Thanksgiving–Speaking Gratitude to God and Others

I’m the kind of person who feels deeply. And I love words. But I don’t always express my gratitude to God and others.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend in small group posed a question.

“What if all we had tomorrow was what we’d thanked God for today?”


My heart stretched uncomfortably.

I fidgeted in my chair and glanced around the room and wondered if everyone else felt the same way I did.

Sometimes I let problems overshadow my gratitude. I doubt God’s goodness. His faithfulness. 

I focus on the physical world and forget the supernatural world. I forget we have a God who is Lord over all, and He knows best. 

I withhold gratitude. 

The next morning, I filled pages in my prayer journal. I had a lot of catching up to do. I thanked Him for my coffee, my Bible, my reading glasses, 56 years of life.

I thanked Him for “blog readers who’ve become my friends.” It’s miraculous when God brings people into divine relationships, isn’t it?

I thought about how my husband Rick and I’ve been married for almost 38 years.

Later that day, I made a list for Thanksgiving. Could I praise God with our table decorations? I wanted something rustic and woodsy. I found an idea on Pinterest. It’s here.

Last Saturday, I asked Rick if he had time to make it.

He stopped what he was doing, and we headed for the woods.

“First, we need a log,” he said and pointed out three possibilities. “Which one do you like best?” 

I picked out my favorite, and he chopped off the ends.

He cut holes for tea candles–just the right size.

We gathered pine cones. I already had pumpkins and plenty of leaves.

After I decorated around the log, Rick lit the candles.

I stood back, fresh gratitude rising, and spoke the words I was thinking.

“I can’t believe you made this. It’s beautiful. You didn’t even read the directions.”

He nodded.

“Really,” I said. “Thank you. You did it just for me.”


I reached for him spontaneously and he held me.

A prayer formed.

Thank You, Lord.

I love You.

You’re always here for me. 

You listen and You love me. 

Then it hit me.

Sometimes expressing gratitude to others ignites fresh gratitude to God. Click to tweet. 

I will give thanks to You, Lord, with all my heart… Psalm 9:1 Click to tweet.

Does the question my friend asked stir fresh gratitude? 

“What if all we had tomorrow was what we’d thanked God for today?” 

So much love,







  1. This hits my heart! Powerful and lovely. Been thinking about how when there’s gratitude, there’s little room for anything else. But then I forgot to say thank you…

  2. Patricia Martin says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Julie! I thank God for sending Jesus, for my family, and for wonderful friends like you! What are your holiday plans? Give your family my hugs fromAZ?

    • I love your list, Patricia. It’s just beautiful.

      Well, we went to Katie’s for an early Thanksgiving this past Saturday. And tomorrow I’m having Thanksgiving here for the rest of the family–Jamie, Thomas and Brittany, my mom and Gene, one of my brothers, and my in-laws.

      So much love to you and yours~

    • marci says:

      I like the things on your list, and I am thankful to see your comments, always. I am thankful also for meeting here, thanks to Julie, and feeling bonds with those I see here each time. I am thankful also that I grew up in AZ. Hope you have a wonderful blessed Thanksgiving!

      • Patricia Martin says:

        Thank you, Marci’a! I hope you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
        God Bless,
        Patricia (:

      • I know, Marci’a….It just blows me away how many friendships have been formed here. All Him. All Him!!

        So grateful to call you a friend.

        And Happiest Thanksgiving to you today!

  3. Carm Russell says:

    Wow! My head was thinking she’s going in this direction. She already has something or someone right there helping her. And then your ending was my ending. Even though I thought you were going to focus on something else right up to the end. We both ended up in the same place…a husband to be thankful for. I’m not sure I made sense. It was like reading a book think it’s going to end one way then it ends just the way you want it to end❣️

    Blessings and thanksgiving to you,

    • What you said made perfect sense, Carm!

      It blew me away—when we express gratitude to others, something amazing happens. We’re more grateful to God. I felt closer to Him by thanking my husband. 🙂

      Who knew?

      I hope tomorrow is a wonderful Thanksgiving day for you.

      So very grateful you’re in my life and that God brought us together this way!

