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An American History Lesson on Thanksgiving: Giving Thanks on This Day and Everyday

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Many know the legend of the First Thanksgiving. The post-harvest celebration of food, feasting, and praising God held by the American Pilgrims colonists first occurred in October 1621 and was not called Thanksgiving. It was a combined solemn ceremony consisting of a full day of prayer, worship and thanks to God and a couple days of entertaining the Indians who taught the Pilgrims to catch eel and grow corn, who probably would have perished without their help.

In October 1789, President George Washington declared his support for a day of "public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God."

But it was actually President Abraham Lincoln who permanently established the holiday. He did it partially to help soothe the national mood, which was weary of the Civil War. He declared Thanksgiving again for November 23, 1864. In 1865, his successor, Andrew Johnson, declared a Thanksgiving for December 7, 1865, and presidents traditionally declared a Thanksgiving for every autumn since. (Andrew Johnson was the first to give government employees the day off, making it a legal holiday.)

In 1941, Congress passed a bill, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed it, that fixed the date as the fourth Thursday in November. President Roosevelt attempted to move the holiday to the third Thursday in November, but Congress enacted a law to fix the date at the fourth Thursday in November, thus making it an "official" holiday. On November 26, 1941, President Roosevelt signed the bill.

But why only one day a year? Granted, this is a National Holiday. Why not show gratitude for all your blessings everyday?

We strive to do that in our family, though it can be challenging at times when running between work, school, activities, meetings, etc. Through all these hectic doings, we must remember to pause and be thankful for all that we have and all that we offer. We are so blessed!

So, we will start our Thanksgiving day this year celebrating the Eucharist at Mass and giving thanks to God. Then we'll take our side dishes and desserts to my parents for a wonderful feast with family. Thus creating new memories for which we can be grateful.

What are you grateful for? How will you spend your Thanksgiving day?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DOLPHINSINGER72 11/22/2012 12:22PM

    Lovely blog.

I will be going to Church. It is just my mom and dad right now, so we are going to go out to dinner at a really sweet little restaurant that we have been going to for years. The chef is from Switzerland and is really festive. He brings out his accordian and plays songs for us and we are always treated like family.

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HEYITSLISA 11/22/2012 10:17AM

    What a wonderful blog! I am thankful for too many things to list, not least of which is having all my husband, children, and father (along with assorted others) over to feast this evening. emoticon

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HISTORYRUNNER 11/21/2012 10:13PM

    First off, I'm thankful for your blog on the history and spirit of Thanksgiving. It is well timed, before we all get absorbed by the many activities of the holiday, and well aimed, showing the need to recall our blessings, and to make the practice of thankfulness a part of our daily life. Here's wishing you and yours a wonderful, grace-full Thanksgiving.

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Tuesday: Universal Children's Day

Monday, November 19, 2012

This day was initiated by the United Nations General Assembly in 1954. Let's observe a day of understanding between all the world's children and devotion to their needs.

Never forget, kids are kids, no matter where they live.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GAYLLYNNE 11/20/2012 6:58AM

    You bet!! I agree completely!

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JANTWO 11/20/2012 1:12AM

    Well said!!!!

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Today: I Thank ALL Veterans

Monday, November 12, 2012

Also celebrated as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in other parts of the world, today we observe and honor the more than 24 million military veterans in the United States. This National Holiday was established in 1919 by President Woodrow Wilson, who called for a day "filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory."

Another little known fact about this Veteran's Day 2012 is that this is the first year we don't have a veteran of WWI among us. Eventually that will also be the case for WWII veterans. So why not honor and thank them while we can.

Suggestions for ways you can show your appreciation to veterans all throughout the coming year:
o In 2013, attend the local Veteran's Day Parade in your community.
o If you are a business owner, make sure your next new hire is a veteran.
o If you have access to affordable housing, help a homeless veteran get off the streets.
o Buy a soft drink, cup of coffee or tank of gas for a serviceman in uniform at your next road stop.
o At the very least, just say "Thanks for your service" to a soldier passing you by on the street. It's not that difficult and I've done it often enough that it's second nature to me now.

You can also share a life-saving book with a recent veteran who is having a hard time returning to civilian life. A friend of mine, Michelle Matthews, a captain in the United States Army who also experienced combat in Iraq, has written a book, "Re-entry: Surviving Life After War--A Personal Story". Follow this title on Facebook or purchase the book at or I only wish my friend John had mentioned to my husband and I about his nephew, Ryan. He was a 22 year-old Army soldier who, upon returning from Afghanistan, was having a difficult time with his new life as a civilian. In August he took his own life.

In appreciation to all those unnamed service men and women, to my grandfathers, to my Dad, to my uncles, to Michelle, to Ryan, to my neighbors and classmates who all made sacrifices to join the armed forces so that we all may enjoy our freedom as a citizens of these United States of America, I thank you!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GAYLLYNNE 11/13/2012 6:39AM

    Wonderful blog. My heart is heavy.

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LYNNIERN 11/12/2012 9:32PM

    Once again, an excellent blog. I was sorry to read about your friend John's nephew. though, so tragic. emoticon

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LHLADY517 11/12/2012 7:34PM

    Same here.

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It's All Over But the Counting!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

I'm not alone in saying that this election year has taken it's toll on my patience. The smear campaigns fueled by negative television and radio ads are now in the scrap pile.

Thank goodness this is all over and we can go on to our regularly scheduled Tuesday, lifestyle and overall being.

