With Thanksgiving around the corner, I notice the stores are plunging into the so-called holiday season (really Christmas and Chanukah), a time where gifts are exchanged aplenty. People spend, spend, spend, and often find goodies they’d like for themselves. I know, I do. I’m not a great shopper, thus my heart is not filled with gratitude and thanksgiving when I’m stalking the crowded aisles for goodies and trying to second-guess the recipients. But I’m thankful that I live in a country where I am for the most part safe and able to give presents to those I love. I usually ask for a gift receipt—no hard feelings should the person wish to exchange it. What does give me great pleasure is buying an item a person likes and will use.

My husband and I came up with a strategy several years ago: After each December 1st, if he’s out shopping and finds something he likes, he buys it, leaves it in the bag, then must give it to me. And I do the same. We wrap the articles up nice and pretty, and give them to each other on Christmas morning. Yes, it might sound ho-hum, but my husband is not an easy man to shop for and he gets what he wants. And so do I.

Flowers from my husband always cheer me up.

My daughter-in-law introduced me to the Amazon Wish List, which is going to help me this year. She is such a darling and so are my grandkids; I’ll be able to get them exactly what they want, plus a few surprises. Our grown sons are not as easy, so often my husband steps in to save the day. Anything to do with technology is out of my league.

Poor horse on a soggy Lancaster County day.

But back to Thanksgiving. To me, we should celebrate it every day of the year. Nothing beats the rainy day blues better than taking a few minutes to think about what I’m thankful for. My life is abundant in so many ways and yet I can let the clouds and rain bog down and distract me. I’m extremely grateful for my bestselling fiction novels, but to have my family, my husband, good friends, my church body—all are far greater gifts than anything. Even a primo parking place.

Raindrops on my windows yesterday.

Sometimes, when I’m experiencing a crummy day, I glance out the window at a delicate hummingbird hovering and then enjoying the nectar, and my heart is filled with gratitude. When it’s raining and stormy outside, or you have a case of the blahs, what is your trick for perking yourself up? What are you grateful for?

Taken today from our kitchen.

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PS: I’m grateful for each of you!