Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. – Philippians 4:6

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Gimme some more of those mashed potatoes ‘n heap on the gravy,” I begged as a skinny kid. I then loaded up on turkey and dressing – mounds of it. Topping it off with pumpkin pie and lots of whipped cream (to kill the taste of the pumpkin), I went through another Thanksgiving dinner. But, as a kid, I gained not an ounce.

Well, those days are long gone! As an adult, I’ve gone through too many Thanksgivings where I actually laid on the floor – groaning. Stomach overload.

It finally dawned on me that it’s supposed to be a day of Thanksgiving, rather than stuffing – that’s for the turkey.

Hans Selye was an Eastern European physician, who discovered the correlation between our physical bodies and stress. “One of the greatest stress relievers,” he reasoned, “is to have a grateful heart.” Interesting, God recorded that theory several thousand years earlier — “In everything give thanks.”
(II Thessalonians 5:18)

A few years back I received a wonderful idea to help my journey toward being grateful. I say the ABCs and list one attribute of God in praise. Here’s an example:
“I thank You, Father, because You are:

A. Awesome,
B. a God of bounty,
C. Care for me,
D. my Defender,
E. Eternal,
F. my friend . . . “

I continue through the alphabet and end the praise with, “You are the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End.” A grateful heart begins to emerge – one of thanksgiving and one in which food is secondary.

Think on these things:
Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute . . . ” Philippians 4:8

It was our first Thanksgiving alone. My former husband had left the marriage for someone else, and our extended family was out of town. I was feeling sorry for myself. Big time!

Fixing a yummy Thanksgiving dinner, my daughter and I invited students from the nearby Christian University, even pulled one young man from the dorms to fill our table. None of us knew each other. Sitting down rather stiffly amid the china and crystal, at a table laden with food, the blessing was offered.

Now,” I suggested, “we’re going to tell stories of thankfulness.” Here’s how it goes – start out the story by saying, “I’m so thankful I never got caught the time I . . .” . As tales of childhood antics emerged, raucous laughter filled the room. We were soon well acquainted and the afternoon was filled with fun.

Okay, who’s hungry?” I asked later in the evening. Putting the turkey and dressing on the stove top, I urged, “Dig in and pick this sucker clean.” They needed no second invitation. Laughing, they used the digits on the end of their hands.

We learned that every student guest was an M.K. (missionary kid) – continents away from family.

Overeating took a back seat that year — a thankful heart took over.