Spark on...
~ Lynn

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LYNNIERN 11/11/2012 11:12AM

    Aren't you glad we can now go back to focusing on the really important stuff in life, like arguing over who is going to be in the BCS National Championship game? emoticon

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SCOOTDOG 11/7/2012 9:55PM


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GAYLLYNNE 11/7/2012 4:06PM

    I'm glad it's over too!!! I'm so tired of the negativity as well. Time to set aside differences and move forward.

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ANDROMEDA1967 11/7/2012 5:17AM

    I am glad it's over. In my opinion (I got the idea from someone else) they should limit the amount of time the candidates are actually allowed to run for president. Romney was campaigning for almost 2 years! That way, the can donate they money they save and put it towards decreasing the national deficit

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JANTWO 11/7/2012 12:23AM

    The phone calls got annoying too. It seemed like a LONG election period!!!!

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CJBAGGINS 11/6/2012 11:53PM

    Glad you will have no more ads for 4 years!


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CORTNEY-LEE 11/6/2012 11:51PM

    hopefully, I will be able to sleep in tomorrow (3rd shift worker here!) without some lame political advertisement waking me up at 8am when I got off work at 5!

So glad it is over... now my Facebook wall on the other hand... ugh

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NDTEACHER1 11/6/2012 11:29PM

    Terrible vicious ads in our state and the one who was the ugliest actually won. Our state is becoming like the others and dear Lord we are in trouble, we have turned our back on God.

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UMUCGRAD 11/6/2012 10:37PM

    CBS News Channel 9 in our area announced that it has run its last campaign commercial tonight. Hallelujah!

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LIBBYL1 11/6/2012 10:22PM

  I don't come from or live in the US (live in South Africa) and your election dominates our news. Great to read how it affects people in the US!

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Say "Bye, Bye" to the Dictionary as We Know It

Monday, November 05, 2012

Today I heard a news story that really saddened me. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary as we know it will no longer be published in printed format. After this run of the 2012 copyright edition, all dictionaries from the No 1 publisher in this arena will be available online only.

That's not only sad, but rather disappointing to me as a parent who recently introduced my 2nd grader to how to use this wonderful educational tool.

I seem to recall that the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary was a required book purchase for all incoming freshman when I went away to college. Between my husband and I we have five hardcover dictionaries in our family library. We will not soon discard these copies now that I know they are being discontinued.

When I was a child, my most influential grammar school English teacher almost always answered our questions with "Look it up in the dictionary." Now I find myself instead saying to my child, "Well, I don't know. Let's look it up on the Internet." Maybe I'm to blame for this situation.

If you can't live without the printed version of the dictionary, I suggest you hold on to your Merriam-Webster with all your might! Either they will go up dramatically in value or will be found at your local book fair for pennies. Only time will tell.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MAMALAMA70 11/12/2012 7:20PM

    Wow, that's awful. I see people moving further and further away from things like dictionaries, thesauruses and encyclopedias now that most people have internet access just about everywhere. When I told my 12 year old daughter's school counselor that I was concerned that her spelling skills weren't as strong as they ought to be, she told me that "schools don't really push spelling anymore, because now kids have access to computers that spell check for them". I was horrified. Thanks for the head's up...we have several dictionaries around here, but I want to have a couple of extras for back up now.

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SUNSET09 11/8/2012 7:52AM

  Wow! Who would have thunk it!?!??! Where are we heading?!?! Such a sad state of affairs, however this is the world we live in. Thanx so much for sharing! emoticon emoticon

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CJBAGGINS 11/6/2012 11:57PM

    This makes me sad as well. I am a writer, and next to my Thesaurus, my dictionary is the most used book I own!

I teach English to Immigrant and International students at my school. They have all sorts of fancy, usually on-line, translators and dictionaries with them in our lessons. I often race them to see who can look up an unknown word faster (me in my handy-dandy large Oxford dictionary, they on their new-fangled contraptions). I usually win!


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LYNNIERN 11/6/2012 7:52AM

    Wow, the end of an era. Thank you for sharing this information, I think I'll get my self a new hard copy before I can't!

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SVELTEWARRIOR 11/6/2012 12:32AM

    It is indeed a sad thing!!!

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SCOOTDOG 11/5/2012 11:14PM

    Had no idea. Use my dictionary a lot, to one real soonme it's faster than using internet. Mine is in pretty bad shape. Guess better get a new

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GAYLLYNNE 11/5/2012 6:07PM

    Wow, that's amazing. Life sure is different now than when we were kids. Funny thing is that I was badly affected by Sandy and after over a week, finally got my power back. Wonder what we would have done if we needed the dictionary for some school work. I think everyone should have a dictionary in their homes!!!

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CHIRORENGO 11/5/2012 4:13PM

    I can't believe this. Thank you so much for sharing. I too absolutely love LOVE LOOOOOVE my dictionary. I cannot imagine growing up without having one. There is something different about turning the pages of a book. I would go to look up one word and wind up reading and learning new words and definitions in the process. This is a sad time indeed. I will most certainly pick up a new copy. Thanks for the info.

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FUSIONFITNESS3 11/5/2012 3:39PM

    What a shock. Wasn't ready for that. Saddened like many of you have expressed. I'm hanging onto to mine as tattered and worn as it is.

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DLDMIL 11/5/2012 1:57PM

    emoticon sad to see it go. I will need to go out and buy another one to keep on hand for the grand kids emoticon .

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THINAGIN2 11/5/2012 1:07PM

    I was thinking about books in general just the other day when I went to the library. With the I-Pads, Kindle and all of the other reading devices that we have today, how long do you think the printed word will survive? It's a shame, I think!

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DOLPHINSINGER72 11/5/2012 1:02PM

    Wow, this does indeed make me very sad. Thank you for letting us know. My last copy, with the red cover fell apart I used it so much. I am going to go get another one and cherish it.

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