Thanksgiving Accounting – Credits and Debits

In America, Thanksgiving Day is a National Holiday; established November 26, 1789.  While accounts vary slightly, about 400 years ago, a group of European immigrants gathered to give thanks for surviving disease and harsh conditions with the help of Native Americans.  Many of the original settlers had perished.  The gratitude of the survivors was a natural response to the charity and generosity of the Native Americans.

How times have changed!  Today, “Thanksgiving” has morphed from that simple meal shared by survivors and their benefactors to a much-anticipated 4-day weekend that kicks off the Holiday Season.  Many people travel to reunite with family, indulge in over-eating, all-day football, board games, visiting and napping; followed by Black Friday door-busters and enticement by retailers to spontaneous spending.  This is a far-cry from its humble and practical origin.

In the centuries following that first Thanksgiving meal, America prospered.  Subsequent generations designated the cornucopia to symbolize the celebration of harvest and abundance.  Even the iconic painting featured above is a creation of the consequent wealth and is an 1880s vision of an idealized past and is full of inaccuracies.

But not all Americans are living in abundance.  Many are without proper food, clothing, and shelter.  Unfortunately, approximately 26% of Native Americans live in poverty and the suicide rate for Native Americans age 15 – 34 is between 1.5 and 2x the national average, this Youth Today article is powerful on the subject.  This Thanksgiving weekend, I challenge you to eat half as much and spend half as much as you normally would.  Find a great organization serving our Native American communities and support them with charity and generosity.

Something went wrong with our Thanksgiving Accounting – the Credits and Debits are out of balance to the detriment of Native Americans.  This is not right. These proud, generous and trusting people were the original inhabitants and caretakers of all the land and resources we now call America.  The least we can do as a society is to honor the descendants whose ancestors were systematically driven from their lands and had much of their culture squashed over a 3-century period following that first survivors’ meal.

November is Native American Heritage Month.   Let’s give thanks for our country’s diversity and not forget the Native Americans with our charity and economic opportunities.  Happy Thanksgiving!

A few valid Charities of note;

Home – Basic


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A cure for plate spinning life

When I think of life-balance, it reminds me of the plate-spinner I saw on the Ed Sullivan show when I was a kid. (now I am dating myself). He had a series of sticks lined up in a row, pointed upward, and a pile of dinner plates. The goal was to get a plate spinning simultaneously atop every stick. He started with the first stick on his right and carefully balanced a spinning plate, then repeated with stick number 2, number 3, etc. As he worked down the row, the first plate started to slow down and wobble, so he ran back to the beginning to re-spin that plate so it would not fall, then he worked back down the row to the point he could add another plate, revisiting the wobbling plates as he went. Working back and forth multiple times, he eventually got a spinning plate on every stick – but it took constant attention to every stick and plate along the way. In the end, all the plates slowed down and toppled.

This is a great visual for our lives as we attempt to balance our work, family, finances, health, spirituality, community, and domestic responsibilities. Those are the broad categories. Each category has its own set and sub-set of “sticks” on which to balance the plates of our lives. Family, for example, may have many members and each member may have a set of demands you are trying to juggle.

If you are beginning to think that life balance is an impossible dream, you are probably right. That is certainly what I am thinking – hence, the trend toward minimalist lifestyles, life simplification and reinvention of oneself and the workplace. Millennials may have it right. They have watched their plate-spinning parents for decades and are making different choices.

For those of us who have been plate-spinning, where does happiness fit-in? How do we ever achieve it?

Instead of taking the top-down approach, trying to get our arms around the ever expanding big-picture, experts are encouraging us to boil it down to the basics. What is one of the most basic elements of happiness? It is gratitude and much has been written about this lately. I found this outstanding article by Amit Amin at Happier Human; The benefits of gratitude.  It seems that gratitude is a key attribute that positively affects every area of our lives.

The way Amit has laid out his post makes this a great go-to resource no matter which area of your life presents a challenge. The key to gaining the extensive benefits of gratitude is to make gratitude a lifestyle and not something you resort to only when the “chips” are down.

Amit Amin, and many others, promote a daily gratitude journal, while Kristin Wong suggests making gratitude an item on your daily to-do- list. Whichever way you choose, get started. When you practice gratitude every day it becomes a part of your character and you will reap the benefits in all areas of your life.

Top 10 Rules for Personal Gratitude

Personal Gratitude – 10 ways

1 – The most basic level of gratitude, is to be grateful for your beating heart and the air you breathe.

2 – Appreciate your conscious thoughts and the senses of sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch.

3 – Be thankful for talents, skills and opportunities that provide you with income.

4 – Acknowledge your creator if you believe in one.  If not, recognize your place in the Universe.

5 – Contemplate each individual family member and express your gratitude to them often.

6 – Appreciate your extended family, special friends, mentors, co-workers and neighbors.

7 – Acknowledge the majesty of the Earth, the sky, and wildlife – natural beauty is a gift.

8 – Be thankful for your basic provisions – food, clothing, shelter and basic needs.

9 – Appreciate your parents if they are still living, if not, honor their memory.

10 – MOST IMPORTANTLY – Appreciate your life and take the best possible care of your health