Peggy Goodrich (column mug)ENE

Do you have an attitude of gratitude? Think about it.

When we were barely beginning to talk we were encouraged to say “thank you” and “please.” It hopefully has become a life-long habit. It just comes natural. But are we really grateful for the things people say and do for us?

I was taught, as everybody else was, to be grateful even for little things. Times were tight back when I was a kid, but we had no idea. We always had plenty to eat with enough left over to share with any company that dropped by or neighbors that were “on hard times.”

When we got hand-me-down clothes from cousins or church friends, we were always grateful. Mother was a stickler for having us wear clothes that fit, so she altered them so they were not too long or too short or too tight or too loose. She did not want us to look like little orphans.

That attitude of gratitude has followed me for all these years. When others complain about the weather, I try (but don’t always succeed) to be thankful that I live in Oklahoma where the weather changes by seasons and often. “If,” as Will Rogers said, “You don’t like the weather, just wait a minute.” It is a small thing, but it does show that a person is grateful for life and our world around us.

I was told by parents and Sunday school teachers that we need to be concerned lest the abundance of our blessings cause our gratitude to sink to the level of smug self-satisfaction. Gratitude that is worthy of the name must find expression in service. Are we grateful to the men who risk their lives to clear the ice off streets? Are we grateful to those who yield themselves to the monotony of the factory to provide our everyday conveniences? Do we have in mind those who provide the raw materials from which our necessities and luxuries are made? Do we appreciate the farmers? Train engineers? Construction people? School teachers? The list goes on and on. Are we grateful enough?

Even William Shakespeare, way back when, said “Oh Lord, that lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.” If we do not have an attitude of gratitude, we have missed one of the great feelings of living. There are two kinds of gratitude, the sudden kind we feel for what we take, and the larger kind we feel for what we give.

A dear friend gave me the precious little book, “Jesus Calling.” I read it every morning and feel like I am talking to my Lord and Savior. Last week, on one of those cold, cold days Jesus said to me, “Thank Me for the conditions that are requiring you to be still. Do not spoil these quiet hours by wishing them away, waiting impatiently to be active again. Search My way in the midst of these circumstances.”

I listened and have been at peace since reading these wise words. There is nothing as satisfying as being at peace with the world and with our Lord. Snow is nothing but an excuse to bask in His presence and be grateful for all our blessings.

We would only hope that our practical expression of gratitude makes us aware of the fact that as a stream cannot rise above its source, so the soul cannot rise above the quality of its gratitude. May we grow sensitive to every worthy effort of those who contribute to our welfare. May we reap the fruits of gratitude in enriched lives of service as we seek to make ourselves worthy of the kindness of others.

A dear friend told of a Thanksgiving Day when she was a small child. There were three or four children in the family and there was nothing in the house to eat, much less to make a Thanksgiving feast. Her neighbor brought over a sack of beans and some hog jowl for their dinner.

Alma said that was the best meal she ever tasted and many long years after that meal she was still expressing her gratitude. She had never forgotten that kindness. That story touched my heart and filled me with gratitude too. We never know how far-reaching a humble deed can go.

I dearly love going through Mother’s box of clippings on everything that is uplifting. One such snippet is on Gratitude/Thankfulness. It reads in part: “First among the things to be thankful for is a thankful spirit. Some people would grumble at the accommodations in Heaven (if they ever got there). They take their blessings here so much as a matter or course, that even a day of general thanksgiving once a year is more than they feel they need. Gratitude is the last thing they think of.”

Some people really desire to be thankful but they are naturally dependent. Their sky is so dark with clouds that they go through life with a depressed spirit, hoping things will turn out well yet fearful for the worst.

How different with the thankful heart. What a gift it is to be born with an outlook toward the bright side of things. And if not so by nature, what a triumph of grace to be made thankful through a renewed heart. It is so much more comfortable and rational to see what we have to be thankful for and to rejoice accordingly, than to have our vision forever filled with our lacks and our needs. Happy are they who possess a grateful heart. Blessings may fail and fortunes vary, but the thankful heart remains.

At my house there is no chicken like air fried chicken. We could eat it every day and be happy but a friend shared this recipe some time ago and it is so good for a change. I really like it and it is simpler than it sounds.

Cheesy Chicken

4 chicken breasts

salt and pepper to taste

whole or 2% milk, about 1/2 cup

flour to dredge

2 tubes Ritz Crackers, crushed fine (I used butter/garlic)

3 cups grated cheddar cheese

1 teaspoon dried parsley

Season chicken to taste. Roll in flour, then dip in milk, then dredge with cracker crumbs and put in sprayed, foil lined baking dish. Top with grated cheese and parsley. Cover tightly with foil and bake 35 to 40 minutes in 400- degree oven. Remove foil last 10 minutes of baking. (Note: I used 375-degree oven and baked 1 hour, as I had other things in the oven at the same time and it turned out great.)

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Goodrich writes a weekly column for the Enid News & Eagle​. Send your comments to: Peggy Goodrich, Food For Thought, P.O. Box 1192, Enid, OK 73702.

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