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Cultivating Thankfulness With 5 Kernels Of Corn

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Give Thanks

Give Thanks

Give Thanks

Five Kernels of Corn

When the first Pilgrims landed on the shores of America, they were poorly prepared for life in the wilderness of the North American continent. They came at a time unfavorable for surviving as a new colony.

The Pilgrims were willing to risk all to find a place where they could worship God freely according to their convictions, but they had no real idea of what the cost for such a risk involved. Only half of the original Mayflower passengers survived their first winter.

It was in the winter of 1623, during the "starving Time", that the tradition of the five kernels of corn found its root. It was during that time that the rations for the new settlers were reduced to the barest minimum, when many of their meals consisted of this parsimonious amount of grain.

And yet they were thankful.

Without the help of the Native peoples of this new land they could not have survived. The Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared a feast after the first harvest, and that marked a common center of what was to come.

American history illustrates both the capacity we have for thankfulness and generosity, and how quickly and cruelly we can forget our debt of gratefulness. The holiday of Thanksgiving is one day of the year we are to remind ourselves of how dependent we were, and are, on God's bounty and blessings, and the people through whom we receive kindness and support.

Much later in our history, Thanksgiving became a nationally recognized holiday whose general purpose is to give thanks for the many blessings enjoyed throughout the year.


Ideas To Cultivate Gratefulness

Try some of these ways to increase your own, and your family's sense of thankfulness and appreciation

The corn cob, and corn kernels are an important part of the Thanksgiving history. Corn was the lifesaving grain that the Indians provided the Pilgrims both to eat and to learn to grow. A fitting table decoration for the holiday.

Ways to Show Thankfulness


Zenhabits posted a list of practical ways to show your thankfulness to others. First on the list was "Create a 'Gratitude Ritual'". Simply taking the time to meditate on things you are grateful for, it is a form of "Count your many Blessings, Name them one by one", as the old song goes. Take a look at the list, then visit the original post for details of how to incorporate each into your life.

10 Ways to Show You Are Grateful

  1. Create a Gratitude Ritual.
  2. Send a thank-you note.
  3. Give a hug.
  4. Say a prayer of thanks.
  5. Do someone a free favor.
  6. Give a small gift.
  7. Make a list of things you are thankful for about a person and give it to them.
  8. Acknowledge the person publicly.
  9. Surprise them with kindness.
  10. Give thanks for the negatives.

There it is- a list most of us think about in bits and pieces, but done with intent, that list could transform our corner of the world.

It is the small things...

It is often the small act of kindness that makes the big impact in a person's life. Don't overlook opportunities to express thanks this season.

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You can...

Send a bouquet of flowers.

Make a handmade card.

Bake homemade cookies from scratch for someone.

Give a phone call "just because".

The common factor is to lavish a little of yourself and your time on the person.

Spiritual Ways to Show Thankfulness to God.

Freedom From Want

"Freedom From Want" Spending time around the family table with a feast is one way to recognize the many blessings we are given.

"Freedom From Want" Spending time around the family table with a feast is one way to recognize the many blessings we are given.

Count Your Many Blessings

It might seem a cliché, but this truth of counting ones blessings to impress a feeling of gratefulness upon my soul has only grown stronger and deeper through the years.

In fact, in my own life I have come to see that it is a lack of gratefulness and the neglect of expressing it that underlies many of life's problems. We forget how good we have it. We forget the sacrifices of others to bless us with plenty. We forget our peace and plenty and are in danger of losing it.

I have been cultivating this habit of expression in rebuilding relationships, but how much have I lost through the years that were bereft of sufficient amounts of showing affirmation and speaking thanks to those around me? I must release those regrets and simply turn my gaze towards the sowing of such acts today.

I have hope of a good harvest from those seeds of spoken thanks, and attitudes of gratefulness.

This Day Is Set Aside For Just Such an Expression

Part of giving thanks on Thanksgiving Day involves that act of counting our blessings. In America we have been blessed with plenty. And not least of our blessings are those very precious privileges of personal freedoms. The Pilgrims came to a new land hoping to be free to worship God according to their conscience. The America of today is a place, one of the few in the world, where that freedom is vouchsafed to every citizen.

The Pilgrims

Native Americans

Blessings of Plenty

Plenty of food fills our groceries and, for most of us, ladens our tables. In our celebrations one way to show thankfulness is to share the bounty. Consider donations to your neighborhood food banks at this time. They often run low in supplies and welcome canned good or financial donations.

