The world is totally different, even though it looks exactly the same.

Thanksgiving Blessings BlogI pulled out the Thanksgiving decorations and planned the menu. I invited my brother-in-law and cleaned the holiday dishes. I prepared a centerpiece and baked the pumpkin pie. I made the pine-cone turkey place settings that have adorned our holiday table since the girls were little.

Everything was the same as all the other Thanksgivings, yet everything was totally different. In a somber mood, I sat down to read through Neil’s Caring Bridge website from last year.
I found this post I wrote last Thanksgiving:

November 27, 2014
So much to be grateful for this year!
More than I can ever list, but especially our four beautiful daughters; our sweet Grammy; our sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews and all our relatives; all of you reading tonight and your heartfelt prayers being said for us every day; the food on our table this afternoon and all the food shared by our generous friends and neighbors each week; our nice warm home, full of the love and joy and memories of our family; and most of all, that we had this special day to share.
Thank you so much, dear God.

I found great jokes like this from my nephew Sean:

Why can’t you hear a pterodactyl in the bathroom?
Because it has a silent pee!

I found kind words from friends and family living close and far:

Rest, pray, heal, and just enjoy the family — just remember its okay to have those bad
days when you look up to the heavens and yell “really?!” Keep talking to God – keep
yelling, crying, leaning on him when you need to –even Jesus wept. Please remember we (though far away) are also – yelling, crying and on bended knee praying. There may be many, many, many miles separating us — but you are always close to our thoughts and prayers —and I know God is looking down on your family with a tear in His eye, and saying – can you hold on for just a little bit more?
—Karen Weber

                 And most of all I found our story again, and all the pain and joy and agony     and peace that makes up life.

Every one of us has lost something or someone since last year, I can guarantee it. But we have all gained something, too. I have gained the peace of knowing my husband is not in pain, or short of breath, that he is up in heaven having a beer and pumpkin pie with Jesus and my Nana. I have gained the extra moments in my day to enjoy solitude and quiet, to write and read, to pray and walk. Don’t get me wrong, I would trade all those in a heartbeat to have my husband back alive and well, but I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen. Best I can do is appreciate what I do have, and thank God for all my many blessings, not just at Thanksgiving, but every day.

So remember, enjoy your blessings today; they are not yours to keep forever.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we shall go into such and such a town, spend a year there doing business, and make a profit” – you have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow. You are like a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears. Instead you should say, “If the Lord wills it, we shall live to do this or that” (James: 4:13-15).


  1. Thank you, Colleen, for sharing your heart with us and, by doing so, reminding us of such important lessons. Over the last few years I’ve learned to be more thankful for the many graces I receive everyday, but I still often forget, take things for granted, and need to be reminded-and that’s what you do so beautifully. You’re a real gift to others.

  2. Colleen…Thank you for opening your heart to all of us who call you our friend this Thanksgiving. Reading and studying your words each time you post helps me to be able to plant my old feet just a bit more firmly on this transient ground with more gratitude and caring for others. God has given you a treasured gift for words of which your friends and family are the recipients. We give thanks to Him and to you for sharing this gift with us. I feel so fortunate to be able to call you my doctor but also my friend. My love and hugs go out to you at this the season to give thanks. Genie

  3. Thank you all for your kind words. It is good for me to write my thoughts down and sort through them, especially since doing that might help one of you. Keep reading and please share with anyone who might need it!

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