Sunday, October 07, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Count your blessings instead of your crosses;
Count your gains instead of your losses.
Count your joys instead of your woes;
Count your friends instead of your foes.
Count your smiles instead of your tears;
Count your courage instead of your fears.
Count your full years instead of your lean;
Count your kind deeds instead of your mean.

Count your health instead of your wealth;
Count on God instead of yourself.

~Author Unknown ~

Unlike the American tradition of remembering Pilgrims and settling in the New World on the fourth Thursday of November, Canadians give thanks for a successful harvest the second weekend in October. There are a few similarities both the USA and Canada share in Thanksgiving traditions; cornucopias and pumpkin pie for instance, though the harvest season falls earlier in Canada compared to the United States due to the simple fact that Canada is further north, thus "giving thanks" comes at two separate intervals of time for each country.

During this whole past week in our locale, we have been experiencing incredible summer-like weather, so very lovely and warm indeed that the air conditioning system has been placed into service once more. Therefore it's not a surprise to see all the farmer fields speckled with an abundance of tractors, combines and harvest bin haulers spilling over with final crops being hauled off to farm or markets.

Once more I've been missing in action, but for good reason. I intend to catch up, as there is a whole lot to catch up on... Meanwhile, when traveling through country roads this past week with our guests from out of town, we noticed field after field most definitely littered with rolling equipment and farmers working hard and late into the night with headlights guiding them onward to completion. As any country person can attest, patience is often a virtue when "country traffic jams" occur on narrow roads with wide pieces of equipment working their way to another field up the road. Patience is a definite virtue here during those times, believe me.

Trying to get the feel of "Autumn"
on a very HOT summer like day!

The history of Thanksgiving in Canada goes back to an English explorer, Martin Frobisher, who had been trying to find a northern passage to the Orient. He did not succeed but he did establish a settlement in Northern America. In the year 1578, he held a formal ceremony, in what is now called Newfoundland, to give thanks for surviving the long journey. This is considered the first Canadian Thanksgiving. Other settlers arrived and continued these ceremonies. At the same time, French settlers, having crossed the ocean and arrived in Canada with explorer Samuel de Champlain, also held huge feasts of thanks. They even formed 'The Order of Good Cheer' and gladly shared their food with their Indian neighbors.

"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues,
but the parent of all the others."

~ Cicero

Eventually in 1879, Parliament declared November 6th a day of Thanksgiving and a national holiday. Over the years many dates were used for Thanksgiving, the most popular was the 3rd Monday in October. After World War I, both Armistice Day and Thanksgiving were celebrated on the Monday of the week in which November 11th occurred. Ten years later, in 1931, the two days became separate holidays and Armistice Day was renamed Remembrance Day.

"O Lord that lends me life,
Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness."

~ William Shakespeare

The Canadian Parliament proclaimed the second Sunday of October to be observed as "A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed" on January 31, 1957.

In lieu of this little history lesson above and without further adieu, we celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving today with a thankful heart and great gratitude for our many, many (!) blessings.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

(Make sure to have a little pie with your whip cream!)

We're also thinking of our western family, all meeting today for their Thanksgiving dinner together with Mike & Ashley hosting the gathering. Though our table is certainly not as full as our other traditional Thanksgivings together as a family, may you all feel the blessings of faith, family, and good health, and enjoy your time wrapped around one another. (Don't forget your three beans for thankful thoughts!) And heh, Ashley can cook a turkey because I showed her seen below...(wink)

Thanksgiving, 2005

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."

~ Melody Beattie