Blessings of Friends and Family

Love is abundantly available. We experience peace and plenty in our land, and there are so many relationships that we can cultivate and benefit from. Count the blessings of those people in your life, and choose to be a blessing in theirs.

Extend invitations to those who may be alone during the holiday. Make a place at your table.

Blessings of Opportunity

Every day we draw a breath is filled with opportunities. Opportunities of love, of progress, of meaning, of contributing something of worth and benefit in the world. That is a great, great blessing.

Make a determination to make the best of the opportunity given you. Volunteer your time to help others, if that is possible. Encourage others to make use of, and be thankful for opportunities in their life.

Blessings of Privilege

Privilege is different from rights. We are a privileged people, to have so much afforded us governmentally, economically ( yes,even in these times), socially. We have made strides as a people and that is something to be grateful for, as women or people of color we enjoy the privileges that cost someone in the past for what we now enjoy. Let's be thankful for them, and for what they helped us enjoy today.

Blessings of Our Nation

Freedom is precious. Freedom is rare, and Freedom is something we are blessed with in our nation. Despite all the problems, faults and inequities, as a nation we have more of everything good and blessed than almost any other nation in the world. That is something to be grateful for.

Make sure you do all to vouchsafe the freedoms and responsibilities of that freedom in our country.

The Thanksgiving Holiday - Americans officially give thanks.

Grandma Moses paints Thanksgiving Day

Grandma Moses paints Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Celebration ideas

The Offical Thanksgiving Holiday

The observance of a Thanksgiving was an annual custom in the 17th century, it was one of the earliest holidays recognized when in 1777 the Continental Congress declared a holiday following the Patriot victory at Saratoga. The date of that "solemn day" of Thanksgiving fell on December 18.

President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving to fall on the last Thursday of November in 1863.

Thanksgiving Quotes

Art by Grandma Moses. See her holiday paintings.

Thanksgiving - Fun and Games

Thanksgiving time is one of the main holidays when many families gather together. That is becoming an increasingly rare event nowadays. And although each family has its traditional activities ( or naps, as the case may be) that occur after the main meal, why not add something new?

We tried a game of family questions boxed in a similar way to the one featured here. This box of conversation starters is compiled with a Thanksgiving theme. Despite initial groans, soon everyone was engaged in sharing a little more of themselves and listening to the people who they thought they knew so well. It was a fun time for all.

And it is those moments that build good family memories.

A Tradition For Your Family

Thanksgiving Trivia - Being Thankful

Learned from the American Natives

Corn, beans, and squash are "the three sisters".

Native tribes taught the first colonists how to grow and harvest food in their new land. The "Three Sisters" method was among the ways the Pilgrims learned to grow their food.

"Be of good cheer, my brother, for I feel the bottom, and it is sound."

~Mr. Hopeful, in Pilgrim's Progress

Bunyon's 'Pilgrim's Progress' is one of the classics in literature. It was important in the training of Christian minds in the Puritan ideals.

Still read, its allegorical style serves to impart theological teaching in a story form.

Thankful for the Turkey Dinner - and the caring people who gather together



One of the wonderful things I notice happening on this holiday is the generosity and the compassionate outreach that many people participate in to give a real Thanksgiving to those who are less fortunate. I believe this is an important corollary to thankfulness. When you are truly grateful it engenders a desire to share with others and to reach out to give a little of that surplus to others.

I love the community meals that many gladly put together to feed a turkey dinner with all the trimmings for others.

I love the loving and comforting Thanksgiving meals that are served to those who must spend their holiday far from their country and loved ones in the armed services.

I'm thankful for all those generous hearts. If you know of such outreaches in your community, please support them.

I cannot give thee less, to be called grateful.

Thou thought'st to help me, and such thanks I give

As one near death to those that wish him live.

~William Shakespeare, All's Well That Ends Well

Make someone very thankful by bringing a hospitality gift

Show your appreciation when invited to someone's home for the holiday by bringing a small gift.

Show your appreciation when invited to someone's home for the holiday by bringing a small gift.

Thankful People - Share what you are most grateful for today

Ilona E (author) from Ohio on November 05, 2011:

@waldenthreenet: thank you for your kind words- I am eager to check out your lens!

waldenthreenet on November 05, 2011:

This is an excellent lens and a wonderful value to friends, family and visitors. Thank you so much. My topic for Thanksgiving is complimentary to yours, but yours is a unique and precicous topic, "Thankfulness" ! I am enrichmed by your inspiring discussion.

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