  4. Anna Haney says:

    Loved this. So thankful for you and our friendship. In the past, I wondered how folks could give thanks in all circumstances. A lady from church shocked the 16 year old me by coming to Sunday worship the day after her husband died. This year, though, I’ve changed. Even though I was afraid of my diagnosis, I am thankful I’ve been through it. I see the world so differently now. I don’t let stuff bother me as it once did. Guess choosing “change” as my 2016 word wasn’t so bad after all.
    Happy Thanksgiving

    • Anna, your word just blows me away–God’s goodness….and how somewhere inside you knew to choose that word.

      I’ve been drawn closer to Him by watching you.

      I can feel it in your comments. You’re deep, my friend. And strong in God. You’re on my calendar for December 15th.

      And how moving, I’m sure, for everyone who saw the woman worshiping. Whew….

      I love you.

  5. Julie … you’ve brought me to happy tears. Beautiful. I had a bump come up on my chin … and I was thinking … really? Of all the moments of the whole year? Thanksgiving? I needed this sweet reminder to be grateful … and to express it. I’m so thankful God knows our hearts … since we don’t always voice things … but do I even express it or feel it in my heart like I should? Probably not. No. And when you said thank you … he nodded. Novel material, Julie Garmon. I so love you. You make me better. Thank you, Lord, for my Julie. xoxo She is a jewel in every way to my heart.

    • Really, Shellie? Novel material???

      I’m smiling, big time. 🙂

      Hope your pesky bump just disappeared overnight. Sometimes that happens, ya know!

      Love you, my friend. And I just have to say–your pictures–they’re stunning. Along with your writing. I think we’re both heart-writers.

      And Lord, thank You for Shellie. She draws me closer to you. What a gift…

  6. Julie G /Leafy says:

    Hi Julie. First, I love your woodsy decoration and what an amazing job Rick did on it! Second, I had to read your friend’s question three times to know if I understood it correctly. And I did, but it’s really something to think about, isn’t it? For all of my many shortcomings, one thing that has always seemed to come easily to me is being thankful. I lie in bed at night thanking God for the means to take a shower. For clean drinking water. For the field in front of our patio where I can watch deer and birds. For a car to drive so I don’t have to carry groceries home on a bus. For the blessing my husband is in spite of his struggle with addiction. And the time I have with my mother even though her mental illness has caused so much hurt in our family. I know one day I won’t have her anymore. I thank God for having toeave for work when it’s still dark because I get to start my day looking at the stars. Anyway, what this makes me think of though, is how maybe we should be thankful today for the things we are praying for, for tomorrow – in faith. And that’s a powerful thought. Thank you for sharing this. And have a lovely and blessed Thanksgiving! I hope there are no typos here. I’m doing this on my phone while waiting for my car to be worked on and can’t see the screen very well. God bless ☺️

    • marci says:

      Wow Leafy, All the things you are thankful for. You truly have a thankful heart. Your list made me think too. And I am thanful that we met here and we have became friends. That means a lot to me. I appreciate you. xoxoxo

    • Ohhh, Leafy….

      I’m tearing up. This is absolutely beautiful. I can FEEL your heart in it–the truth in your words.

      I want to be live this way, every single day.

      Such a gift you just gave all of us. You shared your attitude of gratitude. And it’s how you LIVE.

      Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  7. marci says:

    What a good blog for this week. Makes us think. I had heard that question ask, If all we had was what we had been grateful for. and then as I read it again here, that made me think even deeper. It is something to think about. And think, just how much are we grateful for, how much am I grateful for? How much do I take for granted and never think about? I am sure this question will stay with me and I will be thinking on these things. Yes, what a good idea, to sit down and not just write down a few things we are grateful for, but everything. Things that have been problems, you help remind me see the blessing that comes with them too. But to write it all here would be much too long. One thing that when I read back over a list I have made, and I have noticed in the lists I have seen, it is truly the simple things we are grateful for. Being warm, the comfort of a place to rest. Being fed. A beautiful day. Family, .. and my list continues. I am thankful for you, dear Julie, and for everyone that comes here. I am thankful for the friends I have made here.

    This is a busy time, and I am thankful for the reasons it is busy.

    May you and all in your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
    God Blesses, (and He truly does, doesn’t He?)
    Much Love,

    • Great point, Marci’a. When I saw you mention problems, I quickly said, “Thank You, Lord for….” and said a named a few problems.

