DIANE MAKAR MURPHY Giving thanks for family, country, life and God

One Thanksgiving, I asked John and the kids to make a list of what they were thankful for.
Before dinner, the first reluctant orator spoke: "I'm thankful for my mom, dad, brother and Zeke [our dog]."
The gauntlet passed to the next diner. "I'm thankful for my mom, dad, and sister."
Neither John nor I did much better. "I'm thankful for my kids and my wife [or husband]," we said alternately.
It was one of those idea balloons that, while it doesn't exactly pop and drop, never quite takes flight.
I'd like to do it again though, today. Mark Twain wryly noted that the pilgrims saw fit to be thankful "annually, not oftener." Let's not be guilty of even less public appreciation!
My thanksgiving list:
UI am thankful for a husband who is a good man, who puts up with me with love and understanding, and a healthy dose of forgiveness. (Here are some things I've NEVER heard John say: "Why isn't dinner on the table?" "This house is a mess." "Why are you late?" "What did you do THAT for?" "What on earth were you thinking?" "Why did you spend money on that?" These are all sentences he HAS heard ME say, I am ashamed to admit.)
UI am grateful for a son who has grown up straight and tall and intelligent, with a good heart, an honest soul and the ability to fill a house with laughter. What mother could ask for more? (I would go on, but even this will invade my teen-ager's sense of privacy.)
UI am glad for a daughter who has humor and beauty, kindness and intelligence, who I was lucky enough to spend almost three years homeschooling. (One neighbor used to call her an angel and I know why.)
UI am amazingly thankful to live in America, to be a woman with a career and a family, with the right to vote, to speak my mind, to write what I think.
UI am thankful to be able to go into a supermarket and curse the high prices, while at the same time seeing shelf upon shelf of products I can choose from. (I often recall the long lines in Russia as people waited to buy just one product.)
UI am thankful for the youth of today. Despite all the negative press, there are so many who are wonderful, belong to service organizations, volunteer, and care.
Examples: Just a couple of weeks ago, I went to Boardman High and saw a big dance in the cafeteria. Everyone was dancing to the Village People classic "YMCA." The "guests," I discovered, were slow learners and the hosts were student volunteers.
A week before that, I was waiting on line at Movies 8. In front of me was a tall, slim young man caring for several mentally retarded adults. Not one was taller than his chest.
A little woman in his care wandered over toward a girl standing with her mother. The child was probably no more than 13. When this strange little woman toddled up to her, the girl took a step back. Then, almost instantaneously, she took a step forward. She reached down and zipped the little woman's winter jacket. It took that lovely child no more than a second to replace her fear with caring. Some people may be afraid for our future, but I am not. Not with youth like that...
UI am thankful for a dog that keeps me constantly aware that I must better develop the virtue of patience.
UI am grateful that God gives each of us so many opportunities to get it right.
UI am thankful for the smiles that come so easily to strangers' lips when I take the time to see them and say "Hello."
UI am thankful for God's canvas -- heaven and earth, man and beast -- a work no artist has yet, or ever will rival.
UI am thankful for the daily sunrise that reminds me I have yet another chance to get it right.
Depending on the time of year, most days I like myself... and I'm thankful for that.

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