow. If ingratitude is a harsh winter wind, Mom was a balmy summer breeze.

As with the Pilgrims, loss awakens gratitude. Mom’s in heaven. I’ll miss her presence at my holiday table. And, this stirs in me a deep appreciation. "Thank you, Heavenly Father, for the many years I enjoyed with my dear, sweet mama." And, for a grateful heart, I say, “Thanks, Mom.”

"I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder."
G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936), English writer, journalist and Christian apologist

What are you thankful for?


  1. So true, Peggi - loss can certainly sharpen an awareness of what we have. What a wonderful gift your mother gave to put her appreciation and love for you in writing. I wonder how well-handled that precious piece of paper is to you! Shared on g+ - hope others can learn from your mother's intentionality when it came to gratitude. May your Thanksgiving be blessed, Peggi and your Mother's generous spirit be present.

    1. Wow, Shel! I appreciate your thoughtful comments. I hope and pray that I can keep a grateful heart. Blessings on your Thanksgiving, also!


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