      I bet you’re cooking right now. We’re getting at 5:00 today at our house. We’ve never had an evening meal, but it’ll be nice. 🙂

      I’m SO thankful for your friendship.

  8. If all I had tomorrow was what I thanked God for today I’d be sort of okay. Lately, everything about my life is something to be grateful for. And I know that’s not the case for many, many others. Oh sure, there are things that make me sad (like Hailey’s birthday was November 14…she would have been 4), but I trust God and have faith.

    Thank you for the reminder, though, to be grateful and thankful for E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G….All the Time!

    • Hey B.J.

      Four years. I can’t believe it. I’m so sorry. My heart still hurts when I remember, so I know yours must too.

      You and me–I’m so very grateful for our friendship. Wasn’t God good to bring us together?!

      You’re right. EVERYTHING. All the time! Even when we don’t feel the feelings. We’re being obedient and choosing gratitude.

  9. Cathy Mayfield says:

    Beautiful, Julie!

    My current journal began in February of this year, and because of a challenge from a Bible study I’d tried the year before, I decided to use a different name for our Lord every day in this new journal. I started with “My Jesus” and went on to use these, as well as others:

    “Father of My Spirit”
    “Dryer of My Tears”
    “Builder of Relationships”
    “Bringer of Boldness”
    “Wonderful Weaver”
    “Giver of Giggles” (after a day spent with our grandson!)
    “Jesus, Just Jesus!” (a day when depression had hit hard)
    “Creator of Kids and Puppies and Music”
    “Energy Restorer”
    “Author of All I Write”
    “Planner of My Days”
    “Changer of My Judgemental Heart”

    And today’s – “Believer in Me.” After each of those names, I could only fall on my spiritual knees and praise him for that day’s name! Today, my praise came with wonder and gratitude for how much my God believes in me…in ME! If I try and succeed, if I try and fail, if I grow fearful and don’t even try…He still believes in ME! And oh, I just shiver in delight at the thought!

    This Thanksgiving, I plan to do as Sabra Ciancanelli wrote in her Daily Guideposts devotional for tomorrow (I peeked ahead, since I knew tomorrow morning may be a bit crazy.) She said to thank God for an “expected blessing,” something you see in the future, something which hasn’t happened yet…but thank God for it anyhow! Hmmm…bears thinking on, doesn’t it?

    Blessed Thanksgiving to you and yours – Julie and all who frequent this lovely place to come apart and share our hearts. Love to you all!

    • Cathy. Cathy. Cathy.

      I love what you wrote!! You’re onto something here…… It’s stirring my heart. It’s just beautiful!!

      And right now, I have some expected blessings, and I’m whispering, “Thank You, Lord.” Thanks for sharing Sabra’s idea.

      Keep writing your list! It’s powerful.

  10. Mary Bjorkquist says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Julie and family from Gladstone, MI. Your message really put a lump in my throat. Before I get out of bed each morning or when I walk my son’s dog, I gives thanks for so many things. Your husband is a gem, as is mine. We have been married for 46 years and were married on Valentine’s Day. You are a blessing to so many and thank you for the uplifting messages.

    • Mary, this is so kind. Thank you.

      And you two were married on Valentine’s Day. How romantic!! I can feel your love for your man shining through your words.

      Your encouragement means so much! I love finding out my words touch people’s hearts.


  11. Marcia B says:

    My intentions were to be a more active participant in this blog community since I don’t participate in any other social media. Because I don’t respond officially, doesn’t mean I am not out there soaking in every post, Julie. Your blog is a blessing in my life and I am very thankful that you are there on Wednesday mornings. I often think of the afternoon you took time to have coffee with me. I was so blessed by your genuine spirit –so much I identify with. I am thankful for your and your mother’s testimonies through Guideposts. That’s how I met you! May the Lord continue His work in your life. Praise Him from whom all blessings flow.

    • Marcia,

      I want you to know–my eyes are tearing up. This means so much to me. I’ll never forget our time together. What a gift….

      God’s been so gracious to all of us through this blog connection.

      So much love, my beautiful friend.
      THANK YOU.


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