Good morning everyone, and thank you all for stopping by to the weekly feature on the Guide that I have been running for the last eight weeks.  It has truly been an adventure to go through all of the last eight weeks with you in the 70 Days of Thankfulness, recounting things I am thankful for.  This will be the last full week of entries as the last week will only be five entries culminating in Thanksgiving.  I just want to say I have appreciated all of your input and interest in this series.  This has changed how I have viewed things most certainly in my life.

But as many of you may know, sometimes life makes things come to a grinding halt.  It’s kind of put me in a bit of a brain fog.  And so I have tried to keep up the writing while sometimes taking five times as long as I was previously to put together a blog post.  But without this, I am not sure where I would be.  And so today I begin, thankful for another week able to do the thankfulness posts as we have reached 70 Days of Thankfulness Week Nine.

For those of you who are new, I began the 70 Days of Thankfulness Nine weeks ago with a singular thought: how could we promote more happiness in the world?  With so many friends and people out there at each other’s throats, I wanted to find a way for people to be loving towards each other, as well as find some amount of happiness within their own lives.  And as I began doing research about this one thing kept being repeated by almost all people, be they philosophers, psychologists or your average trucker on the street.  In order to be happy, you had to be grateful for the things you had in your life.

So I figured I would start listing the things for which I was thankful.  This began with some of the very basic things in life like parents, family, and friends.  (Oh and David Lynch.)  Then it moved to more complex concepts like freedom, light, and community.  Some weeks had themes in them.  Some weeks I responded to what was going on in my life.  But every week was a reminder to myself, and hopefully to those of you who follow me, to be thankful for what you have around you.

This meant that last week, I heavily focused on things that related to my father.  For those of you who wish to send thoughts, prayers, or just positive vibes, they are all greatly appreciated.  My father needs heart surgery and I cannot tell you how nervous this makes me.  On top of which, the doctors said he needed it right away, but due to some clearance he needs, and the holidays, they are looking to doing it after Thanksgiving.  And every day counts.

But this week, as we head into the holiday season directly, I wanted to go back to focusing on the holidays.  These days we choose to set apart as a community to remember and celebrate the things in our lives.  This can mean loved ones, pets, or just one’s health.  Friendships can be rekindled.  And loves we thought were lost can be found.  With one and a half weeks left, we at the Guide remember what we are thankful for and celebrate with 70 Days of Thankfulness, week nine.

70 Days Of Thankfulness – Week Nine

59) I am thankful for candles.

This is a weird thing for a guy to say, I suppose.  But candles (or torches) were one of the first things we had to bring light into our existence.  But there is something about candlelight that makes it more amazing than even the soft lights we can get for our rooms.  Something about the artificial nature of those lights makes it less.  Also, candles glow in a way that nothing else can.  And, if that weren’t enough of a reason to love them, candles can bring beautiful smells into your house as well.  I think regular candles smell lovely.  But add some pumpkin, or other spices to a candle and it makes the whole house warm and inviting.

60) I am thankful for charities.

We cannot all volunteer our time to go help out those in the direst of need.  But there are a ton of organizations out there who need your help.  As for my family, the American Cancer Society tops the list.  This has to do with my brother-in-law passing from cancer when he was only 22.  We believe in supporting groups which help fund research and help families who cannot afford the expensive treatments available to those with this terrible illness.  To us, we would help in whatever way we can.  For years we used to have a day with a bunch of tribute bands who would donate their time and efforts to raise money.  And then we would participate in Relay for Life events in the summer, primarily in our hometown.

But the American Cancer Society is just one group in a litany of all kinds of non-profit charities whose money goes to support all kinds of families and all kinds of situations.  If you want to help donate to the hurricane victims, check out your local Red Cross for how you can help.  Or go to Eventbrite and type in the name of your favorite charity.  In addition, they have created a list of other ways to create charitable opportunities.  They are bound to have some event or activity you can participate in whose funds go to these amazing groups doing amazing work.  Helping others is a gift in itself.  I guarantee you will feel better and happier for having done something.

61) I am thankful for Charles Dickens / A Christmas Carol.

Charles Dickens believed in helping out the least among us.  Far too often we can be caught up in our own little world, not thinking about or actively avoiding thought about those who are struggling around us.  Not everyone can contribute.  But for those who can afford to, the blessings you receive are innumerable.  And the man who showed this to us the most succinctly was Charles Dickens, in his story A Christmas Carol.

Marley may have been dead as a doornail.  And possibly, no one could have argued this point.  But Scrooge was not.  He had wealth beyond his ability to spend it.  And what Dickens taught us has sent blessings down through the ages.  Because he exemplifies how blessed it is to give than to receive.  And he showed us how much community we lose out on when we focus on ourselves instead of others.  It’s definitely a timeless classic.

62) I am thankful for board games.

I know this seems a little strange.  But hear me out.  Games are something you cannot play by yourself unless they are video games.  Board games you play with other people.  You have to spend time with them.  You have to talk, interact, and engage with them.  Sometimes this means you are partnering up with them.  At other times, you are competing against them.  But you are always engaged and always developing and growing your relationships with others.  It teaches you how to win.  It also teaches you how to lose.  These are important life lessons games help you develop at an early age.

63) I am thankful for airplanes.

So many different times in my life I have been away from my family and had to get back to them from long distances.  And every one of those times I was able to get on an airplane and get home.  Airplanes bring the world together in a way few things have.  They interconnect continents and families.  All the while I say this to you as a person who hates flying in airplanes.  I can know they are safer than cars statistically speaking.  That doesn’t mean I feel safe in them.  But they do bring people together.  And for the many times it brought me back to my family, I am eternally grateful.

64) I am thankful for laughter.

Maybe I could be a little more nuanced than this.  But seriously, laughter lifts the spirits of everyone.  And my daughter’s laughter brings joy to my heart in a way I cannot express.  This means that jokes, funny stories, amusing anecdotes or even the good pun can bring a laugh.  And this laugh has the contagiousness of a yawn or flu.  You cannot help be but moved by it.  Laughter brings joy, lightens moods, lessens tensions and just makes the world a better place.  What would the world be like without the sound of laughter?  I really do not want to know.

65) I am thankful for tears.

This does kind of contradict the last one.  But really all emotions we have in life are necessary and help us fulfill some deeper need.  One of the biggest needs we have is release.  Sometimes this ends up in laughter, but often that comes forced.  With tears, nothing comes forced.  In tears, we let out hurt, frustration, pain, loss, anger, and sometimes joy.  We allow the deep feelings to come out when we express our tears.  If we never had the tears, the pent-up frustrations would eat us up inside.  I do not say having tears eliminates problems.  But without them, I can guarantee you we would have more.  I am grateful I have an outlet to do this.

Continue The Conversation –

As always, I would love to hear from you what kinds of things you are thankful for this week.  What kinds of things do you think about when you think about the Holidays?  What is your favorite holiday?  And what do you particularly like about that holiday?  My favorite is the Fourth of July.

Like / Follow Me

If you liked this post, please click the like button at the end, and definitely check out some of my other Days of Thankfulness posts.  Plus follow me here at the Guide.  All followers through email will get a password to the Dad Rules.  These are ten rules every father should know about and follow.  Thanks for stopping by once again.  And don’t forget next week which will culminate the Days of Thankfulness series for this year.  Thank you all for participating.

Until next time, this is me signing off.

David Elliott, Single Dad’s Guide to Life