Monday, November 21, 2011

Gratitude, Grins, and Groaners

Thought for the day:  Gratitude is an attitude.

But it just isn't fair. When you get to be as old as I am, this simply shouldn't happen. The wrinkles, sags, and extra beef on the booty? Yeah, comes with the territory, and I expected it. No biggie.

But THIS????

Really? You've gotta be kidding me.

A ZIT? Right on the tip of my nose? Not just a polite little white pimple, either. This proud puppy looks like it's ticked off at the world, and to tell ya the truth, if it gets much bigger, it may qualify for its own zip code.  It's ... it's ... well, it's just plain UNDIGNIFIED is what it is. Not at ALL grandmotherly looking.

Oh well, if nothing else, this thing should help keep me humble, right? I mean, it's hard to get too full of myself when there's a flipping  horn growing out of my nose. Ah, what the heck? I've always liked unicorns.


Psychotherapist and radio talk show host Dr. Laura used to say, Gratitude is an attitude. Whether you like her or not, I think she was right about that. ( I don't have to rejoice over the zit, but I can certainly be grateful for the nose it's growing on, right?)

The most memorable lesson I ever received about gratitude came from the book The Hiding Place. 

Written by Corrie ten Boom, who died in 1983, this book tells the tale of how she and her Christian family hid Jews in their home, and then ended up in a concentration camp for their efforts. While she was interred, in spite of the deplorable living conditions and atrocities on every side, her faith remained strong. In fact, she embraced a Bible verse about "giving thanks for all things." So one of the things she prayed for? One of the all things for which she gave heartfelt thanks every day?

She gave thanks for the fleas.

Yes, the fleas. Can you imagine? The infestation in her tent was so bad, the guards refused to enter it. And because they stayed away, she was able to hold Bible studies in there, and to pray in peace.

There's something terribly humbling about the image of someone expressing sincere gratitude for something as vile and loathsome as fleas, isn't there?  Kinda puts things in perspective. Every time I start to feel a little ungrateful for something petty like this stupid pimple, I think of those fleas. And I make a conscious effort to ratchet up the gratitude. Come to think of it, maybe this gigantic pimple is intended to remind me of my gigantic blessings. And just in time for Thanksgiving, too.

Okay, how about some silly Thanksgiving riddles? Ready? Here goes.

  • What sort of glass should you use to serve cream of turkey soup? A goblet.
  • What's Alan Alda's favorite Thanksgiving dish?  M*A*S*Hed potatoes.
  • What do you call sweet potatoes that are very outspoken? Candid yams.
  • If I have relatives with Mohawk haircuts, multiple facial piercings, and a bunch of tattoos, what should I serve them for dessert? Punk kin pie.
  • Not only was my neighbor's turkey infected with salmonella, but she undercooked it.  Guess what all her guests suffered the next day? Yup, 'fraid so. The turkey trots.
  • The local restaurant served overcooked turkey, lumpy gravy, and cold mashed potatoes. Know how they advertised it? As the blooperplate special.
  • NYC is placing tall bleachers up and down Broadway so spectators can get a better view of what slightly renamed event? The May See Parade.
  • What famous play about a Thanksgiving turkey was written by Henrik Ibsen? Hedda Gobbler. 
Okay, enough groaners for now. Time to go spackle my nose with Noxzema, and try to get rid of this thing before I have to name it. (Hmmm, think we could claim it as a dependent?) And count my blessings. Care to join me? Check out this video  It'll put ya in the right mood.

Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.


  1. A good part of my enjoyment as a teenager came from popping zits, sad to say thats still the case.

    Yes, the fleas. Can you imagine?

    God works in mysterious way, and I do believe he/she has a sense of humor at times.

  2. Corrie ten Boom was an amazing woman and an inspiration.

    I needed to read this today, because I was whining about the 4 hours of parent conferences I have to do tonight. I ought to be grateful I have a job.

  3. I'm always terrified at Christmas when I cook the turkey that someone will get sick. It hasn't happened yet but....

  4. I needed this today too. I'm getting overwhelmed and need to just relax and be happy I've got what I've got. Thanks Susan.

  5. I hear ya on the zit. It's just plain not fair to still get them after you've reached the gray hair stage of life.

    Corrie ten Boom was truly an amazing woman.

    And thanks for your groaners -- love them!

  6. Having a pimple is a good sign. It shows you still have a hormone or two left. At our point in life that is something for which to be grateful. Wear it with pride.

  7. I woke up this morning with a pimple on my chin. Thank you for reminding me there are worse things to have :-)

  8. Hedda Gobbler?? GROAN!! I'll overlook the whole zit thing if you don't mind. It's hard for me to keep zits and Thanksgiving dinner in the same thought room.

  9. Susan LOLOLOLOL! And that was just what I needed in FIL recovery mode. Maybe you could be a clown for your turkey dinner... No? :D

  10. Hi, All, Thank you so much for your comments.

    B.B.- Oh, absolutely. I'm positive God has a sense of humor, and what's more, I believe laughter is good for the soul. (Like exercising on the inside)

    Dianne- She led an amazing life, and her books are truly inspirational.

    Delores- Never fear. We've cooked enough birds by now, I think we've got it down pat.

    Austan- Glad to help. I think we all get hung up on the negatives sometimes.

    Linda- You've got that right! (Although I kinda exaggerated, like a WHOLE LOT, about the zit. Writer's perogative, right?)

    Arleen- Well, to tell the truth, it was only a little zit, and it's already gone, so maybe I've got half a hormone?

    Sarah- My pleasure.

    Mr. C- Better watch out; I've got a lot more groaners in reserve. (I'm even WORSE after a glass of wine ...)

    Carrie- Hey, I'm a clown EVERY meal!

  11. Yeah...those zits are weird. They take a 40 year hiatus then show up (mine made an appearance with hot flashes). Let's blame it on eating too much chocolate. Thanks for the reminder that it's all relative and will pass into something else.

  12. Hi, Barb. Thanks for stopping by. I dunno; I don't think I eat nearly ENOUGH chocolate ... (Is there even such a thing??) Time to go check out your blog, now. (One good turn deserves another.)

  13. It's always good to put things in perspective. Mrs. ten Boom was quite a lady. I'll have to check out her book.

  14. This post is so touching that I've decided to read it in 2 parts. Corrie ten Boom's story about risking her life and then being "thankful for the fleas," is so incredible that I will sacrifice at least 15 minutes of complaining over the holiday. Then I will return to the rest of your post ready for laughter. Happy Thanksgiving Susan! Julie

  15. Hi, Liz. All her books are amazing, but "The Hiding Place" is my favorite. Not only does it depict faith and gratitude in action, but it does so with humility.

    Julie- You're right; her tale is incredibly touching. It's probably been forty years since I read that book, but I'll never forget the part about her "being thankful for the fleas." And a very happy Thanksgiving to you, too.